Where do students travel to and from to attend Tier 1 schools?

Public charter schools offer quality options for students across the city. Every year the DC Public Charter School Board releases School Quality Reports, which places each school into one of three tiers – Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3, with Tier 1 being the best. There are top performing schools available in every ward where public charter schools are located, including Tier 1 schools in Wards 7 and 8 that enroll a majority of students from these wards. However, there is still a need for more high-performing schools in areas where families do not have access to as many Tier 1 schools in their ward.  

Where are Tier 1 public charter schools located?

Forty-three schools (approximately a third of all schools) receive the highest rating of Tier 1 on the DC Public Charter School Board’s School Quality Reports. Every ward with public charter schools has a Tier 1 school. Tier 1 schools are more common in Wards 4, 5, and 7, representing more than a third of schools in each of these wards.


Notes:

  • Campuses with multiple facilities are accounted for in their primary campus ward only.
  • Campuses that serve students in different School Quality Report frameworks (for example, pre-kindergarten to grade 8 and high school grades) receive more than one rating.
  • There are no public charter schools located in Ward 3.

Which wards have a higher percentage of students attending Tier 1 schools?

Across the charter sector, 42% of students attend a Tier 1 public charter school. At least half the public charter school students who live in Wards 2, 3, 4, and 6 attend a Tier 1 school. By comparison, only 28% of students living in Ward 8 attend Tier 1 schools. While there are Tier 1 schools in Ward 8, more top-performing schools are still needed to help increase share of students living in Ward 8 who attend Tier 1 schools.

Where do Tier 1 schools attract students from within their ward?

Tier 1 schools in Wards 7 and 8 are more likely to serve students who live in the school’s ward: two-thirds of students attending Tier 1 public charters in Wards 7 and 8 live in the same ward where they attend school. By comparison, Tier 1 schools in other wards are more likely to attract students from outside the school’s ward: in Ward 2, for example, only 8% of students attending the only Tier 1 public charter school in the Ward (BASIS DC PCS) live in the school’s ward.

Tier 1 public charter schools in Wards 1, 2, 4, and 5 are more likely to serve students from all eight wards. By contrast, Tier 1 public charter schools in Wards 7 and 8 enroll most of their students from Wards 7 and 8. 

Note: Data in wards with fewer than 10 public charter students have been suppressed for privacy reasons.

How far do students who live in each ward commute to attend Tier 1 schools?

Public charter school students who live in most wards travel a similar distance to school regardless of whether they attend a Tier 1 school, with the exception of students who live in Wards 7 and 8. In Ward 7, students are able to travel shorter distances to attend a Tier 1 school. However, in Ward 8, students must travel a farther distance to attend a Tier 1 school (almost all Tier 1 schools in Ward 8 are concentrated near the Anacostia metro station).

Summary

Quality public charter school options are available across the city, but students in some areas tend to have less access to Tier 1 schools. This is especially true in Ward 8, where 28% of public charter school students living in the Ward attend a Tier 1 school and travel 0.3 miles farther to attend Tier 1 schools. The fall 2017 School Quality Reports will show if there are any additional Tier 1 options in Ward 8. In addition, in spring 2017, DC PCSB approved the North Star College Preparatory Academy for Boys, which plans to open in Ward 7 or Ward 8.

 

For more information about distance traveled to schools and maps of where students live and go to school, see May 2017 Choosing Quality report.

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