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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Recap Shaed School Building Surplus Meeting

The meeting was packed into the small field house that we call the Edgewood Recreation Center- it was crowded, hot and hard to hear so I was not there for the whole meeting and did not hear everything said while I was there either.  If you had a better seat or were able to hear more please add your input in the comments for this post.

The general message from DGS is that DCPS has released the building and any charter schools that are interested in using it have until August 30th to file an application.  While I was told in the past that there were no charter schools interested it seems that now there are including some Montessori schools.  The first rights for the building go to a charter school.  I know that there are quite a few families with young children (or children on the way) in the neighborhood that would love to be able to walk their children to a Montessori school.  In fact some neighbors have moved because of the lack of quality schools in our neighborhood.  While there is a whole separate debate about charter schools and what they mean for our school system I do not feel the need to engage in that and simply want to support what is best for our community.  A great school that we can walk to would be a terrific amenity.  That said the push should be to get a great school and then to ensure that there is a neighborhood priority for enrollment.  It does us no good to get a great new charter school and then be unable to get neighborhood children enrolled in it!!

There was also a lot of loud opposition to a charter school and talk of use of the building for a recreation center.  The idea of making a community center (one that I have been advocating for over the years) out of the building that includes DPR use as well as nonprofit use and programming would be a community amenity whose value would be immense if run properly.  But if that cannot be done as there may be a new school going into the school building then the community needs to come together and demand that we still get an improved recreation center and programming.  There is no reason that we cannot have both a great school and a new recreation center.  The land use for the Edgewood neighborhood is poorly designed and maintained with proper planning we could keep our outdoor space and create a new recreation center with indoor space as well.  Within the past five years there was $14-15 million in the DC budget to do just that but that money was moved to another community.  We need to fight to get the money back in the budget and create the space that can be enjoyed by all ages.

I did hear the people in the front of the meeting say they need to hear from the community about what we want-  my thoughts on this is that they are just not listening!!  For years many different people and groups, myself included, have been advocating for improved recreational facilities and programming in the Edgewood neighborhood and it is time the city takes action! 

Please contact CM McDuffie and ensure that he is taking action and supporting our needs!  He needs to be a leader on this issue!


  1. I agree with your sentiments about Shaed...and that is "what is best for our community." I would love to get your feedback as to how we can make Shaed & Edgewood Rec work the the benefit of our community.

    I have posted the following comments on the Edgewood Yahoogroups: I think the community should respond to the RFO for a charter school with a recreation component, as the two are doable. The RFO specifically states that "proposals should demonstrate outreach to the Edgewood community and 'may include partnership' with DPR on use or modernization of the recreation facilities." So I say, let's start our own school! At least let's brainstorm on the idea. As to seeking leadership from the CM and EOM, I don't think it will be forthcoming.

    Yes, it is short notice, but with some research, a response could be quickly drafted. As to the timeline of August 30th, a draft RFO could be submitted with a request for an extension to the city. There's a lot of brain power in this community, think it would be worthwhile to try. I ran home last night and started writing, so far I've got about 10 pages of rough notes--ranging from curriculum to community involvement. I'm sure others have done likewise, so I believe it would be in the community's best interest to create the Shaed Community Education Center. What say you?

    Gwen Southerland
    Candidate: M.Ed ('14)
    Trinity University
    Former Shaed Parent Volunteer (full-time)

  2. Thanks for your update and comment Gwen. I will admit that I have no school experience but I like the idea of your proposal. Perhaps the charter school and a community/recreational component can coexist.

  3. As officials at the meeting stated, community direction is essential to the entire process. Please don't neglect to take the simple survey to log in your wish list, concerns, complaints about recreational services in the community:

    "Aguirre did assure residents that the District would consider their requests for a new recreation center during the next round of budget negotiations. He distributed printed surveys and encouraged residents to submit their concerns through an online survey or send them to"