By: Paul Negron, Public Affairs Specialist
Last month, Principal Richard Trogisch and his team welcomed SBOE members Ruth Wattenberg, Joe Weedon, and some of my SBOE staff colleagues to tour the beautiful School Without Walls campus. “Walls,” as the school is affectionately known, is the only DC Public Schools high school located in Ward 2 and is currently an application school. This public magnet high school first opened its doors in 1971, and since that time has become a shining star in DCPS.
During the first portion of the visit, we were treated to a 15-minute senior project presentation from a graduating senior. Every Walls student is required to pass a class devoted to one senior project/paper in conjunction with George Washington University. Each SBOE Board member and staff had the opportunity to provide feedback to the student, who did a terrific job. Every student walks out of Walls knowing how to write a research paper.
Principal Trogisch and his team provided some background information that will serve useful for our Board members. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education recognized Walls as a Blue Ribbon School, an honor which lauds exemplary schools whose students achieve at high levels. This year, Walls ranked #51 and earned College Readiness Score of 93.9/100.0 on US News and World Report’s 2017 list of the best high schools in America. All students take AP World History and AP Language and Composition, which proves the school’s commitment to a rigorous academic schedule for everyone.
Walls is one of the most competitive DCPS schools in the District, receiving nearly 1200 applications this year for 140 open seats. Students at Walls participate in a rigorous internship which takes them off campus and into the community, strengthening their professionalism skills and work ethic. Students hail from all wards in the District and take class on a rotating block schedule with five classes per day.
I particularly enjoyed the second half of the visit where we were able to get a firsthand perspective from a current student who ran our tour. It was very evident to me that our tour guide enjoyed attending Walls and was truly ready to take her place as a global citizen in the world.