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Ward 4 Dispatch: Community Events, Summer Programs and Jobs, and A Big Win for Ward 4 Schools!

Dear Neighbors,

This week I’m excited to share a major win for our Ward 4 schools secured in the DC budget. Check out the details below, and stay tuned to hear about more of our Ward 4 investments once the budget is finalized in two weeks.

It’s a characteristically busy weekend in Ward 4 with community events at Barnard and Whittier, a reunion event for the Lamond Riggs Boys and Girls Club, a Mother’s Day Swap by Ward 4 Mutual Aid, Takoma PorchFest and Community Yard Sale, and our farmers markets back in action. And don’t miss out on our Ward 4 Bike to Work ride coming up on the morning of Friday, May 20! And scroll a bit further down this newsletter for other important updates, including registration for DPR summer programs, public safety updates, job openings, small business grants, and a reminder that the Ward 4 COVID Center is closed this Saturday (tomorrow).

An Important Win for Our Ward 4 Schools in the DC Budget!

On Tuesday this week, the Council gave initial approval to DC’s budget. While a second vote  is needed to finalize the DC budget, the budget we approved this week included a major win we secured for Ward 4 schools.

First, allow me to share some background on the problem. Roosevelt High School currently shares its building with Roosevelt STAY, an opportunity academy serving 16-24 year old students in a critical period of their lives. This arrangement worked when STAY was primarily a night school, but DCPS moved them to daytime programming recently. This change led to severe overcrowding for both schools, which has been exacerbated by increasing enrollment. Next year Roosevelt was projected to be the most overcrowded DCPS school with a 134% utilization rate. Still, there was no plan to address overcrowded learning conditions at Roosevelt before the fall of 2029 – even as other overcrowded DCPS schools were having their needs addressed.

Meanwhile, Truesdell Elementary is set to be modernized starting school year 2023-24. However, Ward 4’s only available swing space is at the Sharpe Health campus (swing space is a temporary facility schools move into while their building is being modernized). But Sharpe is already set to be occupied that year by Dorothy Height Elementary, which is also being modernized. The original plan was to have Truesdell swing at the Garnet-Patterson building on U Street. But it makes little sense to ask Truesdell families to send their elementary and Pre-K students to such a distant building that doesn’t even have an outdoor recess area. And the lack of a suitable swing space for Truesdell risked forcing a delay of the much-needed modernizations of Whittier Elementary and LaSalle-Backus Elementary.

In short, Ward 4 faced a concurrent overcrowding issue at its DCPS high schools and a swing space shortage that jeopardized the modernization of several elementary schools.

My team and I worked with our school communities over months to explore other potential spaces, engage DC’s education agencies, and advocate for a solution to both of these issues. Here is what we were able to secure in the DC budget:

  • Roosevelt STAY Opportunity Academy will relocate to Garnet-Patterson building. By doing so, Roosevelt STAY will no longer experience overcrowding, and its citywide population of students will benefit from a centralized, transit-accessible location. And our DC budget includes $17 million to renovate Garnet-Patterson in 2022-23 so it can meet Roosevelt STAY’s needs.
  • Roosevelt High School will have its entire building to itself. By moving Roosevelt STAY to Garnet Patterson and thus freeing up space previously needed for approximately 600 students, we will address the severe overcrowding at Roosevelt High School and prepare Roosevelt to welcome more students through its growing enrollment.
  • The Sharpe Health campus will be renovated so it can host both Truesdell Elementary and Dorothy Height Elementary. $9 million is budgeted to renovate and expand classroom space at Sharpe so both schools can co-locate there for school year 2023-24 – the one school year when the schools’ modernizations overlap. Through this solution, Truesdell will have a suitable swing space close to home in Ward 4 that has an outdoor recess area and that can meet its needs as an elementary school.
  • The modernizations of Whittier and LaSalle-Backus will stay on track. By addressing the swing space shortage in Ward 4, we prevent the risk that the long overdue modernizations of Whittier Elementary and LaSalle Backus will be delayed or that these schools will need to swing outside of Ward 4. Both schools will also benefit from the improvements made to the Sharpe campus as their future swing space.
  • Coolidge High School will benefit from a new cafeteria addition next year. Our other DCPS high school, Coolidge, also faces overcrowding issues. Thankfully, the DC budget also includes $9.6 million for construction a new cafeteria addition next year that will include a dedicated kitchen and dining area that’s separate from the kitchen shared with Ida B Wells Middle School. This will allow both schools to serve lunch at normal mealtimes and avoid overcrowding.

The bottomline is that by moving these puzzle pieces around and securing swing space funding, we are resolving overcrowding at Roosevelt High School and Roosevelt STAY, providing a suitable swing space for Truesdell, and keeping the critical modernizations of Whittier and LaSalle-Backus on track. This is a big step forward for our Ward 4 schools.

