Frequently Asked Questions about DC Public Schools 

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The Chancellor's Response Team (CRT) answers your tough questions!


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We're here to help you!

Need help? The Chancellor's Response Team (CRT) is here! 

We work one-on-one with you to help resolve concerns with DC Public Schools. Whether you're a parent, student, teacher, community member, or just interested in DC Public Schools, we're here to serve you.

We're happy to answer your questions, hear your concerns, or just receive feedback from you about DC Public Schools. The CRT reports directly to Chancellor Henderson with what you have to say! 

There are two ways to reach us: 

  • Send us a message
  • Call the CRT Hotline at (202) 478-5738. Our phone line is staffed by real people empowered to give you real answers. We're available Monday through Friday, from 9:00AM to 5:00PM.

Remember, your first and best source of information is always the school-based staff. Please do not hesitate to contact your school's principal or other school-based staff for help. 

If you still have questions after talking to the school staff, please contact us.

How do I talk to a real person about my concerns? 

The CRT Hotline at (202) 478-5738 is staffed by real people empowered to give you real answers. CRT staff have often served previously in the classroom, and are trained to ensure that difficult issues are being presented clearly and understandably. 

We're available from 9:00AM to 5:00PM Monday through Friday. 

We can only help you if you call us!

Or, send us a message, and we'll schedule a time to talk over the phone. 

We're looking forward to hearing from you. 

How do I find my student's in-boundary school?

Finding your student’s in-boundary school (also called the "neighborhood school") is easy by using our Electronic Boundary Information System (EBIS).

Simply enter your primary address and view the K-12 schools that are zoned for your address. Please note that primary residence is verified by proving residency at that address. Additional information about proving residency is available here.

Students are guaranteed a seat at their in-boundary school in grades Kindergarten through 12. Please note that students are not guaranteed a seat at their assigned school for PK3 or PK4. PK3 and PK4 seats are primarily assigned to students through the My School DC Common Lottery.

Are there still seats available for PK3 and PK4 for 2013-2014?

At this time, there are no seats available for PK3 or PK4. If you are interested in hearing more from our Early Childhood Education Team, please submit your information here. You will be contacted in the event a seat becomes available.

The PK3 and PK4 Lottery for SY 2013-2014 has closed. 

What’s a good online resource for parents to use to find more information about schools?

Visit our school profile page or My School DC for more information about each DCPS school and allows you to compare information about schools.

What is "My School DC"

For the next school year (2014–15), DCPS and most DC public charter schools are part of the My School DC common application and common lottery. Participating schools will accept only the My School DC application.

 My School DC common application is a single online application you must use to apply for:

  • Participating public charter schools (PK3–12)
  • DCPS out-of-boundary schools (K–12)
  • All DCPS PK3 and PK4 programs
  • DCPS specialized high schools (9–12)

The My School DC common lottery is a single, random lottery that determines placement for new students at all participating schools. Student-school matches are based on the number of spaces at each school; sibling, proximity, and other preferences; and each student’s choices.    Traditionally, the lottery system in place was specifically for DC Public Schools.  For SY 2014-2015, the traditional public schools (DCPS) as well as participating public charter schools have integrated My School DC to create a centralized lottery process.  To view the list of participating schools, please view www.MySchoolDC.org or contact My School DC Hotline at 202-888-6336

Are wait lists managed by My School DC?

No. Every school manages their own wait lists.  If you have any questions regarding a wait list or your current placement on the wait list, please contact the school(s) directly.

 

What if I am enrolling for the first time?

If you are enrolling for the first time, you will need:

-Annual Student Enrollment Form
-Residency Verification
-Home Language Survey
-Consent Forms
-Media Release
-Military Recruitment Opt-Out (Grades 7-12 ONLY, Optional)
-Social Security Card (for school specific programs including but not limited to after school programs)
-Health Forms (Immunization Records, DC Universal Health Certificate, DC Oral Health Assessment, HPV-exclusive to grades 6-11 ONLY)
-Age verification (first time DCPS students ONLY)

You can download the DCPS Enrollment Packet using the link below.
www.dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/enroll

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Chancellor’s Response Team at 202-478-5738.

