(Updated at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday) Van Ness Elementary School in Navy Yard officially welcomed kindergarten and Pre-K students inside today after it shut down almost a decade ago.
This group of children will be the first students to go through the school at 1150 5th St. SE since nearby building demolition and construction led to its closure in 2006. The school currently offers Pre-K through kindergarten classes, and plans to add a grade every year until it reaches 5th grade.
Outside, most of the building, including the main entrance, is still fenced off as renovations continue. The playground behind the school also is still under construction, but is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.
Councilman Charles Allen of Ward 6 and ANC 6D commissioner Meredith Fascett joined the Van Ness Parent Group for a kickoff celebration in front of the school as students arrived for their first full day. Former ANC 6D commissioner David Garber, who is now running for an at-large spot on the D.C. Council, was also at the event.
Cynthia Robinson-Rivers, the new principal at Van Ness, said the school will have a creative focus, with a particular emphasis on experiential learning.
“We’re focused on building a compassionate, nurturing and welcoming environment for our students and our families,” she said.