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Mayor Bowser, DCPS and Clark Foundation Launch “DCPS Persists” Support Network for Class of 2020 and Beyond

Friday, May 22, 2020
Program Will Provide College-Bound DCPS Graduates with Coaches, Financial and Academic Resources, and More to Help Them Succeed

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee announced DCPS Persists, an innovative program that will provide students in the Class of 2020 and beyond, a guaranteed support network as they embark on the next chapter of their educational journey. The program is the nation’s first college persistence initiative led by a traditional public school system. DCPS Persists is funded by the DC Public Education Fund through a generous investment from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation.

“Through DCPS Persists, we’re ensuring that our students’ connection to DCPS doesn’t end when they graduate high school – we’re going to keep providing guidance as they take on their next challenge in college,” said Mayor Bowser. “We’re grateful to our coaches and alumni for giving back. We know how important it is to keep strengthening our DCPS alumni network as a support system for the next generation of students.”

Through DCPS Persists, eligible students who plan to go to college will be provided with a network of supports that ensures they have the guidance and resources they need to succeed to earn a degree and pave the path to a fulfilling career. Starting with the Class of 2020, 750 college-bound DCPS graduates will be able to get connected to a DCPS Persists coach to help them navigate the transition to college. Coaches will assist students with academic, financial, and other resources available on their college campus. They will also support and check in with students regularly throughout the first two years of their college experience.

“With the launch of DCPS Persists, we are focused on ensuring that more of our students are prepared for success throughout their college experience, graduate from college, and are able to pursue careers that align with their interests,” said DCPS Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee. “Our students shouldn’t have to navigate college alone and I am excited about the phenomenal suite of supports we are offering and the opportunities this program will help our students pursue. I thank our coaches and alumni who are wrapping their arms around our graduates and look forward to their continued success.”

The program will also offer college-bound graduates:

  • A pre-college orientation to get a head start on what to expect in college and meet other college-bound students;
  • Access to the DCPS Alumni Network so that students can stay in touch with other graduates for tips, career networking, and more; and
  • Access to a wealth of information on scholarships and other important college focused content through Forever DCPS, a new monthly alumni publication.

“As a high school principal, I have seen how our graduates can hit roadblocks in college,” said Cardozo Education Campus Principal Arthur Mola. “It's difficult to work so hard with students, and then not be able to continue that support when they leave our doors. As a first-generation student myself, I know how much the support from DCPS Persists will mean for students as they navigate the excitement and challenges of college. DCPS Persists will put someone who cares about them in their corner – a game-changer for our students.”

Nearly 80% of jobs in the District require some form of postsecondary education. DCPS Persists will help the District raise the college graduation rate of DCPS students and ensure they are prepared to succeed in their careers. 

“DC ED Fund’s role has always been about seeding the start-up of DCPS’ most innovative programmatic designs,” said Jeanie Lee, President and Executive Director of the DC Public Education Fund. “Following that trend, we are proud to support DCPS Persists, the nation’s first college persistence initiative led by a traditional public-school district. We are also incredibly grateful for the opportunity to partner with the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation, our legacy investor for DCPS Persists, on drastically changing graduation outcomes for DCPS students choosing college.”