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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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By Bill Turque  |  March 10, 2010; 10:08 PM ET
 
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Comments

Rhee: "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,"

In other words, "Since word has gotten around about how I’ve treated my current principals, now no one in their right mind would apply to be a principal in DCPS. So until we can figure out how to change that, Eastern will not reopen."

Posted by: efavorite | March 11, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

AMEN efavorite.

Also, let's involve the ENTIRE COMMUNITY. After all it is Capitol Hill and Fenty is looking for VOTES.

After the election, the community can go to he--if Fenty is reelected. Rhee will drag out someone from her "New Leaders" program who will not waste any time in driving Eastern into the ground.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | March 11, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I guess Mr. Fenty thinks he will be around in 2011.

I can only say, Lord Hear My Prayer.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | March 11, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Instead of the dog and pony shows and these American Idol performances demanded of candidates, let the personnel office and senior adminstration officials make the assignments. No consultations whatever. Then the responsibility is clear. When everyone is responsible, the result is that nobody is responsible.

It is to the point of loathesome that local school politicians / activists stroke their self-importance, sure they are doing a better job, consequent to their concern and training. They get in the way of the actual appointee if they don't get what they want -- the candidate may like another offer more, or downtown may select someone else -- or they cover up and make excuses for principals who are not working out, rather than acknowledge their contribution to the consensus.
Yes, in the best of worlds, everybody gets to act as a trustee, not just for their own kids, but for the school as a public institution, and for kids who are not even in the school. What I think of M. Rhee is irrelevent. She's the trustee for the schools. Let her have credit and blame for the recruitment, hiring, firing, retention of the very good and replacement of errors. Citizens who want it differently should find or start-up a charter school; because there is no record in public education that consultations "with the community" maximize gain, minimize losses, and otherwise enhance education.

Posted by: incredulous | March 11, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I wish the Post would've stated the DCPS has pushed back the launching of the new program for Eastern High School. I know about 400 students who are CURRENTLY attending Eastern High School who would object to their school being labled as CLOSED. But, I guess in Washington we're only concerned with everything that is NEW. Additionally, let's involve all of Ward 6 NOT just the Hill. Eastern, while located in the eastern part of the Hill, is the high school for the ENTIRE Ward much to the irriation of Councilman Wells and many Hillites.

Posted by: hrhjcg | March 11, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

If they considered this a relaunch...then what have we been doing at Eastern for the last two-years was it orbiting or were we declared lost in space?

Houston...Oooops I mean DCPS we have a problem.

HRHJCG @ I agree the neighborhood of Capitol Hill was there when Eastern was the brightest star in the hemisphere of academic excellence. Yet, for those to believe that Eastern can only maintain a warp-speed of resurgence back into the education version of star-wars is not accurate. It was the appeal and attraction of those who lived within the boundaries and beyond who will and made Eastern great.

I can't figure which one is correct...is it Capitol Hill Parents or Parents on Capitol Hill that truly call the shots? Better yet let me find the coalition of parents who send their children to schools on Capitol Hill [Eliot-Hines and Eastern] but reside in Benning Heights, Trinidad, Kenilworth, River-Terrace, Sursum Corda, Mayfair and whereso ever else. Don't worry Eastern has gone through phases that were once viewed as all-white, then intergrated by law, all-black by choice and now for some a futuristic hope of diversified high-school with a majority that's reflective of the middle-class and rich who reside on Capitol Hill.

Sarcastically saying, Let's be real just because you are not on the free and reduced lunch plan...in actuality does not make you rich...but I digress.

All in all I do believe a space-shuttle would have been more appropriate in housing of the new Eastern...as the relaunching stereo-type would have been quite adequate.

Let's hope the new captain of the relaunched Eastern is not a space-cadet...considering we've been flying without a parachute for at least two-years now...and have been able to maintain a steadfast course although DCPS "GPS" reliability has been quite questionable.

They will tell you to go into one direction with knowing that it is a dead-end.

Posted by: PowerandPride | March 12, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

First the doors were slammed shut on students at Hine Jr. High, which has been sitting vacant for 2 years.

Then the doors at Eastern HS were slammed shut for Hine graduates, as Eastern has not accepted new freshmen for 2 years and will not accept new freshmen next year.

This is the Tommy Wells-Michelle Rhee plan. Maybe when Wells and Fenty announce their candidacies for reelection this year, they could start with an apology for the way they have disrupted the educations of all those kids shut out of Hine, shuffled off to Eliot-Hine, then shut out of Eastern. But I won't hold my breath for that.

Posted by: Trulee | March 13, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

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