DCPS High School Fair Gives Students Options for Their Future
December 13, 2010
Jean Darlington’s son Darnté has pretty specific academic interests. Recently, the eighth-grade Jefferson Middle School student participated in two robotics competitions and has career ambitions in videogame design.
His strengths? Definitely math, science and engineering. But with ninth grade less than a year away, choosing a high school to match his interests – and finding time to visit them all – can be challenge.
On Saturday, November 20, 2010, District of Columbia Public Schools put all the options on the table for students and parents at the second-annual High School Fair. Held at Eastern High School, the event served as an open house that showcased the academic and extracurricular options at each DCPS high school.
“We’re trying to find a school for next year and we’re looking at McKinley or Eastern,” said Jean Darlington, a Ward 7 resident. “I want to make sure [Darnté] stays on grade-level in English and math.”
She heard Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School has programs that may fit Darnté’s interests and planned to visit that school’s table for more information.
Darnté wanted a school with a variety of courses, a strong Advanced Placement program and tutoring to help him reach his academic potential.
“It’s great to have a choice,” said Banneker High School Principal Anita Berger. “Some students need to focus on a certain academic area and this gives them a chance to explore everything a school can offer. And there’s a lot out there. I didn’t realize all the different things going on at these different schools, so it’s an education for me, too.”
High schools brought teachers and staff, multimedia presentations, pencils and other items emblazoned with school logos, balloons with school colors, and a variety of materials to market themselves to students. Chef Fredrick Monroe, who heads the culinary arts program at Roosevelt High School, even brought some of his students for a cooking demonstration with free samples of fresh pasta creations for visitors.
“We’re giving them a snapshot, a brief synopsis, as to what we are at Spingarn,” said Lloyd Bryant, assistant principal at Spingarn High School. “We want to make sure that we’re getting students who can fit into the expectations we have at Spingarn High School.”
Lisa Patterson’s daughter Kayla is a high-achieving eighth grader who is looking forward to the challenges of high school. While she’s strong in math and English, Kayla also has extracurricular interests – dance, acting and graphic design – she wants to pursue in high school.
“I want a school that will challenge her and not bore her,” said Lisa Patterson, noting Banneker and School Without Walls as top options.
“This helps because I get to experience high schools that I never heard of before and get applications and information from them,” said Kayla Patterson.
Ward 7 resident Regina Mack was shopping around for a school, too. One of her sons graduated from Banneker and another son now attends the Ward 1 school. On Saturday, she was looking for a high school for her other son as well as her nieces and nephews.
“I’m trying to find something that’s best for them,” she said. “I know all the schools in DC and Banneker will have the tools for them to be successful. But some students have different interests.”
Take her niece, for example. She aspires to be a doctor or zoologist and wants a program that would guide her along that career path. When she heard Eastern High School has a focus on medicine, she smiled and said, “I must be in the right place.”
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