Roosevelt gets much-needed space to a accommodate growing enrollment


Photo by Elena Garcia Mean

Roosevelt STAY has a new location at Garnet-Patterson School. District Councilmembers juggled shifting needs with all its schools. “The other building is farther than going to Roosevelt High School.” STAY student Anami Ayite said.

DCPS promised to hand over the STAY side of the building to the Roosevelt community last year. In the beginning of the school year, we had a little more space and were told January was the set date for the whole building. It is March and we have approximately three-quarters of the building. 

“Everyone wanted their own building and staff administration,” Intervention Coach Maurice Butler said. The building was remodeled in 2016, and since then both sides have shared the building. But both Roosevelt High School and Roosevelt S.T.A.Y want more space and would like their own spaces.  

The Riders Times investigated what is happening. 

“As far as right now we still share this building. We have a portion of the building that we use, and next year, we’re supposed to have our own building,” Roosevelt STAY Climate and Culture Behavior Tech Kedric Medlock said. “It’s good to have your own space.”  

DCPS calls STAY schools “Opportunity Academies” for students up to 24 years old, or who may have jobs, or are on a non-traditional path for a huge variety of reasons.  

STAY student Anami Ayite said he has had a positive experience at Roosevelt STAY and is likely to graduate with a GED, the equivalent of a high school diploma. “I feel happy to attend Roosevelt STAY because I am able to learn English,” Ayite said. 

Intervention Coach Maurice Butler explained that enrollment growth at both Roosevelt STAY and Roosevelt High School has led to a changing set of needs. “So, they started having these hearings, and then they got to the point where they got to the council members, and school district,” Butler said. 

Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis-George was looking at the whole picture: Some Ward 4 elementary schools needed renovation and would need to go to a swing space. Meanwhile Roosevelt and Roosevelt STAY were overcrowded. She said in a Council meeting last spring that the Roosevelt building was projected to be at 134% utilization rate this year if the two schools remained in the building.  

Enrollment has grown 65% from 2016, when Roosevelt had 482 students, to the 797 it has now. 

“We are very happy about the growing enrollment and so many families choosing our neighborhood schools,” George said at a March 2022, Council meeting,” but they don’t have the classrooms.” 

After pressing DCPS leadership for a plan, George announced last May, “Roosevelt High School will have its entire building to itself.” Approximately 600 students from Roosevelt STAY were to be moved to Garnet Patterson in fall, 2022, to free up some space.   

But we still do not have the whole building although DCPS is saying we will. “My belief, I’m optimistic they say yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen, but I’m gonna say I’m 80% sure,” Butler said 

As student populations rise, schools need more classrooms. 

“I think that would be amazing for our school.” Butler said. “I think we can do so much more to serve our student population.”