Happy Holidays from DC Public Schools!

From the Chancellor

This message was sent to DCPS families from Chancellor Ferebee on December 22, 2022.

Dear DCPS Families,

As we wrap up the 2022 calendar year, I wanted to take this moment to look back on some highlights from across DC Public Schools over the past 12 months. Thank you for making the first part of this school year a success. Together, we are continuing our mission to ensure that every student feels loved and prepared to positively influence their community and thrive in life.

Literacy at DCPS remains strong! Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data indicate that students in grades 4 and 8 maintained achievement gains in reading. This is a testament that the district’s investment in early literacy is working.

2,062 4-year graduates (72.5%!) meet DCPS’ standards of excellence in 2022. DCPS will continue to provide support to all students on the path to graduation. This is a nearly 2 percent increase over last year and is the highest point since we revised our rigorous requirements for graduation.

We reached new collective bargaining agreements with the Washington Teachers’ Union and the Council of School Officers, ensuring our educators and school leaders are recognized with higher compensation and stronger benefits for the incredible work they do.

DCPS enrollment  surpasses 50,000 students. Up from 49,035 students in the 2021-2022 School Year. This is the highest number of enrolled students reported in three years.

Ready for Pre-K! launches! This new initiative is dedicated to helping parents and caregivers of two-year-olds support their child’s development and learning at home. They’re a powerful resource with original videos, family events, and materials for our youngest learners.

A bold approach to the Science of Reading. Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and 2nd Grade students are using a new curriculum resource to support early literacy. The Readers Next Door series is largely written and illustrated by DCPS educators and created exclusively for DCPS students.

DCPS and the XQ Initiative to launch DC+XQ, a districtwide, multi-year, community-driven redesign process, to ensure that all DCPS high school students are prepared to succeed in college, career, and in life.

Connected Schools expanded, allowing schools to be a hub where community-based organizations provide access to resources for students’ academic, economic, social-emotional, and physiological needs. Since the program started in 2019, DCPS has partnered with more than 200 organizations to engage almost 2,500 individuals.

Our students are the heartbeat of DCPS, and you — our families — are what makes this school community so special. I hope you take time to relax, recharge, and reconnect with friends and family over Winter Break. Don’t forget to pick up a COVID-19 test kit from your school this week and report your test results to support a safe return in January.

Happy Holidays! I look forward to what we’ll accomplish together in 2023.

Lewis D. Ferebee, Ed.D.  

Duke Ellington Student Paints the Second Family’s Holiday Card ⛄Last month, 15-year-old Duke Ellington School of the Arts student Alex Berko was invited to a Zoom meeting. He was suddenly face-to-face with Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff. It turns out an original piece of artwork he created was selected as the official design for the Second Family’s holiday card! Alex was even recently invited to the Vice President’s residence to receive a special thank you in person.

Schools Celebrate Winter Holidays ❄️
Holiday celebrations are also in full swing across our schools. Dunbar High School had a Kwanzaa pop-up shop of goods made by school students and staff, and Ida B. Wells Middle School hosted a Winter Wonderland Dance. Charles Hart Middle School had a Winter extravaganza for students and families, and Eastern High School, as well as elementary schools across Ward 4, hosted holiday markets for their neighborhoods to enjoy. Wheatley Education CampusTyler ElementaryPayne Elementary School, and Takoma Elementary School were among the dozens of schools who held winter concerts featuring student performances. Culinary arts students from across DCPS participated in an omelet-making competition, as part of an annual holiday event with Destination DC and the American Experience Foundation, and over 1,000 students joined the Washington Ballet for a performance of the Nutcracker.
Free Teen Activities for Winter Break 🎮
The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will offer “Teen Break Time” to provide youth with fun, engaging activities from December 23 – December 30. Programming includes Teen Open Rec nights, a roller skate party, ice skating nights, recording studio sessions, swimming, and more. Visit TeenBreakTime.splashthat.com to find a fun opportunity near you!
Community Service Opportunities for Grades 9-12 🙏
The District of Columbia’s Community Service Requirement aims to equip students with the necessary skills for career and educational advancement and encourages them to take active roles as leaders in their communities. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will soon be releasing Emergency and Proposed Regulations requirements around community service – mandating students who graduate in 2023 to complete a minimum of 12 community service hours. To learn more OSSE’s new regulations and for a list of approved community service opportunities, visit dcps.dc.gov/community-service.