franklin school dc

 

News and Press Releases

Coalition for Franklin School

January 19, 2010
For Immediate Release

Contact:
Joseph L. Browne, Chair, Steering Committee
Coalition for Franklin School
202-265-1110
franklinschooldc@gmail.com

The Coalition for Franklin School (CFS) today filed a formal proposal with the District, calling for retention of the building in the public inventory and its redevelopment for educational use.

The Coalition’s proposal comes in response to a Request for Proposals issued by the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) in September 2009.  The RFP, which suggests conversion of Franklin for condominium, hotel, or other commercial use, was formulated without input from the public on appropriate educational or cultural uses for the National Landmark building.  DMPED has stated that it is unable to find “viable re-use” for the School.  Last year, the District rejected two proposals from D.C. public charter schools to renovate Franklin for educational use.

The mishandling of Franklin School is part of a larger breakdown in the way the District is disposing of publicly-owned real property – without adequate deliberation, procedure or imagination,” said Joseph Browne, CFS Steering Committee Chair. “The fact that a public treasure like Franklin, an important piece of our civic capital, could be put at risk shows how badly in need of reform the process is.”

The Coalition’s proposal to the District lays out several public and public / private partnership alternatives for redevelopment of Franklin, among them a magnet high school for global education; a school of education for teacher training and research; and an academic center that would share space through rentals to education organizations such as universities based outside the District.

The Coalition’s highest priority is creating a model 21st Century School, along the lines of the “School without Walls,” one of the District's most successful public high schools. A new high school with a special program in international and diplomatic studies has been proposed. The Coalition believes that Franklin School in Ward 2, where many embassies and international organizations are located, would be an ideal location. Nearby Metro stations would allow easy access for students from all over the city.

Franklin School is the work of Adolf Cluss, the District’s signature nineteenth-century architect, whose Eastern Market and Sumner School are among the District’s most cherished public buildings. Franklin opened in 1869, at a time when Washingtonians who wanted an excellent education for their children could obtain it only by paying for it at private institutions. The care and expense lavished by the D.C. public on Franklin marked the community’s commitment to quality public education for all Washingtonians. Franklin pioneered new programs for District schools, including a teacher education school, housed at Franklin for forty years, and Washington’s first public high school classes.

Historians consulted by the Coalition for Franklin School believe that Franklin may be the only intact, urban school that has survived in the country, making it a national treasure as well.

The Coalition for Franklin School, an ad hoc group organized in November 2009 to oppose the city’s plan for private, commercial development of the Franklin building, represents a cross-section of District of Columbia citizens and area residents.

Information about Franklin School and the work of the Coalition for Franklin School can be found at www.franklinschooldc.org.

March 24, 2010                                                                                                        download as PDF

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

Contact:

Joseph L. Browne, Chair, Steering Committee

Coalition for Franklin School

202-265-1110


WILL FRANKLIN SCHOOL BE WASHINGTON’S NEXT HIGH SCHOOL?


How can the historic Franklin School building be returned to educational use, meeting the needs of 21st century students and putting Washingtons public schools back where they once were, in the vanguard of American education? Such was the subject of a community forum sponsored by the Coalition for Franklin School and held last night at the Goethe-Institut.


An open enrollment high school for global education and leadership was one answer proposed for the vacant Franklin School. Sally Schwartz argued that the nations capital needs a high school for students interested in international relations, diplomacy, and the global economy and that Franklin School is the ideal location. Franklin School at 13th and K streets is near the embassies, international organizations, and the international community and is well served by Metro lines, Schwartz said.


The Community Forum was sponsored by Coalition for Franklin School, which organized in November 2009 to promote the return of the 140-year-old, National Historic Landmark building to educational and cultural uses.


Joseph L. Browne, chair of the Coalition agrees that an open-enrollment high school makes sense for Franklin. School Without Walls in Foggy Bottom has to turn away half of its applicants every year because of lack of space. It is clear that there is a growing demand for that kind of specialized program for high school students from all over the city.


Other presenters also emphasized that Franklin School could respond to educational needs not currently being met.


Mary Shaffner, Executive Director of the Yu Ying Public Charter School now located in Brookland, described the proposal that the Yu Ying Chinese Immersion School presented to the District government in January. Shaffner said that the young couples that apply to her school want a central location for the school, and that they live in the District, and want to stay in the District.


