Academic Programs 

Academic Programs

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Advanced and Enriched Instruction

We offer programs for advanced and high-ability students, such as:

Advanced Placement (AP):  AP courses offer college-level material. If students take the AP exam and pass, they may earn college credit. Every student who wants to take an AP class, can.

  • At least four AP courses are offered at each traditional high school
  • DCPS pays for students’ AP testing fees
  • SWW and Wilson both offer more than 20 AP courses
  • Columbia Heights Education Campus requires that all students take AP English Language and Composition and AP English Literature and Composition

  • Banneker and SWW  require students to take AP World History

DCPS Advanced Readers Extensions (DARE): DARE (for grades 2-5) allows advanced readers to read above-grade level books in their classes. This curriculum is offered in more than 25 DCPS schools.

Junior Great Books: K-9th grade students can participate in Junior Great Books, a curriculum that encourages discussion, critical thinking, and helps students become better writers. Each grade level includes up to 20 short stories from a variety of noteworthy authors and represents many cultures.

Contact Information
Advanced and Enriched Instruction: John Isabella

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme is a well-respected curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking and a global focus, while offering students the chance to do independent research. The IB program exists in over 2700 schools in 138 countries. In DCPS, International Baccalaureate includes the following three programs:

Primary Years Programme (for ages 3-12):  In the Primary Years Programme (PYP), students are encouraged to develop independence and ask questions about what they are learning. For example, in fifth grade, students are expected to complete and present a project.

Schools offering PYP:

H.D. Cooke Elementary School
Shepherd Elementary School 
Thomson Elementary School

Middle Years Programme (for ages 11-16): Students engage in research, including completing a research-based project on a subject of personal interest, study a second language, and apply critical thinking skills as they develop as learners. By completing the three-year MYP, students are better prepared for challenging coursework in high school.

Schools offering MYP:

Deal Middle School 

Diploma Programme (for ages 16-19) The IB Diploma is a rigorous and demanding two-year pre-college program that meets the needs of highly motivated students in grades 11 and 12. To earn an IB diploma, students must: 1) take courses and pass examinations in six academic subjects; 2) participate in the Theoy of Knowledge course that investigates learning and knowing throughout the traditional disciplines; 3) participate in 150 hours of Creativity, Action, and Service, which means art, physical education, or community service activities; and 4) conduct original research and write an extended essay of 4,000 words.

Students who successfully complete this program are awarded a DC Public Schools diploma as well as the internationally-recognized IB Diploma. 

Schools offering the Diploma Programme:

Benjamin Banneker High School 
Eastern Senior High School

For more information visit the DCPS International Baccalaureate page

Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM)

SEM is a non-traditional approach to gifted and talented education developed originally by Dr. Joseph Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. Each SEM school has one full-time, professionally-trained enrichment resource teacher who facilitates a wide range of academic course offerings that falls largely outside of the core curriculum. For more information on the SEM program, please see our SEM FAQ Page.

List of SEM-designated schools:

Hardy MS        Johnson MS              Kelly Miller MS 
Sousa MS        Stuart-Hobson MS    West Education Campus

Contact Information
Schoolwide Enrichment Model: John Isabella

Early Childhood Programs

DCPS is proud to offer numerous 3 and 4-year-old seats across all Wards. Because students are not required to attend preschool or pre-k, and some schools are unable to accommodate all applicants, preschool and pre-k seats are allocated through a fair and equitable lottery system.

All DCPS PK3 and PK4 seats must be applied for through the My School DC common application and lottery. The applications will become available on Dec.16, 2013 and will be due no later than March 3, 2014. There is no advantage to applying early, so please take your time, research school options, and make the best selection(s) for your student.

Learn more >> 

Contact Information
Early Childhood Programs: Alaina Smith

Educational Technology & Library Services

Educational Technology:  Technology can empower both educators and students. DCPS embraces the use of 
technology that students naturally use in their everyday life to make learning relevant and engaging. Access to both devices and rich digital content teaches students how to use these tools in a safer, responsible manner.

  • Discovery Education Streaming:  Engaging rich media across all curriculum areas. Designed to support multiple learning
    modalities. Available district-wide.
  • Atomic Learning:  online resources to use technology while focusing on the curriculum. Available district-wide.
  • Blackboard Learn:  online learning management system for content and student assignments. Deal, Eastern, and McKinley.

Blended Learning: Blended learning uses a combination of face-to-face instruction and high quality digital content 
and technology to teach students.The advantage is that software allows the students to learn at their own pace.

