Chancellor Henderson, Mayor Gray, Councilmember Evans, and the DC Council: Do not close Francis Stevens EC
  • Petitioned Nathaniel Beers

This petition was delivered to:

Office of Special Education
Nathaniel Beers
Vincent Gray
Chancellor, DCPS
Kaya Henderson
DC Council
Jack Evans
DC Council
Tommy Wells
DC Council At-Large
David Catania
DC Council At-Large
Vincent Orange
DC Council Chairman
Phil Mendelson
DC Council
Yvette Alexander
DC Council
Muriel Bowser
DC Council
Mary Cheh
U.S. House of Representatives
District of Columbia-01
Rep. Eleanor Norton

Chancellor Henderson, Mayor Gray, Councilmember Evans, and the DC Council: Do not close Francis Stevens EC

    1. Chris Sondreal
    2. Petition by

      Chris Sondreal

      Washington, DC

January 2013


From Chris Sondreal: We build support to hold a large community rally that garnered news coverage. We campaigned behind the scenes and in public forums for 2 months...finally we delivered our petition -- and Holiday cookies to the DC City Council.

The Francis Stevens PTA, prospective parents, and community members object to Chancellor Henderson's recommendation to close Francis Stevens Education Campus and relocate students to schools across the city -- and repurposing our building as a High School. By doing so, Chancellor Henderson discounts the thoughtful initiatives the staff and parent community has put into place to foster healthy, permanent, and sustainable growth. Francis Stevens should remain open because:

* Francis Stevens is growing – there is demand for what it offers. Ward 2 now has nearly as many children ages 0-5 as it does school age children. It makes little sense to close this school given the increasing demand it is seeing for early childhood instruction. Last year, the early childhood program turned away an entire classroom of students because DCPS would not staff the room. DCPS cannot turn away students and criticize our school for under-enrollment in the same breath.

* Consolidation in the name of efficiency – and without regard for educational quality – will drive more children away from DCPS, and has the potential to damage outcomes for those children who remain. Francis Stevens itself is the product of a consolidation in 2008, which wiped out many parent leaders. A new generation of families is filling up the early years. We’re motivated, we’re connected, and we’re all in.

* Francis Stevens hosts a unique Low Vision Special Education program for over a dozen visually-impaired students from PS3 through Grade 8. These sighted but legally blind students will be removed from their peers and teachers, and sent an unfamiliar campus on the other side of the city.

* DCPS cannot treat education like any other commodity: It’s a thoughtful process that cannot be arbitrarily shuttled from one building to another, naively expecting the same outcome regardless of place. Education needs to be nurtured, and in fact Francis Stevens test scores have been improving. This school can succeed precisely because it has manageable size, diversity, and history – the residents of the White House are in-boundary – and we have a vast range of commercial and community organizations nearby to support us.

* Francis Stevens’ location in downtown DC makes it attractive to out of boundary families from every ward in Washington. It is a long-term, viable, and safe option for working parents who want their children’s public schooling – up to eleven years of it from PS3 to Grade 8 – to take place near downtown DC.  It is positioned to recruit it students city-wide and operate entrepreneurially, much like a charter.

We, the undersigned, strongly oppose the Chancellor’s proposal in the most emphatic terms.

Twitter @FSEC_PTA #saveFSEC
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Recent signatures


    1. We did it!! Francis-Stevens to remain open!

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you all for your support!
      To follow us in the future, please visit and like our facebook page -

      Chancellor Kaya Henderson names 15 D.C. schools on closure list

      Smothers Elementary in Northeast also will stay open, as will Southeast's Johnson Middle School and Malcolm X Elementary. The latter will be operated in partnership with a "high-performing charter school" that Henderson declined to name.

    2. Your efforts have been noted!

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      Still a lot that needs to happen before we can declare victory, but this news is a very welcome shot in the arm!

      Henderson Hints That Some D.C. Schools Slated for Closure Could Be Spared

      Henderson After D.C. School Chancellor Kaya Henderson presented a proposal last month to close 20 public schools, parents and activists across the city girded for a fight. But after listening to their pleas at a series of D.C. Council hearings and community meetings, Henderson has hinted that some of

    3. Confirmation of what we've been seeing!

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      The West End is going to see a nearly 800% increase in school-age children between 2010 and 2010. This is the wrong time to close Francis-Stevens!

