Teachers and staff at Ballou High School in Ward 8 must reapply for their jobs after D.C. school officials announced that the school will be “reconstituted” next year, meaning that up to half of that staff could be replaced.
Ballou’s students returned from winter break this year to a newly built school — a $142 million “new Ballou” that embodied the promise of a fresh start for the long-struggling school.
Now, District officials are detailing a major restructuring of the programs within the school for next year, including a new hospitality and tourism career academy, and they are planning for an overhaul of the staff as part of that.
Reconstitution has been a common method of overhauling low-performing schools in the District, built on the notion that turning over a large portion of the staff will help drive a restart of the school’s culture.
Ballou, which enrolled nearly 700 students this year, has been reconstituted once before, in the 2010-2011 year, but it has remained a low-performinng school.
According to its most recent standardized test scores, 17 percent of test takers scored proficient or higher in math and 15 percent scored proficient or higher in reading.Ballou’s suspension rate last year far surpassed city averages, with 45 percent of students suspended at least once. And just 50 percent of its students graduated in four years, compared with 61 percent citywide.