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Coolidge Senior High School (Washington, D.C.)

Calvin Coolidge High School is a public high school of the District of Columbia Public Schools system located in the Takoma neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C.

Calvin Coolidge Senior High School
CoolidgeHS DC.jpg
Coolidge Senior High School
Calvin Coolidge Senior High School is located in the District of Columbia
Calvin Coolidge Senior High School
Calvin Coolidge Senior High School
Calvin Coolidge Senior High School is located in the United States
Calvin Coolidge Senior High School
Calvin Coolidge Senior High School
6315 Fifth Street Northwest[1]


United States
Coordinates38°58′02″N 77°01′09″W / 38.96722°N 77.01917°W / 38.96722; -77.01917
School typePublic high school
EstablishedSeptember 23, 1940; 79 years ago (1940-09-23)[2]
School districtDistrict of Columbia Public Schools
Faculty51.0 FTE[4]
Grades9 to 12[3]
Enrollment384 (2015-16)[5]
Student to teacher ratio11.39[4]
Campus typeUrban
Color(s)                 Black White Gray Orange
Feeder schoolsLaSalle-Backus Education Campus, Takoma Education Campus, and Whittier Education Campus[3]


Coolidge High School offers Advanced Placement courses in science, English, math, and history.[6] It has an art room, a media center, a computer lab, and a science lab.[3]

According to the 2011 District of Columbia's Comprehensive Assessment System, 32% of students met or exceeded math standards, and 42% of students met or exceeded reading standards.[7] In 2010, the school's graduation rate was 95%, and 47% of graduating students registered at a college or university in the following fall semester.[7]


The school's athletic teams are named the Colts.[8] Coolidge was the first high school in the District to require physical education classes five period per week.[9] Because the school was so new, it could not organize any athletic teams in time for the 1939–1940 school year, but it did have teams organized for the 1940–1941 school year.[10] In December 1940, The Colts' first basketball game was played against Woodward Prep.[11] Because the delivery of its basketball hoops was delayed, the game was played at a local Y.M.C.A.[12] Coached by the former head coach of Anacostia High School, Julian Colangelo,[13] Coolidge beat Woodward Prep, 42 to 19.[14] Coolidge also won its second-ever basketball game, winning an away game against Briarley Military Academy by a score of 25 to 17.[15] Coolidge's third basketball game was the first game played in its own gymnasium; it was a 19-to-12 win against Anacostia High School.[16]

The Colts first baseball team played its first game in April 1941, playing against Briarley Military Academy.[17] Coolidge lost the game 13 to 7 after committing six errors and walking nine batters.[17]

Coolidge's football team, coached by Sherman Rees and Gil Roberts, began playing in September 1941.[18] Coolidge lost its first game 27 to 0 against John Handley High School.[19] Coolidge played its second football game, and its first home game, against National Training School. Coolidge won the game 7 to 6.[20]

The 1946–1947 school year was particularly successful at Coolidge, with the school's baseball, basketball, football, golf, rifle, and archery teams all bringing in District championships that year.[21]

After years without a stadium, the District's Board of Education and the District's Board of Commissioners approved construction of a stadium behind the school at Third and Sheridan streets in 1945.[22] The land was owned by the federal government.[23] Coolidge did not want to build a stadium on federally owned land so it would not have to share ticket revenue with the federal government.[23] The federal government ended up giving the land to the District Board of Education, allowing Coolidge to continue plans for a 10,000-seat stadium, football and baseball field, and a quarter-mile track.[24] President Harry Truman cut the stadium's construction from the District's 1952 budget in order to keep the District's budget balanced.[25] The District's Board of Commissioners approved a 1955 budget that included Coolidge's stadium.[26] Congress ended up appropriating funds for the stadium's construction in the 1955 budget.[27]

In 2007, Coolidge opened its new football field, including a digital scoreboard, a press box, and a new public-address system.[28]

In 2010, Coolidge hired Natalie Randolph as its football coach, making her the only female head football coach in the nation.[29] Randolph had previously played wide receiver for the D.C. Divas women's professional football team.[30] Randolph also teaches environmental sciences.[31]


Coolidge High School had 547 students enrolled during the 2011–2012 school year.[7] Of these students, 87 percent were black, 12 percent were Hispanic/Latino, and 1 percent were white. [7]