I’m proud to have worked closely with our school communities – parents, teachers, staff, and school leaders – to get this done. Thank you to Chairman Phil Mendelson for adding these changes in the revised budget; to the DCPS Chancellor and Deputy Mayor for Education for partnering with us; to our Ward 4 State Board of Education Member Frazier O’Leary for his leadership; and to our ANC 4D, 4C, and 4B Commissioners for their advocacy. This is the outcome of our community fighting together to support our schools!

Neighborhood Events

Barnard Elementary Spring Yard Sale in Petworth

On Friday, May 13 from 4pm-6pm and Saturday, May 14 from 9am-4pm the Barnard Elementary School PTA hosts their first-ever spring yard sale! Come shop for a variety of items including kids clothes, toys, household items, and more. They’re also selling 50/50 raffle tickets, and giving away other great prizes like gift cards to local restaurants and tickets to a Washington Nationals game. Come out to show your support! 

Don’t Miss Out on the Whittier Elementary Spring Carnival

On Saturday, May 14 from 11am-3pm Whittier Elementary will host its spring carnival on the Coolidge High School track with food and fun for families. The cost of admission is $25 per child, and children must be accompanied by adults. Hope you can make it!

Lamond Riggs Boys and Girls Club Reunion and Community Welcoming

On Saturday, May 14 from 12pm-4pm the Riggs LaSalle Rec Center (501 Riggs Rd NE) will host a reunion and community welcoming to celebrate the rich history and legacy of the Lamond Riggs Boys & Girls Recreation Club. The reunion will acknowledge the past and present of this community landmark and those who have benefited or supported the LRBGC in building the lives of successful women and men. Learn more about the event on this web pageNote: Due to expected rain, some of the outdoor activities for this event have been cancelled. Everyone is invited to attend the indoor program at 12pm.

Mother’s Day Free Market and Stuff Swap by Ward 4 Mutual Aid

On Saturday, May 14 from 12pm-4pm at 6000 Georgia Ave (outside the corner of Quackenbos St NW) Ward 4 Mutual Aid will host a Mother’s Day free market and stuff swap where neighbors can bring and pick up gently-used strollers, car seats, toys, gear, and clothes for moms, children, and babies! Drop-offs begin as early as 9am, and event will shift to the following Saturday if it’s raining.

Takoma PorchFest, Takoma Community Yard Sale, and Takoma Flea Market

It’s a big weekend for Takoma! On Saturday, May 14 from 2pm-6pm porches and stages  across Takoma Park, MD are hosting music performances for Takoma PorchFest. Keep an eye on their website and social media for any postponements. In addition, there is a community-wide Takoma yard sale happening on both the DC-side and MD-side of the neighborhood this weekend, so keep an eye out for what your neighbors are selling (find specific times, locations, and which items will be sold at each house on this website). Meanwhile, Takoma Flea  has been rescheduled to Saturday, *May 21* from 10am-4pm and will bring an outdoor market with a mix of vintage, antique, collectibles, salvage, and repurposed goods like clothing, jewelry, housewares, furniture, records, and more to Takoma Junction. 

Join the Ward 4 Bike to Work Day Ride!

On Friday, May 20 starting at 8am Councilmember Lewis George and neighbors will host our 2nd annual Ward 4 Bike to Work Day ride from Ward 4 to the Wilson Building! We’ll meet at the corner of 14th & Decatur NW on 8am and roll at 8:15am. Most of the 4-mile ride will be on protected and painted bike lanes. Ride your own bike, or pick up a Capital Bikeshare (the closest station is on the corner).

NEW DATE: DDOT Crestwood Traffic Safety Walkthrough

On Friday, May 20 starting at 3:30pm, Councilmember Lewis George and DDOT Director Lott will lead a traffic safety walkthrough in Crestwood starting from 16th & Blagden Avenue NW. We will visit nearby intersections so DDOT can directly assess and hear from neighbors about the need for specific traffic improvements in the neighborhood. This walkthrough was rescheduled due to an unexpected emergency on DDOT’s part.

Bourbon & Bluegrass 2022 at President Lincoln’s Cottage

On Saturday, May 21 from 1pm-5pm and Sunday, May 22 from 1pm-5pm Bourbon and Bluegrass 2022 will be hosted at President Lincoln’s Cottage. Lounge on Lincoln’s lawn, sip bourbon and enjoy live bluegrass music. Get your tickets here.

The Shepherd Park Citizens Association Garden Tour Returns!

On Sunday, May 22 from 2pm-5pm, the Shepherd Park Citizens Association Garden Tour (starting at 7900 Eastern Ave NW will be back and bigger than ever. There will be 15+ host sites, including a penthouse rooftop garden, two schools, two houses of worship, and sculpture and art gardens to name a few! They’ll also have vendor tables and raffles for prizes from Bluestone Perennials and Gurneys. Visit the SPCA website for tickets for non-members or to reserve your spot as a SPCA member or for a child under twelve.