When does the SY 2014-2015 My School DC Common Lottery begin?

The 2013-2014 Pre-School/Pre-Kindergarten and Out-of-Boundary Lottery has closed. 

Families interested in participating in the SY 2014-2015 My School DC Common Lottery will be able to apply starting De. 16, 2013 through March 3, 2014. The list of participating schools is provided on myschoooldc.org.

How old does my student have to be to be eligible for PK3 and PK4?

Per DC Municipal Regulations, parents may only enroll students in Pre-School if they are three years old by September 30, 2014. 

Per DC Municipal Regulations, parents may only enroll students in Pre-Kindergarten if they are four years old by September 30, 2014. 

Regrettably, DCPS is unable to provide any exceptions.

What resources are available to help parents understand the lottery and enrollment process?

For questions and concerns that are specific to My School DC, please contact My School DC hotline at 202-888-6336 or view My School DC website at www.MySchoolDC.org. For questions or concerns regarding the enrollment process, the Chancellor's Response Team is ready to assist parents on a one-on-one basis.  The Chancellor's Response Team can “personalize” enrollment so parents can be assured that their students are being placed in the right setting.

This personalized help session includes assistance in navigating DCPS online resources, referrals to school administrators, and the chance to find out about new and emerging programs. If you have questions regarding enrollment in a DCPS school, please contact the Chancellor's Response Team at 202-478-5738.

What is the policy concerning attendance for students attending Out-of-Boundary schools?

As of SY11/12 students who have more than 10 unexcused absences or 20 unexcused tardies may be asked to return to their neighborhood school at the end of the school year. Schools have been instructed to follow the appropriate attendance interventions. Families should expect to receive notice in writing or via conference after their student has five unexcused absences or ten unexcused tardies. 

This policy is designed to support regular and timely school attendance. 

View Out of Boundaries Absenteeism Guidelines »

View additional information about the importance of attendance, and how parents can support their students » 

Are students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) eligible to participate in the lottery?

Students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are eligible to participate in the My School DC Common Lottery. For students with IEPs, an additional review may be performed to ensure that the destination school is able to fully meet the needs of the IEP.

If you have questions regarding your child’s specific program, please contact the Office of Specialized Instruction at 202-442-4800 or send an email to student.placement@dc.gov.

 

What are the options for students who are 18+ and/or in need of credit recovery?

The Student Placement Office provides assistance to residents between the ages of 15-22 years old seeking secondary educational options who are new to the District of Columbia, transitioning from other local schools, as well as at-risk youth. For more information, please call the Student Placement Office at (202)939-2004 or send an email to student.placement@dc.gov.

How do I prove my residency in the District of Columbia so I can enroll my student?

Proving where you live, also called "verifying residency," is a critical part of the enrollment process. Only residents of the District of Columbia are eligible to receive a free public education in the District. In fairness to that policy, all parents are required to verify residency. Normally, this will be done at the school during the enrollment process. All parents must verify residency prior to the start of school. 

Please note that only the parent and/or legal guardian of a student may enroll that student in school. The parent and/or legal guardian must be the individual listed on any/all of the requested residency documents. 

Please consult the following list to see which documents will be needed to verify residency.

Any two (2) of these documents:

  • District of Columbia-issued Driver's License or non-driver's identification, displaying your name and current address;
  • Lease or rental agreement, displaying your name and current address, with a payment receipt for a period within 2 months;
  • Utility (gas, electric, water) bill, displaying your name and current address, with a payment receipt for a period within 2 months; and/or
  • DC Vehicle Registration, displaying your name and current address.

