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HomeEducationBowser cuts ribbon on permanent home for one of DC’s newest high...

Bowser cuts ribbon on permanent home for one of DC’s newest high school


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On Thursday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser cut the ribbon on the new home of Bard High School Early College.

Since it opened in August 2019, students at the school have gone to class in a temporary facility in the Benning Heights neighborhood. The new location of the school is 15 minutes way on Alabama Avenue in Congress Heights in what was once the Malcom X Opportunity Center.

School leaders, as well as the school’s student body president, received raucous cheers when they spoke.

“In opening our new building, there is so much to look forward to with the brand-new facilities that help foster the independence, responsibility and innovation that our philosophy inspires,” said Josiah Best, the Student Government Association president. “I know the lessons and relationships shared in this space will enrich the education of not only myself but my peers as well.”

A long list of city leaders were also on hand to celebrate the phase one opening of the building, which otherwise still has crews working inside and outside the facility.

“There is certainly a symbiotic relationship between schools and community,” said D.C. schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee. “When a school thrives, a community thrives; and when the community thrives, school thrives.”

What’s unique about Bard, and is also becoming more common in school systems around the region, is that students who graduate from there can also graduate with a two-year associate degree from New York’s Bard College free of charge. School leaders take pride in providing a classroom and learning structure that’s more similar to what you get in college.

“The people who get lost in the shuffle are the people that no adults like, and that is teenagers,” joked Bard College President Leon Botstein. “It’s a very odd and difficult moment in life, where it’s a transition from being a child to being an adult; and in that moment, learning happens more quickly than ever before and after. So, it’s a wonderful time to learn and a very difficult time to be in the world.

“With a new school you’re paving a new road, and we want to create in this building, together with the city of Washington, a sense of possibility of ambition,” Botstein said.

This is the eighth school, such as this, that Bard runs around the country. Ward 8 Council member Trayon White said a 2017 trip to Baltimore, where Bard also runs a school, really opened his eyes.

“Education has always been the foundation of strong communities, and we have to put our money where our mouth is,” White said. “I want to thank those who made this opportunity possible for our young people to expand their minds and maximize their potential right here in Southeast.”

The new high school is expected to enroll 375 students or so as it reaches full capacity. Since it opened, it has graduated two small classes. Of the 23 who have graduated, 22 of them graduated with both their high school diploma and their associate degree. Currently, 130 students in the school are on track for both.

“We want our students to be able to experience a wonderful, liberal arts education, have dual enrollment, and get a jump start in life and career by leaving DCPS without having to pay college tuition with a AA,” Bowser said. “That’s good, right? I think that’s fantastic. That is definitely helping us get on a pathway to the middle class for those young people.

“They are a part of the renaissance here right here in Congress Heights and in Ward 8,” Bowser said.

And with the new school right across the street from the Congress Heights Metro Station, Bowser said, “They will have access to amenities and transportation, and they will have our complete and full attention.”


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