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Education in the Juvenile Justice System

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is committed to supporting local education agencies (LEAs) and correctional facilities that serve District of Columbia students with information and resources to ensure the continued education of students who are detained, incarcerated, or re-entering the community from District of Columbia correctional facilities. It is OSSE’s expectation that these students are provided the same access to a high-quality education as all other students in the city, and that programs serving this population produce the same academic and graduation rates.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, emphasizes the need to create smooth transitions between correctional facilities and locally operated programs for students who are neglected, delinquent, or at-risk.1 This guidance is intended to help LEAs effectively navigate the juvenile justice system in the District of Columbia when a student is detained, incarcerated or re-entering into the community from a correctional facility.2 The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), in partnership with District sister agencies, plays a unique role as the LEA providing education while students are detained or incarcerated. However, it is the obligation of all LEAs to ensure that students transitioning from correctional facilities are timely served upon their re-entry to the community.

To facilitate these transitions, OSSE and other key partners have developed interagency agreements and mechanisms for data sharing. In addition, OSSE’s Division of K-12 Systems and Supports has a dedicated point of contact whose role is to support the timely sharing of information, address systemic challenges on behalf of transitioning students, and help ensure that the District meets its obligations to all students.


1ESEA section 1414(a)(1)(B))
2This document is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice.