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Mayor Bowser Accelerates the Pace of Education Reform: Announces Extended Year for 10 District Schools

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced that ten DC Public Schools (DCPS) schools will move to an extended-year calendar in School Year 2016-2017.  This announcement comes during Education Week, Mayor Bowser’s week-long effort to highlight how the District is accelerating the pace of school reform and creating pathways to the middle class for District residents.

“A pathway to the middle class starts with a great education,” said Mayor Bowser. “Our public schools have made significant gains in recent years, and I am committed to building on those gains – so that we can close the achievement gap and give all of our students a chance for success.  By extending the school year in these ten schools, we will offer students the equivalent of an extra year of learning by the time they reach the 8th grade.”

The extended year includes an additional month of instruction, taking the academic school year from 180 to 200 days.  There will be an additional two weeks provided for students who need extra support, and breaks in October and June to accompany the normal winter and spring breaks.

Research suggests that time away from school during the summer contributes to the achievement gap.  School districts across the country that have extended the school year have seen significant gains among their student bodies.

“Students, especially our students in struggling schools, deserve the opportunity both to excel in core subjects like reading and math and to explore a wide range of interests including art, music, PE, advanced courses, library, and foreign language,” said Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of DC Public Schools.

The ten new elementary and middle schools with extended year planned for the 2016/2017 school year:

  • Garfield Elementary School (Ward 8)
  • H.D. Cooke Elementary School (Ward 1)
  • Hart Middle School (Ward 8)
  • Hendley Elementary School (Ward 8)
  • Johnson Middle School (Ward 8)
  • Kelly Miller Middle School (Ward 7)
  • King Elementary School (Ward 8)
  • Randle Highlands Elementary School (Ward 7)
  • Thomas Elementary School (Ward 7)
  • Turner Elementary School (Ward 8)

DCPS selected the ten schools based on a mix of criteria, including: strong leadership in each school, active interest by the community (including students and parents), and student bodies that demonstrate room for growth.

“We at Charles Hart Middle School have the best teachers, a Common Core-aligned curriculum, and great extracurricular offerings. We are determined to make sure all of our students are prepared for high school, college, and beyond. I’m thrilled that students will be able to spend even more time on the core subjects as well as expanding their horizons,” said Charlette Butler, principal of Charles Hart Middle School.

One school, Raymond Education Campus in Ward 4, extended its School Year for 2015-2016 and is already seeing results - including 96% student attendance for the optional intersession days. Raymond will continue its extended year in 2016-17, bringing the total number of schools with an extended-year calendar to 11 .

“We are seeing teachers, students, and parents on board for extended year,” says Natalie Hubbard, principal of Raymond Education Campus. “My goal is to close the achievement gap, and we’re already seeing improvements in the classroom and in our extra programming.”