D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced Wednesday that she plans to transform Roosevelt High into an “international relations focused school” when it reopens, fully renovated, in fall 2015.
Roosevelt is one of several neighborhood high schools with poor test scores and high truancy rates that has struggled to attract students in recent years. Its relaunch is part of the school system’s broader effort to redesign secondary schools across the city.
“When we modernize our schools, we don’t want to just stop at the building. The modernization gives us a chance to take a look at what’s happening inside and outside,” Henderson said in a statement. “Our global economy is demanding so much more of our students — Roosevelt International High School will graduate students prepared to succeed in this competitive environment.”
The announcement came just hours before D.C. public schools officials were scheduled to meet with education activists in Ward 4, where Roosevelt is located, to discuss plans for middle and high schools. Ward 4 has no standalone middle schools, a sore spot for parents who have begun filling the ward’s elementary schools but say they see no clear path to stay in the system.
Parents at Powell Elementary, a thriving Spanish-immersion school around the corner from Roosevelt, have been particularly vocal about the need for viable neighborhood secondary schools.
Elementary schools that offer dual-language instruction are routinely among the city’s most sought-after academic options. Several dual-language charter schools have banded together to create a new secondary school, D.C. International, that will open in the fall, but the traditional school system has not until now offered a way for students to continue their language studies through 12th grade.
Henderson said detailed plans for the school will be worked out in conjunction with the community, but programming will range from career training to college prep and could include dual-language instruction, international travel, vocational education in areas such as international business and finance, and international culinary arts.