(Washington, DC) – Today, at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Ward 8, Mayor Bowser participated in the Safe Passage program, highlighting the District’s efforts to ensure students have the resources and support they need to travel to and from school safely. Prior to cutting the ribbon on the newly expanded Democracy Prep Congress Heights Public Charter School, Mayor Bowser also announced enhancements to the Kids Ride Free Program, a Bowser initiative which reduces barriers that prevent students from attending school every day.
“The Safe Passage program is about building a safer, stronger DC by working together as a community to keep our young people safe,” said Mayor Bowser. “When our students feel safe and supported, they can focus on what they need to be focused on – school.”
The School Safety and Safe Passage Working Group, which is led by the Deputy Mayor for Education and the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice and includes representatives from DC Government agencies, school leaders, and community members, focuses on six priority areas. In each priority area, school leaders work with government and community partners, including the Metropolitan Police Department, the Metro Transit Police Department, and the District Department of Transportation, to address student safety issues. The six priority areas, which were chosen based on the number of student-involved incidents during the 2016-2017 school year, include: Anacostia Metro Station, Minnesota Avenue Metro Station, L'Enfant Plaza/Waterfront Metro Station, NoMa-Gallaudet Metro Station, Good Hope Road SE Corridor, and Congress Heights.
Kids Ride Free
Updates to the Kids Ride Free (KRF) program, which are based on feedback from parents and students, will make the program easier to use and more accessible. Beginning next school year, students will no longer use their DC One Cards to access public transportation. Students who participate in the KRF program will use a new KRF SmarTrip card to access Metrobus, Metrorail, and the DC Circulator. More information about the KRF program can be found at kidsridefree.dc.gov.
The KRF program allows all students who attend public schools in the District to ride to and from school related activities for free on Metrobus, Metrorail, and the DC Circulator. The program, which was first created and championed by then-Councilmember Bowser, is a collaboration between DC Government and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Democracy Prep Congress Heights Public Charter School Expansion
The Mayor announced the updates to the KRF program at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for an expansion at Democracy Prep Congress Heights Public Charter School. The 20,000 square-foot expansion, which includes 13 classrooms and a gymnasium, is an addition to the existing and recently renovated 48,000 square-foot school. The new space will house the middle school while the existing space will house the elementary school.
Democracy Prep Congress Heights Public Charter School, which was recognized this week as the District elementary school with the most improved attendance, will welcome students into the new expansion at the start of the 2018-19 school year.