Washington Met Students Seek Support Before January Decision on Closing

The January 9, 2020 show of Education Town Hall featured four current students at DCPS’s Washington Metropolitan high school in studio, talking about their journey, and that of their fellow Washington Met students, since learning right before Thanksgiving that DCPS proposed closing their school. They are

Lyric Johnson, 16 years old

Na’Asia Hawkins, 18 years old

Travius Butler, 17 years old

Angel Johnson, 19 years old

The students explained that Washington Met alone of DCPS’s four opportunity academies contains a middle school and thus is the only place in the city that ensures that students from middle school years up who have not found academic success at other schools will have a pathway to graduation. They noted that the DCPS chancellor has said the decision to close the school—first announced before Thanksgiving—will be made by the end of January. At the few public meetings about the closure, students have said that they have never gotten satisfactory answers as to the reasons for the closure, noting that students who attend will naturally have issues that students at other schools will not—and that no one seems to be taking that into account.

The students made clear that the school has provided a safe and welcoming haven for them, with plenty of support from teachers and small classes.

But they also noted that the school system has made many promises with respect to their school that it has not kept, including providing graduating students possible career pathways. In addition, the students noted how all electives have been stopped, there is no library, no gym, and no Read 180 programming (which is essential for many students who arrive not reading at grade level) as well as no internship programs, no sports, no childcare (most other DCPS high schools have on site child care for students), and no special programming that other high schools and opportunity academies have. And even with some courses required for graduation, students have to attend classes at other schools.

Despite those grave challenges foisted on them, these Washington Met. students recounted how staff have been supportive—while the closure announcement has left both students and staff wondering what’s next.

To support the students as they seek to save their school, contact washmetclosure at gmail (dot) com

ETH January 9 2020
L-R: V. Jablow, Travius Butler, Angel Johnson, Lyric Johnson, Na’Asia Hawkins, T. Byrd

Related resources:

WTU petition against the closure of Washington Met

2013 PBS documentary on Wash. Met

Channel 9 story

December 17, 2019 WPFW radio show featuring a discussion of the school

City Paper Students Value Their School

City Paper Rapper No Savage Visits

Additional photos:

former library
former school library

The former library at Washington Met high school and is now used as a resource room, with piles of books left on the floor. Students have long complained that there is no library nor any books, along with no electives, no gym, no child care for students’ children, and almost no career training, despite the school having a student population with deep needs, including a high percentage of special education students.

areas intended for elementary students were never renovated

Footprints on a hall floor at Washington Met HS, a building once an elementary school, then long-closed; many areas have not been modernized or renovated for use by high school students since Washington Met was located there in 2010.

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