Yes, yes, very funny. But why is it a “School Without Walls”?
A quick history: The school was founded in 1971, part of a concept in urban education at the time to “use the city as a classroom,” immediately patterned after Philadelphia’s Parkway School and the Chicago Public High School for Metropolitan Studies. Here is the school concept, as explained in a Post story published upon the school’s March 1971 opening:
The idea behind the school, based in a small suite of offices on the 12th floor of a building at 1411 K St. NW, is that there are better ways of educating than simply putting students and teachers off by themselves in a school building every day. Instead the “school without walls” intends to use the District of Columbia, with its museums, government offices and universities, as its classroom. The city’s people — its scholars, small businessmen, white and blue-collar workers — will supplement the professional teaching staff.
Washington’s version of the “school without walls” was considered “more conservative” than its peer alernative schools, but it has been the longest-lasting and most successful. Still enrolled by application, it eventually became very much a school with walls — moving into the Webster School for Pregnant Girls at 10th and H streets NW, and then to the Magruder School, next to the Sumner School at 17th and M streets NW.
It later moved into the old Grant School in Foggy Bottom, where these days it has very nice walls indeed, after a renovation and addition was completed in 2009.
Some old Post clips: