Two new schools buildings to open in Ward 3

Emily Mulderig

DCPS will open two new schools in Ward 3 in the coming years to relieve overcrowding in Wilson’s feeder pattern.

The schools are currently being identified as Foxhall and MacArthur. Both buildings are in the southern part of Ward 3, located in close proximity to each other. 

Foxhall will be constructed on the site of the old Hardy Middle School building, which is currently leased to the Lab School and is set to open for the 2024-25 school year. The MacArthur building is the recently-vacated Georgetown Day School (GDS) lower-school campus and set to open for the school year 2022-23. 

Foxhall will either be a new elementary school entirely or a campus for 3rd-5th graders in bounds for Key and Stoddert elementary schools. 

There are three options regarding how DCPS could use the MacArthur building. 

The first option involves opening a new neighborhood high school in the building, which Hardy would feed to. Alternatively, Hardy students could be relocated to the MacArthur building and the new high school would replace the current Hardy building. 

Although this would help create out-of-boundary seats and reduce overcrowding at Wilson, these options do not address overcrowding at Deal Middle School or improve diversity at Wilson. 

The second option is building a new neighborhood middle school that Foxhall, Key, Stoddert, and Mann would feed to that would then feed to Wilson. This option alleviates overcrowding at Deal and creates more out-of-bounds seats at Deal, Hardy, and MacArthur.  However, it does not reduce overcrowding at Wilson—and could potentially even worsen it—and may require many middle schoolers to travel farther to get to school.

The third option is using MacArthur as a 9th-grade campus for Wilson students. Though this option ameliorates overcrowding at Wilson and causes no boundary changes it does not address overcrowding Deal, it does not improve diversity at Wilson, and could potentially force many freshmen to travel farther to get to school.

A Community Working Group (CWG) was initiated in February, composed of staff, parent, ANC, and State Board of Education representatives, to discuss the options. Currently, DCPS is holding community engagement meetings with schools in the feeder pattern to determine who the new schools will best serve and the larger implications of those decisions. 

The student bodies of Wilson and the schools in its feeder pattern have grown whiter in the past several years, and fewer at-risk students are being enrolled in them. DCPS’s goal is to minimize overcrowding and confusion for families while maintaining diversity in the student bodies at these schools.

Community members can voice their opinions at https://publicinput.com/dcpsfoxhallmacarthur in English and https://publicinput.com/dcpsfoxhallmacarthurespanol in Spanish.