(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser broke ground at Coolidge Senior High School in Ward 4. Coolidge High School will undergo a full modernization and, as part of the modernization process, the District will build a new middle school on Coolidge’s campus. The state-of-the-art facility will reopen in school year 2019-2020 and is designed to serve more than 1,100 middle and high school students. The Mayor was joined by At-Large Councilmember Robert White, Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Antwan Wilson, and Department of General Services (DGS) Director Greer Gillis.
“When we invest in education, we are investing in the future of our community,” said Mayor Bowser. “We heard loud and clear from our Ward 4 students, families, educators, and community members that they want a modernized school that offers rigorous academics and specialized programming. Today, we are confident that when this project is finished, the modernized Coolidge will go above and beyond the expectations of the community.”
The middle school’s curriculum will be developed to align with the academic programming at Coolidge High School, and the school will be constructed as a separate academic space and have its own dedicated school leadership. The middle school will begin serving sixth grade students in school year 2019-2020 and will grow to serve grades 6-8 by school year 2021-2022. In school year 2019-2020, the new middle school will become the in-boundary school for rising sixth grade students currently served by Brightwood Education Campus, LaSalle-Backus Education Campus, Takoma Education Campus, and Whittier Education Campus.
The modernization project on the existing Coolidge High School building will include:
- state-of-the-art spaces for the school’s Health Sciences Academy and Mass Media Program,
- two atrium spaces,
- breakout spaces on every floor designed for small group instruction and collaboration,
- a child care center,
- a health center, and
- a new outdoor garden.
Launched in school year 2017-2018, the new Health Sciences Academy at Coolidge High School aims to prepare students for success in college, career, and life by equipping them with critical skills needed to thrive in the medical and healthcare fields. Students will research health careers and explore coursework in biology, chemistry, anatomy, biomedical engineering, public health, and more. Each school year, the Health Sciences Academy will enroll up to 50 ninth grade students.
“Through this modernization, we will ensure that our students have access to a safe and welcoming learning environment, expose our students to careers in the medical field, and increase opportunities for middle school students,” said Chancellor Wilson. “I’m thrilled for this investment that will allow DCPS to continue to expand options to meet the needs of students and families in every corner of our city.”
During the event, Mayor Bowser continued to highlight Every Day Counts!, a citywide initiative to increase attendance at the District’s public schools. More than 18,000 students – almost one in four – in the District of Columbia are chronically absent, meaning they miss 10 percent or more of all school days. Rates of absenteeism are especially high amongst the District’s high school students. Together, Mayor Bowser and the Every Day Counts! Task Force, spearheaded by the Deputy Mayor for Education, will increase coordination across public agencies and stakeholders, invest in data-driven strategies to increase attendance rates, and reward students and schools that improve attendance throughout the school year. Residents can learn more at attendance.dc.gov.
After ten years of education reform in Washington, DC, accelerating school reform continues to be a top priority for Mayor Bowser. In her Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, Mayor Bowser invested $1.74 billion in public education, an increase of $121 million over last year’s budget and the largest investment in public education in the city’s history. In addition, the proposed teachers’ contract will provide an additional $110.5 million to DCPS and an additional $92.6 million to public charter schools from FY2017 to FY2021.