What’s the deal with… walls in the School Without Walls?

Admit it-you’ve walked past the School Without Walls Senior High School on campus and been confused.

With an obvious structural irony in the D.C. Public School’s name, it’s normal to be stumped.

The old, red brick building on G Street-which from the looks of it might be without air conditioning, maybe without reliable electricity, but definitely not without walls – was established, and named, in 1971.

So, what’s behind the name?

“The School Without Walls is a euphemism for the philosophy of using the city as a classroom,” Assistant Principal Karen Green said.

The approximately 340 students who go to the school leave during the day to attend classes at nearby universities, including GW. They also use the local YMCA for physical education and have a music program partnership with the Kennedy Center.

Wondering why you haven’t seen fleets of School Without Walls school buses caravanning students around the city? That’s because-in true city-kid fashion-the students use public transportation.

School Without Walls is the only D.C. public school like it and students undergo a rigorous admissions process.

With such a befuddling name, Green is used to answering questions about it.

“It’s funny that some people actually think the School Without Walls doesn’t have walls,” Green said. “It takes a bit of explaining, but when the conversation is over, they have a better understanding.”

-Caitlin Caroll

“What’s the deal with …” is a weekly feature in the Life section. If you have a suggestion for the column, e-mail features@gwhatchet.com.

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