Maury Modernization

Maury Advocacy Group

Push for a Win-Win Solution—Join the Advocacy Group
Ideas are already forming for ways to lobby the Mayor, Council, and DCPS to move quickly to help us achieve a win-win solution—but we need your help! Small efforts make a big impact—writing letters, making phone calls, working with others in our community to leverage resources—and the more folks we have, the greater the impact. Sign up here.

First meeting: Thursday, February 23, 6:30-7:30 pm in Maury Library

New Information Since DCPS Meeting:

LSAT and SIT members have gathered some new information since the DCPS Meeting on January 12.

DCPS has already budgeted for the full-size, new school for this coming budget cycle. Back in December 2016 when it was due to be submitted, DCPS put in the budget request for $15M more (needed for the full renovation) and $6M (needed to build the Trailer City at Eliot-Hine).

DCPS last fall asked the Mayor to get underway for the full-size, new school, but the Mayor said no. DCPS could start the design and study for the full-size, new school right now if the Mayor agreed to “reprogram” the $15M for this fiscal year. Because the Mayor reportedly declined this request, DCPS won’t start doing the design/build work until the extra $15M is procured in October 2017.

DCPS already had the initial feasibility study for the full-size, new school back a year ago.  Although only unveiled on January 12th, DCPS had the study done back in spring 2016.

There are lots of better, win-win options that lessen the impact on students and actually saves D.C. money (move Maury’s students just one time, not twice; away for 3 school semesters, not 4), but it requires the Mayor/DCPS to act now. Please see the attached table.

Among the better options, there is a true win-win solution: have the Mayor/DCPS start the design process right now, instead of waiting for the 2017-18 budget cycle to complete. A top Maury parent/faculty concern is moving twice (once to Eliot-Hine in 2017, then to the Trailer City in 2018). If the design process starts now, Maury could move move just once to Eliot-Hine in Summer 2017, finishing Maury’s construction before Eliot-Hine starts its renovation in January 2019. This saves D.C. money and meets top parent/faculty concerns without disrupting Eliot-Hine’s renovation.

This requires the Mayor/DCPS to be proactive, not settling for status quo, starting NOW.


E-mail Kenyon Weaver or LSAT Chair Amber Gove.


Survey Results

DCPS Survey Results

The DCPS Survey results are now available.

PTA Survey Results

Download Full Survey Results and Comments as PDF

Prior to the January 12 meeting with DCPS, the PTA asked the Maury community to weigh in on the options as presented, and rank them in order of preference. Total surveys returned: 153.

Option 1 (539 students): 55%
Option 2 (Cluster): 10%
Option 3 (457 students): 35%

Key points:

  • There is overall frustration with what many view as non-choices, as there was very little supporting information; also, frustration with the lack of community input.
  • There was some support for, but mostly strong opposition to Option 2.
  • Of those in support of Option 2, many thought it was the best way to ease crowding and preserve Maury’s current size; others felt it could strengthen enrollment in Eliot-Hine.
  • Many opposed to Option 2 felt it was presented with little forethought given the complexities of merging two schools, and served as a way to save money/time rather than deal with the results of the boundary expansion.
  • Many would prefer the smaller, one-campus school attributes of Option 3, but felt a boundary change was not realistic or fair.
  • Most voters who selected Option 1 as their first choice selected Option 3 as their second choice, and vice versa. Many believe either option could work if designed to adequately support enrollment and ensure maximum outdoor play space through creative means.
  • There is great concern that both space and budget are lacking to do this project right; timing is also a concern.

Teacher Survey
In December, the LSAT/SIT teacher representatives polled Maury staff on the same set of choices; they received 19 responses:

Option 1: 74%
Option 2: 5%
Option 3: 16%

Proposed Options (Updated)

The key points of DCPS modernization options are summarized below. Download Options as PDF.

Option 1: Expand to 539 Students ($18M)

  • Will require largest building expansion
  • May allow school boundary to remain the same
  • Further reduced playground and/or parking compared to Option 3
  • May require additional budget for adequate outdoor playspace/parking

Option 2: Cluster Model

  • Requires extensive community discussion
  • Requires coordination with Miner
  • May minimize need for building expansion
  • Would expand school boundary to include both Maury and Miner
  • Playground/parking effects are unknown as unclear how campuses may be divided
  • May be feasible within existing budget
  • Renovation to expand to 457 students
  • General timetable introduced for combining schools, beginning 12–18 months prior to Maury reaching full capacity

Option 3: Expand to 457 Students

  • Requires smallest building expansion
  • May require school boundary reduction to avoid overcrowding
  • Reduced playground and/or parking space compared to current site
  • Likely feasible within existing budget
  • Boundary change would take years, not guaranteed
  • Grandfathering policy unclear; current DCPS approach is to grandfather affected students, but NOT siblings
  • Cluster model may be considered in future

