Housing Complex

What the Proposed Boundary Changes Mean for Each of the City’s High Schools

A map of the proposed revisions to the city's high school boundaries

A map of the proposed revisions to the city's high school boundaries

The city is out with its revised proposal for overhauling the school assignment policies and boundaries. Some parents—those in boundary for Wilson High School, for instance—are likely relieved to have been spared the more radical propositions suggested in an earlier round of proposals. Others will still be concerned about the changes, which shift some students to different, and sometimes lower-performing, schools.

Let's drill down the changes on the high school level, looking at each of the city's nine neighborhood public high schools.

Anacostia High School

Current enrollment: 751
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the current boundary (SY 13-14): 2,475
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the proposed boundary (SY 13-14): 3,575
Boundary participation (% public school students living in boundary and attending) (SY 13-14): 20 percent

Anacostia

Anacostia doesn't experience a major change, instead getting a small expansion to its borders. It would absorb Barry Farm, which to Anacostia parents might be a mixed bag: The neighborhood currently consists of a troubled public-housing complex, but is slated for renovation into a mixed-income community. It would also see its northern boundary stretch all the way to East Capitol Street. These changes mean nearly 1,000 additional in-boundary students. The question, at a school that only 20 percent of in-boundary students currently attend, is how many of those students would actually come to Anacostia.

Ballou High School

Current enrollment: 678
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the current boundary (SY 13-14): 2,475
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the proposed boundary (SY 13-14): 2,551
Boundary participation (% public school students living in boundary and attending) (SY 13-14): 21 percent

Ballou

Ballou experiences the smallest boundary shift of any of the neighborhood high schools. The tinkering around the edges would boost the school's potential enrollment pool by fewer than 100 students.

Cardozo High School

Current enrollment: 681
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the current boundary (SY 13-14): 1,810
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the proposed boundary (SY 13-14): 1,284
Boundary participation (% public school students living in boundary and attending) (SY 13-14): 16 percent

Cardozo

Cardozo would undergo one of the biggest shifts of any school, losing about half its current territory—northern Columbia Heights, southern Petworth, northern Bloomingdale, and parts of Edgewood and Brookland—and gaining a large swath of Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, downtown, Shaw, Foggy Bottom, and the West End. That's actually a substantial cut in the number of in-boundary potential students. But with wealthier areas being incorporated, it could mean a rise in the school's fortunes, and possibly a higher in-boundary enrollment rate than the current 16 percen—if those parents don't balk and send their kids to charters or elsewhere.

Coolidge High School

Current enrollment: 433
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the current boundary (SY 13-14): 1,070
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the proposed boundary (SY 13-14): 1,143
Boundary participation (% public school students living in boundary and attending) (SY 13-14): 18 percent

Coolidge

Coolidge might appear to lose its wealthiest areas, around Shepherd Park, but that's really just an illusion: Even if these neighborhoods were technically in the Coolidge boundary, they were eligible to go to Deal Middle School and then feed into Wilson High School. Now they officially move to Wilson. Otherwise, the Coolidge boundary remains largely the same.

Dunbar High School

Current enrollment: 628
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the current boundary (SY 13-14): 1,390
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the proposed boundary (SY 13-14): 2,169
Boundary participation (% public school students living in boundary and attending) (SY 13-14): 20 percent`

Dunbar

Dunbar, like Cardozo, sees a radical shift in its boundaries here. Currently near the center of its attendance zone, Dunbar would move to the far west side as it absorbs territory to the north and east. Gone are the area around Mount Vernon Square and portions of Capitol Hill; added are the NoMa neighborhood and a wide swath of the Brookland, Edgewood, and Fort Lincoln area. Dunbar essentially ceases to be a center-city school and becomes the school for most of Ward 5. In the process, it gains nearly 800 in-boundary potential students.

Eastern High School

Current enrollment: 783
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the current boundary (SY 13-14): 1,738
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the proposed boundary (SY 13-14): 1,606
Boundary participation (% public school students living in boundary and attending) (SY 13-14): 17 percent

Eastern

Like Dunbar, Eastern essentially becomes a ward school, only for Ward 6. It loses all its territory east of the Anacostia River, deepening the divide between the two sides of the river that has historically marked the border between poor and rich (or at least less poor). For Capitol Hill parents, this could be a major opportunity to turn Eastern into a more popular option for the middle-class community; for residents of the current eastern reaches of the school's boundary, it means missing out on that possibility.

HD Woodson High School

Current enrollment: 762
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the current boundary (SY 13-14): 835
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the proposed boundary (SY 13-14): 1,789
Boundary participation (% public school students living in boundary and attending) (SY 13-14): 35 recent

HD Woodson

Woodson becomes the school for the entire Northeast section of the area east of the Anacostia River. In the process, it more than doubles the number of potential students within its boundary.

Roosevelt High School

Current enrollment: 438
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the current boundary (SY 13-14): 1,998
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the proposed boundary (SY 13-14): 1,974
Boundary participation (% public school students living in boundary and attending) (SY 13-14): 14 percent

Roosevelt

Roosevelt, currently at the western edge of its boundary territory, moves to the center as it becomes the school for Petworth, Crestwood, Park View, and parts of Columbia Heights. Crestwood parents won't be happy about losing the right to attend Wilson, but it's Roosevelt's gain. With new borders around a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, long-suffering Roosevelt could finally start to see a wealthier student body, which often correlates to greater success. But that's only if the students in its boundary start attending Roosevelt at higher than the current dismal 14 percent rate.

Wilson High School

Current enrollment: 1,696
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the current boundary (SY 13-14): 1,567
Number of grade-appropriate public school students living within the proposed boundary (SY 13-14): 1,114
Boundary participation (% public school students living in boundary and attending) (SY 13-14):56 percent

Wilson

Wilson is wildly overcrowded, because it's in such high demand. A major driver of the boundary changes is the need to depopulate Wilson a bit. The school loses Crestwood, areas around Dupont Circle and Foggy Bottom, and the Southwest quadrant. Technically, it gains Shepherd Park, but people there were already attending Wilson anyway through the feeder system. The number of potential students within the boundary drops by more than 500—which likely means around 500 angry parents who will try to do something about this before it's finalized.

Maps via the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education

  • E. Masquinongy

    What Wilson looses, the the charter schools will gain. Parents are unlikely to put their children in a currently underperforming DCPS high school.

  • http://buywithsimplicity.com buywithsimplicity

    Well written and informative article on this website!

  • http://dcvacantproperties.blogspot.com Marie Inshaw

    This is a good post summing the changes up.
    We found the Dunbar boundaries weird. We can see the school from our house, but we aren't in it's boundaries, which is odd. We're okay with it, because so far we don't see it as an option anyway.

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