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KIPP Plans Charter School for Southwest DC

by Shilpi Paul

KIPP Plans Charter School for Southwest DC: Figure 1

KIPP public charter schools have been busy staking out emerging neighborhoods throughout the District for their newest outposts. As we mentioned in our recent Trinidad profile, KIPP will be taking over the campus of the former Webb Elementary School in the neighborhood, and has plans to open this summer.

Now, reports the Washington Post, KIPP has proposed a plan to open up a high school in the Southwest quadrant, at the Randall Recreation Center at the corner of South Capitol Street and I Streets SW (map). KIPP hopes to move fast to renovate and rebuild the school, which could be open by Summer 2014.

It is no secret that charter schools are ramping up their presence in the city, and some believe that if DCPS doesn’t accelerate their public school reform, charters will lead to the ultimate demise of the public neighborhood school. KIPP’s latest plans have led to the same argument among SW residents, who worry that neighborhood children would by excluded, reported the Post. KIPP middle school students from other parts of the city will have first dibs on seats at the high school, and middle schools students from local Jefferson Middle School will be rerouted to other schools. However, despite this, there is support for the plan.

From the Post:

“This is Exhibit A as to what happens when there’s no facilities planning with regard to public education,” said D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At Large), chair of the education committee, who said he supports KIPP DC’s proposal because the city needs more good schools.

ANC 6D Commissioner David Garber believes KIPP will play a part in revitalizing the neighborhood, and sent UrbanTurf a copy of the letter of support that he and fellow commissioner Ed Kaminski sent to Mayor Gray and the Council. From the letter:

“Included in the project — aside from a nationally recognized college prep charter high school of which we should all be proud — would be a brand new community recreation center, an indoor gymnasium available for community use, a best-in-class Georgetown Medical walk-in clinic, and acres of upgraded recreation space.”

It is unclear how the 400,000-square-foot mixed-use development adjacent to the Randall School, which will include an art gallery and aims to be a cultural center, would be impacted by the news.

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/kipp_plans_a_charter_school_for_the_sw_quadrant/6775

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