On Wednesday, thousands of children and adults are scheduled to join hands throughout the District in the D.C. public schools' Hands Across the City celebration.

The event, part of the school system's celebration of American Education Week, will involve more than 150,000 students from public, private and parochial schools in the District.

The school system's theme for this year's American Education Week is "We the People: Building Schools Together."

The main section of the human chain will run the length of Pennsylvania Avenue to Wisconsin Avenue and along Wisconsin to Western Avenue, with branches reaching into each of the District's eight wards.

Most branch routes will run close to schools so that students will be able to walk to their designated places in the chain. Students at schools too far from the branch routes to make walking feasible will form chains around their schools.

"It's a grand way to celebrate what education is all about," said Cheryl Johnson, information officer with the public schools.

Participants will stand on the sidewalks, save for a few who will be in the street at intersections. Those who stand in the street will not move to their places until 11:25 a.m., when the civil defense sirens will signal people in line to begin joining hands.

At 11:30 a.m., when everyone has joined hands, students will sing "Education's Embracing the City," written especially for the event by Grace Bradford, the D.C. schools' music director.

Also, students at public schools are making replicas of the D.C. public schools' flag.

A group of students from the Fletcher-Johnson Educational Center, which was adopted by Mayor Marion Barry's office, will stand with the mayor in front of the District Building; meanwhile, students from Martin Luther King Elementary School, adopted by the White House, will stand in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

Other events scheduled for American Education Week are a reception for PTA presidents at 6 p.m. Monday at the Sumner School; a town meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at McKinley High School with University of the District of Columbia President Rafael Cortada as guest speaker; a student performance of "Student Excellence: A Touch of Class," at 6 p.m. Nov. 19 at Eastern High School, and an American Education Week parade down Constitution Avenue at 11 a.m. Nov. 22.

In case of rain Wednesday, students will form chains inside their schools.