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The project logo Public Input on New Name for DCPS’ Ward 3 High School

The project logo Public Input on New Name for DCPS’ Ward 3 High School

In summer 2020, Mayor Bowser formed the District of Columbia Facilities and Commemorative Expressions (DCFACES) Working Group. She charged the group with evaluating named DC government-owned facilities and making recommendations as to what, if any, actions need to be taken if the person the facility is named for is inconsistent with DC values and in some way encouraged the oppression of African Americans and other communities of color or contributed to our long history of systemic racism.

In the group's report, released in early September 2020, they recommend renaming 21 DCPS schools and school buildings, including Woodrow Wilson High School. While DCPS plans to carry out a process to explore renaming each of the 21, Wilson HS’s situation is unique in that there had already been ongoing public discussion about changing the name which found broad support among stakeholders including current students and families, staff members, alumni, the Advisory Neighborhood Council (ANC), and the broader DC Community. Mayor Bowser publicly expressed her belief that the name should change, and DC Council introduced legislation to explore a change.

A nomination form released in October to suggest new school names received over 2,000 responses. From that list, a group of DCPS and school stakeholders narrowed the names down to the following seven finalists for public input. Feedback provided on these names will be considered by Chancellor Ferebee and Mayor Bowser in selecting a new school name to propose to DC Council.

1. Ward of Residence (Please choose other if you live outside of Washington, DC.)
* 2. Association with Wilson HS: (Please check all that apply)
Community Member
Feeder School Parent
Former Parent
Current Parent
Current Staff Member
Former Staff Member
Closed to responses | 3,614 Responses

Biographies of Nominated Names 

  1. August Wilson (1945 – 2005) - Mr. Wilson was a playwright who chronicled the African American experience in the 20th century through his plays. Among the numerous honors and awards that he received for his work are the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play for “Fences”, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “Piano Lesson”.
  2. Edna B. Jackson (1911 - 2004) – Ms. Jackson was a DC native and educator. Possibly known best for being the first black teacher at Wilson HS, she also taught at Cardozo HS and volunteered at River Terrace Community School upon her retirement.
  3. Hilda Mason (1916 – 2007) - As a member of the DC Statehood Party, Ms. Mason was an advocate for DC statehood and served as an at-large member of the DC Council for 22 years. She was also an educator who held roles in the District as a teacher and assistant principal.
  4. Marion Barry (1936 – 2014) – Mr. Barry served two stints totaling 16 years as the Mayor of the District of Columbia, and two stints as the Ward 8 Representative on the DC Council totaling 12 years. Prior to his political career in the District, he was involved in the civil rights movement, serving as the first chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
  5. Northwest – This is the quadrant of the city where the school sits. DCPS has other schools named for areas of the city, for example Brightwood EC, Capitol Hill Montessori EC, and Eastern HS. A number of individuals submitting nominations expressed that in naming the school for a location as opposed to an individual, we would be more likely to avoid controversy in the future as an individual’s legacy could come into question.
  6. Vincent E. Reed (1928 – 2017) – Dr. Reed’s career in education saw him hold a number of teaching and administrative roles. These include being the first black Principal of Wilson High School, Superintendent of DC Public Schools, and Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the US Department of Education. He also served as the Washington Post’s vice president for communications.
  7. William Syphax (1825 – 1891) – Mr. Syphax served as the first President of the Board of Trustees of Colored Schools of Washington and Georgetown. He was involved in the creation of the Preparatory High School for Colored Youth which became Dunbar HS, as well as the Lincoln, Stevens, and Sumner Schools that were the first African American schools considered equally designed to those built for white students. He was also active in movements for racial and civic advancement and served as one of the founders of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon for twenty years.
* 3. Which one of the following school names do you like best for DCPS' Ward 3 high school?
August Wilson
Vincent E. Reed
Edna Jackson
William Syphax
Marion Barry
Hilda Mason
Closed to responses | 6,083 Responses
4. Why did you select that name?
Closed to responses
5. Additional comments:
Closed for Comments
* 6. Contact Information