A coalition of students, parents, teachers, elected officials, and community leaders are demanding answers and action from District officials

Washington, D.C. – School Without Walls students, parents, and teachers, joined by elected officials and community leaders, are calling for the DC Council to act to reinstate School Without Walls High School and School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens Principal Richard Trogisch.

This press release contains a letter with over 200 signatures and a resolution any Councilmember can introduce to urge the Mayor to reinstate Richard Trogisch. Both campuses serve nearly 1200 families from all eight wards, and since the health and safety questions Principal Trogisch raised affect every DCPS facility, we urge all Councilmembers to sign this resolution.

In addition to action on a resolution from the Council, this coalition demands answers and action from city officials, including the following:

      • An explanation for why DCPS dismissed Principal Trogisch;
      • An invitation for public witnesses to testify at hearings on school safety amid the pandemic;
      • A public meeting with Chancellor Ferebee and Dr. Jerry Jellig that addresses concerns that have yet to receive sufficient clarity; and
      • Independent investigators to review the state of SWW and other schools to ensure they are safe for in-person learning.

A coalition of students, parents, teachers, school officials, elected officials, and community leaders spoke out on the uncertainty and undue stress DCPS placed on the School Without Walls community by abruptly removing Principal Trogisch.

“Mr. Trogisch was many things to the Walls community, but if he was one thing and one thing alone, he was a fighter. Mr Trogisch fought for the Walls community and would say no to the central office and fight for the interests of Walls students. He genuinely cared about SWWFS and SWWHS and would do anything for the students, parents and teachers there,” said SWW student Matthew Premysler.

“Mr. Trogisch has consistently gone to bat for his students and firing him is, in my opinion, nothing more than a political move that benefits only DCPS administration,” said SWW student Jennifer Nehrer. “Admins themselves have admitted that this move was not in the best interest of students, so was it really necessary? DCPS’ lack of transparency and communication with the community has been appalling and has only added to the confusion regarding this move. Since when should a school system put their own petty politics before the needs of their students?”

“As a parent of two School Without Walls students, I have been amazed by the community that Principal Trogisch has built and the progress that our school has made under his leadership. A huge part of that success is due to the relationships of trust that Principal Trogisch built with teachers and parents. We know that he always has the best interests of our kids and his staff front of mind at all times. Losing him now, while everything is already so hard and so scary, is an impossible situation, made all the more upsetting because we know he was fired after standing up for our needs and safety,” said Emily Nestler, parent of two SWW students.

“Principal Trogisch should be immediately reinstated to preserve stability in our school through the ongoing pandemic response and upcoming budget reforms. Both the DCPS chief of secondary schools and the instructional superintendent publicly acknowledged that the removal is “not in the best interest” of students and “not in the best interest of everyone,” said President of School Without Walls High School Home and School Association Sandra Moscoso. “The timing of Richard Trogisch’s dismissal raises many questions after he brought concerns about the condition of the school to the city. I’m urging the Council to do their job and allow testimony from public witnesses at the “Return to In-person Instruction in DC Public Schools” roundtable and to pass this resolution to reinstate Richard Trogisch as principal.”

“Richard Trogisch is a visionary who cared about everyone who crossed the thresholds of SWW and SWWFS, no matter their age, gender identity, or race. He cared enough about everyone to ensure that they would be safe when they crossed those thresholds. He was especially cognizant of ensuring safety in the midst of a global pandemic, in a nearly century-old building that housed 600+ people at its peak,” said Teressa West, Elementary Teacher at SWW Francis Stevens and LSAT member. “The lack of transparency from DCPS on Trogisch’s dismissal has and will continue to have a negative lingering impact that is felt across all eight wards of the city.”

“This is not just about Richard Trogisch who, over fifteen years, has built the number 1, Blue Ribbon High School in the District and also, a successful Education Campus on the rise,” said  Gleeson Young, WTU Building Representative at SWW Francis Stevens. “This is about Mayoral Control and DCPS’s blatant disregard for its students, employees and parents, where time and time again, their actions have hurt and divided communities, such as Boone, Kimball and now SWWFS and SWWHS, with zero transparency and zero consultation.  We have marched, demanded action and now we want action from the Council, should the Mayor and DCPS fail to act on our demands.”

