DCPS History Is Black History


This message was shared with DCPS families and staff on February 28, 2024.

Dear DC Public Schools (DCPS) Community, 

February is a critical midway point in the school year: each day gets a little more sunlight, and importantly, it’s Black History Month

I recently attended Roosevelt High School’s “202 Day”—a celebration promoting student belonging, highlighting DC culture, and showcasing local Black-owned businesses. Ward 4’s Roosevelt Rough Riders exemplify what it means when we say, “Black history is DC history,” and this spirit echoes throughout our schools across all eight wards.

  • Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, the nation’s first public high school for Black students, empowered students to learn about the Afro-Brazilian cultural practice of Capoeira.  
  • Murch Elementary School read alongside historic Black Greek Letter Organizations within the Divine Nine. 
  • LaSalle-Backus Elementary School honored the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) with a schoolwide #Blackout day. 

While February is a special time to pay tribute to Black history, I am grateful to youour DCPS community—for working to ensure that culturally affirming spaces and learning experiences are the norm for our students every day. For more DCPS Black history, follow along with our social media trivia on X

February is also Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month! Read below to pick up how learning about money matters seeds entrepreneurship, how our students are hitting it out of the park, and how we’re supporting some of the District’s youngest learners.

Today’s word count – 1,114 words, a 7-minute read.

In partnership,      
Lewis D. Ferebee, Ed.D.      
Chancellor, DC Public Schools

Scholars Tackle Finance and Start-ups 💰

Financial literacy and entrepreneurship take center stage at Cardozo Education Campus. As part of the high school’s XQ redesign work, Learning Lab Fridays brings hands-on activities about managing money, establishing credit, and starting a business to the classroom. Instruction focuses on real-world examples and concepts that reflect students’ expressed interests. Watch the PBS NewsHour episode to learn more! 

Students Shadow Staff at Nats Park for CTE Month ⚾️

NAF Career Academy students trailed the Washington Nationals’ front office team for the inaugural Job Shadow Day. For students studying hospitality and tourism, NatsPrep helps ensure scholars are prepared for what’s next by providing in-depth course learning, experiential seminars, and summer internships in sports and hospitality. 

“I’m hopeful that we’ll have more people of color in leadership in professional sports, and that starts with exposure.”

—DCPS Chancellor, Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee

New Early Stages Center Models Equity in Action 🧸

DCPS recently celebrated the opening of a new Early Stages Evaluation Center co-located at Ron Brown Preparatory High School. Chancellor Ferebee joined city leaders, community partners, and Early Stages mascot, Doodlebug, to tour the new state-of-the-art facility. Early Stages works with families to identify, understand, and navigate developmental and learning needs in children ages 2 years 8 months to 5 years 10 months. Review the center’s free services by visiting earlystagesdc.org

Apply by March 1 for PK3 – 8! 🏫

The deadline to complete the My School DC Lottery Application for grades PK3 – 8 for School Year 2024-2025 is Friday, March 1. For more information about the lottery, visit myschooldc.org

Stay Busy with a Summer Job: Apply by March 6 ☀️

The Marion Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP) equips DC’s young people ages 14 to 24 with the skills and exposure needed to succeed in today’s working world. Participants earn money and gain meaningful public or private sector experience. Visit summerjobs.dc.gov to apply by Wednesday, March 6. 

Learn About Your School’s Budget ✏️

Initial school budget allocations for the next fiscal year have been released. “The FY 2025 DC Public Schools budget reflects our approach to budgeting this year: very tough choices balanced by an unwavering commitment to our DC values,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. Explore the DCPS Pocket Budget Guide and review budgets at dcpsbudget.com. 

DCPS Happenings 📰

  • Celebrating Black History Month ✊🏾: Roosevelt High School kicked off Black History Month with a “202 Day” panel, pop-up shop, and performance. Watch on WUSA9.  
  • Promoting Presenteeism 📓: Kramer Middle School dropped its truancy rate by 60% in three years by asking students what opportunities they needed. Read at NBCWashington
  • Equitable School Access 🎓: New report shows equitable access benefits at-risk students and significantly changed enrollment patterns for some schools. Read at WUSA9
  • Turning Pain into Purpose 🖼️: Duke Ellington School of Arts student exhibition explores resiliency and the impact of gun violence. Read at DCNewsNow
  • Deanwood’s Future Surgeon 🩺: Ron Brown College Preparatory High School senior raises awareness of health issues impacting the Black community. Read at NBCWashington

Top Social Posts ❤️

Seaton Elementary School scholars dance, sing, and learn how music grows their brains!

John Lewis Elementary School 4th Graders celebrate Black History Month by researching Black changemakers.

Shirley Chisholm Elementary School (formerly Tyler ES) receives a visit and paper marbling lesson from the Japanese Embassy. 

Wheatley Education Campus shows up and out for its 100th day of school!

Hart Middle School hosts hundreds of DC students for the Washington Urban Debate tournament.

Important Upcoming Dates 📆

  • Late February: Reports cards mailed home 
  • March 1: My School DC Lottery Application Deadline (Grades PK3 – 8)  
  • March 14: Parent-Teacher Conference Day (No school for students) 
  • March 15: No school for students and teachers 
  • March 17: St. Patrick’s Day 
  • March 29: My School DC Lottery Results Released, DCPS Re-enrollment Begins 
  • March 29: Good Friday 
  • March 31: Easter 

View the full DCPS School Year 2023-2024 Calendar online.