In order to relieve crowding at Roosevelt High School, Superintendent Frank W. Ballou proposed building a new high school for students living in Manor Park and Takoma Park.[32] Dr. Ballou suggested that the new high school should be built at Fifth and Sheridan streets NW,[32] on property that the District of Columbia had purchased five years earlier[33] and across the street from Whittier School, which had been built in 1925.[34]

Temporarily named Northern Senior High School,[35] the building of the school was supported by many Takoma Park, Manor Park, Chillum Heights, and Sixteenth Street Heights residents and North Dakota Senator Lynn Frazier.[33][36] The finance committee of the Board of Education approved the plan soon after Dr. Ballou's recommendation.[37] The House of Representatives originally appropriated $450,000 for the building of the school,[38] but a Senate subcommittee reduced the appropriation to $350,000, despite protests by Senator Frazier.[39]

In 1937, the question of a permanent name for the school was raised.[40] The Manor Park Citizens Association and the Brightwood Citizens Association wanted to name the school for Calvin Coolidge, the only former president without a school named after him.[40] Other residents favored using the name Northern High School because it would fit in with existing schools named Eastern, Western, and Central.[40] Those favoring Coolidge won out.[41]

The Board of Education planned to build a two-story brick school with a flat roof.[41] Local citizens associations said the planned school would look like a factory.[41] They preferred a colonial style similar to that of nearby Roosevelt High School.[41] The Manor Park Citizens Association held firm, and the plans were modified to include three stories, a pitched roof, and a cupola.[42][43] Architect Nathan C. Wyeth changed the design to a modern Georgian style.[44]

Jeffress-Dryer Inc. won the bid to build the school, and construction began in 1938.[45] The original plans called for one boys' gymnasium and one girls' gymnasium.[45] Because two gymnasiums could not be afforded with the funds appropriated by Congress, the girls' gymnasium was eliminated from the plans.[45] After the Takoma Park Citizens Association petitioned Congress,[46] the District's Board of Commissioners agreed to appropriate an additional $16,000 in order to build the girls' gymnasium.[47] Construction was completed in February 1940,[2] at a cost of $1,500,000.[48]

Coolidge opened its doors on September 23, 1940.[2] Its first principal was Thomas J. Holmes, previously the assistant principal of Eastern High School.[2] Holmes did not end up completing his first year as principal, as he took a leave of absence to serve as an officer at Fort Meade in April 1941.[49] During its first school year, Coolidge had 31 teachers,[2] 750 students enrolled, and a capacity of 1,801.[50]


