(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that Anacostia and Ballou High Schools will transform educational opportunities for students, following a community based and research driven school Redesign process. Since April, both schools have been engaged in school Redesign, which included a nearly $3 million investment from the DC Public Education Fund and a full-time Design team to reimagine the programming, focus areas and opportunities, particularly for students furthest from opportunity.
“I am proud of the Ballou and Anacostia communities for embracing the challenge of reimagining the high school experience to best meet the needs of students and families,” said Mayor Bowser. “Together, we can and we will continue to rethink how our schools can take on inequity and prepare students for success, not just in school, but in life.”
Focused on addressing inequities in student outcomes, Redesign allows schools to create an innovative school program that is aligned to social, economic, and technological developments in society, and ensures that students are taking courses and building skills that will prepare them to take on the challenges of college and career.
More than 1,700 community members participated in the process to redesign Anacostia and Ballou, and stakeholders joined School Community Design Teams to provide input and partner with each school on the development of the new school models. Redesign also included a Student Design Team that conduced outreach to their peers and led the creation and implementation of a long-term plan to ensure student voice was included throughout the process. DCPS facilitated 13 school visits across New York, California, Colorado, Atlanta, and Pennsylvania, as well as local charter and public schools to inform the new school models.
“I am proud that Anacostia and Ballou have already made great strides over the past year, and I believe their bold approach to Redesign will transform the student experience for hundreds of students as they partner with businesses, the Ward 8 community, and District agencies to prepare students for post-secondary success,” said DCPS Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee. “We are committed to leading a student and community driven Redesign process, and I am grateful to everyone who was a part of reimaging what education can look like for our students and how we can close the opportunity gap in our city.”
The Ballou Redesign will build on strong career pathways currently offered at the school, including Culinary Arts, Automotive Technology, and Hospitality. Next school year, students will have access to a new, innovative Information Technology and Computer Engineering pathway that prepares them for high-demand careers. Ballou will use real-world case studies in the classroom where students are presented with challenges from companies that make learning relevant and applicable to future career experiences.
The Ballou Knights community will also see an intentional investment in healing-centered practices for students and adults to support social-emotional development that will support and develop the entire school community.
Anacostia’s Redesign will include a new Civil and Environmental Engineering pathway that prepares students for high-demand careers, and implementation of a project-based learning approach that makes connections across courses and allows students to apply their learning to real-life topics in their communities and environment. The school is also partnering with the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) to provide educational programming and other resources to support Anacostia’s environmental focus.
Through the partnership, DOEE will host the summer Green Zone Environmental Program at Anacostia and collaborate with teachers on approaches to project-based learning. The student experience will also transform as Anacostia staff launch a “Dream Team” of consistent, caring, and committed adults who will support students in progressing toward their individual goals.
Redesign is a part of the Bowser Administration’s efforts to provide a high-quality education to students across all eight wards. Anacostia and Ballou are two of ten Connected Schools across the city that take the community schools model to the next level. Mayor Bowser also invested in the Safer Stronger DC Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement’s Leadership Academy at Anacostia – a school-based initiative aimed at promoting school and community safety by providing wraparound services and mentorship through direct engagement with students and their families.
Community members can learn about the programming at Anacostia and Ballou, as well as schools across the city, at EdFEST 2019 on Saturday, December 14 at Stadium Armory between 11 am and 3 pm.