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Posted at 5:06 PM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Breaking: Bedford out at Dunbar

By Bill Turque

Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson has ousted Friends of Bedford as operators of Dunbar Senior High, after a series of complaints about their management of the school More to come

Update 8 p.m.: Henderson's removal of Friends of Bedford comes after a series of complaints from parents, teachers and other community members about safety, security and academics at the 750-student school in Northwest. She has said that during her visits to the school, she saw students roaming the halls and classrooms without teachers.

"The school is no longer operated by Friends of Bedford. It will function as a traditional DCPS high school," Henderson said in a statement. Bedford will continue, however, to operate Coolidge High School under its contract with the District, which expires in the spring.In an unusual twist, Henderson named former Dunbar principal Stephen Jackson, who was removed from the post by Bedford officials at the end of the 2009-10 school year, to head the new leadership team. Henderson said last week that the school took a turn for the worse when Jackson was removed.

By Bill Turque  | December 8, 2010; 5:06 PM ET
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Posted by: helluvateacher | December 8, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

This is a SAD DAY for DUNBAR HIGH SCHOOL! It is even worse that the people do not realize it! Good luck with that all you Gray supporters.

Posted by: realistic6 | December 8, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

The Dunbar school community was completely dismissed by the central office of DCPS as complaints about the "management" of the school was handed to a private firm.

Is there a lesson here? Do parents and teachers need a voice in the selection of their school leaders? Do parents and teachers play a role in the development of the school culture? What is the role of the highly paid Instructional Superintendent - in Dunbar's case the well-known William Wilhoyte - when a school is headed off-track? Why does it seem to take a serious incident involving the safety of children to get the attention of the central office personnel?

Can the parents and teachers in the Hardy community be far behind? Although parents in the neighboring schools of Murch, Stoddert, Hearst and Janney were active participants in the selection of their current principals, the Hardy community was told by then Chancellor Rhee that she would select the next principal.

Hardy is in serious decline. The school leadership is clearly inexperienced and incapable of running a middle school where teachers can teach and students can learn. The current central administration tells parents and teachers that the school is in "transition."

How can this definition of "transition" be of benefit to any child? The sad lessons of Dunbar High School should give all central administrators pause.

Posted by: 4thekidsorforthe | December 8, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

This is to be expected considering the single school that Mr. Lenard and his team ran in Brooklyn was about half the size of Dunbar and was not an open enrollment school. They drastically failed here, largely due to their total dismissal of what had been working, albeit a short list. They are succeeding at Coolidge because they are riding the coat tails of the old principal, who hand picked his replacement before turning over the school to Friends of Bedford. I recall the many articles about what they were doing at Coolidge, some were good and some not so good. They attacked the social issues first and it precipitated significant academic growth. The old Dunbar principal, Mr. Austin, would have been able to move Dunbar academically as well if he were allow the time to finish fighting the deeply rooted social ills before they got rid of him. Maybe that would have made it easy for Mr. Lenard at Dunbar too. I won’t cry for them: It is my understanding that the administrative team took leaves of absence from NYC Public Schools. So, they can return to their beloved Bedford Stuyvesant Academy $3 million dollars richer.

Mr. Turgue: My question is; do they get the nearly half million dollars remaining on the Dunbar contract. I am being furloughed. Surely, they are not going to be paid for doing nothing. We should be asking for a refund.

Posted by: DC4Life2009 | December 8, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

A follow-up on DC4Life2009's question: Are the million dollar management fees paid to these private firms in addition to a full school budget? If so, why?

Posted by: bhorn1 | December 9, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Despite its rich history, I fear no significant change will occur at Dunbar unless and until parents and teachers are included in the mix. The difficulties this year are proof of the dangers of top-down panaceas which never trickle down. Please visit to read my education blog.

Posted by: dcproud1 | December 9, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Turque, I think your prior post "ISO Dunbar parents, teachers" my have been the final straw. Once the inside information gets out, things start to look awfully ugly.

Posted by: Concerned_Citizen2 | December 9, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

This is a SAD DAY for DUNBAR HIGH SCHOOL! It is even worse that the people do not realize it! Good luck with that all you Gray supporters.

Posted by: realistic6

Sorry, but you Fenty/Rhee fans cannot place this mess on Gray's back. This dead duck belongs to your Former Mayor and Chancellor.

Stop seeking to attack Gray and admit these two are responsible for this debacle and waste of taxpayers' money.

Posted by: bnew100 | December 9, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Friends of Bedford is paid an administrative fee of about $50K per month per school to manage the schools. This is completely separate from the schools' allocated operational budgets. The are paid over $1.1 million per year for their "expertise" and five staff members. According to the DCPS website: Friends of Bedford were awarded $480K on October 13th and another $661K on October 21.

Posted by: DC4Life2009 | December 10, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

to realistic6- I concur. 90% of the teachers at Dunbar were not there prior to last year, therefore have no idea what happened before Bedford came in. They run around the school whinning about "no one will listen to me"...ridiculous. They never realized that this problem is with DCPS, the DC Government...etc. Sad to say it but Dunbar will go right back to being the way it was, which was worst, before Bedford came in. No one cared about the children then but the old teachers that were fired/layed off by Rhee, now we have teachers there that can't take it and don't want to teach. They are not there for the children they are there for DCPS to pay for their degrees and then they will be gone. Thank you K. Henderson, when this fails your head will be on the chopping block!

Posted by: Tee2396 | December 10, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

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