Ketcham ES Child Development Center

Child Development Center

A child development center for babies and infants ages 0-3 will open at Ketcham Elementary School next school year starting in August 2018. The center will be operated by a community partner and childcare vouchers will be accepted.

How can I learn more?
Parents and families are welcome to come to a community meet at Ketcham ES on Thursday, March 15 starting at 5pm in the school’s library.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP here.

Child Development Center - Copy - Copy

What opportunities will there be to provide input?
We will have information soon for parents and community members to join a panel that will help us select the partner who will run the 0-3 center.

How can I stay updated and who can I contact if I have questions?
You can e-mail dcps.earlychildhood@dc.govFind it at Ketcham (Flyer)


New Ward 4 North Middle School Update

Middle School

Why is DCPS opening a new middle school in Ward 4?
In 2014 the DC Advisory Committee on Student Assignment, which was a group of residents, parents and community stakeholders, came together to review student assignment, boundaries and feeder patterns. After a nine month process of gathering input and feedback from all 8 wards with about 1,500 residents in focus groups, working groups and community meetings, they presented a set of recommendations to DCPS.

One of these recommendations included opening a new middle school in Ward 4. This recommendation and other factors behind this decision are summarized below.

  • 3 of the 4 education campuses that currently feed into Coolidge High School: LaSalle-Backus EC, Takoma EC and Brightwood EC are near capacity or are already over capacity.
  • In a recent strategic regional analysis DCPS helped conduct with the DC Office of Planning, some of the highest population growth in the city is expected in the neighborhoods of Brightwood Park, Takoma and Manor Park over the next 7 years.
  • In a 2016 survey of 150 parents and school staff from the education campuses, 90% of parents and 90% of staff recommended moving forward with the 2014 recommendation to open a new middle school.
  • Early childhood is in high demand. As of September 2017, there were over 70 in-boundary families on a waitlist to enroll in either PK3 or PK4. DCPS can offer more seats with the space created after the MS transition.

What is the schedule for the opening of the new middle school?
The new middle school will open in SY19-20 with a 6th grade class and will add a grade each year until it becomes a full middle school in SY21-22. Students currently enrolled in 5th grade and above will graduate from their education campus while students who are in 4th grade and younger will have the right to attend the new middle school.

New North MS Opening TimelineWho can attend the new middle school?
Families who currently live in the boundaries for LaSalle-Backus EC, Takoma EC, Whittier EC and Brightwood EC will have the right to send their child to the new middle school and will simply need to enroll starting in spring 2019. There is no additional criteria to enroll such as an application or testing.

What will the new middle school be named? Where will it be located?
The new middle school will be located on the campus of the newly modernized Coolidge High School on the corner of 5th ST NW and Sheridan ST NW. It will open in August 2019. The official name of the new middle school has not yet been determined. In the interim, the school will be unofficially referred to as ‘Coolidge MS’ or ‘New North MS’. The naming decision will be led by an extensive process of gathering ideas and feedback with the education campus communities in accordance with the DCPS policy governing the naming of new schools.

How has DCPS collected input from school communities including teachers, parents and school leaders?
DCPS has worked to engage many groups and stakeholders throughout Ward 4 to gather feedback and input following the work of the DC Advisory Committee on Student Assignment. See below for a summary of where we’ve been. As we move into 2018, the school planning team is looking forward to continuing the dialog and gathering input.

Engagment History.JPG

Why is DCPS doing a phased opening starting with a 6th grade?
DCPS considered multiple ideas on how to go about creating the best timeline for opening a new middle school. There was broad consensus among Principals that new school openings are best done by starting with one grade and growing by a new grade each year. This helps build a unified school culture. This is also less of a recruitment burden to hire staff and recruit students when building a new school one grade at a time. We also heard it’s important for current middle school students to have the opportunity to graduate from their education campus rather than moving to a new school while they are in middle school. Because of this phased approached beginning with 6th grade, students will transition to middle school at the end of the elementary grades as opposed to transitioning while in a middle school grade.

What will the new middle school offer?
DCPS is working to create programming at the new middle school that will help create a pipeline for a newly redesigned Coolidge High School that will launch in SY19-20. Families can expect programming that will help students prepare to enter one of the three academies at the relaunched Coolidge High School: Health Sciences, Mass Media and Early College.

If have any feedback, or additional questions or concerns, then who should I contact?
Please feel free to reach out to Brian Alexander on the School Planning team: You can also follow @DCPSPlanning and @BAlexanderLeads on twitter for updates.

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.

