Wednesday, August 25, 2010

playground/field at new "at-risk" high school on Bryant St NW locked up/closed to the community ...?

See this 08/25/2010 message from a Bloomingdale resident regarding the new high school for at-risk youth on Bryant Street NW:

On Saturday AM, I took my daughter and dog to the baseball field at the old elementary school on Bryant Steet NW (as I and others often do often). All the gates were locked. I spoke with a neighbor this AM who was in the field on Friday when school employees were locking the gates. He spoke to them and they said (this is paraphrased) that with the high school for at-risk youths moving in, they don`t want it to be a ``hang-out`` so they are locking it up. A woman who was there in the playground with her child asked if it would be reopened on weekends (or any other time) and was told no.

I and many neighbors that I have talked to are a bit nervous about the high school and understand the intent of the school to avoid problems. However, I think it is misguided. I have seen this field used by many in the neighborhood over the years and do not think locking it up is a positive development. Not too long ago, I remember many holes in the fences, and I am sure anyone who wants to hang out in there, will not be deterred by a few locks, and the damage will return. Furthermore, this takes a ball field and playground away from the neighborhood. I know there are plans to build a playground just a few blocks away, but I haven`t seen a bit of work on that in months and don`t expect to see its completion anytime soon.

If that I was told is true, it seems a knee-jerk misguided reaction with much more negative impact on the neighborhood than positive.

17 comments:

  1. This is interesting. I have been taking my dog there for the past 3 months and saw them locking it up the other day. I couldn't understand why. This is a nice little area for the community to have, on many different levels. I am not sure what the thought process was to locking it up. Seems like a waste to me. Hopefully it will be reopened again soon, and hopefully this "at risk" teen school doesn't cause any issues in the neighborhood.

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  2. I seriously hope they reconsider this.

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  3. I am pretty surprised by the neighborhood reaction here. Have any of you talked to the school administration? I have. And I have spoken with a number of the staff. I am not sure where this rumor of it being a school for "at-risk" teens started, except for the fact that all students in DC are at-risk in one way or another. It seemed to me, after a long conversation, that they were providing a more individual-based education and it sounded like they had very interesting plans to get the kids more involved in their education and in the community. I am pretty happy to have people dedicated to improving DC education bringing their ideas to our neighborhood.

    As for locking the school grounds, I am not suggesting that any of you do not clean up after your dogs, but school fields have different requirements than dog parks. I completely understand trying to limit that. More importantly, apparently the school was broken into and vandalized several times during the week before school started. I find it somewhat ironic that you all are worrying about the "issues" this school may bring to the neighborhood when it is our neighborhood that has been causing issues for them.

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  4. What about the playground for neighborhood kids? - including the development right across the street. I saw kids playing in the ball field all summer.

    I can't recall a single public school that locks up all of its grounds. Furthermore, I don't see how a few locks on a ball field will increase security for the school. I saw the old Gage school locked up prior to its purchase from Howard and subsequent condo development and I assure you, a few padlocks don't keep trouble out.

    Locking this up bothers me because it takes what has been a nice green space for the neighborhood and takes it away.

    And one final word if anyone from the school or city is reading this. Please empty the trashcan that has been full all summer, or you soon have a nice playground for rats...

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  5. As to thee "rumors" regarding "at risk":

    http://batesareacivicassociation.org/2010/07/24/kc-lewis-school-at-300-bryant-st-nw-to-become-high-school-for-at-risk-youth/

    http://www.bigpicture.org/2009/02/at-risk-students-receive-second-chance-through-new-academy/

    Perhaps if the school reached out and explained the move into this location to the community there would be less confusion.

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  6. Reading this and talking to people, I don't think the uproar here is over the school moving in, rather that they moved in and promptly locked the gates.

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  7. the issue here is that we need more parks.

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  8. how 'bout the reservoir???

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  9. It appears this school isn't really concerned about the community. Even if our taxes are paying for its operations.

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  10. I understand Anonymous 9:01's point about the "at-risk" designation, what I was reacting to was the need to put at-risk in quotes and your worries about what that means for the neighborhood. I think there are two uses of this wording: the one clearly used here suggesting troubled kids, and the one used by educators suggesting kids that might get lost in big schools and not graduate. The latter, and the one that applies to this school, does not bring the "issues" alluded to here. It brings kids motivated to better their situation. That brings exactly what we want in our neighborhood.

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  11. I agree with n. cap. we need more parks...or should I say *a* park. Have you all seen the new park on Georgia Ave and Columbia where the old decrepit school was located. Jim Graham got it built for his ward pretty quick. Our CM, *ahem*, could have done the same for us, *ahem* but still Gage-Eck still lies empty and we remain parkless. The locking of Bryant school grounds only aggravates me more. Does anyone on this blog plan to approach the school about working something out?

    -Erin Fairbanks

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  12. I wrote the original email to Scott. I meant no offense by the "at-risk" designation. In fact I had no idea what kind of school it was as I only heard about this through discussion of neighbors.

    My primary concern is the locking of the gates and the subsequent removal of an option for my daughter and dog to play. If the old school reuse / park a few blocks south was progressing in any visible way, I'd be less anxious, but I frequent the field 5-6 times a week and don't relish doing without.

    Mark

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  13. I find Anon 11:03's comments curious. You are simultaneously complaining that you can't use their grounds and that they don't clean up after you. The school just opened. That trash is ours. Perhaps if we started funding our schools better, they could provide the services of both schools and parks. At the moment, I am sure they have better things to worry about.

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  14. Is Anon 7:31 suggesting that the community drag away full trash cans? If the city doesn't want to pick it up, they shouldn't have placed it there.

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  15. The good news is that we are getting a new park at 3rd and Elm/V streets! The groundbreaking ceremony happened this morning and construction should start ASAP. There will be 2 playgrounds, a covered pavilion and a fenced in dog play area!! For more info, check out the LeDroit Park Civic Association website here. http://ledroitparkdc.org/park.html

    We are excited to have this new space for everyone in the community.

    Maria, VP, LeDroit Park Civic Association

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  16. I agree with n cap.. We need more parks and schools for at-risk youths.. At-risk youths are important individuals. If they are not led toward responsible adulthood and self-governance, the burden to society may include an increase in crime and social problems, increased expenditures for prisons, and decreased economic productivity.

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  17. More "schools for at-risk youths"? You've got to be kidding me....

    While I could agree with you in principal, the whole Bloomindale/Ledroit/Truxton/Eckington has far more than its share of "at risk" social services which continue to draw crime and violence into our homes and make the streets unsafe at night. Heck no - not on my tax dollar and certainly not in my neighborhood.

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