For example:

  • Discovery Education Techbooks (science and social studies):  standards-aligned rich media and interactive digital textbooks. 
    Discovery Education Schools: Anacostia, Columbia Heights Education Campus, McKinley, SWW, and Wheatley.
  • PLATO:  online courses for credit recovery, remediation, and acceleration.  Available grades 6-12, all schools.

School Library Services: School Library Programs provide access to print, digital, virtual, and multimedia resources to support classroom, independent, and general inquiry and exploration. Program examples might include:

  • National History Day or Science Fair programs
  • Reading and writing such as the Penn Faulkner program
  • Clubs including chess, debate, poetry, reading, and future leaders
  • Collaboration and co-teaching with classroom teachers to integrate inquiry and problem/project based learning

School libraries also provide access to the electronic catalog of books and resources (Follett) and electronic databases 
such as Britannica (available in all schools).

Contact Information
Educational Technology: Josh Park 
Library Services:  Pat Brown 

Health, Physical Education, Art, Music, World Languages, Fillmore Arts

Physical Education: Here are some highlights
Archery and fly fishing are offered in some schools

DCPS has received a three-year grant, the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant, which provides funds to combat obesity in the DCPS student population.  Funds will be used to provide all schools with physical education equipment (e.g. balls, pedometers, heart rate monitors, jump ropes, and exercise ribbons) to help meet this goal.  Funds will also be allocated to increase the number of schools participating in activities that promote lifelong fitness such as archery, fly fishing, and golf.  Schools will also receive curriculum and training on improving student nutrition. 

Art: In 2013, DCPS launched digital arts labs in four schools. Also, seven schools launched photography programs.

Fillmore Arts: Fillmore Arts Center provides training in dance, music, theater, visual arts and media arts to more than
3,000 students at two sites. The core of Fillmore's philosophy is a belief that all children should receive a skill-based,
quality arts education.

Music: Music lessons are offered from kindergarten through high school. Starting in the fourth grade, students have the opportunity to specialize in vocal and instrumental work that can lead to a variety of ensembles offered in secondary schools.
Students are required to graduate high school with a minimum of a half credit in music.

Some highlights:

  • Lafayette is a Kennedy Center CETA (Changing Education Through the Arts) School and Savoy is Turnaround Arts
    School with help from the President's Committee on the Arts & Humanities
  • Duke Ellington School for the Arts is an application-only high school focusing on performing arts.

World Languages:

Elementary Offerings

Education Campus Offerings

Middle School: Middle school language courses are taught all year long for a minimum of 90 minutes per week.

The Heritage Language Program in middle school is geared toward students who have advanced proficiency.

Students who participate in this program, OR who have graduated from the district’s Immersion programs have the option to take the AP Spanish Language exam at the end of eighth grade. If they do not pass, they can take it again in high school.

High School: All high school students must earn at least two unit credits in a World Language to graduate. DCPS offers six world languages for credit:

Contact Information
Physical Education: Michael Posey
PEP Grant: Monica Parran
Art: Amanda Boggs
Fillmore Arts: Heather Holaday
Music: Ben Hall
World Languages: Claudia Bezaka

Literacy and Humanities


Hochman Writing: Four schools are participating in the Hochman Writing program, a research-based program that teaches fundamental writing skills and targets problem areas in student writing. DCPS is the first district to implement the Hochman Writing program. 
Eastern Hart Truesdell Washington Metropolitan


  • Embassy Adoption: Fifth- and sixth-grade teachers across the district apply for 50 partnerships with embassies. Once partnered with a classroom, an ambassador or embassy staff member will make at least three visits to teach students about the history, culture, arts of their country. In the spring, participating students conduct a model UN and represent their partner countries. Students also present their learning about the country to the ambassador and country staff. Schools in all wards are participating in the program.
  • Georgetown University Street Law: Second and third year Georgetown Law students partner with high school Social Studies teachers to teach students about how law affects daily life. Students learn how to research, write, and prepare to speak in a mock-trial competition. A citywide competition is held at the DC Superior Court and is adjudicated by judges.
    Anacostia, Banneker, Columbia Heights Education Campus, Ellington, Eastern, Luke C. Moore, Incarcerated Youth, School Without Walls, Washington Metropolitan, Wilson, and Woodson.
  • National History Day: Students develop a compelling history question and research it over the course of a school year. Students create an original product, such as a research paper, tri-fold presentation display, website, performance, or documentary to demonstrate their learning. DCPS students have placed in the national competition. Deal Langdon Stuart-Hobson

Contact Information
Hochman Writing: Jessica Matthews-Meth

Embassy Adoption: Kate McNamee
Georgetown University Street Law: Jayson Wilkinson
National History Day: Jayson Wilkinson

Inside DCPS Highlights.


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