Top 10 DCPS Moments from 2023

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As we prepare to enter a new year, join us in celebrating all that we accomplished for students in 2023. Check out our Top 10 DCPS moments below!


1. POTUS and FLOTUS Surprise Students 🦅

The first day of school is always memorable, and in August, Mayor Bowser and the President and First Lady of the United States surprised students at Eliot-Hine Middle School with a first day they’ll never forget. POTUS and FLOTUS emphasized to scholars the importance of working hard and trusting their teachers. Between handshakes, high fives, and hugs, President Biden told students, “The most important thing in America is you … believe in yourself.”


A GIF showing Mayor Bowser and city leaders cutting the ribbon at Raymond Elementary School.

2. Raymond ES Celebrates Centennial With a New Building 🏫

“This building is 100 years old … some of it you will recognize,” said Mayor Bowser. “But you are also walking into a beautiful new library, kitchen, stand-alone gym, and rock-climbing wall.” Raymond Elementary School students and families started the school year with newly modernized facilities. With a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring remarks by city leaders and student and staff performances, the community cheered through falling confetti. Everybody loves Raymond!


A GIF showing DCPS students in scuba gear under water.

3. Scuba Program Prepares Future Scientists 🤿

This past May, seven Dunbar High School and Roosevelt High School students completed their scuba certification and traveled to the Florida Keys for their first official dive. Through this experience, scholars explored the ocean as well as new career paths: “My first option was nursing, but now … I’m thinking of marine biology,” said one student.


A teacher hypes up a crowd of students.

4. DCPS Kicks off 6th Grade Academies 📣

In August, 11 middle schools launched 6th Grade Academies to support the critical transition from elementary to middle school. Using the 9th Grade Academy model, the initiative focuses on attendance, academic success, and students’ sense of belonging. “As a community, we’re making middle school a memorable experience full of strong relationships and joy-filled learning,” said Chancellor Ferebee at Stuart-Hobson Middle School’s pep rally before joining a volleyball match, relay races, and even tug-of-war.


5. Anacostia HS Gets a Greenhouse 🌱

Spring sprang in March 2023 with Anacostia High School breaking ground on its greenhouse to allow students to continue growing produce for the community. This program exposes students to new career pathways, environmental justice, and life skills: “There are a few careers I’m interested in. This is now one of them,” said one hydroponics student.


A rolling set of images the show Mayor Bowser and Chancellor Ferebee with young students.

6. DCPS Adopts New Pre-K Math Curriculum 🧮

On the first day of Pre-K, Mayor Bowser and city leaders joined Ready for Pre-K DCPS mascot, Scribbles at Smothers Elementary School to launch Building Blocks, the district’s new early childhood math curriculum that will support the development of critical math thinking for our youngest scholars. “We want math to be joyful for kids and for them to get a comfort level as early as possible,” said Mayor Bowser.


Bono and The Edge: Tiny Desk Concert. NPR. March 17, 2023.

7. DCPS Students Are Rockstars 🎙️

Duke Ellington School of the Arts Vocal Music Concert Choir singers performed alongside global music sensation Bono and The Edge in March as part of National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk series. Students helped soften the set, which featured stripped-down versions of some of the band’s biggest hits. To prepare, choir members rehearsed with Bono and The Edge, getting the chance to learn from and practice with world-famous musicians.


An image showing two H.D. Woodson students operating a robot.

8. High School Redesign Expands 💭

In June of 2023, DC+XQ expanded to Coolidge High School, Columbia Heights Educational Campus, H.D. Woodson High School, and Ron Brown College Preparatory High School. Launched in 2022, DC+XQ is a multi-year partnership to redesign the high school experience for young people. “This is a milestone in our ongoing mission to reimagine our schools, empower communities, and equip students with the skills they need for college and career success,” said Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee, DCPS Chancellor.


A GIF showing Principal McCray and Chancellor Ferebee with a large mammoth cut-out.

9. Make Way for the MacArthur Mammoths! 🎉

This year marks the inaugural year for MacArthur High School—DCPS’ first new comprehensive neighborhood high school in more than half a century! Under the leadership of Principal McCray, from athletics to affinity groups and theater, founding students, staff, and families are shaping the school’s culture and identity from the ground up.


A group of city leaders and students pose with Beth Barkley, all of whom are holding a large check.

10. Beth Barkley Wins DC Teacher of the Year 🏅

In October, Mayor Bowser, Chancellor Ferebee, and State Superintendent Grant named the DC 2024 Teacher of the Year: Cardozo Education Campus’ Ms. Beth Barkley, an educator lauded for her work with 9th and 10th grade students new to the US. Mayor Bowser explained, “Through her course on human rights and social action she creates a learning space where students can feel seen and loved, and where they are at home in their school community.”