“Today we are providing Councilmembers language for a resolution to reinstate Richard Trogisch. By passing a resolution ordering the reinstatement of Principal Trogisch, the Council can show that they stand with the students, parents, and teachers of School Without Walls,” said Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and Candidate to represent Ward 2 on the DC Council Randy Downs. “We need transparency from DCPS, but more importantly we need action. I’m joining the School Without Walls community in a call for Principal Trogisch to be reinstated and for the Council to take action by passing a resolution.”

“Richard Trogisch is one of the finest educators the District of Columbia has. Without his leadership, the School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens wouldn’t exist as an oversubscribed, thriving neighborhood school and School Without Walls High School wouldn’t be nearly as distinctive and in-demand,” said Foggy Bottom Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Patrick Kennedy. “Principal Trogisch is a tireless fighter for his students, his teachers, and his staff…we need him now more than ever.”

“Rich Trogisch dedicated 50 years of his life to educating and mentoring young people. To have his distinguished career be ended this way is both cruel and unconscionable. And those who stand by and allow this to happen are complicit,” said Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Mike Silverstein. “Richard Trogisch must be reinstated.”

“The Council must act to reverse the silencing of Principal Trogisch, a pillar of the Foggy Bottom community,” said Foggy Bottom Advisory Neighborhood Commission Chair and Candidate to represent Ward 2 on the State Board of Education James Harnett. “His students are speaking up and speaking out. We cannot ignore them. ANC 2A and ANC 2B are standing together, united, to get our school leader back.”

For immediate release: October 26, 2020

Contact: press@randyforward2.com

 

LETTER

Council of the District of Columbia

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20004

 

October 26, 2020

Dear Councilmember,

We, the undersigned, write to you regarding recent events that took place affecting the School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens and School Without Walls High School community.

As a coalition of students, parents, and teachers at School Without Walls, as well as elected officials and community leaders, we were devastated to learn that Richard Trogisch was dismissed from the position of Principal. His dismissal, with no explanation from District officials, was a shock that left many of us looking for answers and feeling unstable without the guidance of a pillar of our community during a time of extreme uncertainty.

Without open and transparent communication from DCPS, we are left to speculate as to why Principal Trogisch was dismissed from his duties. We learned that days leading up to an announcement from the city that schools would re-open for in-person instruction, there was an inspection of SWW Francis-Stevens that didn’t produce convincing results for safe re-opening. Our understanding is that Principal Trogisch raised these concerns at the Chancellor’s meeting and was fired 48 hours later. This is deeply troubling and our community deserves answers immediately.

With this letter, we are seeking immediate action to reinstate Principal Trogisch as principal at School Without Walls. Specifically, we urge the Council to pass a resolution ordering the reinstatement of Richard Trogisch as Principal at School Without Walls High School and School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens. Since these campuses serve nearly 1200 families from all eight wards, and since the health and safety questions Principal Trogisch raised affect every DCPS facility, we urge all Councilmembers to sign this resolution.

Additionally, we request that the Council take the following steps to ease uncertainty for our community:

      • Allow public witnesses at committee hearings on school safety amid the pandemic.
      • Enlist independent investigators to review the state of SWW and other schools to ensure they are safe for in-person learning.

Enclosed you will find a draft resolution you can use in its entirety or as a framework to enact in solidarity with our community. We appreciate your consideration of these steps to provide stability to our school community in this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Sandra Moscoso, President of School Without Walls High School Home and School Association

Gleeson Young, WTU Building Representative at School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens

Deborah Murphy, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens staff member

Jane Cohen Hartman, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Shannon Robichaud, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Kris Boswell, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Adetokunbo Adekanmbi, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Latasha Boone, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Karen Seward, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Mary Huysman, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Philip Tavares, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens Business Manager

Catherine Norton, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Alexandra Morgan, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Glady Diaz, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Melissa Deokaran, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Teressa West, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Zach Carroll, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens teacher

Carlton Ackerman, Ward 3 School Without Walls teacher

Colleen Beckett, Ward 2 School without walls at Francis Stevens librarian and teacher

 

Randy Downs, ANC2B05, Dupont Circle

James Harnett, Chairperson ANC2A, Foggy Bottom

Mike Silverstein, ANC2B06, Dupont Circle

Patrick Kennedy, Vice Chairperson ANC2A, Foggy Bottom

 

Daya George, President of Student Government/Sophomore at School Without Walls

Avajane Lei, School Without Walls High School student

Mariam Adegoke, School Without Walls High School student

Jennifer Nehrer, School Without Walls High School student

Indira Moshi, School Without Walls High School student

Matthew Premysler, School Without Walls High School student

Savannah Wright, School Without Walls High School student

Amelie Griffith, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Leo Feldman, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Amelie Bours Miller, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Yasmine Shaner, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Vita McEachern, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Philip Sipher, Ward 2 School Without Walls High School

