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Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): What It Means for DC Public Schools

In December 2018, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) released the DC School Report Card, which includes information about how every public school in the District performed during School Year 2017-2018. The DC School Report Card includes more than 150 data points, including the School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) Framework rating of overall school performance from 1 to 5 stars, with 5 being the highest. Both the report card and accountability framework are requirements for all states under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act or ESSA.

WATCH: OSSE’s DC School Report Card Video

READ: OSSE’s DC School Report Card Brochure

WATCH: OSSE’s STAR Framework Video (English)

WATCH: OSSE's STAR Framework Video (Spanish)

READ: OSSE’s STAR Framework Brochure

ENGAGE: To inform school improvement and transformation, DCPS hosted community feedback sessions at all eight comprehensive support schools in January and February 2019. Community feedback from these sessions has been summarized in Engagement Reports for each school. DCPS is also hosting a second-round of community feedback sessions at these schools in April and May 2019. For information on these sessions, please see the DCPS ESSA Feedback Flyer[PDF].

OSSE designed the School Report Card to provide families with a range of information, including school points of pride, academic performance, attendance, and each school’s STAR Rating. The STAR Framework contains multiple areas of school performance, including PARCC results and growth, re-enrollment, attendance, and graduation rates, when applicable. These points are totaled for the school overall and for each group of students including students’ race/ethnicity group, students with disabilities, English Learners, and students who are At-Risk, resulting in the school’s score (up to 100 points) and rating from 1 to 5 stars.

DCPS is committed to providing every student with an education that is grounded in equity and excellence. While the STAR Ratings are important, they are one measure of what makes a school great. There are incredible things happening in every DCPS school, and the district is proud that 65 DCPS schools earned a 3, 4, or 5 STAR Rating in 2018. We also know that we cannot celebrate our highest performing schools without also recognizing that in many ways, the STAR Rating results reflect the historical inequities that impact the students that we serve, particularly for families in Wards 7 and 8. DCPS is charged with the responsibility to do better for our students to ensure that every student in every ward has access to the high-quality education they deserve.

In DCPS’ five-year strategic plan, A Capital Commitment, DCPS committed to increasing the number of excellent schools throughout the District. DCPS has laid out our pathway for improving schools in our Districtwide Improvement Framework.

READ: DCPS’ Districtwide Improvement Framework in our STAR Ratings & Improvement Presentation.

READ: DCPS’ Capital Commitment: Year 1 Update, which provides an update on our big five-year goals.

The Framework builds upon our core improvement strategies, including developing educators, supporting high-quality instruction, and building engaging curriculum. It ensures that all schools work with their communities to design school-specific plans. Community members can access a snapshot of every school’s Comprehensive School Plan.

READ: Every School’s Comprehensive School Plan “Snapshot," which gives school-specific information on key focus areas to grow and improve.

We recognize that some schools need to accelerate progress and as part of the Framework, we are prioritizing supports, resources, and innovative approaches to learning to ensure that they are on the pathway to excellence.

For more information, please visit the following resources:

READ: DCPS STAR Ratings & Improvement 

READ: Interim Chancellor Alexander’s Letter to the DCPS Community

FIND: STAR Ratings by School 


READ: OSSE’s FAQ for Families (English)

READ: OSSE’s FAQ for Families (Spanish)

READ: OSSE’s FAQ for Educators

To stay informed about the great things happening in our schools, follow @dcpublicschools on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.