DME Boundary & Student Assignment Study

DME BOUNDARY AND STUDENT ASSIGNMENT STUDY 2023

Welcome to the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education’s Boundary and Student Assignment Study Interactive Boundary Explorer!

This page is provided to share information about the project’s objectives and timeline, familiarize the public with key concepts and background, and give community members and stakeholders opportunities to provide their input to the process.

To learn more about the DME Boundary and Student Assignment Study, view frequently asked questions, and to review past engagement materials, please visit the DME website here.
About the Boundary StudyGuiding PrinciplesMap ToolKey Terms

WHAT IS THE BOUNDARY AND STUDENT ASSIGNMENT STUDY?

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) is conducting a Boundary and Student Assignment Study (“Boundary Study”) to review current DC Public School (DCPS) boundaries, feeder patterns, and student assignment policies with the goal of developing a set of recommendations based on analytic findings and community input about how families and students access public schools.

DME has contracted with a team led by Perkins Eastman DC including WXY Architecture + Urban Design, LINK Strategic Partners, and the D.C. Policy Center to support the Boundary Study. The Boundary and Student Assignment Study started in the Spring of 2023 and will conclude with a final report of recommendations from the DC Advisory Committee on Student Assignment submitted to the Mayor in February 2024.

Potential types of recommendations:
  • Updated DCPS school boundaries

  • Revised school feeder patterns
  • Suggested programmatic opportunities
  • New or expanded enrollment lottery preferences

The Advisory Committee on Student Assignment , a group of education stakeholders from all eight wards of Washington, DC, is charged with developing the recommendations and has drafted a set of guiding principles to help shape and inform the planning work.

In addition to the Advisory Committee, there is extensive community engagement including three rounds of town halls, engagement with school-specific communities, and ongoing participation at stakeholder meetings and local events.

WHY IS THIS STUDY IMPORTANT?

There have been a lot of changes in Washington, DC since the last comprehensive evaluation of attendance boundaries and student assignment policies in 2013-2014. This is an opportunity to holistically address areas identified in the Master Facilities Plan 2023 (MFP), account for demographic shifts, and think strategically about how to improve access equitably.

The Advisory Committee on Student Assignment has identified the following key challenges:

  • Unbalanced enrollments among DCPS boundary schools lead to overutilization in some schools and underutilization in other schools;
  • Inequitable availability to robust programming and rigorous curriculum (e.g., dual language, CTE, STEM, IB, and arts) in all communities across the city;
  • Inequitable availability and access to special education programming for all families in the city, and especially in Wards 7 and 8;
  • Mismatched access to early childhood seats in Title 1 schools;
  • Some students and families feel unsafe traveling to and from school;
  • System-related enrollment instability;
  • Socioeconomically and racially segregated schools

BOUNDARY AND STUDENT ASSIGNMENT MAP


What is included in the mapping tool?

The mapping tool includes school level strategies to address two types of challenges. One group of strategies (“Utilization”) is focused on boundary and feeder changes to help schools with current or future overcrowding and schools with current unused space. The second group of strategies (“Equitable Access”) is focused on potential policies to expand opportunities to attend quality schools and programs for those historically discriminated against and marginalized. You can explore how these potential strategies might work across the entire school system, as well as at individual schools.These maps and indicators are provided as a tool for public feedback. They are ideas under exploration and are not final maps nor recommendations. The final recommendations of the Boundary Study may draw ideas from both sets of strategies, revise these ideas, and will also include other policies that could not be modeled or displayed in this tool.   

What is not included in the mapping tool?

There are ideas under consideration that could not be tested and included in the mapping tool. These include shared programming, new programs and programmatic feeder pathways, and coordinated school planning, among others.

Click on the map to explore DC School boundaries

SEE YOUR CURRENT SCHOOL ASSIGNMENTS

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

We believe that all families in Washington, DC are entitled to a high-quality, by-right DCPS school located within a reasonable distance that offers the fundamental and inclusive programming necessary to ensure students are well educated and supported. We believe that vibrant neighborhood schools contribute to healthy communities and neighborhood life.
We believe that families who have historically endured systemic discrimination and marginalization, including Black and Brown families, those living in poverty, learning English, and supporting students with special education needs, should have increased opportunities to access schools and programming that may fit their children’s needs better. This includes targeted access to other neighborhood schools via out of boundary seats or to citywide schools (i.e., public charter schools, citywide DCPS schools, or selective DCPS high schools).
We believe that families thrive when they know where their child has a right to attend school, there are predictable entry points to public school pathways, and there is continuity in programming from point of entry through graduation. Washington, DC has the responsibility to regularly reassess boundaries and enrollment policies that may impact future rights.
We believe that all students and communities flourish when schools have diverse student bodies, specifically racial/ethnic and socio economic, provided that schools have, at a minimum, welcoming, affirming, and culturally and linguistically responsive environments for students and families. Therefore, Washington, DC should promote opportunities for diverse student enrollment across all learning environments and all parts of the city.
Project Timeline
September 2023
March 2024

School Engagement

Town Hall Meetings

Advisory Committee Meetings

Draft Scenarios / Webtool Update

Final Recommendations

KEY TERMS

How infrequently a student’s zoned school is changed. Fewer changes to where students are zoned means student assignment is more stable. Frequent and large boundary changes result in less assignment stability.

The public school that a student is assigned to based on their home address that they have a right to attend in K-12.

The total number of students that a school can accommodate based on the program delivered and grades offered at the school. If a school is over-utilized, then student enrollment is greater than the school’s capacity. If a school is under-utilized, the enrollment is less than total capacity.

Public schools that do not have an associated boundary or zone. These schools include public charter schools and DCPS schools such as citywide elementary schools, selective high schools, and adult, alternative, and solely special education schools.

The total number of students who attend a school or a special program.

The sequence of schools that students have a right to attend as they progress from the terminal grade of their current school. In DCPS, there are two types of feeder patterns: geographic feeder patterns and programmatic feeder patterns.

DC public charter schools are public, tuition-free, open to all students, and do not have selective entrance requirements or geographic attendance zones. Public charter schools are independent from DCPS (the traditional public school system). The

DC Public Charter School Board

(DC PCSB) oversees, but does not manage, the schools.

A geographic area that comprises residences that are assigned to a public school. If a student’s home address is inside a school’s boundary, they have a right in K-12 to attend that school. The area that makes up a school boundary is also referred to as an assignment area.

Expressed as a percentage, utilization is determined by dividing student enrollment (number of students attending) by total capacity (number of seats available).






Contact us
If you have any questions or want to report a website bug, you can contact project team members by writing to contact@dcschoolboundaryexplorer.com