Happy Holidays, DCPS!


This message was shared with DCPS families and staff on December 22, 2023.

Dear DC Public Schools (DCPS) Community, 

As we prepare to ring in the new year, I want to say thank you to our students, educators, staff, and families for bringing so many special moments to life throughout 2023. And during this final month, it was a joy to witness schools really getting into the holiday spirit! 

John Burroughs Elementary School’s scholars sang loud and proudDunbar High School ushered in the holiday season with a door decorating contest, and Eastern High School hosted its 11th annual Holiday Market! Across the district, I am proud of how our schools are using their creativity to engage students in learning experiences that honor our community and celebrate this merry season. 

2024 is almost upon us, and it meant so much for me to take a look back at the last year and reflect on my top 10 moments from 2023. As we look forward to another year of making history across DCPS, please take time over Winter Break to gather and rejoice with loved ones and think about your own favorite memories. 

Read further to discover how DCPS celebrated Paddington Bear’s 65th Anniversary, what attendance champions eat for lunch, and where some students and I found the best hot chocolate in DC. 

Today’s word count – 949 words, an 8-minute read.

Happy holidays, DCPS! 

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

Paddington Bear Turns 65 🧸

British Ambassador to the United States Dame Karen Pierce and the Secretary of the District of Columbia Kimberly Bassett joined Mayor Bowser, Chancellor Ferebee, and the students at Dorothy I. Height Elementary School for a special reading of Paddington. To celebrate the beloved character’s 65th anniversary, global citizenship, and the joy of reading, British diplomats delivered more than 2,500 copies of Paddington to students at 10 DCPS schools across all 8 wards.

  • Dorothy I. Height Elementary School
  • Eaton Elementary School
  • H.D. Cooke Elementary School
  • Hendley Elementary School
  • Ketcham Elementary School
  • Malcolm X Elementary School
  • Maury Elementary School
  • Noyes Elementary School
  • Thomson Elementary School
  • School-Within-School @ Goding

Mayor Bowser Encourages Attendance  🍕

Strong attendance supports a student’s ability to learn and build relationships at school. To recognize attendance improvements across all grades—including 100% of scholars meeting vaccination requirements to stay in school—Mayor Bowser, Chancellor Ferebee, and city leaders celebrated students and staff at Kramer Middle School with a school-wide pizza party. To students and families across DCPS making the effort to attend school every day—keep up the good work! #EveryDayCounts

VPOTUS Hosts Students for Holiday Celebration ☃️

To ring in the holiday season, Chancellor Ferebee along with school leaders and scholars from all eight wards visited the Residence of the Vice President of the United States for a morning of holiday festivities with Vice President Harris and Second Gentleman Emhoff. To celebrate the season, students decorated ornaments, sang carols and drank the tastiest hot chocolate in DC!

  • Excel Academy
  • Hearst Elementary School
  • J.O. Wilson Elementary School
  • LaSalle-Backus Elementary School
  • Noyes Elementary School
  • Marie Reed Elementary School
  • Randle Highlands Elementary School
  • Thomson Elementary School

Winter Break & COVID-19 Testing 📅

School is closed for students beginning Friday, December 22, through Tuesday, January 2. We look forward to welcoming students back to school on Wednesday, January 3. To ensure a healthy return to school, every student received two COVID-19 test kits this week. We encourage families to test on January 2, but results do not need to be reported. 

Get #Ready2Play: DPR Supports Students During Break 🥳

Mayor Bowser and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) announced new Winter Break programming for students of all ages. Activities include indoor pool parties, pop-up inflatable parks, esports and athletics, karaoke, teen-specific events, and more.

Apply Now: My School DC Lottery Application 🏫

The My School DC Lottery Application for School Year 2024-2025 is now open! The deadline to apply is February 1 for grades 9 – 12 and March 1 for grades Pre-K – 8. For more information, visit myschooldc.org

Be In the Know About Snow ❄️

If schools open late, dismiss early, or close due to severe winter weather, families will be notified via email and text message. DCPS’ operating status will also be posted online at dcps.dc.gov, on @dcpublicschools social media accounts, and shared with local news outlets. For more information, visit dcps.dc.gov/page/inclement-weather-guidance

DCPS Happenings 📰

  • Spreading Basketball Cheer 🏀: The Washington Wizards surprised students and staff at King Elementary School with a holiday party. Read at ABC7
  • Student Journalist Spotlights Food Insecurity 🗞️: Banneker High School Student prepares for future in journalism and food science. Read at Washington Post
  • British Embassy Donates New Paddington Books 📚: To celebrate Paddington’s 65th anniversary, the British Embassy gifts over 2,500 books to DCPS students. Read at The Mirage.
  • New DCPS and George Washington University Initiative Emphasizes Equity 💼: Current and aspiring school leaders focus on equity-centered leadership. Read at GW Hatchet.

Top Social Posts ❤️

Cardozo Education Campus adds a Culinary Arts program to prepare future culinary business leaders.

Shout-out to all DCPS team members who represented their schools with pride at PK3-8 EdFEST!

Students and staff at Tyler Elementary School enjoyed the musical stylings of U.S. Marine Corps musicians.

DCPS high schools showed up and out at EdFEST for grades 9–12!

Important Upcoming Dates 📆

  • December 22 – 29: Winter Break (No school for students) 
  • December 25: Christmas Day (No school for students, DCPS closed) 
  • December 26: Kwanzaa Begins 
  • January 1: New Year’s Day (No school for students, DCPS closed) 
  • January 2: Professional Development Day for Staff (No school for students) 
  • January 15: Martin Luther King, Kr. Day (No school for students, DCPS closed) 
  • January 26: No school for students (End of Term/PD day/Records Day for staff) 
  • February 1: My School DC Lottery Application Deadline (Grades 9 – 12)
  • March 1: My School DC Lottery Application Deadline (Grades PK3 – 8) 

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