Crestwood Mobilizes on School Boundaries
Association Backs Up Call for âEqual or Betterâ Schools
With Petition, Statement, Testimony and Facebook Page
Crestwood residents are answering a Call To Action following the release of a draft proposal June 12 as part of the DC Student Assignment and School Boundary Review Process by the Deputy Mayor of Education (DME) and a 23-member community Advisory Committee.
The DMEâs plan would eliminate the right of Crestwood children to attend Alice Deal Middle School and Wilson High School. Instead, neighborhood children and teens would be redirected to a new MacFarland Middle School and a renovated Roosevelt High Schoolâwithout any guarantees that the course offerings and education quality would match what has been historically available to Crestwood students at Deal and Wilson.
A Crestwood Citizens Association (CCA) Working Group of about 20 parents agreed on a statement directed to the Committee and the Deputy Mayor for Education which âstrongly supports every effort to improve schools across Washington, DCâ but insists that âthe burden of the success of this effortâ¦cannot rest on the shoulders of the children of Crestwood:â
âUntil Crestwood families have confidence their children are being presented alternate middle school and high school options of equal or better quality than our historic right schools, the children of Crestwood must maintain their historic right to attend Alice Deal Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School. Forcing our children to attend a middle and high school that are not high performing, with measurable data that includes test scores, attendance rates, nationally and internationally recognized academic programs, with highly qualified teachers, will be detrimental to our families, our community, and our City.â
The Working Group notes that the alternatives to Deal and Wilson have a long way to go. MacFarland Middle School was closed in 2013 due to under-enrollment and low performance. The latest figures for Roosevelt High School show that just 20% of all students were performing at or above grade level in math and 21% in reading â compared to 60% and 61% for Wilson. Roosevelt offers 7 AP classes vs. 26 for Wilson. Crestwood is also the only neighborhood to have been singled out to lose access to both Deal and Wilson â and neighborhoods geographically further away from Deal and Wilson have maintained their right to these schools.
CCA President Karen Howard, Working Group members Dena Moglia and Natasha Shields and ANC 4A08 Commissioner Gale Black testified Thursday (June 26) at the City Councilâs oversight roundtable on school boundaries. The DME is soliciting feedback through July 12 using a form available athttp://dme.dc.gov/node/851592.
Here is more of what you can do:
- Sign the petition supporting Crestwoodâs historic access to Deal and Wilson. If volunteers have not knocked on your door with the petition, sign it electronically at http://chn.ge/Tq3w7E
- Encourage your neighbors to the sign the petition
- Reach out to DC politicians, including Ward 4 Councilperson Muriel Bowser (202-724-8052) and David Catania, who chairs the Councilâs Education Committee (202-724-7772)
- Volunteer your time and energy to get the word out. Contact the Working Group at Deal.Wilson4Crestwood@gmail.com and visit the new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deal-Wiilson-for-Crestwood/245399288989285
July 4th Is Crestwood Parade Day!
A Crestwood tradition continues this Friday with the annual 4th of July Parade, organized by the Crestwood Citizens Association Kids Team.
Gather around 9:30 a.m. in front of 1810 Shepherd Street. Munch on some muffins and bagels and grab some coffee and juice - as the kids decorate their bikes, scooters, strollers, wagons and other conveyances.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. around the block formed by Shepherd, 18th and Taylor Streets and Argyle Terrace.
Everyone in the community is welcome to walk or take a seat and cheer on the parade! Please spread the word to your neighbors. If you would like to become involved with planning Kids Team events, please contact Nicole Ruman Skinner.
Note from the President
I love summer in Crestwood. As a Midwesterner, I'm happy with heat, humidity and the evening sound of cicadas. But I'm also happy that we've had the windows open so much this spring and that my neighbors are out enjoying each otherâs company. While I am new to the position of Crestwood Citizen Association President, I am not new to Crestwood. A DC resident of more than 30 years, my husband and I moved here when I was pregnant with my daughter 20 years ago. We have two DCPS graduates who are now in College and two mutts who think they own this place. It's an honor to follow Gale Black and her 10 years of leadership; a pleasure to serve such a lovely group of people with amazing talents and rich diversity.
My goal for the CCA is to bring it close to your home. Make sure you know what the CCA is doing for you, put a bit more structure around the amazing work being done for so many years, and support what I believe is a collective desire to strengthen the bond in our community. Here's an update from our June 24 Board meeting.
The new CCA fiscal year began June 1. That means you can pay your dues now ($25/family household, $20/single household) to ensure your inclusion in the next neighborhood directory scheduled for print in the second quarter of 2015. Dues payments can be mailed (or hand delivered) to Treasurer Ellen Wormser at 1950 Upshur Street. Updated information for the directory, especially changes in email addresses, can be submitted HERE.
