Morning Rundown

Navy Yard mural

Vigil Held for 20-Year-Old Father Killed in Southwest — Friends and family held a vigil on Friday evening to remember Kwaza Blue, who was shot and killed near King Greenleaf Recreation Center Dec. 5. [WUSA 9]

Navy Yard Elementary School Receives $5,000 Grant from Amazon — The newly reopened Van Ness Elementary School received a $5,000 grant from Amazon for new school supplies. [Hill Rag]

Rose’s Luxury Building Sells for Record $4.1 Million — The building that houses Rose’s Luxury at 717 8th St. SE sold for $4.1 million, about $1,000 per square foot, a likely record for Capitol Hill. Rose’s Luxury’s lease in the space will not be affected by the sale. [Washington Post]

Nando’s Peri Peri Set to Open on H Street NE in January — New signs at the future site of Nando’s Peri Peri at 411 H St. NE say the restaurant will open in January. [District Cuisine]


Jefferson Academy Middle SchoolStarting at a new school can be hard for kids and parents. As parents start gearing up for school enrollment season in the Spring, several Capitol Hill area schools are holding open houses. These open houses will give parents a chance to check out their kids’ prospective new schools and meet some of the teachers and other parents.

Here is a rundown of all the school open houses happening later this week and in the next couple months:

Watkins Elementary School
420 12th St. SE
Open: Nov. 18, 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Stuart-Hobson Middle School
410 E St. NE
Open: Nov. 19, 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Van Ness Elementary School
1150 5th St. SE
Open: Nov. 19, 9-10 a.m.

Miner Elementary School
601 15th St. NE
Open: Nov. 19, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Dec. 8, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Jan. 14, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Feb. 18, 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Jefferson Academy Middle School
801 7th  St. SW
Open: Nov. 20, 9:30-11 a.m.

Brent Elementary School
301 North Carolina Ave. SE
Open: Nov. 23, 9-10:30 a.m.

Maury Elementary School
1250 Constitution Ave. NE
Open: Nov. 30, 9-10:30 a.m.

Capitol Hill Day School (PreK-8th grade)
210 South Carolina Ave. SE
Open: Dec. 8, 9-11 a.m.
Tours also available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Schedule a morning tour by emailing [email protected]

Ludlow Taylor Elementary School
659 G St. NE
Open: Dec. 10, 9:30 a.m.
Jan. 14, 9:30 a.m.
Feb 11, 9:30 a.m.

School Within School
920 F St. NE
Open: Jan. 14, 6-7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20, 9-10:30 a.m.

Eastern High School
1700 East Capitol St. NE
There are currently no open houses scheduled, but families can make appointments to tour the school at [email protected]



(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.

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Eliot-Hine Middle School (Photo via Google Maps)Eliot-Hine Middle School could receive more money per student than any other D.C. public school in the coming year, an analysis released this week shows.

The Capitol Hill-area school would get $16,467 for each of its students under the fiscal 2016 budget proposal released earlier this month by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, according to a study from public school advocates the Coalition for DC Public Schools & Communities and Code for DC. The sum is a 9.3 percent increase from this year.

The school at 1830 Constitution Ave. NE is expected to have 239 students in 2016.

Locals have lamented that the mayor hasn’t supported funding for major renovations at the school.

Eliot-Hine students and their parents yesterday called on the D.C. Council to fund significant upgrades to the school in fiscal 2016, instead of fiscal 2019, as Bowser has proposed. The school has dated facilities and an outdated HVAC system that often leaves students boiling or freezing, locals have said.

In addition to Eliot-Hine, two other Ward 6 schools would be among the top 10 schools citywide for per student funding.

Van Ness Elementary School, which reopens this fall in Navy Yard, would receive $16,356 for each student. Jefferson Academy Middle School in Southwest would get $15,543 per student.

Not every Capitol Hill-area school would receive five-figure per-student funding, however.

Maury Elementary School, near Lincoln Park, would end up with $9,611 for each student. Watkins Elementary School in Hill East would get $9,562 per student.

Out of all the D.C. public schools, Woodrow Wilson High School in Northwest would have the lowest per-student funding, at $8,312 each.

Photo via Google Maps


With a crunch for preschool and kindergarten seats expected on the Hill, local parents are advising families to apply to the school reopening in Navy Yard.

Van Ness Elementary School, at 1150 5th St. SE, will open this fall with two 16-seat preschool classes, two 20-seat pre-kindergarten classes and two 22-seat kindergarten classes.

The long-closed school will provide much-needed seats as a scramble is expected at other Ward 6 schools. Brent Elementary School is expecting “unprecedented demand” for its early childhood programs next school year, Principal Peter Young said in a letter sent to parents.

“We recommend that families ensure they have a backup option,” he wrote, noting that families who live within the school’s boundaries or who have other children there have already applied for 29 of the school’s 30 preschool spots.

That’s unusual, even for in-demand Brent Elementary, parent and former ANC 6B Commissioner Ivan Frishberg said.

“The idea that you could have kids already at Brent and not be able to get other children in is pretty amazing,” he said.

Parents rank their preferred schools in an application due March 2 for preschool through eighth grade.

Frishberg urged local parents to consider listing Van Ness as a preferred school.

“There’s a tremendous amount of energy going into that school — with top-notch facilities, a team that’s new and a really energized parent group,” Frishberg said.

