Ralph Briscoe, principal at Langdon Elementary School in Northeast, has received this year's National Distinguished Principal Award for the District from the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the U.S. Department of Education.
Briscoe, who has been at the helm of Langdon for seven years, is a District native who grew up in Anacostia and graduated from Cardozo High School.
A graduate of Central State University in Ohio who has a master's degree from New York University and a doctorate in education from Nova University in Florida, he has spent 32 years in various teaching and administrative posts at city schools, including Watkins Elementary School in Southeast, Douglass Junior High School in Southeast and Alice Deal Junior High School in Northwest.
The national service award is given yearly to one principal from each state and the District and is based on recommendations from other school administrators.
In Briscoe's case, the recommendations cited, among other things, efforts he initiated at Langdon for the most disadvantaged students, including getting clothing to the neediest and special tutoring for those who are struggling academically.
"We really don't try to single these children out. We identify their needs and help provide for them, but our goal is to include them in everything, including extracurricular activities," he said.
He has also expanded several projects that match students with elderly people in the neighborhood, the latest of which brings in experienced local quilters to teach stitchery and the history of quilt-making in the District to about 50 Langdon students.
Museum Group President
Gary Puckrein, of Anacostia, was recently elected president of the African-American Museum Association. Puckrein is publisher of American Visions, a magazine of Afro-American culture, which has become the official magazine of the association.
A former professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Puckrein came to Washington in 1983 to study the history of medicine on a fellowship to the Smithsonian.
American Visions, which he started in 1986, evolved, he said, out of a portion of that study. He joined the African-American Museum Association in 1988.
The group is a 12-year-old association representing black museums in the United States, offering assistance with collections, preservations, and the interpretation of artifacts.
GWU Students Cited
Sixteen of George Washington University's urban planning students received an award from the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association for a study of the 11-mile abandoned CSX Railroad line between Georgetown and Silver Spring. The study underscored recommendations that the track be turned into a hiking and biking trail and also proposed adding an elevated monorail above the section between Bethesda and Silver Spring.
Four of the students, Megan Carroll, Hassan Galal El Dine, Nori Wood and Karen Boyd, are natives of the District.
The one-semester project was overseen by Dorn McGrath, director of George Washington's Institute for Urban Development Research, and Margaret O'Bryon, a professor of urban planning at the university.