IDEA Public Charter School

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1027 45th St. NE, Washington, DC 20019 Phone: 202-399-4750
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Principal's Page

January Message from the Principal

Welcome to the third quarter! It’s hard to believe we are already halfway through the school year. This quarter our theme is productive effort. Everyone is putting in the work and we are performing! We are assessing student progress, preparing seniors to graduate, and making a renewed emphasis on attendance. Students need to come to school every day to make the most of their learning opportunities!

Our scholars have just finished their second quarter exams, and many scholars started new elective classes in art, music, construction and design, JROTC, and driver’s education. Several of our first semester driver’s ed students have already earned their learner’s permits or driver’s licenses! We are excited to have yet another avenue to prepare our students for life after high school.

As the weather this winter has proven to be erratic, please note that we have a new system for sending alerts to families via text message. We can now text all families with notices of delays and cancellations due to inclement weather or any other emergencies that arise. If the IDEA office does not have your cell phone number, please provide it so we can make sure we can contact you if needed.

Our next workforce lunch will be January 26, and we are looking for professionals and partners in the community who are willing to join us for an hour or two during students’ lunch hours to share their businesses, careers, and other post-secondary education and work opportunities with our scholars. Please let us know if you’d like to participate in this popular program.

This Thursday, January 18 at our parent volunteer program meeting, families will hear from the new youth advocate from Hillside, one of our support services partners. We will also discuss upcoming events on PARCC assessment readiness and college and career planning opportunities.

Last weekend we had our first successful open house of 2018, and invite prospective students and families to visit IDEA at any of our upcoming open houses at 9am on Saturday, February 10, Saturday, March 10, or Saturday, April 14. Remember that current students are eligible to receive a cash referral bonus when they recruit new students to IDEA!

Nicole McCrae

December Message from the Principal

Happy holidays from our IDEA family to yours! While we are decking the halls in a friendly competition, preparing musical numbers for our WinterFest concert, and looking out the window for snow, IDEA scholars and staff are still hard at work. Our second quarter theme is REFINE—one element of our growth equation (EFFORT + REFLECT + REFINE = GROWTH)—and we are continually seeking ways to strengthen our teaching, learning, and school culture.

One way we’re refining the whole school environment that our scholars experience is by giving scholars the opportunity to participate in a schoolwide survey to give feedback to their teachers and their school. We asked scholars to reflect thoughtfully about their experiences at IDEA and we will take their input seriously as a staff to find ways we can better meet the needs of all of our scholars.

I invited several juniors and seniors to my inaugural principal’s lunch bunch this week to hear more in-depth insights from them. At the session, we asked scholars to select images that described their feelings about IDEA as it is now and how they’d like IDEA to be. The collective response seemed to be that scholars are stressed by the constant focus on academics and grades, and would like more opportunities for fun to help relieve the pressure.

We are also seeking more participation from parents, and we are excited about the success so far of our new Parent Volunteer Program. Parents have attended two meetings so far and have already started volunteering at Saturday school and helping sell tickets and concessions at basketball games. We look forward to hearing more from our families and seeing them become a more visible part of our school community.

The MySchoolDC lottery opened on December 11! IDEA administrators, teachers, staff, and students welcomed prospective students and their families to our booth at EdFest on December 9 and answered questions about the excellent programs IDEA offers. Now is a great time to tell your friends, families, and neighbors about IDEA and encourage them to apply. If you refer someone to IDEA and he or she enrolls and starts school at IDEA, you will receive a cash referral bonus!

As the year comes to a close, we are thankful for all of the gifts that our scholars, families, and staff share with our community. We wish you happy holidays and a safe winter break.

Nicole McCrae

November Message from the Principal

We are thankful for our entire IDEA community—scholars and families, staff and supporters. We appreciated the opportunity to express our gratitude at Monday’s Harvest Dinner, where we served a fall feast to hundreds of students and families.

