The following is a letter to DCPS regarding the proposed cutting of Fillmore from the Stoddert PTO c0-presidents…
Chancellor Kaya Henderson
Mr. Nathanial Beers
Mr. John Davis
Please accept this letter as the official position of the Stoddert Parent / Teacher Organization (PTO) on the issue of cutting the entire budget of the Fillmore Arts Center.
We respectfully ask that you reconsider the announcement and engage with the five participating schools (representing over 1700 students) to review the numbers presented and find a solution rather than a complete dissolution of the center.
Under the current conditions at all five of the participating schools there is no option for any arts or music in house. At Stoddert, for example, we are overcrowded with 438 children in a space built for half of that population. The result would be no more than a meager art-on-a-cart with some Crayons and minimal supplies crammed into classrooms with 24-28 children.
The argument presented by Mr. Beers that the program is to be cut because others in the city do not receive a similar program is flawed and short sighted. Instead of cutting the program let’s figure out how to replicate this cost effective method of delivering a variety of arts and music programming to other schools across the city. With the arts and music proven to improve academic performance how is this not a top priority for schools city-wide?
There is a wide degree of variety of school-specific programming in DC public schools across the city, which is what makes each one unique and special. This is one of the many reasons why the DCPS school lottery is such an interesting option. By trying to make all of the schools looks the same, you are removing the exact thing that attracts parents to specific schools.
As parents of DCPS students for the past six years we have watched as the confidence in the city’s public schools has grown. Let’s continue to support the programs that are proven so that we can continue to retain engaged families and all the good that does.
We may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to your response and respectfully ask again that you work together with us to discuss solutions to continue high quality and unique arts education throughout the city.
Maria O’Donnell and Nitchet Quarles