January 29, 2010

DCPS Expands Early Education Programs for 2010-2011 School Year; Lottery Ends Feb. 28 


Contact: Jennifer Calloway | 202-535-1096

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – During the past two years the Fenty Administration has added more than 700 Pre-School/Pre-Kindergarten/Head-Start (PS/Pre-K/HS) seats to District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), in all eight Wards. For 2010-2011 this will equate to 25 new classrooms across 18 schools, and represents an increase of 225 PS seats and 200 Pre-K seats from 2009-2010. District families can apply online now to enter their 3-and-4-year-olds in a lottery for available PS/Pre-K/HS seats at 85 elementary schools.

Early Education at Smothers ES“A strong start to school is invaluable; Pre-school, Pre-K and Head Start are critical to student success,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “To sustain this reform effort we have to ensure that the District’s youngest residents have more access to high quality early education --and our continued expansion is just the first step.”


While PS and Pre-K is not required for DC residents, access to a high quality early childhood experience is an important component of DCPS’s broader strategy to eliminate the achievement gap. DCPS is proud to offer 3400 seats for 3-and-4-year-old children in this year’s lottery, and encourages all families to use the free early education programs offered in every Ward.

“Without sacrificing play, we believe the best way to give our kids a solid foundation is through a comprehensive and rigorous early education experience,” said DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee. “Beyond just expanding access we’ve improved the quality of each program with increased professional development for teachers, and a focus on data driven instruction and parental engagement.”


  • The last day to enter the PS/Pre-K/HS lottery is Feb. 28. There is no advantage to applying early. Parents can save and edit their application up until the deadline. This allows families more time to attend open houses, make school visits and ultimately make more informed decisions.
  • Applicants can each choose up to six schools, up from five last year.
  • Applicants for PS/Pre-K/HS seats will receive preference for: living within the boundary of a school, having a sibling who attends that school or for living in close proximity to the school (approx. 3 blocks).
  • Each application must be submitted online, and every school is equipped to assist any family that needs access to a computer. Families can also call the Critical Response Team at (202) 478-5738 for additional assistance.
  • The lottery will run on March 2. Results will be posted online March 3, and mailed home March 8.


Next school year all Head Start and non-Head Start designated classrooms will merge. There will no longer be a separate application for HS, and all PS/Pre-K classes at Title I schools will receive the extra supports that federal HS funding provides.

This means 127 additional classrooms at 16 schools will have wrap-around services, and for the first time all children who qualify for HS --an estimated 1500 additional children than are currently being served, will now benefit from: nutrition services, mental health services, family support services, health services, and extra disability supports/services for students with special needs.

In previous years DCPS’s practice had been to only allocate federal HS funding to HS designated classrooms; this limited the school system’s ability to serve all HS eligible students, creating disparities not only among Title I schools but between different classrooms in the same school. For FY10, DCPS has received approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to revise its program model, and moving forward DCPS will blend local dollars and federal HS funds together to spread equally across all schools that serve low-income and at-risk students.


Next year the following schools will have a Pre-School program for the first time, welcoming 3-year-olds district-wide:

  • Francis-Stevens Education Campus (W2)
  • Hendley Elementary School (W8)
  • Shaed Education Campus (W5)
  • Drew Elementary School (W7)
  • Malcolm X Elementary School (W8)
  • Turner @ Green Elementary School (W8)
  • Winston Education Campus (W7)

For more information about the PS/Pre-K/Head Start Lottery and for details about individual schools please visit www.dcps.dc.gov.


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