Monday, February 16, 2009

Re-Imaged Eastern plans meet skepticism

DCPS has ambitious plans for the soon-to-be-closed Eastern High School, including reopening the school as a series of specialized "academies" is being met by a healthy does of skepticism by parents and alumni of the school.
D.C. officials unveiled their proposal last night to convert Eastern High School into specialized "academies" focused on health sciences and pre-law. But the reaction from parents, staff and alumni, hardened by years of abortive reform efforts, ranged from noncommittal to hostile.

The District is gradually phasing out the current incarnation of Eastern, one of 10 District high schools under a federal mandate to overhaul its programs because of consistently poor academic performance. The school is closed to ninth-graders this year, and DCPS plans to re-open with a redesigned building and rebooted curriculum in the fall of 2010.

DCPS envisions the reconstituted Eastern as a community of smaller academies, one focused on health sciences--including both pre-med courses and careers in the health industry--and another possibly specializing in law, government and international policy.

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