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Conduct Research or Obtain Confidential Data at DCPS

Thank you for your interest in conducting research in DC Public Schools! We want to make DCPS the best urban school district in the country. To this end, we welcome high-quality research in DCPS. We strive to create favorable conditions for research while respecting instructional time and individual privacy. 

For existing publicly available data sets, visit

Starting in May 2023, the DCPS Research Review Board will consider proposals monthly on the following schedule. Review meetings are subject to cancellation or change without notice. Please note the updates to procedure for submitting a proposal at the bottom of this page. 


Submission Due Date

Proposal Review Date

April 28, 2023

May 5, 2023 

May 30, 2023 

June 5, 2023 

June 28, 2023 

July 3, 2023 

August 1, 2023 

August 7, 2023 

August 30, 2023 

September 4, 2023 

September 27, 2023 

October 2, 2023 

November 1, 2023 

November 6, 2023 

November 28, 2023 

December 4, 2023 

January 31, 2024 

February 5, 2024 

February 28, 2024 

March 4, 2024 

March 27, 2024 

April 1, 2024 

May 1, 2024 

May 6, 2024 

May 29, 2024 

June 3, 2024 

About Research at DCPS

  • DCPS believes in the power of research to improve the body of knowledge related to learning and development. We welcome partnerships with the research community whose findings and results will benefit our students and/or staff or contribute to the wider improvement of public education.
  • DCPS exclusively approves proposals that meet professional standards for research design and ethical practices and have merit and relevance for the school system.
  • DCPS requires that research supports our values of equity and anti-racism. Equity at DCPS means creating an environment in which we eliminate opportunity gaps, interrupt institutional bias, and remove barriers to academic and social success, particularly for students of color. Read more from the DCPS Equity Strategy and Programming Team.
  • DCPS does not approve proposals that include randomized control trials in which students are denied services or there is deceit of students in their application to a program. Please see Appendix II of the DCPS Process and Requirements to Conduct Research or Obtain Confidential Data for additional information.
  • “Research” refers to any activity aiming to increase the existing body of knowledge. It encompasses all investigation, measurement, and evaluation activities, including design, pilots, data collection and analysis, interpretation of results, and conclusions and recommendations. Research may include primary data collection, secondary data usage, or both. “Data collection” includes, but is not limited to, interviews, focus groups, surveys, tests, observations, analysis of written documents, and experimental designs.

DCPS Research Priorities

  • Promote Equity: Define, understand, and promote equity so that we eliminate opportunity gaps and systematically interrupt institutional bias.
  • Empower Our People: Recruit, develop, and retain a talented, caring, and diverse team
  • Ensure Excellent Schools: Increase the number of excellent schools throughout the city
  • Educate the Whole Child: Provide rigorous, joyful, and inclusive academic and social emotional learning experiences to ensure all students are college and career ready.
  • Engage Families: Ensure communication and deepen partnerships with families and the community.

Submitting a Research Proposal

For a guide to submitting a research proposal in DCPS, download the DCPS Process and Requirements to Conduct Research or Obtain Confidential Data. This document governs requests to conduct research in DCPS or obtain data that: 

  • Exist, must be constructed based on existing data, or do not exist and must be collected; and 

  • Are disaggregate (including student- and other individual-level data) or aggregate where identification is possible explicitly or implicitly (e.g., school-level data on subgroups smaller than 10 individuals). 

Please use this cover sheet[DOC] for your proposal.

We accept the following types of proposal for review: 

  • Responses to DCPS requests for proposals for external audits and research. 

  • Unsolicited research proposals from (a) individuals (non-students), (b) organizations independent of DCPS, or (c) DCPS employees fulfilling graduate requirements. Please note that in general, DCPS does NOT accept research proposals from graduate students who are not current DCPS employees. However, where there is strong advocacy for the project within DCPS, DCPS may consider research proposals from graduate students who are former DCPS employees with a good service record or who have a prior or pre-existing working relationship with DCPS. 

DCPS reserves the right to deny or refuse to consider a proposal for any reason. 

Updates to Procedure (May 2023):  

  1. Starting May 15, 2023, please use the Microsoft Form linked in the DCPS Process and Requirements to Conduct Research or Obtain Confidential Data to submit proposals. Direct all other inquiries to [email protected]

  1. Starting May 15, 2023, your letter of support from your DCPS advocate must be included with your proposal at the time of upload. We are no longer accepting separately emailed letters of support. See the DCPS Process and Requirements to Conduct Research or Obtain Confidential Data for more details. 

Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)

Full DCPS policies related to PPRA can be found in the DCPS Process and Requirements to Conduct Research or Obtain Confidential Data.