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Boundary and Student Assignment Study 2023

View details for upcoming meetings with school communities.

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME) is conducting a Boundary and Student Assignment Study 2023 ("Boundary Study") to review DC Public School (DCPS) boundaries and feeder patterns and District-wide public school student assignment policies. The Boundary Study will develop recommendations based on analytic findings and public input, while affirmatively advancing racial and socioeconomic equity in public schools in Washington, DC. This will be the first update since 2013-2014, when Washington, DC undertook its first comprehensive review of student assignment in four decades. The DME is running a Master Facilities Plan study concurrently and both studies will share foundational information.

DME has contracted with a team led by Perkins Eastman including WXY Studio, The D.C. Policy Center, and LINK Strategic Partners to support both studies. Additionally, DME is compiling helpful resources on a Boundary Study Resource page.

Click here to view some Frequently Asked Questions.

Study Goals

The Boundary study will develop systematic and school-level recommendations to address three goals specified in Council legislation:

  1. Students have clear assignments to schools of right based on DCPS attendance zones and feeder pathways;
  2. There is adequate capacity in the geographically zoned DCPS facilities at each grade level (Pre-Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and High), including feeder pathways, taking current and future population and enrollment trends into account; and
  3. There is equitable access among District students to high-quality public schools.

Community Input

There will be extensive community engagement including an Advisory Committee on Student Assignment, three rounds of District-wide town halls, engagement with school-specific communities, a Boundaries-specific website for information sharing and collecting feedback, and ongoing participation at stakeholder meetings and local events. These processes are modeled on similar engagements conducted during the 2013-14 review process. Follow the DME on social media (@DMEforDC on X and @DMEforDC on Instagram) to learn more about the times and locations of engagement opportunities, as well as check back on this DME website. Sign up here to stay in the loop on upcoming Town Halls and engagement opportunities.

Advisory Committee on Student Assignment

The Advisory Committee on Student Assignment is a group of education stakeholders from all eight wards of Washington, DC who will meet monthly in the evenings through December 2023 to create recommendations for attendance zones, feeder patterns, and school assignment policies. The Advisory Committee will help formulate guidelines and principles for public school assignment and choice policies and practices; review data and information; listen to the community and interpret feedback; and develop the recommendations and scenarios that will be included in the final report. Meetings will be live streamed and open to the public. Information about the Advisory Committee members, meetings, and materials is posted on the 2023 Advisory Committee page of this site.

Learn more about the monthly Advisory Committee meetings.

Town Halls

The DME will hold three rounds of citywide town halls during the project. The town halls will be open to the public and information regarding the town halls will be posted on this site. 

  • Launch (May 2023): DME will solicit feedback about vision, goals, and principles for public school assignment and choice policies, build public awareness, and share timelines and processes.
  • September 2023 (originally scheduled for July): Participants will review the landscape of DCPS boundaries and student assignment analysis, provide feedback on potential policy tools, and receive an introduction to the online web tool.
  • December 2023 (originally scheduled for November): DME will share and solicit feedback on revised student assignment policies and DCPS boundary and feeder scenarios.

Information about the town halls including registration links and posted materials is posted on the town hall page of this site

Specific School Communities

DME will engage with school communities that may be significantly affected by any boundary or feeder pattern revision scenario. These will be determined as the scenarios are developed and information becomes available from the Master Facilities Plan 2023. Learn more about school meetings for the Boundary and Student Assignment Study here. Additionally, DME will provide a web-based planning tool that will allow community members to explore the potential impacts of various boundary and feeder scenarios. Explore the first version of this web tool here

Final Report

The final report of recommendations from the DC Advisory Committee on Student Assignment will be submitted to the Mayor in March 2024. Changes from adopted recommendations may begin to take effect no sooner than SY2025-26, starting in August of 2025. New policies will be clear in advance of the common lottery process that begins in December 2024. However, to support a smooth transition, “phase-in” provisions may buffer the immediate impact on many current students and their families.

Questions or comments? Please reach out to the DME's planning and analysis team.

Jenn Comey, Director of Planning and Analysis

Rebecca Lee, Senior Policy Advisor

View materials from the 2013-14 review, subsequent implementation plans, and boundary and assignment tweaks in February 2015.