Bigger than Basketball

Bigger than Basketball

Collegiate Academy graduate creates a magical experience for Friendship students & families 

by Derrick Watkins



Coach Johnson discussing plays with the Wolfpack.

It started out like any normal Saturday morning in Washington, DC. The air was crisp and the sun bright while residents drank coffee and “caught up” along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast.

By 10 am the parking lot of Friendship’s Southeast Campus was full, as parades of families hurried from their cars to the side entrance leading to the gym.

Inside, the rhythm of bouncing basketballs and screeching shoes against the gym’s oak floors accompanied cheers from cheerleaders wearing their schools’ colors with pride and dignity, while posing for group-selfies with their mini bands-of-sisters.

In the hallways, mothers and aunties made tight ponytails in their daughters’ and nieces’ hair, while fathers and uncles everywhere held discrete conversations with their son and daughter athletes, reminding them to apply the recommendations they’d just discussed at home the night before.

2006 Friendship Collegiate Academy graduate and former football player Coach Terry Johnson was all over the place, showing opposing coaches to their rooms and directing photographers to photo-opps.

Although it was clear to all that somebody was about to play [some] basketball, a less obvious, but equally important phenomenon had begun to slowly reveal itself – a phenomenon bigger than basketball.


As the first buzzer sounded, the Armstrong Wolfpack and the Woodridge Warriors made their ways to the floor, their faces, collectively and individually, conveying victory and pride. Seconds after tip-off, a group of like-minded spectators, including immediate and extended family, boldly showered the athletes, as if they were all just one team, with love and encouragement, yelling affirmations like, “You can do it,” and “Go Warriors! Go Wolfpack!”


Friendship families excited about the game.

Dads held children tightly as they fought urges to coach from the bleachers. Moms leaning against daughters studied all of the children with mother-eyes, ensuring safety. Big brothers and sisters yelled their siblings’ names, reminding them that everyone present was here just for them.

Southeast, DC native and Armstrong coach Terry Johnson, is the brains behind the Friendship Elementary Athletic Association. Although he initially planned to start a mentoring program in response to the number of DC boys with absent fathers, he saw a void in opportunities for all DC school-aged children to participate in organized sports.

“I wanted girls and boys to be able to play football and basketball together, as well as to learn competitive cheering,” Terry said. “We want to expose them to every opportunity to develop as big thinkers and good decisions makers.”

With encouragement from Friendship CEO Donald Hense and COO Pat Brantley to officially present his idea, Terry called on his friend and colleague, Armstrong Dean of Students Victor Bell, to help develop the academic and character development components of his athletic program.

“Friendship is committed to our students through college and beyond. We provide the platform for students to accomplish all of their dreams, knowing that they can rely on their Friendship family to support them along the way,” said Friendship COO Patricia Brantley.


Coach Johnson and the Armstrong Wolfpack.

Terry, also the head of security for Armstrong, knows first-hand the value of self-esteem and high moral character among DC youth.

“I was always one of the smartest kids in school, but I made bad decisions; some of which could have destroyed my entire life,” he said. “That’s why we do not bend on our expectation of excellence from our athletes. Today is much bigger than basketball. Look at all of the fathers here. And this is nothing compared to how many usually come!”


Terry Johnson and Victor Bell

With Victor’s support, athletes in the program are consistently monitored for academic and social growth with progress reports and informal conferences with teachers. Each athlete must maintain a 2.5 GPA or greater, and make impeccable strides toward model student behavior. And when they don’t meet those standards, athletes endure consequences, which may even include missing a game.

Of the more than 200 athletes, including cheerleaders, active in FEAA, 100% have maintained 2.5 GPAs, while Armstrong’s basketball team is currently carrying a 3.0 GPA.

“If we teach them early, by the time they get to high school they’ll be ready for the academic and social challenges they may face,” said Victor Bell. “We are preparing them for college and life after college.”




Woodridge Coach Marcus Thompson gets his warriors fired up!

An active dad of a four-year-old son attending Armstrong, Terry says that this is just the beginning of his vision, citing expansions next year to include soccer and T-ball.

