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IN HIS LETTER (THE MAIL, 11/25), Eric Ames describes the “pitiful students” he sees emerging each afternoon from Alice Deal Junior High School and Woodrow Wilson High. He asks: “What do they do in school all day? Aren’t they learning anything that will help them once they are graduated?”

Ames might begin his quest for answers by visiting these schools. Inside, he would find two dedicated principals, Reginald Moss at Deal and Wilma Bonner at Wilson. In many classrooms, he would find committed teachers working with students from a wide variety of home and early educational backgrounds. In other classes, he would find, as he would in any school, burned-out teachers. He would also observe how a small number of disruptive students can impede the educational process and force teachers and administrators to deal with disciplinary rather than educational matters.

Deal and Wilson, like all D.C. schools, fail to reach too many students. However, students who are ready to learn often thrive in these schools. Our own two children are both recent graduates of Deal and Wilson. They each emerged highly motivated, qualifying for advanced placement college credit in five subjects, and with acceptance letters from Ivy League and other highly selective colleges. More important, they developed analytical skills that would prevent them from ever judging a school by what they heard or saw at a subway stop.

Joan T. Prival, Michael J. Prival

Friendship Heights