Cary Silverman of the Federation of Citizens Associations presented data showing the unfilled core needs of Washington employers and how adult education programs could provide thousands of residents with skills that will move them into higher-paying and more fulfilling career paths. Franklins location is perfect for a future downtown community college campus, vocational training, GED preparation, and literacy programs. Silverman said. As many of the speakers did, Silverman remarked that Franklin is a magnificent building, the kind of setting that inspires achievement.


Dr. David Salter, a prominent medical educator, suggested a new educational institution for Franklin School. "The Franklin School building represents an unusual opportunity to create anindependent multifunctional institution that will help guide educational change in Washington through divisions of Education Research, Teacher Education, Digital Education, Online Modules, Penal Reform. Salter said that Franklins history as a laboratory school that pioneered many of the citys new educational programs was an ideal location for a new educational center that grapples daily with the toughest issues facing education reform in the city."


Several members of the audience questioned the cost of renovating the Franklin building. Browne reported that a 2002 study estimated the cost for preparing the building for school use would be $22 million. That would look like a bargain, he said, if the city sold or leased Franklin now and then in ten years had to buy land downtown and construct a new building in response to the increase in downtown residents that is sure to continue. Silverman also pointed out that the District government has awarded generous public subsidies to private development projects. The city will contribute on the front end to renovate the building for educational use or on the back end through tax breaks to private developers. Participants suggested that that the citys short-term interest in generating money from public property like Franklin without thought to the benefits of the long-term revenues generated through education is short-sighted.


The meeting ended with a reminder from Evelyn Wrinn, of the Committee of 100, who said that the proposals submitted to the Deputy Mayor in January cannot go forward until the Mayor declares the building surplus property and the City Council approves, a process that would require public hearings.


Though its exterior was restored in 1990-92, the Franklin building was vacant for a decade, then illegally leased by former mayor Anthony Williams to a boutique hotel developer. Then it was pressed into service as a homeless shelter, which Mayor Adrian Fenty closed in 2008. In September 2009, the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development issued a Request for Proposals calling for private for-profit, commercial proposals for developing the building. The city received three proposals in January, one for a charter school, one for a hotel/restaurant, and one from the Coalition suggesting a variety of possible educational uses.


Franklin School is the work of Adolf Cluss, the Districts signature nineteenth-century architect, whose Eastern Market and Sumner School are among the Districts most cherished public buildings. Opened in 1869, Franklin pioneered new programs for District schools, including a teacher education school (housed at Franklin for forty years), Washingtons first public high school classes, and successful adult education programs.


For more information about the Community Forum at the Goethe-Institut, see:

http://www.goethe.de/ins/us/was/ver/en5687365v.htm

News from the Coalition for Franklin School
Download here:
News from the Coalition1.pdf (January 2010)
News from the Coalition 2.pdf (February 2010)

January 28, 2010

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Joseph L. Browne, Chair, Steering Committee
Coalition for Franklin School
202-265-0111
franklinschooldc@gmail.com

The Coalition for Franklin School today called upon Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Valerie Santos to provide open and transparent process in the Districts planning for use of historic Franklin School. In a letter to Santos, the Coalition asked that proposals received by the District for use of Franklin be made public and that the DMPED provide for public participation in planning for use of the nationally landmarked building.

The DMPED issued a Request for Proposals offering Franklin School for private use and development in September 2009. The RFP suggested conversion of Franklin for condominium, hotel, or other commercial use. Responses were due January 19, 2010. The District had earlier received, and rejected, two proposals from D.C. public charter schools to renovate Franklin for educational use. DMPED has stated that it is unable to find viable re-use for the School.

The Coalition for Franklin School filed a formal proposal for Franklin with the District, calling for retention of the building in the public inventory and its redevelopment for educational use.

The District issued the Franklin RFP without proper process, said Joseph Brown, Coalition Chair. While we do not concede the validity of the RFP, we will continue to offer proposals showing that public education use for Franklin is both preferable and viable. And we will continue to demand that DMPED engage the D.C. public in its planning for this public treasure including releasing for public review any proposals received.

