Open main menu

Joel Elias Spingarn High School was a public high school located in the District of Columbia. The school is named after Joel Elias Spingarn (1875–1939) an American educator and literary critic who established (1913) the Spingarn Medal, awarded annually for outstanding achievement by an African American.

Joel Elias Spingarn Senior High School
SpingarnHS DC.jpg
Spingarn Senior High School located in the Carver Langston neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
2500 Benning Road Northeast[1]


United States
School typePublic high school
School districtDistrict of Columbia Public Schools Ward 5
PrincipalGary Washington
Faculty43.0 (on FTE basis)[2]
Grades9 to 12
Enrollment538 (as of 2009-10)[2]
Student to teacher ratio12.51[2]
Campus typeUrban
Color(s)     Green
     Vegas Gold
MascotMight Green Wave

The District of Columbia Public Schools announced on November 13, 2012 that Spingarn High School would be closing along with other schools in the city. [3]

As of 2013 students living in the Spingarn attendance boundary may go to Dunbar High School, Eastern High School, or H.D. Woodson High School.[4]



Spingarn High School opened its doors in 1952, as a new and modern segregated High School for African American Students. The High School was the last segregated high school built in Washington, DC, just two years before the U.S. Supreme Court ended school segregation. Spingarn was considered one of the top black schools in the District.[5]

Dr. Purvis J. Wiliams was the first principal at Spingarn High School and served until 1971.[6]

Woodson Junior High School students were housed in Spingarn High School from 1962-1963.[7]


Spingarn High School has one of DC's most impressive basketball histories and has produced well known players such as Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing and Sherman Douglass. Spingarn has played in more City Title games than all but one DC Public School and won in 1961, 1980, 1985 and 2000. The High School has also played in nine DCIAA title games and won consecutively for three years between 2000 and 2003.[8]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ "GNIS entry for Spingarn Senior High School". USGS. January 16, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c "National Center for Education Statistics". Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  3. ^ Kennedy, Suzanne (November 13, 2012). "LIST: 20 D.C. schools to be closed". Allbritton Communications Company. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  4. ^ "Attendance Zones for Neighborhood High Schools S.Y. 2013-2014" (Archive). District of Columbia Public Schools. Retrieved on April 14, 2015.
  5. ^ "Spingarn High Students, Alums Brace For School's Closure". WAMU. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  6. ^ "Dr. Purvis J. Williams honored at Spingarn High School". The Washington Afro-American. January 24, 2004.
  7. ^ DC Public Schools "Public School Buildings-Past and Present" MS, revised June 1972 retrieved from Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives
  8. ^ "Spingarn High's Title Wave Running Dry". Washington Post. January 23, 2004.

External linksEdit