New Report Examines the Student Enrollment at DC Public Charter Schools

Monday, May 11, 2015

For Immediate Release: May 11, 2015

Contact:  PCSB Communications, communications@dcpcsb.org

New Report Examines Student Enrollment at DC Public Charter Schools

“Making the Choice” is PCSB’s First Comprehensive Look at

Where Charter Students Attend School

 

Washington, D.C.—Students enrolled at DC public charter schools reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, according to a report released by the DC Public Charter School Board.

At least forty-eight percent of public charter school students in grades PK3-12 (16,011) attend a public charter school in their home ward while, forty-six percent of public charter school students in grades PK3-12 (15,565) attend school outside their home ward.  A remaining 2,096 students (six percent of the total) did not have an identifiable home ward.

PCSB also analyzed the average distance PK3-12 students travel to public charter schools.  For 47 schools (45% of total schools), students travel an average 1 to 2 miles.  For the remaining schools, student travel an average of less than 1 mile or greater than 2 miles.       

“Charter schools offer students an important choice.  Families can decide if they want to attend a Montessori program in Ward 5 or a college prep program in Ward 8,” said Scott Pearson, Executive Director of PCSB.  “This report shows that public charter schools attract families that live all over the city.”   

Charter school students who live in Wards 3 and 2 attend public charter schools outside their home Wards in the highest percentage with 100% and 90% respectively. This is not unexpected since only one public charter school is located in these Wards.  Wards 8 (37%) and 4 (43%) have the lowest percentages of public charter school students attending public charter schools outside their home Ward, according to “Making the Choice,” the DC Public Charter School Board’s first comprehensive analysis of where the 33,672 PK3-12 public charter students attend school. 

One interesting finding of the study is that 1,185 attend a Ward 7 or 8 public charter school but live in Wards 1-6.   Indeed, at two schools located in Ward 7 more than a quarter of their students live in one of the other seven Wards:  Friendship PCS – Collegiate Academy and SEED PCS of Washington, DC.

Darren Woodruff, Board Chair of PCSB said, “many assume that students only travel west across the Anacostia river to attend school, but this report shows that more than 1,100 students travel from around the city every day to attend a school in Wards 7 and 8. 

Of the 105 public charter schools included in the analysis:

  • Eleven “Tier 1” public charter schools have more than half of their students coming from outside the Ward of the school, e.g. BASIS DC PCS located in Ward 2.
  • Eleven “Tier 1” public charter schools have more than half of their enrollment living in the same Ward as the school, e.g. Achievement Prep PCS - Wahler Place Middle located in Ward 8. 

Maps of student populations at each public charter school campus can be found here