The Coalitions proposal to the District lays out several public and public / private partnership alternatives for redevelopment of Franklin, among them a magnet high school for global education; a school of education for teacher training and research; and an academic center that would share space through rentals to education organizations such as universities based outside the District.

Franklin School is the work of Adolf Cluss, the Districts signature nineteenth-century architect, whose Eastern Market and Sumner School are among the Districts most cherished public buildings. Opened in 1869, Franklin pioneered new programs for District schools, including a teacher education school (housed at Franklin for forty years), Washington’s first public high school classes, and successful adult education programs.

The Coalition for Franklin School, an ad hoc group organized in November 2009 to oppose the city’s plan for private, commercial development of the Franklin building, represents a cross-section of District of Columbia citizens and area residents.

Information about Franklin School and the work of the Coalition for Franklin School as well as the Coalitions proposal for public education use for Franklin can be found at www.franklinschooldc.org.

Coalition for Franklin School


For immediate release

November 25, 2009


Contact: Joseph Browne, FranklinSchoolDC@gmail.com

202 265-1110


COALITION URGES PUBLIC USE FOR FRANKLIN SCHOOL


The new Coalition for Franklin School calls on the city to retain ownership of Franklin School and renovate the building for public use. In response to the current RFP for commercial development, Coalition spokesperson Joe Browne, the historic building (1869) at 13th and K could easily again serve as a model school. Close to Metro, its Franklin Square site is a convenient, central location.


Too many public school buildings have been sold for private development, while at the same time public and charter schools seek appropriate classroom space in vain.


In 1869, Franklin School was the lead building in DC’s public school system. Planned by Adolf Cluss, the architect who designed Eastern Market, the Sumner School, and over 90 buildings in post-Civil War Washington, Franklin was a model school built to win support for public schools in the District. It pioneered age-graded classrooms and curricula. Its Great Hall hosted public performances and meetings.


Franklin School could again become a showcase building, a 21st-century model school, highlighting Mayor Fenty and Chancellor Rhee’s efforts to modernize DCPS. Towering over its neighborhood in 1869, the school garnered attention around the world. Congressmen and ambassadors asked for plans in order to copy DC’s innovative public schools. Its historic elegance intact, but now re-designed and wired for the 21st century, Franklin could be the city’s model school again, attracting national and international attention to the city and its schools.


Public funds have been found for the restoration of other historic buildings: Grant School, Eastern Market, the Old Navy Hospital, and the Court of Appeals building. Why not Franklin School? Located where DC’s population is increasing, it can serve a community where more people (and children) are looking for public spaces for activities and innovative education.


The Coalition for Franklin School invites all citizens, community leaders, and associations to urge the Mayor and Council to commit to public ownership of Franklin School and to hold public hearings to allow the public to present their ideas.


www.FranklinSchoolDC.org


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Adolf Cluss and Education
Exhibition at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

An exhibition about architect Adolf Cluss, education, and the Historic Franklin School is now open in a community gallery at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.. The exhibition was on view through mid-October 2010. The exhibition is available to move to other locations in DC. The exhibition was organized by the Coalition for Franklin School. Lucinda Janke served as curator and Kesh Ladduwahetty designed the banners, which explain the role the Franklin School at 13th and K Streets NW played in the educational revolution of the post-Civil War period in the nation's capital. The Franklin School, the Charles Sumner School, and other schools designed by Adolf Cluss transformed the city's public educational system and put the District of Columbia on the international map as a home to model public schools for the nation. This exhibition was made possible thanks to grants to the Downtown Cluster of Congregations from the Humanities Council of Washington, DC and the Kiplinger Foundation.

More at www.historydc.org.

In 2010, an Exhibition about the Franklin School as a model for public education went on view at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. (Carnegie Building, Mt. Vernon Square). The panels are available for exhibition elsewhere.

Click here for the virtual exhibition.