Option 4: Expand to 539 Students ($33M)

  • Will demolish all structures but historic 1886 building to build new buildings
  • Requires longer construction time
  • School boundary to remain the same
  • Further reduced playground and/or parking compared to Option 3
  • Will require additional $15M, not guaranteed; funding will not be known until summer 2017, delaying timeline for overall project
  • Swing-space for two years instead of one, likely in two different locations requiring three moves; not open until August 2019


DCPS Survey Results now available (02/10/17)

DCPS Survey Results in PDF

DCPS Community Meeting at Maury (01/12/17)

At the community meeting on January 12, DCPS reviewed the existing options for Maury’s renovation/expansion, and introduced an additional option (Option 4): a renovation for 539 students that would demolish all but the historic 1886 building; build new buildings on a reconfigured footprint; require $15M in additional budget (not guaranteed); and require two years in swing-space.

DCPS Presentation in PDF

December 21 email from Josh Tuch, DCPS SIT Coordinator
Please see the attached letter announcing a community meeting on 1/12 at Maury to discuss the feasibility study and next steps for the modernization project. Please distribute widely!

Maury Community Meeting Letter from Interim Schools Chancellor John Davis (12/20/16)

Joshua Tuch

December 15 email from Jennifer C. Niles, Deputy Mayor for Education
Thank you for your email. DCPS will not be making a decision about Maury before the end of the calendar year. In fact, DCPS will not make a decision until after meeting with the Maury community in January. School leadership and central office are determining a date for the meeting that they will share broadly. On behalf of DCPS, I apologize for making you worry that a decision would be made without getting the community’s input.

Jennifer C. Niles

December 14 email from Charles Allen, Council Member Ward 6
From: Allen, Charles (Council)
Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 9:31 PM
Subject: Re: Maury School and community engagement

Thank you very much for your email.

Earlier today, I met with Deputy Mayor Niles, Interim Chancellor Davis, and Ms. Carla Watson from DCPS to talk about Maury Elementary School and their plans. I expressed my frustrations with the current process and communication from DCPS with the Maury community, and we had a good conversation about their goals and decision points.

In my meeting, they agreed to delay any decision regarding Maury’s modernization and plans, and committed that the prior statement of a decision by the end of this month would now not take place. I recommended several approaches to improve engagement with the Maury parents and I believe DCPS will be looking to schedule a larger meeting with the school community in January. I’ve offered to help at that meeting in any way that can help improve the communication and conversation. They committed to me that they would not make a decision until after this meeting takes place to give them an opportunity to engage the community more fully and solicit more feedback and conversation with the parents. In addition, DCPS wants to ensure they have more complete information, including possible budget constraints, to lay out realistic and feasible scenarios for consideration (or alternatively, outlining clear hurdles that would have to be cleared based on any particular decision).

I will continue to remain very engaged with the school as options are explored and future decisions are made. Maury is an outstanding school and community, and we’ll work together to make sure its future is headed in the right direction.

Thanks again,
Charles Allen

December 14 email from David Grosso, Chairperson, DC Council Committee on Education
Subject: Response re: Maury Elementary
Good evening,
Thank you for contacting me about Maury Elementary. My office has spoken with DCPS at length about the future modernization of Maury. I’ve gathered from our conversation and several emails that there is great concern about the perceived lack of community engagement. I wanted to take a moment to share what we’ve learned.When DCPS met with the SIT Team in September/October they shared a few options based on the updated enrollment projections for Maury (larger expansion, redraw boundaries, cluster model). I believe they also alluded to the fact that a decision will be made by the end of the year, but I have learned from DCPS that is now no longer the timeline. Prior to scheduling a larger community engagement, DCPS is currently exploring the feasibility of the options with Mayor. For instance, they do not want to take the community down the road of debating a larger facility expansion if they cannot guarantee that additional funding necessary can be made available in the budget should that option be chosen.I understand the frustration that meetings have been promised and then not scheduled. I have been very clear with the incoming Chancellor that this is one of the areas that needs attention and improvement when he begins in February. Though I do think the Chancellor selection process threw off the timeline in terms of decision making. I can further appreciate DCPS taking the time to get all the information because I know it will only frustrate residents more to be presented with options that are not real. Again, DCPS has said that no decision will be made in December and that they will schedule a meeting with the community in January.I know this does not alleviate all the anxiety, but I do hope this information helps. I will certainly keep pressure on DCPS over the coming weeks to release details about the meeting with sufficient notice to ensure greater participation.

David Grosso

December 13, 2016: DCPS states they will make a decision by December 31, 2016
There is very little information available on any of the presented options for Maury—cluster, smaller school with reduced boundary, larger school for projected enrollment—and the stated plan is for DCPS to make a decision by the end of the calendar year. If you have comments/concerns about this project, the timeline, the process, etc., please contact the city leadership:

December 1 email update from Max to Maury community
Hi all, There’s nothing terribly new here that hasn’t already been shared in some fashion, but they’ve been modified a bit to either reformat or consolidate for easier sharing/viewing.

