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Parents At High-Performing D.C. High School Criticize Merger With Other School

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The School Without Walls is a high school located in Foggy Bottom, and has merged with Francis-Stevens, a K-8 school in the West End.
The School Without Walls is a high school located in Foggy Bottom, and has merged with Francis-Stevens, a K-8 school in the West End.

Many parents whose children attend the high-achieving School Without Walls High School in Northwest D.C. say the merger with another neighborhood school is not working.

Francis-Stevens Education Campus, a pre-K through eighth grade school in the West End, was saved from the chopping block after it merged with School Without Walls this academic year.

Jean Boland, a parent, says the School Without Walls community is upset it wasn't consulted.

She says they want separate budgets for each school and a permanent decision made that the high school students wouldn’t have classes at Francis Stevens, almost a mile away. Boland says they also want a dedicated principal for each school, rather than one overseeing both campuses.

"At a rally a student spoke of seeing the principal only one this year," she says.

No high school students currently take classes at Francis Stevens, and there are dedicated assistant principals at each school.

Council member David Catania (I-At Large) promised a meeting between representatives of D.C. Public Schools and parents. But he said this merger could be "like a marriage that starts out rocky but lasts for 100 years."

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