Thank You for Helping to Keep Students Learning and Well


This message was shared with DCPS families and staff on December 1, 2023.

Dear DC Public Schools (DCPS) Community, 

I hope you enjoyed a meaningful Thanksgiving break with loved ones and friends. As we enter the final month of 2023, I want to express gratitude for your help ensuring our community stays healthy through the holiday season.

Students receiving their required immunizations is foundational to providing every scholar with access to joyful learning experiences. We know vaccines are the best defense against the most serious infectious diseases, and they help keep our young people where they belong—in school and in the classroom.

As Mayor Bowser said, “By making sure our children are up to date on their immunizations, we can all do our part to keep our schools safe, healthy places of learning.” The District’s commitment to students’ health is why DCPS will enforce DC Health immunization requirements beginning on December 4. Please see below for more information and resources, support is available.

Continue reading for highlights from this year’s time-honored Turkey and Gravy Bowl championship games, a special visit to the White House, and learning brought to life through poetry.

Thank you for helping to protect our school communities.

Today’s word count – 1,299 words, a 10-minute read. 

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

Crimson Tide Victorious 🏈

After breaking a 7-7 tie, the Dunbar High School Crimson Tide went on to clinch the championship against Ballou High School Knights with a final score of 28 to 7. And Coolidge High School’s triumph over Anacostia High School in the Gravy Bowl advances the Colts into the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCIAA) Stars Division next season. Congratulations to all our student-athletes, coaches, and athletics staff for two exhilarating matchups!

Amplifying Student Voice Through Poetry  💭

Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School and Benjamin Banneker High School scholars recite original poetry and unleash rhymes for their families and teachers at the Planet Word Museum downtown. Working with award-winning poet Joseph Green, students made the audience laugh, cry, and contemplate the power of choice, voice, and the life you want to live. This DCPS Cornerstone experience culminates the 10th grade narrative poetry unit.

“We were inseparable, never one without the other…” 

– Elvira, Phelps ACE HS Student 

Student Journalists Cover the 76th Annual National Turkey Pardoning 🦃

At special invitation, the Eliot-Hine Middle School Network (EHN) attended the White House Pardoning of the National Turkey ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Students spoke with the President and wished him a happy birthday, congratulated the two happily fated turkeys: Liberty and Bell, and experienced the excitement of this national tradition. Watch EHN video coverage of the occasion!

EdFEST Is Upon Us!  🏫

Start your SY24-25 school selection journey by researching the joyful and rigorous learning experiences throughout DCPS. Please note that every student can re-enroll at their current school and their in-boundary and feeder schools. To learn about additional options, join DCPS at EdFEST before the My School DC SY24-25 lottery application opens on December 11. See the dates below.

  • Grades PK3 – 8: Saturday, December 2, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., DC Armory (register here)
  • Grades 9 – 12 Saturday, December 9, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Eastern High School (register here)

Immunization Exclusion Begins December 4 ⚕️

DCPS is committed to ensuring that our school communities remain safe and healthy for all students, teachers, and staff. This includes making sure that scholars are fully immunized against infectious diseases, as mandated by DC Health immunization requirementsAfter December 4, students in the following grades will not be permitted to remain in school without complete immunization documentation:

  • PK3
  • Kindergarten
  • 7th Grade
  • 11th Grade

Families should contact their healthcare provider or visit to make a vaccination appointment.

Resources for Students Experiencing Housing Instability 🏠

Every student has the right to a quality education, every day—regardless of their housing status. The Families and Youth in Transition program provides free services and support to DCPS families and students who are in temporary housing, doubled-up, or in a shelter. Visit to learn more about the supports and community resources available to DCPS students.

Join a Boundary Study Town Hall 💬

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education will host three town hall meetings next week to collect feedback about potential changes to the DCPS boundary and feeder patterns. Register here for the following dates:

  • Tuesday, December 12, 6 – 8 p.m. at Anacostia High School 
  • Wednesday, December 13, 6 – 8 p.m. via Zoom 
  • Thursday, December 14, 12 – 2 p.m. via Zoom 

DCPS Forever Spotlight 📅

School Year 2023-2024 calendars are available for pickup at your school. The calendar includes stories from students, staff, parents, families, and alumni who embody this year’s theme: DCPS Forever.

Ms. Cauley helps a student during their math lesson.

December’s calendar feature is Ms. Jewel Cauley, valedictorian alumna of Anacostia High School and teacher at Stanton Elementary School. “To see my students show and explain their work—it makes me happy. I can see they’re trying their best and working hard. Just seeing their growth and development is what I love most about my job.”  

DCPS Happenings 📰

  • DC+XQ High School Thinks Global to Act Local🌏Coolidge HS centers UN Sustainable Development Goals in school redesign. Read at Getting Smart.
  • Teen Authors Prepare to Share Stories with Younger Students 📚: An afterschool mentorship program helps students become published authors. Read at Washington Post
  • Dunbar HS Reigns Supreme 🏈: Dunbar HS Crimson Tide beats out Ballou HS Knights in 53rd Annual Turkey Bowl. Read at Washington Post
  • Coolidge HS Aimed for the Stars ⭐: Colts move into the DCIAA Stars division following second consecutive Gravy Bowl victory. Read at Washington Post

Top Social Posts ❤️

Tony Award winner Myles Frost gives Deal Middle School actors an opening night pep talk.

Tyler Elementary School celebrates Future Teachers of America Day with aspiring educators.

Ron Brown College Preparatory High School’s Mass Media Department hosts a night of art and fellowship.

Students at Whittier ES share what they’re grateful for ahead of Thanksgiving Break. 

Ida B. Wells Middle School celebrates its big win at the DC SCORES championship game.

Important Upcoming Dates 📆

  • Early December: Report cards mailed home
  • December 1: 2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application opens
  • December 2: EdFEST (Grades PK3 – 8*), 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Register here)*
  • December 4: Immunization exclusion begins for grades PK3, K, 7, 11
  • December 9: EdFEST (Grades 9 – 12*), 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Register here)*
  • December 11: My School DC lottery application opens
  • December 12: DME Boundary Study Town Hall Session, 6 – 8 p.m. (Register here)
  • December 13: DME Boundary Study Town Hall Session, 6 – 8 p.m. (Register here)
  • December 14: DME Boundary Study Town Hall Session, 12 – 2 p.m. (Register here)
  • December 22 – 29: Holiday Break (No school for students)
  • December 25: Christmas Day (No school for students, DCPS closed)
  • January 1: New Year’s Day (No school for students, DCPS closed)
  • January 2: Professional Development Day for Staff (No school for students)

*Please note the change in dates and grade bands from the printed and digital versions of the DCPS Calendar.

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