Jacob Samuels-Piateski, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Theodore Thomas, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Mattias Sgherri Cipollone, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Samaya Jain-Dewitt, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Benjamin Munger, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Zara Escobar, Ward 3 School Without Walls High School students

Daya George, Ward 3 School Without Walls Senior High School student

Alex Benach, Ward 4 School Without Walls Senior High School student

Kieran Blank, Ward 4 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Owen Blank, Ward 4 School Without Walls Senior High School student

William Haray, Ward 4 School Without Walls Senior High School student

Nedim Yusuf, Ward 5 School Without Walls Senior High School student

Luam Tekle, Ward 5 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Maximillian Zeidler, Ward 6 School Without Walls Senior High School student

Dylan Schon, Ward 6 School Without Walls Senior High School student

Oliver O’Brien, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Vivian O’Brien, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Oscar O’Brien, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Adi Ravin Cook, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Lihi Ravin Cook, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Avajane Lei, Ward 3 School Without Walls High School student

Julian Stephens, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School student

Ryan Monke, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School student

Belema Taylor-Harry, Ward 7 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Panari Brown, Ward 8 School Without Walls High School student

Kailes Collier, Ward 8 School Without Walls High School student

Curtis Lawrence, III, Ward 5 School Without Walls High School student

Corey Lawrence, Ward 5 School Without Walls High School student

Ishan Hsu, Ward 8 School Without Walls High School student

Kiara Ha, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

James Ha, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Maggie Ryan, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

William Ryan, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Maximo Blazquez, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Dalia Blazquez, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Daphne Wahl, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens student

Ryden Pahang, School Without Walls High School student

 

Henry and Gabriella Landez, parents of 2020 SWW graduate Alexander Landinez

Michael Mobbs, School Without Walls High School parent

Maria Helena Carey, SWWHS and SWWFS parent

Wing Man Jennie Mak, School Without Walls High School parent

Jon Zeidler, School Without Walls High School parent

Nicki Belfiore, School Without Walls High School parent

Jane Wallace, School Without Walls parent

Katherine David-Fox, School Without Walls parent

John and Deborah Olson, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Catherine Bernard, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Josh Singer, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Greg Wahl, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Diane Frendak, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Mywen Baysah, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Arthur Griffith, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Karen Thomas, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Michael Smith, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Latesha Durkins, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Esperanza Román-Mendoza, Ward 1 LSAT School Without Wall High School parent

Stephanie Kay, Ward 1 School Without Wall High School parent

Henry Landinez, Ward 2 School Without Walls High School parent

Gabriella Landinez, Ward 2 School Without Walls parent

Cathy Feldman, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Karl Feldman, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Martine Miller, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Dennis Bours, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Kevin Ryan, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Naomi Palmer Shaner, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Emily Nestler, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Jeff Nestler, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Lucia Resende, Ward 2 SWWHS and SWW at Francis Stevens parent

Dacian Reece-Stremtan, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Patricia Sipher, Ward 2 School Without Walls High School parent

Anthony Sipher, Ward 2, School Without Walls High School parent

Thì Thao Ly Tran, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Erin Piateski, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Amy Carrdus, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Ben Carrdus, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Sarah Thomas, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Jesse Thomas, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Aynat Ravin, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Silvia Sgherri, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Adria Wright, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Gil Landau, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Ranita Jain, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Sean Dewitt, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Sara Aguiniga, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Eric Munger, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Keri Holland, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Edward Fienga, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Edwin Chamberlain, Ward 3 School Without Walls High School parent

Maan Sacdalan, Ward 3 School Without Walls High School parent

Maria Luisa Rossel, Ward 3 School Without Walls High School parent

Emanuela Giudetti, Ward 3 School Without Walls High School parent

Roberto Setola, Ward 3 School Without Walls High School parent

Susan Cleary, Ward 3 School Without Walls High School parent

Stacy Beck, Ward 4 School Without Walls High School parent

Michele Zador, Ward 4 School Without Walls High School parent

Randy Showstack, Ward 4 School Without Walls High School parent

Lewis Csedrik, Ward 4 School Without Walls High School parent

Sanda Blank, Ward 4 SWWFS and SWWHS parent

Michael Blank, Ward 4 SWWFS and SWWHS parent

Bezalel Stern, Ward 4 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Jonathan Haray, Ward 4 School Without Walls High School parent