“I completed three years at South Carolina State University, where I studied electrical engineering. Some of the decisions I made kept me from finishing, but the same teachers that helped me get into that program – Peggy Jones, Cherice Green, and Carlos Richardson – never turned their backs on me. In fact, I am very close to them all right now. They held me accountable for my actions, but never stopped believing in me.”

According to CEO Donald Hense, Friendship doesn’t give up on students. “Our teachers and school leaders don’t throw students away simply because they’ve made bad choices. Our students are our investments toward making the world a better place.”

For more information on upcoming games, or to support the Friendship Elementary Athletic Association, contact Terry Johnson at tjohnson@friendshipschools.org.



The Washington, D.C. Black History “Continuing the Legacy” Oratorical Competition

In following the footsteps of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of Black History Month, it is important to take the time to acknowledge the accomplishments and the legacy of African-American men and women who influenced the way in which we live today. It is imperative that we take their lessons and accomplishments as inspiration for our own success and legacy. This Black History “Continuing the Legacy” Oratorical Competition will give students across Washington, DC, the opportunity to learn about the past and look toward the future.

For rules on how to enter click here: www.friendshipschools.org/contest.

Please share this with any student living in Washington, D.C. Thank you!



Black History Month Educational Resources

Check out these great resources to help you learn more about black history during the month of February! If you have more resources to contribute please share them in the comments section below.


Museums and Memorials  

Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial

1964 Independence Avenue Southwest, Washington, DC 20024

Website: http://www.nps.gov/mlkm/index.htm

Newseum (“1965: Civil Rights at 50” Exhibit)

555 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20001

Website: http://www.newseum.org/exhibits/current/civil-rights-at-50/


African American Civil War Memorial and Museum

1925 Vermont Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20001

Webstite: http://www.afroamcivilwar.org/

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

1411 W Street Southeast, Washington, DC 20020

Website: http://www.nps.gov/frdo/index.htm

National Museum of African American History and Culture

1400 Constitution Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20004

Website: http://nmaahc.si.edu/

Anacostia Community Museum 

1901 Fort Place SE Washington, DC 20020

website: http://anacostia.si.edu/ 

Online Educational Resources


Black History Month 2016

Hello Friendship Family!
Today starts the beginning of “Black History Month”. During this month, we highlight the achievements and contributions of African Americans to the United States. Black History Month first began in 1915 with the founding of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) by Carter G. Woodson and A.L. Jackson on September 9th. In 1924, the ASNLH, along with other black historians and literary scholars, decided to name the second week in February “Negro History and Literature Week”, which was later renamed “Negro Achievement Week”. In 1926 “Negro Achievement Week” was expanded to the entire month of February, which led to what we now call “Black History Month”. This month, Friendship PCS will continue the ASNLH legacy by highlighting the achievements of African Americans both past and present.  We will also provide resources and information about “Black History Month” events in our schools and in the District of Columbia. 
Today’s information is provided by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (as it is now known) website. To find out more about the ASALH or Black History Month visit their website www.asalh100.org

It’s Open House Season!

Enrollment season has begun! Take some time to visit our many campuses to see which Friendship school is right for you! Click the link below to see our open house schedule for December – February!  Don’t forget to enroll through myschooldc.org and make Friendship PCS your #1 choice!  OPENHOUSES15_16

15_16Open House


We Are Friendship!


Enrollment season for the 2016-2017 school year is about to begin. Take some time to learn about our many campuses throughout Washington, DC and the programs we have to offer your scholars. Visit our website at www.friendshipschools.org or come to our tables at this year’s DC EDFest on December 12, 2015 from 11am-3pm at the DC Armory.

Friendship Armstrong: Grades PK-5

Principal: Jeffery Scanlon

Address:1400 1st St NW Washington, DC 20001

Phone: 202-518-3928


Friendship Armstrong offers the Reggio Inspired Center, a child-centered approach to teaching and learning. Our young scholars benefit from innovative, research-based classroom instruction, 21st-centurytechnology, attractive school facilities, and an exceptional team of caring teachers, administrators, and staff.


Friendship Blow Pierce Elementary & Middle: Grades Pre-school to 8th

Lead Principal: Dr. Jeffery Grant

Address: 725 19th Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

Phone: (202) 572-1070


Friendship Blow Pierce Elementary builds on students’ individual strengths and provides the academic and character education necessary for a successful academic career. Students are prepared to be lifelong learners and benefit from innovative, research-based classroom instruction, 21st-centurytechnology, and an exceptional team of educators.


