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From the Principal’s Desk

From the Principal’s Desk

Monday, November 29, 2021

Dear Ellington Community,

We hope you had a wonderful long Thanksgiving Break with your family and loved ones. For those who celebrate, we wish you a Happy Hanukkah! I hope to see parents and guardians at this Wednesday’s SHADE meeting.

Additionally, I wanted to share with you the Official Statement that will be released shortly regarding the Chappelle Theatre Naming and his impromptu visit last week.

Official Statement – Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021
Recently, Dave Chappelle, via his Instagram page, challenged those who both support and oppose the decision to name the theatre at Duke Ellington School of the Arts after him through a fundraising contest. While we appreciate Dave’s impromptu and spirited fundraising initiative, we stand behind our decision to honor the wishes of our co-founder, the late Peggy Cooper Cafritz, to name the theatre after Chappelle. All donations will go towards arts programming and every donor, irrespective of their support or opposition to the theater naming, will receive an official thank you from our team.

Chappelle cares deeply about Ellington and its students and regards them as family. He made an unannounced visit before the Thanksgiving break to meet with his Ellington family and to hear directly from the few students who have concerns about his recent comedy special, “The Closer.” He also wanted to directly express support for their safety in light of some disturbing online comments targeting the Ellington community.

While there has been extensive media coverage about the theatre naming and Chappelle’s most recent visit to the school, the source stories that have gone viral have been inaccurate, devoid of context, and neglected to include the nuances of art.

As an art institution, we educate our students on the importance of media literacy and art as a free and open form of expression to both reflect and challenge society. Although it appears that the clear majority of students at Ellington favor naming the theater for Dave Chappelle, we are seizing this moment to demonstrate the importance of carefully listening to every voice within our diverse and inclusive community. Our purpose is not to form a uniformity of viewpoints, but to help instill genuine, respectful curiosity in perspectives that challenge one’s own. The debates among some Ellington students largely mirror those that exist across Washington, D.C., and the country as a whole. The varying viewpoints expressed by students reflect differences of opinion across a wide variety of socioeconomic factors, including class, race, and gender expression.

Ellington’s mission is to nurture and develop artist citizens. In light of this, Ellington has expanded its social studies curriculum to respond to the ever-changing social climate and relies heavily on our ability to incorporate real-life experiences into teachable moments.

Friendly reminder to check out our Sak’s 5th Avenue Holiday Fundraiser Catalog! 100% of the ticket sales go to Ellington, so share the good news.

Please note these important reminders from our admin team:

  • Passes to the Nurse/Health Suite: During Academic and Arts class time, students must have a pass from their teacher to see the nurse.
  • Dress Code: It is important that all students comply with the dress code in order to maintain a professional and educational environment at all times.
  • Lunch Deliveries: Students cannot order food to be delivered to the school during normal school hours. 8:30 am to 4:55 pm. Food delivered to the school during this time will be confiscated.
  • Snack Selling is Prohibited: students are not permitted to bring snacks to sell on campus for personal or for fundraising purposes.
  • Students, please remember that attendance is taken during Advisory. Please be advised that the DCPS robocall is activated with only 1 missed class.

See you tomorrow!


Principal Sandi M. Logan

“There are a thousand reasons to live this life, every one of them is sufficient.” – Marilynne Robinson, Gilead (2004)

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