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Graduation Excellence Engagement

Our Commitment

DC Public Schools (DCPS) is committed to ensuring that all students are prepared to achieve in college, career, and life. Creating clear standards that all students must meet to graduate and ensuring that all stakeholders are held accountable is a key element of making certain that our students are set up for success. DCPS is committed to:

  • Maintaining high expectations for all students and ensuring all graduates feel confident they have earned their diplomas;
  • Empowering our students and families on their paths to graduation with the supports they need to be successful; and
  • Providing clear and transparent policies with rigorous monitoring systems.

Public Comment Period on Updated Policies and Emergency Rulemaking

On June 22, DCPS released draft regulations and policies regarding attendance, student promotion, secondary grading, and graduation for public comment. Throughout this past winter and spring, DCPS engaged students, families, and school staff through more than 20 public engagement events and online surveys. The proposed changes, which will go into effect in School Year 2018-2019, were created to ensure all students have equitable access to an excellent education.

Everyone has a part to play in supporting our students toward graduation and we want to make sure that all voices are heard in this process. Please review and provide feedback on our draft policies and revised regulations by July 22 or by attending one of our policy feedback forums on July 19. For more information about the policy feedback forums, please review this flyer in English and in Spanish. For more information about the public comment period, please reference the frequently asked questions below and review this overview.


When will the public comment period be open?
DCPS will seek feedback from the community on a rolling basis through the public comment period from June 22 to July 22, 2018.

How can I submit feedback?
Please submit feedback through this draft policy survey and this draft regulation survey. DCPS will also be holding two policy feedback forums on July 19:

  • 9 – 10:30 am at Cardozo Education Campus, 1200 Clifton St, NW
  • 6 – 7:30 pm at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, 4800 Meade St, NE

These forums are an opportunity to share your feedback and ask questions in person. For more information about the policy feedback forums, please review this flyer in English and in Spanish.

What are the major changes to the regulations and policies?
The proposed revisions reflect a commitment to empowering students and families on their paths to graduation. Examples include:

  • increased flexibility with school schedules that will allow DCPS to build school days that meet the needs of specific school communities;
  • a system of early-warning notifications that will give students an opportunity to get back on track, and the removal of automatic grade reductions and failures (for 10 absences) that will create new opportunities for students to make up work and demonstrate mastery;
  • the grade appeals process will be streamlined to ensure timely responses for families, reduce administrative burden, and ensure good stewardship of funds; and
  • punitive consequences for highly mobile students will be replaced with opportunities to make up work and show mastery when transferring into a new school.

Why are the policies and regulations being changed?
DCPS collected feedback on current policies this spring and determined that changes were necessary to both regulations and policies to better meet the needs of school communities.

What is the difference between the policies and the regulations?
The policies are written under the assumption that the regulations are approved and enacted. All comments submitted in regards to the regulations will be assumed to apply to the policies as well. For this reason, if you are interested in reviewing and submitting comment on only one of these two documents, we recommend that you review the regulations.

What engagement has DCPS engaged in around these policies?
DCPS held over 20 public engagements with a diverse range of stakeholders in April and May, 2018 including:

  • Focus groups: DCPS held focus groups in April and May that were open to the public and provided an opportunity to provide feedback on these policies. A summary of feedback received at those focus groups can be found here.
  • Community Forums: At the April Community Forums, DCPS engaged with community members and received feedback on draft policies.
  • Chancellor Cabinets: The Chancellor continues to engage with her student cabinet , teacher cabinet, principal cabinet, and parent cabinet to receive their feedback on draft policies.
  • Staff Survey: DCPS received over 100 responses from teachers, counselors, and school leaders through a survey focused on graduation policies

What steps has DCPS taken to support graduates?
Following revelations that DCPS’ grading and attendance policies were being applied inconsistently, the Mayor commissioned an independent audit of district-wide policies on attendance and graduation outcomes. Based on the findings of the report, DCPS moved quickly to:

  • improve its training and systems;
  • create the Office of Integrity to answer questions and address concerns from students, families, staff, and community members;
  • schedule individual meetings with students to ensure they understood the steps they needed to take to graduate;
  • host resource fairs at every comprehensive high school to connect students with supports from community partners and District agencies;
  • provide robust training for school staff;
  • plan enhanced summer school programming; and
  • update the Aspen student information system to more precisely track compliance with current policies and more.

What is the timeline for this process?

Process Timeline

How else can I submit feedback?
DCPS will be holding two community forums on July 19. These forums are an opportunity to share your feedback and ask questions in person.

Where can I get more information?