DC to offer expanded school choice, pre-K access to at-risk kids

Kids who are homeless or at risk in D.C. will have a better chance for enrollment at the city’s most sought-after schools.

Newly enacted legislation allows for at-risk students to be considered at 11 of the city’s most desired charter schools, and nine D.C. Public Schools are also offering expanded consideration for enrollment in pre-K programs to eligible kids. Public schools are also offering expanded consideration for enrollment in pre-K programs to eligible kids.

D.C. considers kids at-risk if they are homeless, in the District’s foster care system, receiving temporary assistance or getting nutritional assistance through city programs.

“DCPS is committed to supporting our youngest learners with joyful, enriching academic opportunities,” said Chancellor Lewis Ferebee. “The expansion of our equitable access program means that students who are most in need and gain the greatest benefit from early childhood educational receive additional consideration.”

Families in D.C. are familiar with the city’s school unified lottery system, which allows them to rank the schools for preference of placement. This expanded consideration for the 11 participating charter schools allows the student’s preference to remain in place for five school years with unlimited renewal.

Students can apply for schools and the pre-K programs at My School DC.

The application for Equitable Access seats is in the My School DC application, according to DC Schools. All PK3 and PK4 students must apply via the My School DC lottery to access a seat. Eligible students apply just as they would otherwise to their preferred choices on their My School DC application.

Nine DCPS schools are participating in the Equitable Access Designated seats program in the 2022-2023 school year:

  • Barnard Elementary School (neighborhood school)
  • Garrison Elementary School (neighborhood school)
  • H.D. Cooke Elementary School (neighborhood school)
  • Van Ness Elementary School (neighborhood school)
  • West (soon to be John Lewis) Elementary School (neighborhood school)
  • Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan (citywide school)
  • Dorothy I. Height Elementary School (citywide school)
  • Military Road Early Learning Center (citywide school)
  • Stevens Early Learning Center (citywide school)

The 11 charter schools to offer an at-risk admissions preference for the 2022-23 school year:

  • Breakthrough Montessori PCS
  • DC Bilingual PCS
  • DC Wildflower
  • Digital Pioneers Academy PCS
  • E.L. Haynes PCS
  • Inspired Teaching Demonstration PCS
  • Sojourner Truth Montessori PCS
  • The Children’s Guild DC PCS
  • Two Rivers PCS
  • Washington Latin PCS
  • Washington Yu Ying PCS

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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