Join Ward 4 CARE Community Outreach Day in Chevy Chase 

On Thursday, May 26 from 4pm-7pm my team and I and community volunteers will be bringing Ward 4 CARE Day to Chevy Chase starting from Lafayette-Pointer Recreation Center (5900 33rd St. NW). RSVP to join as we check in on neighbors, share resources, problem solve with DC agencies, and bring our community closer together. 

And don’t forget to visit your closest Ward 4 Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm:

Tip for this weekend: Uptown Farmers Market will have free e-cycling on Saturday from 10am-2pm so bring your outdated electronics for safe recycling! This will happen rain or shine.

Community Resources

REMINDER: Ward 4 COVID Center Closed on Saturday, May 14

On Saturday, May 14 the Ward 4 COVID Center at Peoples Congregational Church (4704 13th St NW) will be closed to accommodate previously scheduled services at the church. Check out the Ward 4 Center’s full schedule and other COVID Centers on DC Health’s website.

Job Openings for the Ward 4 Cure the Streets Team and Public Safety Updates

Please help us spread the word about some important community safety announcements. The Cure the Streets violence interruption team coming to Petworth and Brightwood Park run by InnerCity Collaborative is hiring a program manager, an outreach supervisoroutreach workers, and a violence interrupter. If you know someone who is interested in having a positive impact in our community, please encourage them to apply. In addition, MPD has released video of a suspect in a recent shooting on Kennedy Street, as well as video of three suspects in a separate, unrelated shooting off of Georgia Avenue. Neighbors are encouraged to call 202-727-9099 or text 50411 with any information related to the suspect (there’s a reward up to $10,000 in both cases).

DPR Summer Programs Registration Starts this Monday

This Monday, May 16 at 12pm is when registration goes live for DPR’s many summer programs at Aqua kickboxing, beekeeping, makeup 101, gardening, line dancing, water aerobics, and jewelry making are some of the many programs that will open for registration. This summer will mark the return of the DC Summer Swim League, a recreation swim league that operates at 13 indoor and outdoor pools across DC and is available for residents ages 6-16. The DC Council is expanding funding for summer programs, but competition for a spot is still expected to be high so set your clocks and be sure to create a DPR registration account ahead of time.

DPR Offering More than 700 Summer Jobs

Speaking of DPR, the agency is hiring for more than 700 positions for this summer! Open positions include lifeguards, camp counselors, park rangers, operations managers, and a lot more! If you know someone looking for a summer job or a young person looking for an engaging and paid activity over the summer, please encourage them to apply!

Small Business Grants for Petworth and Brick and Mortar Stores Citywide

Own a small business in Petworth or know someone who does? Our newly-minted Petworth Main Street is issuing its first round of grants worth between $500-$5,000 to eligible brick and mortar businesses located on the Petworth Main Street Corridors. Apply by May 16! We also have the Robust Retail Citywide Grants worth up to $7,500 for brick-and-mortal businesses across the District. Applications for these grants are due on June 8, but don’t wait to apply!

Provide Feedback for the Georgia Avenue Bus Priority Project 

DDOT is in the early stages of planning for the Georgia Avenue NW Bus Priority Project. This project will improve bus operations and safety along the Georgia Avenue corridor from Barry Place to Kansas Ave NW – with long-term plans to also extend improvements all the way up to Eastern Avenue. DDOT is requesting feedback from residents on what improvements should be made as part of this project. Use this form to weigh in!

Military Road Bike and Pedestrian Trail Study Public Meeting 

On Tuesday, May 24 from 6:30pm-7:30pm the National Park Service and DDOT are hosting a virtual public meeting to present a proposed pedestrian and bicycle trail study along Military Road within Rock Creek Park. The project looks to provide a safe and efficient east-west pedestrian and bicycle connection through Rock Creek Park that will function for all users. The proposed connection will be between Oregon Avenue NW and 16th Street NW and will provide connections to the existing trail network within the park. Join the virtual meeting using this link.

Did you miss last week’s Ward 4 Dispatch? Catch up on what you missed at this link.

Before I wrap up, I want to thank all the volunteers and agencies who joined us and neighbors who made time to chat during our Ward 4 CARE Day in Manor Park yesterday! We powered through a gust of rain and were rewarded with sunshine for the rest of our outreach. And it was great to have 4B08 Commissioner Alison Brooks and 4B06 Commissioner Tiffani Johnson with us! If you live in Ward 4, chance are we’ll be visiting your neighborhood later this year. Check out what Ward 4 CARE Days are all about and how to get involved.

Wishing you a restful, joyful weekend!

Yours in Community,