Friday, November 20, 2009

DCPS Community Forum at the New HD Cooke Elementary School

There couldn’t be a better place to hold a forum about how a physical learning environment impacts student learning. H.D. Cooke Elementary School opened in August this year as a 100 years old, brand new state of the art elementary and preschool learning facility. The school was closed for five years awaiting renovation completion. It was once labeled DC’s worst school facility by the Army Corps of Engineers, the entity then responsible for maintaining DC Public Schools.

What a difference five years makes. The fits and starts HD Cooke went through to get where it is today would fill a book, much of it about the incompetence and lack of accountability of DCPS. Construction finally began in 2007, just as the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization was beginning the long-neglected job of managing DCPS facilities.

Today, HD Cooke Elementary School is an amazing facility. What used to be Precinct 35 voting place in the basement of Cooke is now a media center/library with a skylight beaming from the high ceiling, surrounded by restored columns that stretch the full three stories from floor to ceiling.

This could never have happened this well under the old system of running the schools. This is certainly why some may think the new chancellor is working miracles in the DCPS.

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