“Adolf Cluss School in Limbo” - online article from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
http://www.preservationnation.org/magazine/2010/todays-news/adolf-cluss-school-in-limbo.html

photographs: Lucinda P. Janke, Coalition for Franklin School

July 18, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

Contact:
Joseph L. Browne, Chair, Steering Committee
Coalition for Franklin School
202-265-1110
franklinschooldc@gmail.com

National Trust for Historic Preservation Highlights Deterioration at Franklin School

The Franklin School building “is empty and deteriorating,” according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s newsletter Preservation Nation. The article, “Adolf Cluss School Is in Limbo,” highlights the deterioration of the building since the D. C. Board of Education arranged for its exterior renovation in 1990-92. A leaking roof, broken or open windows, and lack of climate control are factors causing concern for the building and its historic features, including the 140-year-old murals on three walls of its Great Hall. The article quotes Joe Browne, Chair of the Coalition for Franklin School, who wrote to Mayor Adrian Fenty on March 7, 2010, asking how the D.C. Government, the owner, plans to address the problems that threaten the building. The Mayor has not responded with a plan for stabilizing Franklin School.


Franklin School is on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated a National Historic Landmark. The school is one of just 13 historic buildings in the nation's capital with a landmarked interior. The article explains, “Unfortunately, this protection does not require the city to uphold any maintenance standard. The city's Prevention of the Demolition of Historic Buildings by Neglect Amendment Act of 1999 officially prevents owners from neglecting such properties,” but the Preservation Nation article quotes Rebecca Miller, head of the D.C. Preservation League, who said, the law "is very difficult to enforce." For a copy of the Preservation Nation article, see http://www.preservationnation.org/magazine/2010/todays-news/adolf-cluss-school-in-limbo.html


Franklin School is the work of Adolf Cluss, the District’s signature nineteenth-century architect, whose Eastern Market and Sumner School are among the District’s most cherished public buildings. Opened in 1869, Franklin pioneered new programs for District schools, including a teacher education school (housed at Franklin for forty years), Washington’s first public high school classes, and successful adult education programs. For more information about Adolf Cluss, see www.adolf-cluss.org, and for more on the history of Franklin School, see www.franklinschooldc.org


The Coalition for Franklin School, an ad hoc group organized in November 2009 to oppose the city’s plan for private, commercial development of the Franklin building, represents a cross-section of District of Columbia citizens and area residents. For information about the work of the Coalition for Franklin School as well as the Coalition’s proposals for public educational use for Franklin School, see www.franklinschooldc.org.


DOWNLOAD July 18 press release.pdf

July 18, 2010; updated September 30, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                             Contact: Joseph L. Browne, Chair, Steering Committee

Coalition for Franklin School

202-265-1110

franklinschooldc@gmail.com


FRANKLIN SCHOOL EXHIBITION OPENS AT HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON, DC

An exhibition about architect Adolf Cluss, education, and the Historic Franklin School will open in a community gallery at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. on Sunday, July 18, and continue through mid-October 2010. The official opening event was scheduled for Wednesday, July 28, from 12-2 pm.  The Museum is open from 10AM to 5PM, Tuesday through Sunday. There is no admission fee. 


The exhibition was organized by the Coalition for Franklin School. Lucinda Janke served as curator and Tanya Edwards Beauchamp served as scholar / adviser to the project. Kesh Ladduwahetty designed the banners, which explain the role the Franklin School opened at 13th and K Streets NW in 1869, played in the educational revolution of the post-Civil War period in the nation’s capital. The Franklin School, the Charles Sumner School, and other schools designed by Adolf Cluss transformed the city’s public educational system and put the District of Columbia on the international map as a home to model public schools for the nation.


Funding for this exhibit is provided by a partnership of the Humanities Council of Washington, DC and the DC Historic Preservation Office. This project has also been funded in part by the US Department of the Interior, the National Park Service Preservation Fund grand funds, administered by the DC Historic Preservation Office, and by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Funding for this exhibition is also provided by the Association of Oldest Inhabitants of the District of Columbia. Additional support came from the Kiplinger Foundation, the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, the Charles Sumner Museum and Archives, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. In the fall of 2010, the exhibition will travel to other locations in the city.


Franklin School is the work of Adolf Cluss, the District’s signature nineteenth-century architect, whose Eastern Market and Sumner School are among the District’s most cherished public buildings. Opened in 1869, Franklin pioneered new programs for District schools, including a teacher education school (housed at Franklin for forty years), Washington’s first public high school classes, and successful adult education programs.

More at www.FranklinSchoolDC.org and www.historydc.org.