At the 770-student Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Southeast D.C., swimming is not just recreation, it’s a requirement. The pre-K through third grade school on Wheeler Road has a pool and several swimming instructors.
On any morning around 9:30, you’ll see second and third graders going through their practice drills because the founder and director of Eagle Academy, Cassandra Pinkney, is determined. She said back when she attended Howard University, learning to swim was a requirement for graduation. Though Howard’s since dropped that requirement, Pinkney thought it was a great idea and brought it to her school.
“Every student in this school will swim when they leave Eagle Academy,” said Pinkney, “and we have started by phasing in starting with our third graders, the second graders and we’ll move down to our pre-K.”
She wants the African American children who make up her student body to go against the grain.