March 11, 2010
Parents Flood DCPS with Out-of-Boundary and Early Ed Applications
Record high of 5,219 families participate in DCPS lottery
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the first time in recent history, every eligible District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) attracted applicants for the annual K-12 Out-of-Boundary, Pre-School (PS) and Pre-Kindergarten (PK) lotteries. The overall number of unique applicants increased by 50 percent from 2009, with a record high of 5,219 families expressing interest in DCPS programs located in all eight Wards. The lottery ran from January 28 to February 28.
“We are extremely encouraged by the overwhelming interest this year’s lotteries have generated,” said Chancellor Michelle Rhee. “In just three years, a number of schools have gone from under-enrolled to flourishing. It’s heartening to see this, and it’s a testament to the incredible work being done by teachers, principals, DCPS parents and our many community partners.”
DCPS attributes this year’s increased interest to the academic upgrades inside the classroom and the physical improvements outside, along with a more user-friendly application process and expanded outreach efforts. Test scores and graduation rates are up, many school buildings have been modernized, and DCPS continues to introduce compelling programs at every grade level --ranging from dual-language and Reggio Emilia to new schools like Phelps Senior High School.
“District families have demonstrated a renewed confidence in the direction the school system is heading,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “We set out to lay the foundation for a system of excellent schools. With that and the continued dedication of school staff at every level, we are really starting to see results.”
This year 14 schools had waiting lists for the first time in decades. Located throughout the District, each school is an example of the increased diversity of school preferences inside DCPS. Parents are demonstrating their approval by broadening their choices.
Schools with Waitlist for the First Time
While some schools did have waitlists for the first time, overall DCPS increased the number of placements by 5 percent giving 1,300 more families than last year the opportunity to send their child to a school of their choice. While 59 percent of the students in the lottery were placed last year, 64 percent were placed this, and DCPS is working with families that did not get a seat in their top choices to find a school that has space available and is a good fit for their child.
THE NEW GUARD
For the second year, DCPS’s student recruitment campaign has introduced families to quality program options in their neighborhood and beyond. All 18 recruitment schools received lottery applicants, with Barnard Elementary School in Ward 4 topping the list. Barnard added a PS class for 2010-2011 and in 2009 both its reading and math proficiency rates were above 80 percent. Other recruitment schools that garnered unprecedented interest include:
- Turner @ Green Elementary (W8)
- Malcolm X Elementary (W8)
- Drew Elementary (W7)
- Emery Education Campus (W5)
- Ludlow-Taylor Elementary (W6)
- Smothers Elementary (W7)
- Walker-Jones Elementary (W6)
- Cleveland Elementary (W1)
- Powell Elementary (W4)
- Francis-Stevens Education Campus (W2)
“We worked hard this year to fully engage every interested family; it was a wonderful experience for our current parents and staff to have the opportunity to share the Emery story with so many new faces from our neighborhood and across the city,” said Emery Principal Kelvin Moore. “Next year we’re launching as a full Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Catalyst School --and we couldn’t be more excited about our growth and potential.”
When the lottery results were released on March 3, DCPS invited participants to complete a web survey rating the process. There were 356 respondents up more than 50 percent from last year. The vast majority of respondents agreed that the online application form was clear, easy to use and understand. Survey respondents also felt sufficiently equipped to make informed decisions about school choice and rated the overall process more favorably than last year.
“The availability and accessibility of information about the DC public schools in our neighborhood, like Emery --made learning more and making our selections a seamless process,” said prospective Ward 5 parent Annemarie Cooper. “It was a huge help to attend open houses and see students and teachers in their element.”
DCPS will use the survey results to continue to making improvements to the process and to assist with planning for next school year. To review results of the online survey please visit www.dcps.dc.gov.
Download all survey results from 2009 and 2010.
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