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I can’t comment on the accuracy of other facts in “Escape From DCPS” (3/28) (though as the mother of a seventh grader in DCPS, I didn’t find it encouraging). However, I can tell you that “nurturing, communal Hardy Middle School” has not been closed. The school continues as a small, nurturing, outstanding middle school, but in a building that provides more facilities. Last year, when the school board decided to close the adult-ed program at the Carlos Rosario Center, the board did a really sensible thing by moving Hardy Middle School and the Fillmore Arts Center into the Rosario building (the former Gordon Junior High).

Up until this year, Hardy was housed in a small building that had been built in the 1930s as an elementary school, and it did not have many of the things a middle school should have (e.g., cafeteria, purpose-built library, gym, auditorium, science lab). Special-ed and ESL classes were housed in a trailer, and the former classroom that had become the lunchroom often did duty as a classroom, too. Fillmore (which serves students from Hardy and four other schools) was also short of space for its nationally recognized arts program. Moreover, both schools were in buildings with fire-code violations.

The fact that the school board was doing something good for children (given that it felt that it had to close an adult-ed program) and making efficient use of its available buildings got lost in the controversy about school closings. The fact that both Hardy and Fillmore (unlike some of the other programs that moved) made very smooth moves into their new location was also not noted by the media.

As the parent of a Hardy student, though, I am well aware of how much better the school’s facilities are now and of how much work the administrators and staff did to make the move a success. I am glad that Washington City Paper takes coverage of the District schools seriously and goes into school issues in more depth than the Post (whose coverage I despair of). Nonetheless, by now, in my ninth year with DCPS, having put in countless volunteer hours and knowing many committed teachers, parents, and administrators, I wish the media could approach the system with the mindset of a constructive critic rather than that of an investigative journalist out to fix blame rather than problems.

Cathedral Heights

via the Internet