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Yesterday, I joked that Councilmember Tommy Wells appeared to celebrate the death of an elementary school. It was a reference to an item posted on the Ward 6 councilmember’s website.

The Wells’ item detailed the closing of Anthony Bowen Elementary School and the efforts of the school and the community in easing their transition to Amidon Elementary School and Jefferson Junior High. In other words, one school is now being closed and its students are being forced to split into two different schools.

Last Friday, Bowen students and tons of other interested parties marched from their old school to Amidon. The Wells’ item describes the scene this way:

“A crowd of nearly 400 people marched from Bowen to Amidon, with children and adults wearing matching blue and white tee shirts identifying the occasion and major sponsors. Most waved small American flags. Leading the parade, wearing their traditional red and white uniforms and plummed white headdresses was the 12 member 3rd U.S. Army Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) ‘Fife and Drum Corps.’ based at nearby Fort McNair military base. Officers from the First District MPD escorted the group and provided a safe walking route with traffic controls. While drivers waiting to cross could have been annoyed by the long wait, many drivers were seen smiling at the sight.”

Wells’ office was not happy with my jab and called me to let me know. They saw this scene as an impressive show by a community trying to make the best of a tough deal. The change in schools is going to be difficult but at least everyone seems to be engaged in easing the transition.

But. No parade and free T-shirt is going to answer many of the questions parents may have about their kids’ new school.

The combined school will be called Amidon-Bowen. Wells’ Chief of Staff Charles Allen says it will become a “technology school” which is a fancy way of saying kids are getting new computers and teachers are getting to jazz up their lectures on multiplication tables with PowerPoint.

Allen isn’t sure about the specifics of what a tech school actually means. Nor does he know yet if the school will be augmenting their increased student body with more teachers and resources. Nor could he answer questions about class sizes.

“It is pretty clear that not every single teacher from Bowen is moving to Amidon,” Allen says.

But Allen smartly notes that there are still questions about resources and training for teachers, students, and parents. Marching is one thing. But learning how to navigate a smart screen is another. Training is going to have to be done.

We will be following this issue. Stay tuned!