Enrollment in District public and public charter schools has reached record levels, according to preliminary, unaudited figures collected by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).
On Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) celebrated this milestone at Trinity Washington University in Northeast, where nearly 100 public and public charter school students are currently taking college-level courses in the Advanced Technical Center.
A headcount conducted earlier in the school year showed that 96,000 students had been enrolled in District schools. That number included nearly 50,000 District public school students. Bowser described these figures as the highest recorded since the audit started 15 years ago.
“We’re proud that families are sending kids to our public schools. We’re proud of DC Public Schools for posting this number,” Bowser said.
“Give a round of applause to our public education members [who] talk to our families and educate our families about what’s happening in our buildings, and all the adults that are there and the challenging programs they’re delivering each and every day.”
OSSE will release the audited numbers in early 2023.
The DC Policy Center released a study earlier this year that highlighted declining pre-school and elementary school enrollment in the pre-pandemic years. This had especially been the case among Black families living east of the Anacostia River, supposedly because of gaps in access to early childhood education centers.
When schools opened in August, Bowser hinted at the uptick in enrollment. She and State Superintendent Christina Grant also made the rounds promoting its advanced internship program where high school students can earn a stipend and college credit exploring various careers.
Within that same time, the duo announced the launch of the Advanced Technical Center, where 96 students from high schools across the city currently take courses in cybersecurity, healthcare information technology, and nursing.
Five days a week throughout the school year, these public and public charter school students leave their high schools, either in the morning or afternoon, and take classes at Trinity Washington University. After class, taxis take students to school or home.
Within two years, they can earn four high school credits and up to 20 college credits.
Next year, the Advanced Technical Center will move to its new home at the Penn Center in Northeast. For the time being, students continue to immerse themselves in an authentic college experience — for free.
“My classmates and I all have different paths but we have the same objective,” said Teresa Jimenez, an 11th grader at Jackson-Reed High School in Northwest.
Teresa is currently taking healthcare IT classes at the Advanced Technical Center.
“This program fits into my career goals with networking [opportunities] and support. I feel like a university student. I have more responsibilities. It’s not childlike here. I have matured as a young adult.”