As we are now well into the second quarter, our emphasis is on the second element of our growth equation—refine! We are making meaningful changes when necessary based on what we learned during the first quarter. Refinement is only possible through collaboration—working together, accepting challenges, and resolving them collectively. We encourage scholars, parents, and staff members to communicate their concerns so we can problem solve for our community.

We encourage parents to communicate with their scholars about IDEA’s Five Guiding Principles, which articulate the culture we are building within our school. To reinforce these principles, we discuss positive social skills every morning at IDEA. The topics covered in our social skills curriculum include basic standards of respect and civility in our society, such as how to ask permission or ask for help, how to disagree politely, and how to accept criticism or compliments. Please let me know if you have any questions about our social skills emphasis. We know that we can accomplish more as a team of teachers and parents than we can alone.

You may have noticed on your students’ first quarter report cards that we are including data from every test that scholars take so parents and students can have more and clearer information about student progress. We’ve seen some great results recently from students taking practice PSAT and SAT tests with our partner Transcend, and look forward to seeing improved final scores in December.

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at IDEA!

Nicole McCrae

October Message from the Principal

One part of our growth equation involves reflection. We have said goodbye to quarter 1, which ended in interim exams, grade-level cultural field trips to Temple Hills Skating Palace, and of course recovery sessions to enhance student performance. Quarter 1 also included a phenomenal student-led anti-bullying rally that was developed by our JROTC cadet staff. They challenged their peers to respond and react differently to negativity. Students were energized by performances by our drumline and dance team and heard some thought-provoking messages to help promote positive behavior and eliminate bullying.

Next week we will present first quarter awards to students who demonstrated outstanding achievement, significant improvement, and embodiment of our five guiding principles for school culture and behavior. We are proud of our students for their hard work and know these awards will motivate scholars to step up their game in the second quarter! Our entry into quarter 2 is focused on refinement to improve student achievement and personal growth.  

Friday, November 3 we invite all IDEA parents to meet with their children’s teachers so we can better work together as a team to ensure scholars’ success. Parents please review the invitation from your children’s teachers. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Nicole McCrae

September Message from the Principal

I would like to send a special thanks to all IDEA families for attending Back to School Night. Parents and guests had the opportunity to learn more about our new courses offered this year, our school-wide initiatives focusing on career and college readiness with SAT prep, PARCC readiness, and even social skills development. Families met and learned more about some of our partners that support IDEA scholars and families, including

Upward Bound, which supports scholars’ efforts to apply to, enroll in, succeed in, and graduate from college.

United States Postal Service Credit Union, which sponsors a $12,000 Credit Union College Scholarship Program. 

Wilderness Leadership & Learning Program (WILL) has been working with scholars from IDEA and other DC schools for years to teach critical leadership skills in an outdoors setting that challenges participants and helps them grow. 

Macedonia Community Church, located adjacent to IDEA, supplied more than 25 school supply bags to our families, provides community service opportunities to scholars, and adopts an IDEA family during the holiday season. 

Hillside Work Scholarship Connection serves more than 800 at-risk youth at nine middle and high schools, interweaving academics, social services, and employment training.

So many exciting new things are happening at IDEA this fall! From beekeeping to yoga, we have dozens of new clubs that meet each Wednesday where our staff members can share their talents and interests with scholars and scholars can work together to learn and create something new. We are offering new classes this semester that IDEA scholars have never had the opportunity to take before, including American Sign Language and Driver’s Education, Visual Arts, New Orleans & Back, and ACAD Builds Internship. Our student government officers are opening a new school store where they can apply their financial literacy skills while allowing scholars to where students can buy school supplies and IDEA swag.

All of us at IDEA are enjoying working with our scholars and look forward to getting to know their families as well. I encourage families and friend to continue to support IDEA by volunteering one hour per quarter through in our Parent Volunteer Program. If you are interested, please contact us at 202-300-4750 or email me directly at 

Again I thank you for all of your support and I look forward to continued growth with your scholar. Please know my door is always open if you have any questions or concerns.

Nicole McCrae

Looking for a letter from IDEA? Check out our archives of letters from leadership from this school year.