by Nora Pehrson
Two public elementary schools serve Forest Hills, Van Ness, Wakefield and North Cleveland Park: Hearst and Murch. Hearst attracts most of its students from out of bounds while most of Murch’s students claim it as their in-boundary school. So it may come as a surprise to learn that three of Hearst’s out-of-boundary students could attend Murch as their neighborhood school.
John Bernards, Hearst Elementary’s PTA treasurer, and his wife, a regular volunteer at the school, moved from Columbia Heights last year to Forest Hills, where their in-boundary school is Murch Elementary. While living in Columbia Heights, the couple applied and were accepted for out-of-boundary seats at Hearst when their older child entered school. Now, they have three children attending school at Hearst, and there they’ve decided to stay.
The Bernards family has been extremely happy with their experience at Hearst. Mr. Bernards says that the school’s small size means that everyone knows one another, classes are close-knit, and students get plenty of individual attention. Hearst has a strong administration. Bernards describes the new principal, Jen Thomas, as “fantastic.” He is especially impressed by her ability to use data from standardized tests in a strategic way to improve instruction.
Hearst is currently undergoing a major modernization and expansion project. The fully-renovated main building opened in fall 2013. Work on an addition, with a gymnasium, an auditorium and new outdoor spaces, is ongoing.
Hearst Elementary is hosting its next open house for parents of prospective students this Friday, December 12th at 9:15 a.m. Meet Principal Jen Thomas, find out about the renovations and the new classrooms set to open in January, and talk with current Hearst parents. Other open houses will be held on January 16th, February 20th, March 20th and April 24th. Hearst (hearstes.org) is located at 3950 37th Street NW.