Our budget includes funding for
- The great efforts of our Kids Team event coordinators - including the upcoming July 4 parade. Every year I've watched the parade get bigger with more young families moving into Crestwood. Please join us along Shepherd Street at 9:30 for munchies, or watch along the âparade routeâ at 10.
- Supporting our Green Team volunteers who over the past 7 years have worked with Casey Trees securing more than $100,000 in grants to enhance our tree canopy.
- Sponsoring the Annual Pot Luck Picnic - mark your calendar for the Sunday after Labor Day.
- Holding a neighborhood Holiday party - too early for those details!
- And, of course, the Crestwood Directory.
Special thanks to everyone's efforts and interests relating to the school boundary discussion. It is heartening to see such thoughtful reflection on issues not only impacting our children, but the future of our City.
We are actively looking for new ways to involve you so please feel free to share your ideas and thoughts.
Green Team Meets July 10 to Help
Keep Crestwood Natural and Beautiful
The Associationâs Green Team invites you to an evening of fun, conversation and planning Thursday, July 10th, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Get together at the home of Doug Barker and Sam Kilpatrick at 1901 Quincy Street to discuss a variety of Green issues, including:
- The future of the Tree Teamâs tree planting project
- A new initiative to save trees from invasive English ivy
- The possibility of a Crestwood Garden Tour
- A new push for the proposed rain garden at the foot of 17th Street at Shepherd
- Those super bright, glaringly bluish white LEDs proposed for our street lights
You can also get a look at Doug and Samâs new photovoltaic solar panel system and learn from their experience about costs and payback information.
Putting Power Lines Underground
Plan Filed with PSC Includes Part of Crestwood
In a three-year plan submitted June 18 to the Public Service Commission, Pepco and DDOT proposed to bring some primary power lines underground, with work starting by next spring on the cityâs five worst-performing electric distribution feeders.
One of them is #15001, which serves 1,344 customers in 16th Street Heights and parts of Crestwood. The Pepco map printed below shows that underground lines will come west into Crestwood via Decatur Street, with further underground lines along Blagden Avenue, Blagden Terrace, Colorado Avenue, 16th Street and 17th Street, along with some short alley segments.
The rest of the neighborhood depends on a different feeder, #15197, which comes west into Crestwood along Webster Street. It is not part of the three-year plan.
Secondary lines will not be put underground. Nearly all poles will remain in place. There are no current plans to allow telephone and television cables to go underground with the Pepco lines. Only the primary lines and major lateral lines will disappear from view, along with the equipment associated with them â such as overhead fuses, switches and transformers. The staging areas â where equipment and materials will be piled up â have not been identified.
The DC law that mandated bringing overhead lines underground authorized Pepco to recover its costs by adding an Underground Project Charge to electric bills throughout the city. As proposed, a typical residential customer would pay 18 cents per month in the first year, 49 cents per month in the second year and 84 cents per month in the third year. DDOT will also file to add a second surcharge to electric bills to pay for debt service on municipal bonds to be issued by the District to help fund undergrounding costs that are DDOTâs responsibility.
The PSC will hold public hearings between July 21 and July 31 to receive comments from residents of Crestwood and the other affected communities. Comments can also be filed with the Commission through August 18.
History Right Up the Street:
Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stevens
A battle within earshot of our neighborhood nearly resulted in the sacking of Washington
and the wounding of Lincoln
Donât miss the ceremonies commemorating the only battle of the Civil War fought in DC - and the only time a sitting U.S. President was fired upon on the battlefield. Union troops arrived just in time to save Washington from being overrun at the Battle of Fort Stevens. Perhaps that is why the battle is so little remembered today. But this year the event will be commemorated with a full weekend of activities nearly at your doorstep.
Not only is the fort located just northeast of Crestwood, but - on his way to the battle on July 11, 1864 - Abraham Lincoln went by carriage from the White House along old Piney Branch Road. That means he came through our neighborhood (if you were at what is now the corner of 17th and Shepherd Streets, you could have watched him ride past).
Follow this link to learn about the commemoration activities
CCA Historian David Swerdloff participated in a pre-anniversary evening on June 25, telling a crowd at the Fort Stevens Recreation Center about the role played 150 years ago by Piney Branch Road and the Argyle estate that went on to become Crestwood. Those stories and more are part of his book on Crestwood history, which is still available online from Amazon orPolitics and Prose â or directly from the Association (only a few copies left). All proceeds benefit the Crestwood Citizens Association.
[Photo: Fort Stevens in 1865 â Library of Congress]
Crestwood residents have forwarded us names of neighbors who deserve ShoutOuts:
- Thanks to Andrea Lachenmayr and Tom Russell for pushing for the new curbs along Upshur Street and 17th Street.
- Thanks to Alejandra Noursi, Amanda Pezalla and the other neighbors on Upshur Street and Trumbull Terrace who organized a block party earlier this month.
- Tell us who else in Crestwood deserves some recognition. Send your ShoutOuts here.