IDEA Public Charter School

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1027 45th St. NE, Washington, DC 20019 Phone: 202-399-4750
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Welcome Back to School: a Message from Principal McCrae

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! We look forward to seeing all of our new and returning families at our back to school bash on August 21 from 5pm to 7:30pm at IDEA. We will be serving a delicious catered dinner, playing great music, hosting games, and giving away prizes! Come meet our teachers and staff and see what's planned for this school year.

One of the challenges in education is how to make learning fresh and engaging for scholars while ensuring that we always cover the basics and provide a strong foundation for every scholar’s future. At IDEA we consistently strive to improve our teaching and enhance learning and growth opportunities for our scholars. We realize, however, that in order to make the most of their education, scholars must show up ready to learn.

2019-2020 Priorities

IDEA has established five priorities for this school year:

  • Students are at school.
  • Students are focused on their work.
  • The work is aligned to strong curriculum.
  • Reading interventions are in place for (new) students 2+ grade levels behind.
  • Career programming is in place and coherent

College and Career Readiness

We want our scholars to leave IDEA with a diploma in one hand and a plan in the other. In recognition of the variety of pathways available to reach success, we’ve hired Andrea Zimmermann as our new Director of Career and Technical Education. Ms. Zimmerman will oversee our current career and technical education programs including the Academy of Construction and Design, the Child Development Associate program, video game design and coding with TAG Labs, and our newer environmental entrepreneurship and print and graphic design entrepreneurship classes. Opportunities for scholars to explore additional career pathways through Urban Alliance internships, and college-level classes through the University of the District of Columbia Community College, also fall under Ms. Zimmermann’s purview. While we have supported IDEA scholars taking classes at UDCCC for several years, this semester we will be bringing UDCCC to IDEA. Professor Albert Pearsall will be teaching a college course in personal finance Wednesdays at IDEA at no cost to scholars. Interested scholars should see Ms. Zimmermann for details. 

New Teachers

We are excited to welcome two new science teachers--Andrew Christian and Gabrielle Ciarcia to our staff this year. IDEA is expanding our partnership with Urban Teachers as we welcome three new teaching residents into our classrooms. Julia Matthews and Julie Payne will be assisting in English classes and Carly Klinenberg will be helping in math classes. They will be learning as they go from their IDEA co-teachers and taking a full course load of education classes in the master’s degree program at Johns Hopkins University’s Washington, DC campus. Please join me in welcoming our new teachers to the IDEA family!

Professional Development

To better support our teachers in their work, we have created new professional development models based on input from teachers about specific challenges they have and areas where they want to grow. Led by Vice Principal Shomari Jennings, newer teachers will be paired with more experienced educators, all staff will receive coaching, and teachers will be able to share their areas of expertise with their peers. 


Remember that the reason for school uniforms is to avoid the distraction and sense of competition that wearing the latest clothes or sporting expensive accessories can bring to school. We require scholars to come to school in full uniform, but we offer flexible options so scholars can feel comfortable in what they’re wearing. Your scholar is in uniform when they are wearing

  • IDEA logo polo, button down shirt or fleece
  • Black or tan khaki pants or skirt (no holes or rips) 
  • Sneakers, flats, black dress shoes, ankle boots 
  • Black belt (if pants or skirt goes below waist) 

For a complete list of our uniform guidelines, please visit

MAP Testing

Finally, note that scholars will take MAP assessments at the beginning of the school year. These tests will not count toward their grades, but will provide a benchmark of what they know and where they need to grow, so that we can use all of the tools and techniques at our disposal to help strengthen scholars minds, abilities, and futures this school year.

I look forward to working with all of you this year.


Nicole McCrae

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