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Posted at 1:45 PM ET, 02/ 7/2011

River Terrace Elementary gets one-year reprieve

By Bill Turque

Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson has backed away from a plan to close River Terrace Elementary in June because of under-enrollment, citing the unique importance of the school to the isolated Northeast D.C. community. Henderson said she had been swayed by passionate testimony from school community members about the role of the school in the Ward 7 neighborhood, Benning Road NE, East Capitol Street SE, I-295 and the Anacostia River.

River Terrace has only 148 students and its enrollment has dropped 42 percent over the last year -- a decline facilitated in part by DCPS' decision to remove the school's sixth grade in in 2007-08. DCPS had proposed busing River Terrace children to Nevel Thomas Elementary. Parents and staff argued that River Terrace has not been given a fair chance to thrive as a school. They also asserted that its value as the neighbohood's virtually-sole civic institution makes it more than just a school.

In a letter to River Terrace families Friday, Henderson said that Mayor Vincent C. Gray had accepted her recommendation that the school remain open for another year: "I recognize the extraordinary importance of River Terrace Elementary to the community, especially given the unique geographic isolation of the River Terrace neighborhood. I am therefore willing to provide the school and community additional time to build enrollment and demonstrate the long-term viability of the school. I hope that the same passion and energy I witnessed in the numerous meetings about the closure proposal can continue to be channeled into supporting the school."

Henderson is pressing ahead with plans to close Shaed Education Campus, a PS-8 school in Ward 5, and send students to Emery Education Campus, which will be re-located to the old Langley School next to McKinley Technology High.

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By Bill Turque  | February 7, 2011; 1:45 PM ET
 
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Comments

Now, just undo the mess at Hardy.

One has to wonder what is really going on with the Hardy situation. Still no principal has been announced and what gives with saying Pope cannot apply.

Something is rotten in DCPS.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | February 7, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

There has been an Interim Principal named at Hardy. His name is Daniel Shea and he currently works at DCPS Scheduling. Now watch what I say, Pope will be reassigned to some farce of an assignment or given a new school to be Principal of. Incredulous! River Terrace given a reprieve, Hardy left to flounder. The plan to "turn the school" that Michelle Rhee implemented is going along swimmingly. But the question remains why Vince Gray chose to let River Terrace remain open but refuses to listen to the cries and pleas of the Hardy Community? Especially since he built his platform upon Pope's removal. I wish that I could really know why Pope was removed from the school and never allowed to return? Could it be that Georgetown parents truly hate the diversity and equal opportunity that Pope represented? It seems so. I can only wait for the day that Black students attempt to walk into Hardy and are chased by the National Guard and protesters that don't want their school integrated! Seem far-fetched? Becoming decreasingly so...

Posted by: star5 | February 7, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Great, so we keep a school open when it is only at 40% capacity and is so neglected that it costs twice on O&M than a newer school 4 times its size.

Only 30% of it's students have met the basic reading and math requirements, so what exactly is so unique about this school that means we should spend a fortune keeping it open?

Posted by: Nosh1 | February 8, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Once again, people have to give Kaya credit. She was willing to listen to the River Terrace community's concerns and keep the school open. That is a lot more than Rhee would have done. If Rhee had listened to the community like this every once in a while, than maybe her and Fenty would have stayed in office.

Posted by: thebandit | February 8, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Looks like DC School Insider has been scooped by its readers and the Georgetown Dish and Georgetown Patch on the Hardy story:

http://thegeorgetowndish.com/thedish/henderson-names-interim-principal-hardy

http://georgetown.patch.com/articles/interim-principal-named-for-hardy-middle-school


Maybe Turque is doing some investigative reporting and we'll see a long, meaty article in tomorrow's Post.

Posted by: efavorite | February 8, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to River Terrace Community!
Ms. Prue and other worked hard to have this school remain open! Now you all have to work even harder to keep the school open forever! This school deserves to stay open! It is heart of this community!

Posted by: asilerod | February 8, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

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