You may also use any one (1) of these documents:

  • A pay stub showing DC tax withholdings, displaying your name and current address;
  • Proof of financial assistance (i.e. TANF, Medicare, SCHIP, Housing, etc.) issued within the past 12 months, displaying your name and current address;
  • SSI (Supplemental Security Income) annual benefits notification; issued within the past 12 months, displaying your name and current address;
  • Official military housing orders, displaying your name and current address;
  • Proof child is a ward of the District of Columbia; or
  • Embassy letter, dated April 1, 2013 or later.

If parents have additional questions or concerns about proving residency, please contact the DCPS Residency Office at (202) 442-5215. 

I would like to report an incident or share feedback about a school. Who should I speak with?

DC Public Schools welcomes feedback from students, parents, teachers and community members.

Step 1: Contact the school principal.

If you would like to report an incident or share feedback about activities in a school, please contact the school principal. The school principal is aware of the day-to-day activities in our schools. He or she should be your first contact when sharing feedback.

Step 2: Contact the school’s cluster instructional superintendent.

Cluster superintendents oversee the activities at multiple DCPS schools. Each superintendent works closely with the principals of the schools in their cluster.

Step 3: Contact the Chancellor's Response Team.

If you would like to share additional feedback or discuss an incident after speaking with a school principal and cluster superintendent, please contact the Chancellor's Response Team (CRT) at:

My student is receiving special education and I have a question about his or her Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Who should I speak with?

Step 1: Contact your student’s special education coordinator.

For questions about your student’s IEP, please contact his or her special education coordinator (SEC).

Step 2: Contact your student’s school principal

If you are still in need of guidance after speaking with the SEC, please contact the school principal.

Step 3: Contact the Office of Specialized Instruction at 202-442-4800.

What is DC CAS?

The District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS) assesses students on reading and math in grades 3-8 and 10, science in grades 5 and 8, biology in high school, and composition in grades 4, 7, and 10.
While DCPS oversees the administration of the test, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is responsible for the overall management of the assessment for all schools in DC. For more information, please visit the OSSE website.

How will DC CAS affect my student?

DC CAS is used to track the progress of DCPS students and does not affect your student’s ability to graduate to the next grade level, nor does it affect their class grades.

My student has an IEP. Will he or she be participating in DC CAS?

Students with severe cognitive disabilities take the District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System – Alternate Assessment (DC CAS-ALT). For more information about which test your student may take, please contact your school’s Special Education Coordinator.

Where can I apply for the specialized citywide high schools?

Students applying to DCPS specialized high schools must complete an additional section of the My School DC application. The additional section is different for each school because each school has its own requirements. Students can apply to as few as one or as many as all six specialized high schools. Students can apply to any combination of specialized high schools, DCPS out-of-boundary schools, and public charter schools. Each student can apply to as few as one or as many as 12 total schools.  DCPS specialized high schools also may require entrance exams, interviews, or auditions. After students submit their applications, the specialized high schools will contact applicants directly to arrange these elements of the application process.

The deadline for the 2013-2014 Online High School Application has passed.

The My School DC application for 2014-2015 opens on Dec. 16, 2013 and all high school applications must be submitted by Feb. 3, 2014., Please visit the MySchoolDC.org website for more information or call the Chancellor's Response Team at (202)478-5738

 

How can I request a copy of my high school transcript?

If the high school you attended is still in operation, please contact the high school registrar.

If the high school you attended is now CLOSED, please contact the Chancellor's Response Team at (202) 478-5738 or send us a message. The CRT will work with you to locate your records and ensure that a duplicate is mailed to you.

How can I request a duplicate copy of my high school diploma?

If you graduated from high school after 1999, please contact the high school registrar. The registrar will verify your graduation date, initiate the creation of a duplicate diploma and ensure that it is mailed to you.

If you graduated from a high school that is now CLOSED, please contact the Chancellor's Response Team at (202) 478-5738 or send us a message. The CRT will work with you to locate your records and assist you in requesting a duplicate diploma.

Still need help?

One thing we've learned is that not all questions fit into neat little boxes!

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Chancellor's Response Team at (202) 478-5738. Real people are available to provide real answers from 9:00AM to 5:00PM, Monday through Friday.

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