Eastern relaunch pushed back a year
D.C. school officials have postponed the re-opening of Eastern High School until fall 2011 to allow more time for planning the revival of the long-troubled Capitol Hill school.
Under federal mandate to overhaul its program because of consistently poor academic performance, Eastern has been closed to new students for the last two years while it undergoes a $76 million reconstruction and reboot of its programs. Juniors and seniors are currently attending classes in temporary trailer-like classrooms on the school site
The school was scheduled to begin admitting freshmen again this fall, but Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee said in a statement released Thursday evening that they wanted to allow more time for the new school leadership to plan.
"We only have one chance to reopen Eastern and we're committed to continuing to engage the community every step of the way," Fenty said.
D.C. officials have proposed converting Eastern into specialized "academies" focused on health sciences and pre-law. But some parents, staff and alumni, frustrated by years of failed reform efforts, have not embraced the idea or believe that DCPS has not taken their input seriously.
As part of an effort to build more consensus around a reimagined Eastern, Rhee has opened up the principal selection process to the entire school community. "We now have the exceptional caliber of candidates that we need to move forward, and we made the decision to respect their requests to fulfill current obligations," Rhee said. "When selected, any one of the candidates will be able to hit the ground running."
A candidate forum is scheduled for Friday April 9, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Eliot-Hine Middle School, 1830 Constitution Ave. NE. Those interested are asked to attend an advance session on April 7 to learn more about what the statement called "key principal competencies."
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March 10, 2010; 10:08 PM ET
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