Feel free to share these as-is with any/all. I’ve also shared with Josh to include on the DCPS website for the project as he sees fit, and we’re planning to share with visitors to our open house last week who had a number of great questions on the modernization (and ready to help with emails to DCPS). We’re also brainstorming with our communication/website team on creating a running feed/page of some kind on our website to include the various updates from PTA meetings and other emails in one spot, above and beyond what DCPS might put on their project website.For other updates, thanks to those that have already emailed Teresa at DCPS with questions or input surrounding cluster or boundary change scenarios, or to at least push for a public meeting with all stakeholders (including Miner and others) before a decision is reached. I’ve sent some myself at least encouraging a public meeting before decision is made. At a high level I think there are pros/cons to all scenarios, but I think it’s fair to say it’s difficult to provide input on preferred approach without being better informed on details, impacts, etc. So far I’ve heard nothing back from them (including Teresa specifically) on where they are with a decision or a public meetings, so keep the emails going. I do have a catch-up call with Josh tomorrow and will report out anything substantive from that call, including where we are with the RFP for architects, anything else he may have on the decision on school size or a public meeting, next SIT meeting, and tours to E-H for early next year.

November 2016 PTA Meeting Update: Maury renovation still on track
The plan is in place for Maury to swing to Eliot-Hine next year during the Maury renovation. The renovation is expected to last 1 year.However, DCPS is currently deciding how they want to proceed. The feasibility study looked at enrollment numbers of 457 and 539. The current projection is 516 in five years’ time. DCPS is considering whether to build the bigger school or possibly break up Maury and place it into a cluster with another neighborhood school such as Miner. No decision has been made at this point. But, the idea could include 2 campuses and the younger kids could be moved to a different school. Alternatively, DCPS could opt to build a school which could accommodate Maury’s projected enrollment. Another change in the Maury boundary is also being considered. It is unlikely that DCPS will go the cluster model without engaging the community. For planning purposes, the initial thought is Miner would have the early childhood grades and Maury would have the upper grades. Expect a decision by the end of the calendar year. With regard to expanding Maury, the SIT team is looking at trying to preserve one playground area and pushing for DCPS to do it right. DCPS is aware that the building next door is for sale. However, DGS controls the real estate for DC and not DCPS. Mr. Tuch indicated that they are hesitant to add another layer. The RFP for the design architects included both building sizes. Procurement of architecture and construction firms is ongoing. Size of school will not impact the start date. Next steps: Late 2017, DCPS will award architect/construction contracts. February/March tours of the Eliot-Hine building will begin for Maury community. The co-location plan for E-H and Watkins currently at E-H gives an idea of how it may look for E-H and Maury. However, it may be a bit a bit different as Maury has the PS/PK cohort. DCPS is planning tours earlier 2017 of the site for Maury families. In response to a question, Mr. Tuch indicated that he would provide contact information at DCPS for the office which actually would make the decision regarding building size and whether to place Maury students into a cluster with another school. That person is Teresa Biagioni, and she should be expecting contact.

For additional questions on the Maury Project, contact:

  • Josh Tuch, DCPS SIT Coordinator, (202) 794-3571
  • Max Kieba, Maury SIT Coordinator/Modernization Team Chair

For questions on potential boundary change, Option 2 (cluster model) specifically, contact:

October 2016 PTA Meeting Update: Feasibility Studies
At the past SIT meeting, the members were surprised by the proposals circulated at the meeting. One included going back to a smaller school projection, and included considering another boundary change. The other 2 include a projection for over 500 students. Challenges surround the small plot of land on which the school sits. Problems with the suggested designs include 2 separate playgrounds. However, CAG indicated that she could not staff 2 separate playgrounds. The good news was that the expansion is on schedule. We have been transitions from the Feasibility phase to the RFP for the company that will do the final design. Ideas included expanding to the sidewalk and 3 floors. Since this is labeled as an expansion and not a modernization, they are generally trying to force fit the larger school into the space without significantly altering the common areas. At this point, we are out of Maury on the last day of school for the renovation to start and at Eliot-Hine for 1 year. Watkins appears to be on schedule, so there would be space for Maury students at Eliot-Hine. Joe Weedon indicated that Grosso is holding hearings on the school projects. Go and make your voice heard. He also indicated that conversations need to be held about boundaries anda potential cluster school idea for Maury and other local schools. He also felt that Eliot-Hine’s gym could supply space for Maury student events. Jenny Niles (Deputy Mayor for Education) is also a good point of contact to make your opinion known. If you feel strongly, submit written testimony.


