On Friday, I had the opportunity to visit some of the closing DCPS schools. I also had the opportunity to pass by numerous still-open institutions.
And that’s what sort of struck me: just the sheer number of schools and their proximity to each other. People blame the slide in DCPS enrollment on the “charter movement” and changing demographics/population loss in the city. But when I think about all those empty classrooms and half-filled halls, I will also now recall departing Merritt Middle School, immediately passing another elementary school, and then, still mere seconds later, seeing Kelly Miller Middle School. (Map here).
For the record: Merritt kids will actually be heading north to Ron Brown next year. (Map here.)
My first stop of the day, Bowen Elementary School, is similarly close to its recieving school Amidon Elementary School. (Map here.)
Garnet-Patterson Middle School and Shaw Junior High School, which will merge in a few years at the Shaw site, are also within spitting distance of each other. (Map here. Don’t let your eyes follow the map’s directions; the buildings are actually within three blocks of one another.)
Many have pointed out that new school boundaries force together feuding teenage street crews. Much has also been said about the loss of schools as neighborhood institutions, gathering points, and tradition cultivators and holders. But if you look at the reality, blending schools are often already in the same small vicinity.