      Over the Next Decade, Wards 1 and 2 Will Make the Most Babies

      Photo by Shutterstock Over the last three weeks, D.C. school officials have traveled the city trying to sell their proposal to close 20 public schools over the next two years. Their argument is simple: the city has too many schools for the number of students it has, and the

    4. Thanks for coming out to the Chancellor Meeting last night!

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      Francis Stevens mother Olivia A. Chase addresses Chancellor, Council members.
      Visit us


      Explore holocene's photos on Flickr. holocene has uploaded 83 photos to Flickr.

    5. A Front Page story!

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      I think the photo reveals a ton: Our school is full of young families who need a neighborhood school.

      Neighbors rally to save local school - The GW Hatchet

      At the meeting, students read letters to local officials begging them to keep the school open, and parents lauded the school's improvements in educational quality. The motion to close schools has triggered an outpour of criticism from many city residents and government officials since the announcement was made Nov. 13.

    6. This Opinion headline says it all: Do not fix what isn't broken!

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      (Just tweak it and make it better!)

      We have a strong demographic argument to make -- so we're going to make it. It's no coincident you see strollers all over Ward 2. Those kids will need schools. Thank you for the continued support!

      Justin Peligri: When it comes to schools, don't fix what isn't broken - The GW Hatchet

      A few blocks from GW, elementary and middle school students go to school in a brick building called the Francis-Stevens Education Campus. But its little blue chairs and library shelves might soon be empty. Francis-Stevens, along with 20 other public schools in the District, is slated to be shut down next year due to low enrollment.

    7. Channel 5 got behind the scenes at our Rally Tuesday night!

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      Vince Kargatis and Anne Larson introduced Thor and Elektra -- who are part of Francis Stevens' amazing Low Vision program -- to DC's news watchers. Their family was recruited into this program THIS year, leaving their kids' Capitol Hill school to enroll at FSEC!

      Emergency town meeting held to help save Francis-Stevens Education Campus from closing

      Emergency town meeting held to help save Francis-Stevens Education Campus from closing Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 10:36 PM EST Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 11:06 PM EST WASHINGTON - Parents at the historic Francis-Stevens Education Campus in Northwest D.C. are waging a full-fledged campaign to get their school off the chopping block.

    8. Channel 7 WJLA covered the lead up to the Community Meeting

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      See the PTA Pres. Tom and PS parent Chris talk with reporter about our school!

      Francis-Stevens parents fight against school closure

      This could be the last academic year for Northwest Washington's Francis-Stevens Education Campus. It's one of 20 schools slated for possible closure in the District, but parents aren't giving up yet. They say closing the facility would be a mistake. "The school is on the rise," says one parent.

    9. 500 Signatures -- Thank you!!!

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      We're not going to stop until the PTA has its face-to-face meeting with DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson, so please keep up the momentum!!
      Here's a short link to the petition that you can cut/paste into an email, Facebook page, etc.

    10. Reached 500 signatures
    11. Tommorrow is a big night for Francis Stevens - will you be there?

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer
      CU sign

      Explore holocene's photos on Flickr. holocene has uploaded 78 photos to Flickr.

    12. Happy Thanksgiving from Francis Stevens!

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      Look at our ES kids at the Thanksgiving assembly!
      For more photos and to see behind the scenes of our petition drive, please visit and 'like' our Facebook group:
      Francis Stevens PTA

      Here are the kids!

      Happy Thanksgiving from Francis Stevens!

      For more photos of Thanksgiving at Francis Stevens, please visit: In this video, Kindergarten students at Francis Stevens -- a Washington, DC school recently marked for closure -- perform in before the Elementary School and Early Childhood students. Can you spot your kid?

    13. This is a numbers game -- our city is full of kids who deserve good schools

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      Francis Stevens can win this game because the numbers favor us. Our city is bursting with babies -- especially Ward 2, where the number of kids 0-5 is EQUAL to the number of kids 5-17. Great, thorough coverage from @dcist_martin.