Friendship Blow Pierce Middle provides a Pre-Early College curriculum exposing students to accelerated courses. These classes prepare students to take Early College courses for up to two semesters’ worth of college credit at no cost when they attend Friendship Collegiate Academy, our college-preparatory high school.


Friendship Chamberlain Elementary & Middle: Grades Pre-school to 8th

Lead Principal: Morrise Harbour

Address: 1345 Potomac Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003

Phone: (202) 547-5800


Friendship Chamberlain Elementary focuses on exploration, character development, and hands-on learning along with foundational academic skills. Students are prepared to be lifelong learners and benefit from innovative, research-based classroom instruction, 21st-centurytechnology, and an exceptional team of educators.


Friendship Chamberlain Middle builds on exploration, character development, and foundational academic skills from elementary school to ensure preparation for high school, college focused and beyond. Students benefit from innovative, research-based classroom instruction, 21st-centurytechnology, and an exceptional team of educators.


Friendship Collegiate Academy: Grades 9th to 12th

Lead Principal: Dwan Jordon

Address: 4095 Minnesota Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20019

Phone: (202) 396-5500


Friendship Collegiate Academy is a college preparatory high school. Students benefit from Advanced Placement and Honors courses, as well as Career Academy courses that provide pathways in technology, science, engineering, law, and communication arts. Collegiate has a high graduation and college acceptance rates.


Friendship Southeast Elementary Academy: Grades Pre-school to 5th

Principal: Joseph Speight

Address: 645 Milwaukee Place SE, Washington, DC 20032

Phone: (202) 562-1980


Friendship Southeast Elementary Academy sets students on the path to academic excellence. Through high-quality academic instruction in a learning community, students benefit from innovative, research-based classroom instruction, 21st-century technology, and an exceptional team of caring educators.


Friendship Technology Preparatory Academy: Grades 6th to 12th

High School Principal: Doranna Tindle

Middle School Principal: Patrick Pope

Address: 2705 Martin Luther King Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20032

Phone: (202) 552-5700


Friendship Technology Preparatory Academy is a college preparatory middle and high school. Students benefit from Advanced Placement and Honors courses, as well as Career Academy courses that provide pathways in technology, science, engineering, law, and communication arts. Tech Prep has a high graduation and college acceptance rates.


Friendship Woodridge International Elementary & Middle: Grades Pre-school to 8th

Lead Principal: Rictor Craig

Address: 2959 Carlton Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20018

Phone: (202) 635-6500


Friendship Woodridge International Elementary focuses on creating an International Baccalaureate experience. We provide scholars with educational experiences for their futures to prepare as global citizens. Woodridge offers students opportunities to explore world cultures while building foundational skills to attend and complete college and beyond.


Friendship Woodridge International Middle focuses on creating an International Baccalaureate experience. We provide scholars with educational experiences for their futures to prepare as global citizens. Woodridge offers students opportunities to explore world cultures while building foundational skills to attend and complete college and beyond.


Friendship Online: Grades kindergarten – 8th

Address: 1351 Nicholson Street NW, Washington, DC 20011

Phone: (866) 339- 8742

Website: http://fpcso.k12.com/


Friendship Online provides individualized learning approaches for students to succeed–in school and beyond. The key to our online school is the combination of individualized learning and flexible scheduling, delivered through individualized curriculum, experienced certified teachers, online planning and assessment tools, and supportive school community.


Should Lowest-Performing D.C. Public Schools Become Charters?

In a recent article in the Washington Post, reporter Michael Alison Chandler shared a policy report by Progressive Policy Institute. The report focuses on public schools becoming a charters as a strategy to change low-performing schools to high-performers. (see article and report links below)

If Chancellor Kaya Henderson has her way, she would like charters to be the tool to turn around low-performing D.C. public schools. Charters have autonomy to create programs to meet students’ needs and make adjustments as need to produce successful scholars.

“If the chancellor would like to have more flexibility, it does not mean that all of a sudden schools will become charter schools, nor should they,” said. D.C. Council member David Grosso, chairman of the education committee.

Share your thoughts.



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