MacFarland Middle School Update from Principal Mark Sanders


MacFarland Middle School reopened in August 2016 as a dual-language middle school. Next year, it will continue to grow its Dual-Language program and welcome their first 6th grade comprehensive (non-dual language) class.  It will welcome this class in a newly modernized and renovated state of the art building. You can find the full letter from Principal Mark Sanders right here

What is the timeline for the MacFarland Opening?
MacFarland Middle School will grow its comprehensive middle school program over the next three school years starting with 6th graders. It will become a full 6 – 8th grade middle school in SY20-21. You can find the full timeline below.

Expansion Timeline

What schools and programs feed into MacFarland?
As a middle school with both comprehensive and a dual-language programs, MacFarland has both geographic and programmatic feeder schools.

  • Families who live in the boundaries of the geographic feeder schools below have rights to enroll in the MacFarland MS comprehensive program.
  • Dual-language programmatic families have the right to enroll their child in the MacFarland MS dual-language program.  

MacFarland Feeders

How can I learn more?
MacFarland Middle School will host school tours for families on Wednesday mornings at 9:30am throughout February and March. The tours will be in the school located at 4400 Iowa Avenue NW. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Principal Sanders directly at or please call 202-671-6033.

MacFarland Middle School Phased Opening

DCPS announced yesterday that MacFarland Middle School’s comprehensive neighborhood program will start with a 6th grade in August 2018, and grow one grade each year from there. The full announcement is at the end of this post in English, Spanish, and Amharic.

Since the announcement MacFarland would open its neighborhood program in School Year 18-19, we’ve gotten input on how to make the transition as successful as possible for MacFarland and for its neighborhood education campuses: Truesdell, Raymond, and West. We believe a phased opening is the best way for MacFarland to steadily grow its program while also allowing middle school students in the EC’s to graduate from the schools many of them have attended since Pre-Kindergarten.

What will this look like for MacFarland?

MacFarland opened a 6th grade Dual-language program this year, and will grow to a 7th and 8th grade over the next two years. When it opens its neighborhood comprehensive program in School Year 2018-2019, it will open with a 6th grade only, and grow one grade each of the next two years.


What will this look like for Raymond, West, and Truesdell?

For the next school year (2017-2018), there will be no changes. When MacFarland’s neighborhood program opens in School Year 2018-2019, the three education campuses will no longer take 6th grade students, and continue to serve 7th and 8th graders. The following year (SY2019-2020) they will serve 8th grade students before transitioning to traditional PK3-5 elementary schools in SY2020-2021.


Interested in learning more? We’ll be at West EC’s Principal Chat and Chew on May 22nd at 6pm, and will post additional meeting dates at Truesdell and Raymond as we schedule them. We look forward to continuing to engage over the coming weeks, months, and years to support our school communities through this transition – as always, feel free to reach out to with any questions or comments.

MacFarland Phased Opening Raymond

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MacFarland and Roosevelt Community Cabinet Meeting Notes

Both the Roosevelt and the MacFarland Community Cabinets met the last week of June to wrap up a school year’s worth of work on their neighborhood schools. The Roosevelt Cabinet discussed a number of updates regarding school facilities, uniforms, and an introduction of new administrators. MacFarland Cabinet members discussed facility updates and weighed in on how MacFarland should brand and market itself as a neighborhood school with both dual language and comprehensive programs. It was especially helpful to have parent representatives from all DCPS elementary schools with both dual language and comprehensive tracks.

Principal James even closed us out with a nice little surprise! Much needed on an approximately one billion degree afternoon. Thank you to all our Cabinet members for a year of hard work — we can’t wait to see what the next year holds for your neighborhood schools! Find the Roosevelt notes HERE, and MacFarland notes HERE.

Welcome to MacFarland, Mr. Sanders!

MacFarland community members, we’ve got some exciting news on MacFarland leadership! As you may recall, Roosevelt Principal Aqueelha James will be Principal of MacFarland for the next two years with the support of a bilingual Assistant Principal. In early April DCPS asked a group of community members, parents, and MacFarland Community Cabinet members to meet the candidates for MacFarland AP and make a recommendation to the Chancellor. We’re happy to announce today that the panel’s recommendation, Mark Sanders, has accepted an offer to join MacFarland’s leadership team!

Mr. Sanders has a ten year track record of success as a bilingual educator, starting out as a Spanish teacher and serving as Assistant Principal at McKinley Tech High School and Powell Elementary School. He has a Masters in Education from Harvard University’s School Leadership Program and is a current Mary Jane Patterson Fellow at Woodson Senior High School.

Mark Sanders

The full announcement in English and Spanish is below. We’ll be announcing opportunities to meet your new MacFarland leadership team soon. Stay tuned!

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Enrollment Fair for Roosevelt and MacFarland — Saturday 4/23

Planning Principal Aqueelha  James will be hosting an enrollment fair for both Roosevelt High School and MacFarland Middle School on Saturday, April 23rd from 10am to noon in the Roosevelt Gym.  Registration will happen on site, so make sure to bring proof of DC residency. Flyers in English and Spanish are below, please contact with any questions.

Note: this event is tailored to prospective families. We look forward to hosting many more events for our Ward 4 neighbors in the future, but will not be able to offer building tours on the 23rd.

MacFarland Leadership Announcement

Below is the letter  announcing MacFarland Middle School’s leadership structure from DCPS Chief of Schools John Davis. The full announcement was sent home to our feeder families last week; the key idea is that Roosevelt High School Planning Principal Aqueelha James will lead MacFarland during its first two years with the support of a bilingual, biliterate Assistant Principal with dual language expertise to oversee the day-to-day operations of the middle school. We’re excited to start enrollment on April 1st!

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Why Choose MacFarland?

Dual Language families, see the below presentation we’ve been sharing with families at our dual language elementary schools about MacFarland Middle School over the past several months. The highlights:

  • MacFarland is opening with a 6th grade dual language program in August, about 4 blocks north of the Georgia Ave/Petworth metro station. All students in DCPS dual language programs have a guaranteed seat.
  • In years past, most DCPS dual language students have left bilingual programs before they get to middle school — MacFarland gives families a guaranteed opportunity to continue learning in two languages.
  • All the research shows that students who continue in bilingual education have better outcomes in reading and math than those who leave dual language.
  • MacFarland’s program is based on the Oyster Adams middle school model. Students take English Humanities and Spanish Humanities. Math is taught in English, Science is in Spanish. Students take an enrichment block to get extra help in a language or learn a third language.
  • DCPS is piloting a global education program at MacFarland next year — both global education and dual language will align with programming at Roosevelt High School.
  • The deadline to reserve your seat is Tuesday, March 1st — submit your application for MacFarland Dual Language right away!

Open the presentation below for more detailed information, including the process for how MacFarland will grow from 6th grade dual language program to full 6-8 middle school.

Still have questions? Contact us at

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