Ayesha Langley, Ward 5 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Alexander Escobar, Ward 5 School Without Walls High School parent

Marion Babcock, Ward 5 School Without Walls High School parent

Alexander Escobar, Ward 5 School Without Walls High School parent

Curtis Lawrence, Jr., Ward 5 School Without Walls High School parent

Sozit Yousuf, Ward 5 School Without Walls High School parent

Abdulahi Yusuf, Ward 5 School Without Walls High School parent

Kidist Shiferaw, Ward 5 School Without Walls Francis-Stevens parent

Alexis Howard, Ward 5 School Without Walls High School parent

María Helena Carey, Ward 6 SWWFS and SWWHS parent

Christine Mullins, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School parent

Zixta Martinez, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School parent

Nadine Henderson, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School parent

Kevin O’Neill, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School parent

Victoria Potter, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School parent

Paromita Shah, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School parent

Cindy Hildebrand, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School parent

Amy Nevel, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School parent

Sepribo, Ward 7 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Brighton Payne, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Otha Collier, Ward 8 School Without Walls High School parent

Alexandra Boozier, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Goda McEachern, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Chirine Alameddine, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Alicia J Swenson O’Brien, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Tim O’Brien, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Dan Cook, Ward 2, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Giuseppe Cipollone, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Maureen Miranda, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Daniel Richardson, Ward 4 School Without Walls High School parent

Joanne Csedrik, Ward 4 School Without Walls High School parent

Leah Shoval, Ward 4 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Rochelle Ford, Ward 5 School Without Walls parent

Tekle Tewolde, Ward 5 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Rob Stephens, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School parent

Renata Claros, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School parent

Tamara Resler, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School parent

Jim Monke, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School parent

Monice Brown, Ward 8 School Without Walls High School parent

Malene Lawrence, Ward 5 School Without Walls High School parent (LSAT member)

Cedric Hendricks, Ward 1, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent and LSAT Chair

Jennie Mak, Ward 3 School Without Walls High school parent

Chris Chilbert, Ward 3 School Without Walls High School parent

Nicki Belfiore, Ward 3 School Without Walls High School parent

David Wolf-Hudson, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Quoc Ha, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Tania Shand, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Heather Shaner, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Philip Palmer, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Kiera Proctor, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Nyia M. Harris, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Sara Bentley Ryan, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Shaquanna Banks, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

John Calloway, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Carmen Jenkins Frazier, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Blossom da Costa, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Alexis B. Williams, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Andrea Green, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Patricia E. Anderson, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Talia Terry, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Diana Kelly Alvord, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Amy Bauer, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Adria Jones Wright, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Julian Wright, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Edna R. Jones, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens Grandparent

Lizette Buie, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Juan Blazquez, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Sarah Reece-Stretman, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

John Lang, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Vassilissa Kozoulina, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Jonathan Kelley, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Catherine Kelley, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Gimena Sanches-Garzoli, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Noni Buchanan, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens parent

Monique Boujean Williams, parent of School Without Walls Francis-Stevens students

Heather Shaner, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens grandparent

Philip Palmer, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens grandparent

Jacqueline Patterson, Ward 1 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens grandparent

 

Arissa Morrell, Ward 3 School Without Wall High School graduate

Asha Gardner, Ward 5 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens graduate

Liam Gardner, Ward 5 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens graduate

Giulia Setola, Ward 3 School Without Walls High School graduate

Valetie mcgrath, Ward 3 School Without Walls graduate

Mahler Revsine, Ward 4 School Without Walls graduate

Brian O’Neill, Ward 6 School Without Walls graduate

Connor Monke, Ward 6 School Without Walls High School sibling of a student

Briana Ha, Ward 2 School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens sibling of a student

 

COUNCIL RESOLUTION

A PROPOSED RESOLUTION

_________

IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

_________

To maintain the stability, success, and leadership of School Without Walls that has made these schools two of the finest in the District of Columbia and the nation.

RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this resolution be cited as the “Supporting the Stability and Continued Success of School Without Walls Resolution of 2020.”

Pursuant to Section 103 of the District of Columbia Public Education Reform Amendment Action of 2007, effective June 12, 2007, (D.C. Law 17-9; D.C. Official Code 38-172), the Council directs the Mayor to reinstate Richard Trogisch as principal of School Without Walls.