Connecting art & emotional responses: Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors field trip

Last week, Ms. Mills took a group of students on a field trip to see Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirschhorn Museum. Artist Yayoi Kusama’s avant-garde pieces are known for their ability to evoke various emotional responses based on her unconventional use of space, color, light and reflection. In her Infinity Mirrors exhibit, Kusama created six rooms of wonder on the beauty, stereotypes and evolution of the human condition. Students viewed the rooms as well as her earlier creations such as “Works on Paper.” Students then analyzes the six rooms and critically discuss Kusama’s perspective on the “incredible beauty of humanity.” Check out photos from their day below:

If you are interested in this exhibit, information on their free timed-passes is here. 

Dual Language Planning Updates

Our DL engagement process is ongoing. Want to connect for an update or to share your thoughts? Contact or (202) 821-6557.


This school year, DCPS opened three new Dual Language programs at Houston ES, MacFarland MS, and Roosevelt HS, bringing the total number of English/Spanish programs  in DCPS to 11. Through all our work engaging school communities over the past two years around dual language, we’ve heard demand from parents across the city for more language programming in DCPS. Some parents want more English/Spanish programs, some want a more equitable spread of programs across the city, others want to see new languages like Mandarin, French, or Arabic introduced.


Map of DCPS Dual Language Programs.

In the past, DCPS has generally opened new Dual Language (DL) programs one at a time, addressing needs and demand from school communities as they come. As you may notice in the map above, there is now a strong concentration of DL programs in Wards 1 and 4, an area there is also a high concentration of native Spanish speakers.

While opening in this cluster helps programs enroll a mix of native Spanish and native English speakers, it makes equity of access across the city difficult. Looking at the map above, if you’re a student in Ward 8 or 5 you’re looking at a lengthy commute if you’re able to get into a DL program. Having programs clustered in Columbia Heights / Petworth also makes it challenging to offer convenient feeder patterns for schools outside that hub.


Our goal through this process is to engage a wide range of stakeholders across the city and develop a multi-year plan for dual language going forward. In particular, we want to address equity of access and complete feeder patterns (referenced above). We’re talking with parents who have kids in DL, parents who don’t, school leaders, staff, dual language experts, and community members and asking:

  • What’s going well with dual language now? What do you like about it or find appealing?
  • What do you want to see change going forward?
  • How do you think DCPS should expand dual language?

What we’ve done

  • One on one meetings or phone calls with 30 different parents and community members.
  • Larger community meetings at Takoma EC, Marie Reed ES, the Ward 5 Council on Education, Tubman ES, and the Ward 4 Education Alliance.
  • Conversations with dual language leaders and staff members at Oyster Adams, Tyler ES, CHEC, Powell, and Bancroft.
  • Looked at preliminary data on English Language Learner (ELL) and non-ELL performance in our dual language programs.
  • Spoke with a range of dual language researchers and other school districts and states across the country with successful DL programs.

What we’ve heard

  • Parents are interested in ways for their kids to learn another language. Many are excited about dual language specifically, but many are also open to alternative ways for students to learn a second language. This could include more intensive language study, or after school and summer programs.
  • Dual Language school leaders are bought into and excited about dual language, and want it to be available to more students across the city.
  • While parents are excited about language, there are reservations about adopting the program at their school because of what it would mean for the school culture and staff. Moving to DL often implies significant staff turnover to get the right number of bilingual educators.
  • Parents and staff want clear, logical feeder patterns so students can progress in dual language from elementary to middle to high school.
  • Parents, staff, and community members want students across the city to be able to access dual language programming more easily. They’ve pointed out the lack of DCPS programs in Wards 5 and 8 specifically.
  • Concerns about strand programs vs. whole school models. Some parents and community members feel strand programs can create divisions within one school community, while others feel it’s important to offer the option of a non-DL program in their neighborhood school.

Meeting Schedule

Interested in talking with us or want to schedule a larger meeting at your school community? You can always reach us at or (202) 821-6557, or feel free to join us at an upcoming meeting:

  • Oyster Adams Bilingual School (2801 Calvert St. NW) at 9am Friday, 11/4
  • Ward 8 Education Council house meeting – Monday, November 28th (Location TBD)
  • Miner Elementary School PTO – Monday, 12/5 at 6pm
  • Ward 7 Education Council (TBD)


Ron Brown HS Speakers Series

RBHS Speakers Series

Ron Brown College Preparatory High School will launch a weekly speakers series as part of its College and Career Exploration Program.  It is designed around the three core pillars of the school – to develop a young man’s character, academic curiosity, and service toward his community.

Sign up to share your story by visiting, emailing, or calling 202-729-4343.