Welcome to the 2023-2024 School Year

This year in the classroom, DC Public Schools will remain focused on creating joyful and rigorous learning experiences to accelerate student success. Our elementary schools will continue to make strides in math and literacy, so all students are on the path to academic progress throughout their educational journey. And for middle school and high school students, we’ll focus on ensuring what they learn in the classroom aligns with success in career and college, including expanded Career and Technical Education (CTE) and mathematics offerings. Plus, we know there are new memories to be made in our classrooms, on our playgrounds, inside school labs, on athletic fields, and from our stages! 

Family Resources for SY23-24

We encourage families to utilize the resources available below to support a strong start to the 2023-2024 School Year and have a successful year ahead.

Have a student entering PK3 or PK4 this school year? Be sure to check out the Pre-K Family Toolkit!

Put Vaccines on Your-Back-to-School List

To attend school, families are required to submit their student’s up-to-date immunization records by the first day of class. Vaccinations are critical for preventing disease and reducing the dangers that can come with being exposed to certain diseases.  

Learn more about childhood immunizations for school, including how to schedule an annual wellness visit with your child’s doctor or a pediatric clinic in your Ward at dcpsstrong.com/vaccines.  

COVID-19 vaccination is not required but continues to be encouraged. Vaccination is the best defense against the spread of COVID-19. Individuals are highly encouraged to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including boosters if eligible. View the DCPS SY23-24 COVID-19 guidance for more information.

Visit vaccinate.dc.gov for information about the vaccine and free vaccination sites across the city.  

Getting To and From School

Student arrival and dismissal schedules are set by schools. Please see the information provided by your school for more details about when your student should arrive and will be dismissed each day. 

Safe Passage is Mayor Bowser’s investment to protect students and families as they travel to and from school. Safe passage programming includes conflict resolution, mediation services, and community relationship building to keep students safe and improve student attendance. 

The Kids Ride Free (KRF) program allows students to ride for free on Metrobus, Metrorail, and the DC Circulator while traveling within the District. Please note that School Year 2022-2023 Kids Ride Free SmarTrip cards will remain valid through September 30, 2023. New cards for this school year will be distributed at your child’s school, or you can contact your school to request a card. Learn more about KRF from the DC Department of Transportation. 

Student Meals at School

DCPS is committed to supporting the health and achievements of our students by ensuring all DCPS students receive nutritious meals. For SY23-24, breakfast will remain FREE for all DCPS students. Lunch will be FREE for any student who qualifies for free or reduced-price meals and for ALL students at 96 DCPS schools determined under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).  

If your student does not attend a CEP school, they may qualify for free lunch through one of the following ways: 

  1. By qualifying for Direct Certification: 
  • Students who are in a household receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).  
  • Students who are foster children and are the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or the court, or are homeless, migrant, categorically eligible, or runaway. 
  1. By completing a Free and Reduced-Priced Meal (FARM) application and being eligible based on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. A new FARM application must be submitted each school year. 

For students who do not qualify for free and reduced-price meals, lunch will remain $3.00.   

Visit dcps.dc.gov/food for more about student meals and food and nutrition at school. 

Student Attendance

Every day counts! Regular school attendance is critical for academic success. Our goal is to ensure that every student attends school regularly and on time. Daily presence in school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success, starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families can play a key role in ensuring students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and life. 

Tracking Student Progress

DCPS believes that grades support ongoing learning by providing timely feedback and informing personalized instruction while making a record of growth and development over students’ school career. Grades can include student engagement during class and group activities, practicing a skill learned during a lesson, and tests and quizzes to demonstrate mastery. 

You can utilize the DCPS Assessment Guide for Families as a resource to assist families with understanding their student’s assessment results. 

Student progress reports and report cards are provided during each of the four terms that make up the school year. Families are encouraged to utilize the Aspen Parent Portal to access student schedules and grades. This tool allows you to gain insight into what occurs in the classroom, helping families become better equipped to support their child’s strengths and areas of growth.  

Check out the Parent Portal guide to get started! 

School Supplies

Follow this link for items every student will need to ensure a productive and fun school year. Please note, this list may not be exhaustive for your school and your student’s class. Families should check information provided your child’s school or reach out to your school to learn about any specific materials necessary for learning at home and to know about opportunities to receive donated materials or school supply drives.

Be sure to also look out for information from your school or organizations in your community about back-to-school supply drives and giveaway events.

Staying in Touch with Your School

Families are experts in their child and partners in their success at school. Connecting with your child’s teacher and school is important for a successful school year. Ask teachers how and when you can expect to hear from them and how you can partner with them to support your child’s learning. Be sure to also follow important information shared by your school principal, this may include email newsletters, text messages, phone calls, or letters sent home with your student. 

Parent-Teacher Conference days are scheduled for Thursday, October 19, 2023, and Thursday, March 14, 2024. Additionally, most schools will hold back-to-school nights throughout the fall. Visit dcps.dc.gov/page/back-school-night for more details.  

DCPS will share district-wide updates to families via regular emails and text messages, as well as post information on this website and the @DCPublicSchools social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 

Mental Health Resources

DCPS is proud to offer parents, caregivers, students, and families, resources, and tools to promote healing and well-being. The DCPS School Mental Health (SMH) Team supports more than 250 school-based psychologists and social workers who provide supportive and therapeutic services to students and families who need assistance for any reason, from gaining access to practical resources to handling life-altering events. Our goal is to ensure that students are physically and psychologically safe and can fully participate in their learning. Visit dcpsmentalhealth.org for mental health resources for students and families.  

For students — If you or someone you know is having a mental health challenge, please complete this form and a member of the school wellness team will reach out to you.
For adults — If a student you know is experiencing a mental health challenge, please complete this referral form and a member of the school wellness team will respond.

Afterschool Programming, Athletics, and Extracurricular Activities

DCPS afterschool programs allow students to participate in academic and extracurricular enrichment activities and to develop new hobbies and skills. DCPS teachers, paraprofessionals, and after school partner organizations provide a variety of unique programming options to students. 

In SY23-24, afterschool programs managed by Out of School Time Programs (OSTP) will be offered in 55 schools. Schools not participating in OSTP afterschool programs may offer their own programs to students. Please contact your student’s school for more information. Visit dcps.dc.gov/afterschool  to learn more about afterschool programs. 

Research shows that participation in extracurricular activities is linked with academic success. Many teachers and staff advise clubs and activities, and it’s a great way for students and staff to get to know each other. Your school can share more information on all the activities available for students. 

DCPS student-athletes in grades 4-12 play within the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCIAA). Sanctioned DCIAA sports offered at schools include adaptive bowling, archery, baseball, basketball, bowling, cheer, cross-country, flag football, football, golf, indoor and outdoor track, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, unified basketball, volleyball, and wrestling. Visit thedciaa.com for more information.