DC Public Schools Empowers Its Leaders

DCPS believes that district tranformation starts at the school level, under the guidance of a dynamic leader who pushes the envelope of what's possible for kids. To accelerate student growth and close the achievement gap, DCPS will empower school leaders to expand what's working and explore innovative solutions, ultimately increasing the number of excellent schools throughout the city. 

Empower Our Leaders

Training For Autonomy

In the coming years, all DCPS school leaders will experience increased decision-making authority and space to innovate. This increased autonomy is an important lever for change, but it is not a standalone solution. For DCPS leaders to thrive within a blended autonomy structure, they will need to build their capacity to make site-based decisions that drive student achievement.

The Principal's Lab

DCPS already attracts and grows some of our nation’s top school leaders. To retain more top talent, and further tap their potential, DCPS will create a space for a select cohort of leaders to dream big for DCPS. Starting fall 2017, The Principals’ Lab will provide space for great leaders to design models of excellence.


Launch New Schools

DreamSchools DC

At the same time DCPS’ supports ramp up for school leaders, the school district will also embark on an ambitious effort to launch innovative school options. These new schools will be informed by the landscape analysis and leaders will be selected from The Principals’ Lab.

Infrastructure for innovation

Budgeting for equity


With a discrete pot of dollars to be distributed, school funding decisions are some of the most difficult to make. To ensure that school district resources are allocated to support students with the greatest needs, DCPS will embark on a major overhaul of how it determines which schools get what, and on what timeline - accelerating outcomes for all students with the intention of closing the
achievement gap. 

Architecture for Autonomy

In an effort to shift decision-making closer to the area of need, DCPS school leaders will be granted autonomies that were once enjoyed solely by their charter school peers. In the coming years, DCPS will launch a new blended autonomies approach that will articulate expectations of the “DCPS Way” and create an “Autonomy Menu” to guide leaders’ decision-making. A select number of school leaders will receive funding to seed their most ambitious
plans in SY18-19.

Strategic School Design

DCPS will strive to ensure a predictable, reliable, accessible K-12 continuum for all families. The district will conduct a citywide, cross-sector landscape analysis of school offerings and will implement a system to authorize new schools and programs (e.g. multilingual, magnet, community
schools,etc.), to promote greater student diversity,
and to increase opportunities for innovation with
an eye towards accelerating student achievement.