      D.C. Plan to Close 20 Public Schools Draws Opposition, Though Some Legislators See No Other Choice

      Photo by eshutt Yesterday the D.C. Council wrapped up two hearings on D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson's plan to close and consolidate 20 schools in the coming two years. During the 14 hours of discussion and debate, councilmembers both heard from Henderson and questioned her plan, while activists and

    14. PTA leader Tim Ryan speaks at DC Council

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      There's also a radio clip at the link.

      Parents Demand Answers On Proposal To Close 20 D.C. Schools

      The second city council hearing about a proposal to close 20 D.C. Public Schools happened Monday, and dozens of residents showed up to voice their concerns. Tim Ryan is on the Parent Teacher Association at Francis Stevens Education Campus in Ward 2.

    15. Reached 250 signatures
    16. Francis Stevens' own Richard Sowell -- in the Washington Post

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      4 years old -- and already organizing his community!

      D.C. school closures: An activist's view

      Posted at 07:53 AM ET, 11/19/2012 D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson stepped into her first major controversy when she announced last week that she wanted to close 20 public schools. Immediately, hundreds of parents and activists lined up to oppose her.

    17. Give Francis Stevens a chance to "Prove What's Possible"

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      We want to use the award YOU gave us, madame Chancellor.

      Half of D.C. schools targeted for closure were winners in June |

      Four months before DC Public Schools named Thurgood Marshall Elementary a school it needed to close, it named Marshall a winner. Marshall applied for and won a $300,000 "Proving What's Possible" grant, which urged schools to form creative plans to improve their test scores over the next five years.

    18. Francis Stevens is still recovering from the 2008 Consolidation....

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer let's avoid another mistake and give us time to re-build!

      Henderson aims to avoid mistakes of prior D.C. school closings

      The closings also left school buildings vacant without a clear plan for how they would be reused, and the school system failed to prevent violence when teenagers from different schools were consolidated into one building where neighborhood rivalries festered, city officials have acknowledged. "The 2008 closure was atrocious," said D.C.

    19. Reached 200 signatures
    20. 170 supporter in two days -- WOW!

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer

      Please take a moment to tell your neighbors and friends about this petition and ask them to sign if they support quality schools!

    21. Reached 100 signatures
    22. Thank you Jonetta!

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer
      Barras: DCPS gives parent the bum's rush |

      Parents and advocates calling for a moratorium on school closings are not obstructionists. They have legitimate concerns about DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson's proposal to shutter or consolidate 20 facilities. Why would the city proceed without first reviewing an independent evaluation of mayoral control of public education expected next year?

    23. Ward 2 public school families erupt.

      Chris Sondreal
      Petition Organizer
      Parents mean war over Northwest elementary school |

      If Garrison Elementary had gun turrets, they would have been crowded Tuesday afternoon. Parents at the U Street Corridor campus, learning that Garrison was among the 20 schools targeted for closure by DC Public Schools, pledged to fight back with the same energy they said they have been investing in the school.

    24. Reached 50 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Tanya Fischer WASHINGTON, DC
      • almost 2 years ago

      Please consider keeping this Ward 2 school open so people with children who live in Ward 2 can stay in Ward 2 and not move to Ward 3 where the schools are already over crowded.

    • Lydia Belzer WASHINGTON, DC
      • almost 2 years ago

      Was planning to send my sons to preschool at Francis-Stevens when they reach age 3.

    • Mary Beth Tinker WASHINGTON DC, DC
      • almost 2 years ago

      Because closing schools is not good for students' health!

    • Rhonda Fitzgerald WASHINGTON, DC
      • almost 2 years ago

      I am a former student of Stevens elementary and Francis junior high schools and have recieved a great education from these schools. I am now an undergraduate student at Strayer university with a 3.0 gpa and also applying to American University for graduate school. Without the wonderful education from these schools I would not have been able to reach these heights post secondary education.

    • Matthew Horowitz WASHINGTON, DC
      • almost 2 years ago

      We need local schools to remain open.


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