The first children to attend the reopened school will benefit from all the energy being put into it, said ANC 6D Commissioner Meredith Fascett, an ex-president of the Van Ness Parents group.

“Where there is uncertainty comes, hand in hand, ownership and opportunity,” she said, noting that parents will help select the school’s principal and refine its design.

Preliminary designs for the school show separate art and music rooms, an “outdoor learning lab” and additional windows.

Van Ness will reopen after years of community organizing, as Hill Now previously reported. The school was closed in 2006 after the demolition of the Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg houses and was used as DCPS office space, as Greater Greater Education reported.

DCPS decided in Feb. 2011 to reopen the school, after evaluating expected residential construction and the capacity of Amidon-Bowen, Brent and Tyler elementary schools.

One set of renovations is expected to be complete by the start of the 2015-2016 school year. A second phase of work will be done in time for the 2016-2017 year.


Van Ness Elementary School (Photo via Capitol Riverfront BID)Navy Yard families can weigh in tomorrow on renovations to a long-closed elementary school.

A Van Ness Elementary School “design slam” will be held at the school Wednesday to discuss the community’s vision.

“The goal of the design slam is to listen to your ideas in order to develop a design that celebrates the best characteristics of the Van Ness community,” a notice says about the event hosted by D.C. Public Schools, the Van Ness Parent Group and Quinn Evans Architects.

After years of community organizing, Van Ness will reopen this fall, as Hill Now previously reported. The school was closed in 2006 after the demolition of the Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg houses and was used as DCPS office space, as Greater Greater Education reported.

DCPS decided in Feb. 2011 to reopen the school, after evaluating expected residential construction and the capacity of nearby Amidon-Bowen, Brent and Tyler elementary schools. Boundaries for the school include Navy Yard, Near Southeast and part of Southwest.

One set of renovations is expected to be complete by the start of the 2015-2016 school year. A second phase of work will be done in time for the 2016-2017 year.

The brainstorming session will be held at 6 p.m. tomorrow in the school auditorium (1150 5th St. SE). Free childcare and food will be provided.

Photo via Capitol Riverfront BID


Van Ness Elementary School earlier this monthVan Ness Elementary School will reopen in the fall with two kindergarten classes after years of organizing by parents and community members, D.C. Public Schools announced.

The DCPS announcement made to parents this weekend and confirmed by Hill Now today (Monday) follows previous statements that the school would open with only pre-kindergarten classes for 3- and 4-year-olds and add a new grade level every year.

“This is fantastic news,” said Kelly Störmer, president of the Van Ness Parents’ Group. “DCPS had committed to making this a model school for early childhood education, but a school really starts with kindergarten. It feels like we’ve got an official stamp of approval.”

Renovations to the first floor of the 1150 5th St. SE school will begin in February and will be finished in time for the school year, according to an information sheet. A second phase of renovations will be completed in time for the 2016 school year.

Van Ness closed in 2006 because of dwindling enrollment.

The decision to add the kindergarten classes is good news for the community because families are already making daycare and preschool plans for the fall, Störmer said.

“A lot of parents had been really counting on having a kindergarten class,” she said. “This a huge relief.”


Lincoln Playground Field House (Photo via Historic Preservation Review Board) A local preservation group has submitted an application to make the small brick house just east of Van Ness Elementary School a historic landmark.

The Lincoln Playground Field House, on the Joy Evans Recreation Center site (555 L St. SE), was constructed in 1934 as part of a New Deal project. Of six similar field houses built in the racially segregated District, it was the only one made in a black neighborhood.

“What I really like about this field house is that it was the only one of the six made completely out of brick, the only one outside of Northwest and the only one built for a black playground,” said Kent Boese, president of Historic Washington Architecture, the group that submitted the application.

Boese said that he hopes a historic designation will enable the community to raise funds to renovate the field house for public use, and for Van Ness Elementary, which is set to reopen in the fall.

“The field house is in rough shape, but it’s nothing that can’t be brought back,” he said.

Boese, who is the chairman of ANC 1A, said he secured $400,000 from the D.C. Council to renovate a similar field house in the Park View neighborhood after it was designated a historic landmark.

Photo via Historic Preservation Review Board


Van Ness Elementary School earlier this monthA group of Navy Yard parents are organizing to make sure Van Ness Elementary School will have a kindergarten class when it reopens next year.

After closing in 2006 due to dwindling enrollment, the 1150 5th St. SE school is set to open in fall 2015. But D.C. Public Schools representatives have told parents they will only offer kindergarten at Van Ness if they can be sure at least 22 children will be enrolled.

Tracking down families who are seeking public kindergarten seats in fast-changing Navy Yard has proved difficult, Kelly Störmer, president of the Van Ness Parents’ Group said.

“We’ve put more blood, sweat and tears into this than DCPS could have imagined,” said Störmer, who has a son in pre-kindergarten 3. Parents run phone banks, canvass door-to-door and contact parents through neighborhood listservs.

Community meetings about the school will be held at 6 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) at Van Ness Elementary, and at 6 p.m. Thursday at the James Creek Resident Council Office (100 N St. SW).

Störmer said she and her group are pushing for DCPS to make a “data-based decision.” DCPS, which declined to comment on plans for a kindergarten class, could draw from the surveys the parents’ group collects, or it could include Van Ness in the school lottery for the fall.

“The reality is that this is a very exciting opportunity for our changing neighborhood,”Störmer said.

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