  1. ^ GNIS entry for Calvin Coolidge Senior High School; USGS; December 31, 1981.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Coolidge High Opens Sept. 23: 750 Students Will Enter New School When Term Begins". The Washington Post. August 25, 1940. p. A11.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Coolidge High School". District of Columbia Public Schools. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Coolidge Senior High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Archived by WebCite. Archived from the original on May 28, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2012.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "Coolidge HS". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  6. ^ "Academics". Calvin Coolidge Senior High School. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d "2011-12 School Scorecard: Coolidge High School" (PDF). District of Columbia Public Schools.
  8. ^ "Colts Boast Margin in Practice". The Washington Post. April 15, 1942. p. 26.
  9. ^ "Draft Registry Aid Mapped by D.C. Schools". The Washington Post. September 12, 1940. p. 17.
  10. ^ Burnett, Bill (December 21, 1939). "New School Opening Now Set for Fall". The Washington Post. p. 25.
  11. ^ "Schoolboys Face Eight Games Today". The Washington Post. December 17, 1940. p. 24.
  12. ^ "Schoolboy Basketball in Comeback Today". The Washington Post. January 3, 1941. p. 21.
  13. ^ "Anacostia High Post May Go To Skip Lehr". The Washington Post. September 20, 1940. p. 25.
  14. ^ "Coolidge High Wins First Game of Career". The Washington Post. January 4, 1941. p. 14.
  15. ^ "Coolidge Quint Trips Briarly By 25-17 Count". The Washington Post. January 8, 1941. p. 17.
  16. ^ "Coolidge Wins, 19-12, Over Anacostia". The Washington Post. January 15, 1941. p. 22.
  17. ^ a b "Briarley Nine 13-7 Winner Over Coolidge". The Washington Post. April 16, 1941. p. 25.
  18. ^ "Eastern Game at Episcopal Tops Schedule". The Washington Post. September 27, 1941. p. 23.
  19. ^ "Handley Routs Coolidge High 27-0 in Opener". The Washington Post. September 28, 1941. p. SP8.
  20. ^ "Coolidge Gains First Football Victory, 7 to 6". The Washington Post. October 4, 1941. p. 19.
  21. ^ Heft, Herb (June 19, 1947). "Colts Lose But Only by Graduations". The Washington Post. p. 19.
  22. ^ "Coolidge Stadium Plans Tangled in Government Tape". The Washington Post. October 25, 1945. p. 13.
  23. ^ a b "Land Swap for Coolidge Stadium Urged". The Washington Post. April 6, 1950. p. 20.
  24. ^ "Recreation Cedes Land to Coolidge". The Washington Post. May 4, 1950. p. 19.
  25. ^ "1952 D.C. Budget $16 Million Above Figure for 1951". The Washington Post. January 16, 1951. p. B1.
  26. ^ Bassett, Grace (May 20, 1954). "Hill Receives $172 Million D.C. Budget". The Washington Post. p. 1.
  27. ^ "D.C. School Budget Gets Quick Study". The Washington Post. May 22, 1954. p. 21.
  28. ^ McKenna, Dave (September 28, 2007). "Outside the Lines: Coolidge Senior High Gets a New Field and New Hope". Washington City Paper.
  29. ^ "DC High School Hires Female Football Coach". Sentinel. Los Angeles, California. March 18, 2010. p. B2.
  30. ^ Goldenbach, Alan (March 11, 2010). "'Diva' Has a New Job Description: Head Coast, High School Football". The Washington Post. p. A1.
  31. ^ DiPerna, Jody (November 25, 2010). "Natalie Randolph Completes Her Inaugural Season". Washington Informer. p. 28.
  32. ^ a b "Ballou Maps Building Plan For Schools". The Washington Post. January 3, 1936. p. 13.
  33. ^ a b "Citizens of Northwest Seek $450,000 for New School". The Washington Post. June 12, 1937. p. 13.
  34. ^ "Manor Park School Project Under Way". The Washington Post. September 30, 1925. p. 12.
  35. ^ "Houck Will Present Cup To Commander Malloy". The Washington Post. March 15, 1936. p. F6.
  36. ^ Secrest, James D. (April 5, 1936). "Traffic Action Slated as Rider On Budget Bill". The Washington Post.
  37. ^ "2 Night Schools To Close; Low Funds Blamed". The Washington Post. February 28, 1936. p. 17.
  38. ^ "District Supply Bill Provides For 54 New School Teachers". The Washington Post. March 31, 1937. p. 5.
  39. ^ Secrest, James D. (June 9, 1937). "D.C. Heads Back Senate Supply Bill". The Washington Post. p. 1.
  40. ^ a b c "Debate Raging Over Names of Schools-to-Be". The Washington Post. November 14, 1937. p. 16.
  41. ^ a b c d "Citizen Groups Protest Plans Of New School". The Washington Post. December 22, 1937. p. 34.
  42. ^ "Manor Citizens Urge Funds for P.U.C. Studies". The Washington Post. January 4, 1938. p. X13.
  43. ^ "Coolidge School's Low Bid Is More Than Authorized". The Washington Post. September 14, 1938. p. X17.
  44. ^ "Coolidge High Plan Approved By Arts Group: Georgian Type of Building Will Be Erected in Takoma Park". The Washington Post. January 15, 1938. p. X15.
  45. ^ a b c "$1,326,950 High School Contract Let". The Washington Post. September 25, 1938. p. 11.
  46. ^ "Takoma Park, DC". The Washington Post. January 3, 1940. p. 13.
  47. ^ "District's Extensive School Building Program Nears Completion". January 24, 1940. p. 12.
  48. ^ "80,000 Will Return To District Schools". The Washington Post. September 22, 1940. p. 14.
  49. ^ "Recreation Board Plan Approved". The Washington Post. April 3, 1941. p. 17.
  50. ^ Giddens, Lucia (March 4, 1941). "Calvin Coolidge High School To Be Dedicated Tonight". The Washington Post. p. 12.

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