Frank Nickerson Testimony – DC Public Schools Budget Oversight Hearing – March 29, 2019

Committee on Whole and Education

Budget Oversight Hearing of the District of Columbia Public Schools

 Friday, March 29, 2019

Frank Nickerson – Member, Capitol Hill Montessori Parent Student Teacher Organization

 

Hello, I am Frank Nickerson, Ward 6 parent to a daughter in 2nd grade and attending Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan (CHML)

I am grateful to be here and have Councilmembers who listen to citizens.

Several years ago it was discovered that the Logan building, where CHML resides, wasn’t assessed for its qualities to determine if it needed a renovation. Most other schools were assessed in DC but not CHML. One of the main reasons? CHML is an educational campus. It has a primary, elementary, and middle school.

DCPS assessed elementary school buildings. It assessed middle school buildings. We didn’t fall in either category so we weren’t assessed. For years.

We brought this to the attention of the Council and with your championing us and your support, and your direction, the CHML building was assessed, put on the renovation schedule, and you have given us funding to renovate the school. We are extremely grateful.

We are working with DCPS and DGS now on the the building specs.

We have a problem.

Irony of ironies, I think we’ve been forgotten by DCPS and DGS again.

We’re an educational campus. A Montessori educational campus. We need DCPS and DGS to recognize this again. We can’t stick to only a regular elementary school building spec when we have middle school students. DCPS and DGS seem to forget that we have a middle school. They forget that the elementary school and middle school are both Montessori.

Middle school kids are bigger too. Physically bigger.  We can’t just build this on a spec for elementary school students. Bigger middle school kids need more space for their activities. They need a full-sized gym. Not just a half gym. They can’t do much with a half-gym. They need a real auditorium to put on plays, for example. Kids can’t put on plays in a gym and give up on gym class when they are putting on a play

DC has actually hired an architectural firm with Montessori school experience. That’s good. However, we still need DCPS and DGS to agree to actually build this educational space for both Montessori elementary and middle school students and with Montessori-school type specs. They want to go by elementary school specs. We need your help.

This is a serious school. When it’s done your new building is predicted to educate 495 students. I believe this is the largest Montessori school by far in the mid-Atlantic.

CHML is a regional leader. Teachers and Montessori educators actually look to CHML. Montessori educators send newly trained Montessori teachers to CHML for practice teaching.  DC can set the standard for excellent public school Montessori education. Help CHML reach new heights by doing this job right.