Who are the players?

Under DCPS policy, every school renovation or modernization project includes a School Improvement Team (SIT). The Maury SIT includes representatives from:

  • D.C. Public Schools (DCPS)
  • Department of General Services (DGS)
  • Members of the Maury School Community including Principal Albert-Garvey, Maury parents, teachers, staff, ANC 6A04 commissioner, and members of the wider community.

For the Maury renovation, Josh Tuch (DCPS) is the overall SIT Coordinator; Max Kieba is coordinating the Maury community’s input into the process.

Why do we need this renovation?

Maury has been slated for modernization for several years to complete a partial renovation, the first part of which was done in 2010. At that time, the project focused only on upgrading the classrooms, corridors, and bathrooms; many of the support and specialty spaces were not modernized. In addition, the buildings are not ADA-compliant, and the HVAC system has many problems.

As enrollment increased and exceeded building capacity, portable classrooms (also referred to as “trailers”) were added; currently, these house classrooms for Music, Grade 2 (one class), and Grade 5. The trailers are temporary structures, and have now been in use for several years.

Is it a renovation or an expansion?

It’s both. After the partial renovation in 2010, Maury’s capacity was 300 students; enrollment today is 390 students, and growing. In 2015, DCPS expanded Maury’s enrollment boundary, even though the school was already at 104% capacity. The increased enrollment has prompted the need for an expansion to the school, in addition to the existing need for renovation.

The primary goals of the Maury project are to expand the buildings to meet enrollment and remove the trailers, finish important renovations like adding an elevator to make the building ADA-compliant, and improve support and specialty spaces (like the health suite and kitchen) where feasible. In the process, existing spaces may be changed to improve overall flow. There will be trade-offs due to space and budget constraints.

Terms. You may have heard the terms renovation, expansion, and modernization used to describe this project. While they don’t mean quite the same thing—for example, modernization implies a particular set of upgrades, not all of which are included in the Maury project—they have often been used interchangeably, and the Maury project will feature aspects of each.

You also may hear people talking about the “ed spec,” or educational specifications. The ed spec are the parameters that guide the design of a new school building, including important details like amounts of square footage designated for particular uses (instruction, playground, parking, etc.) and projected student enrollment.

Hasn’t this been going on for a while?

Yes. We have been slated for renovations for a number of years now, but challenges with the planning process, budget allocation, and other issues have delayed the project and available funding (many other schools slated for renovation have been affected in the same way).

Maury’s process got underway in January 2016, when the feasibility study process began. Among the biggest issues being debated among the SIT were overall budget and enrollment. At the start, DCPS projected a student enrollment (457-capacity) that the Maury community felt was far too low, ignored the impact of expanding Maury’s boundary, and would result in a new building that would be at capacity immediately upon opening.

The Maury community asked DCPS to review their enrollment projections; they agreed and came back with projections that were in line with the community’s numbers (539-capacity). With those new enrollment projections in mind, DGS directed their contracted architects to provide revised feasibility studies for building and site designs.

Budget. While the SIT was trying to come to agreement on enrollment and other aspects of the ed spec, the District budget process was moving along. We were successful in increasing the project budget to approximately $18.5M; however, because DCPS had not yet revised its enrollment, the budget is based on the DCPS projection for a 457-capacity building; construction of a 539-capacity building would likely need additional funds.

Where does the project stand now?

In October 2016, the SIT reviewed the revised feasibility design options: two variations for 539 students (including one closer to the current budget), and one for 457 students. As part of the 457-capacity option, DCPS introduced some new options: adjusting the Maury boundary; creation of a cluster school model with Miner; or both.

On January 12, 2017, DCPS held a meeting at Maury where they discussed the options and introduced Option 4: a fully right-sized building with $15M of additional funding. This option would require two years in swing-space (and likely two swing locations), and securing additional funding is not guaranteed.

DCPS conducted a community survey (results here) to determine which option was most favored. DCPS will make a decision in February.

Timeline. At this point, the plan remains to begin the project in Summer 2017, with students moving into “swing-space” at Eliot-Hine for the 2017-18 school year as the renovation takes place. This timeline could change depending on the final option selected.

Project Details

DGS Project Manager(s): Marcos Miranda
DCPS Project Manager(s): Josh Tuch
Project Budget: $18.5 million
Architects: cox graae + spack architects (Feasibility Study Architects)
General Contractors: n/a
Project Status: Feasibility Study
DCPS Contact: Josh Tuch

Documents and Resources

Contact Information

For additional questions on the Maury Project and SIT in general, contact:

  • Josh Tuch, DCPS SIT Coordinator, (202) 794-3571
  • Max Kieba, Maury SIT Coordinator/Modernization Team Chair

For questions on potential boundary change, Option 2 (cluster model) specifically, contact:

To express your opinion to city leadership, contact: