Washington, DC has a rich set of school options for families. Today, there are over 87,000 students enrolled in public schools. Families can choose from schools with varied programming, including language immersion, Montessori, project-based learning, and International Baccalaureate programs. These students can enroll in one of two sectors:
- 48,000 students (55%) are enrolled in 113 DC Public Schools (DCPS) schools
- 39,000 students (45%) are enrolled in 115 public charter schools
All students in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade have a right to attend their inboundary, or neighborhood, DCPS school. In addition, families can apply to attend a charter school or a DCPS school outside of their neighborhood. In total, over 70% of public school students attend a school outside of their neighborhood.
DC’s diverse school options are mirrored by a diverse student population The following provides a snapshot of the students enrolled in DC schools:
- Black: 71%
- Hispanic: 17%
- White: 9%
- Asian: 2%
- Multiracial: 2%
- Limited English Proficiency: 9%
- Special Education: 13%
- At-Risk for academic failure: 46%
DC schools receive a high level of funding as compared to other cities and states, funding is designed to be distributed equitably, on a student level, based on student need. Currently, schools receive a base of $9,682 per student in local government funding. In addition, the local government provides additional funding to support special education, English language learner, and at-risk students.
For even more information about DC’s schools, we recommend the following resources:
- LearnDC publishes detailed information on DC’s public schools, including individual school profiles for every school and resources for families about the college- and career-ready standards.
- My School DC is the city’s common lottery and provides information on how to apply and enroll in schools.
- The Office of the Chief Student Advocate supports families in navigating the DC public school system.
- DC School Reform Now provides tools for families to explore school options, including a set of virtual (video) school tours.