The scheduled opening of Van Ness Elementary for the 2015-16 school year is taking shape and the School Improvement Team (SIT) has been formed.

A SIT is established at every school where a modernization, addition, or remodel is taking place during the next fiscal year. Its purpose is to provide input on the schematic design and development of education specifications.

The SIT has been meeting with DC Public Schools (DCPS), the Department of General Services (DGS), and Quinn Evans Architects (QEA) every two weeks to review plans for the school both inside and out. The school is set to open with PK3, PK4, and Kindergarten with two classes per grade.

Currently, the SIT is reviewing schematic designs submitted by QEA. The designs have been tweaked based upon the input of the SIT and community meetings such as the “Design Slam,” during which the community helped to shape how the school will look and function.

Currently, the SIT is working with all parties to address parking and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) regarding land adjacent to Van Ness, signage, the future use of Van Ness as a voting location, and more.

DCPS administrative staff is set to move out of the building by March 12, 2015 as the first phase renovations is set to begin. The SIT will be in place throughout the construction phase and will continue to provide critical input to help ensure that Van Ness Elementary will be a success now and in the future.

By: Bruce DarConte

President, Near Southeast Community Partners

Van Ness SIT Team Member

Amidon-Bowen PTA Member

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