History and Campus Development
The Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys was organized in 2006 as the Episcopal Diocese of Washington's response to the serious educational challenges facing African American boys in the low-income communities east of the Anacostia River. The school, named in honor of the first African American bishop of the diocese, is a tuition-free independent school rooted in the traditions of Episcopal education, current research on boys' social and intellectual development, a progressive educational approach, and the educational philosophy of Bishop Walker.
The Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys formally opened in 2008 with a single class of 13 four-year-olds and a staff consisting of three classroom teachers and an administrator, Reverend Kwasi Thornell, who also served as Chaplain. The school was located in the basement of St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Anacostia. In 2009, the school hired a Head of School, Angela G. Garcia, and promoted the Director of External Operations, James R. Woody, to Executive Director. The school currently serves 85 students in grades K–5.
In 2010, after completing a $2.8 million renovation of the Church of the Holy Communion in Congress Heights, the school moved to 3640 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE and continued to expand its program and add a grade each year until 2016.
In the fall of 2013, the Bishop John T. Walker School opened a second site for the 3rd-6th grades. Located at 2683 Douglass Road SE, the site was a temporary location for the upper primary grades. In 2012, the board of the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) chose the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys as its preferred partner to provide education to boys on their campus. THEARC owns the building, and BWS occupies the space under a long-term lease agreement. The new space, at 1801 Mississippi Ave SE, opened on January 8, 2018, and was built to the school's exact specifications and customized for the boys' educational needs. THEARC is comprised of three buildings, a farm, and a playground that sit on 16.5 acres. This community center provides world-class services to the east of the Anacostia River community in Washington, DC. Through a collaboration of partner organizations, THEARC provides access to high quality educational, health, cultural, recreation, and social service programs. This unique setting enables BWS students to enjoy the wide array of resources available, including a gymnasium, a state-of-the-art theater, the Levine School of Music, the Washington Ballet, and Children's National Medical Center.