(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Lewis Ferebee celebrated the start of the 2022-2023 school year at the ribbon cutting of the modernized School-Within-School at Goding Elementary School (SWS at Goding). SWS at Goding is a District-wide public elementary in Ward 6 that provides students in PK3 through 5th grade a Reggio Emilia inspired, child-centered learning environment.
“This year, as we welcome thousands of young people back to school across all eight wards, I’m calling on our entire community to support our students with their comeback,” said Mayor Bowser. “I’m grateful for our educators and all they have done to prepare for a fantastic school year. Now, we are ready to work together to make every day count and to set our young people up for success in school, at home and in the community, and in life.”
The $51.8-million modernization began in March 2020 and was managed by the Department of General Services (DGS). Through the modernization, the school added 75,377 square feet of space, which will allow the school to grow from a maximum capacity of approximately 300 students to approximately 350 students. The original SWS at Goding consists of the Anne Goding Building, a five-story academic block, which contained a multi-purpose room and cafeteria space that was built in 1958. The new facility features open piazzas allowing for indoor and outdoor learning opportunities, as well as original artwork provided by local artists through the DGS ‘Percent for Art’ program.
The mural on the north exterior wall was created by local artist Cita Sadeli, also known as MISS CHELOVE, and is titled “Wings.” The artist’s statement on Wings describes that the piece “explores a core principle of the Reggio Emilia education method embraced at the School Within A School at Goding Elementary — that children learn best in a social context, through multiple encounters with an environment that provides rich provocations. My goal was to interpret the provided theme of ‘Society,’ using Reggio Emilia context points to support a universal message focused on the power of individual expression, including the ‘Space as Third Teacher,’ which considers the total of spatial and sensory qualities, and the importance of textures and multi-sensory themes in the learning environment…. ‘Wings’ features a child leaping - she is confident and freely expressing herself in a posture of strength and pride. Her skin tone is rendered in greyscale, surrounded by white clouds contrasting with blue sky, with a swirling, richly colored fabric that trails behind her leaping path. Within the fabric, we see six distinct textile patterns representing world cultures based on the school’s student population (First Nation Piscataway, Greece, Ethiopia, Palestine, El Salvador, and Japan). This fabric is meant to echo not only the many facets of a child’s inner landscape, but also other important themes such as community and collective identity, (important themes within Reggio Emilia system).”
“We are thrilled to welcome back DCPS staff and students for another year of joyful and rigorous learning experiences across all of our schools,” said Chancellor Ferebee. “These incredible modernizations allow us to enrich the overall learning environment for our students and expand our reach into these communities by increasing equitable access.”
SWS at Goding is one of three newly modernized DCPS schools opening this week, in addition to Smothers Elementary School and the new Randle Highlands Early Learning Center, both located in Ward 7. Earlier this year, Mayor Bowser also announced a $294 million commitment over the next six-year capital improvement program to preserve and maintain recreation, library and school facilities that will include enhancements to fund classroom technology replacement and ensuring facilities reach and maintain ADA compliance.
“The unique part of DCPS construction projects that we develop allows architectural design efforts to match educational needs,” said DGS Director Keith A. Anderson. “I am proud of that component of our mission because it will have a lasting positive impact on the students who will be learning here every day.”
With the start of a new school year, Mayor Bowser also released a 2022 Back to School Guide to help families navigate the many District programs that can support families and students in and out of the classroom. Find the guide at backtoschool.dc.gov.