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Public School Enrollment in the District of Columbia Increases for Seventh Consecutive Year

Thursday, February 11, 2016
Growth trend shows continued confidence in DCPS, public charters

Media Contact:  Patience Peabody 202-702-3234; [email protected]

Public school enrollment in the District of Columbia increased for the seventh consecutive year, signaling District families’ continued confidence in the city’s public schools and efforts since 2007 to improve the quality of education in the District, State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang said today in releasing audited enrollment numbers for the 2015-16 school year.

Audited enrollment numbers for the 2015-16 school year show a 2.3 percent increase over the 2014-15 school year counts with the statewide enrollment total growing from 85,403 in 2014-15 to 87,344 in the 2015-16 school year.

Enrollment in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) increased from 47,548 in 2014-15 to 48,439 in 2015-16, while enrollment in the District’s public charter schools increased from 37,684* to 38,905 (*This count excludes the 171 student enrollment at Hospitality High School. In the 2014-15 school year, Hospitality High School was managed by OSSE. The school is now closed.)

"Our public schools are making impressive academic gains and our students are earning national recognition for their achievements,” said Mayor Muriel E. Bowser. “As a result, more families are choosing to send their children to public schools in the District.  We will continue to accelerate the pace of education reform as we build a pathway to the middle class for every single student.”

"When families enroll their children at public schools in the District, they are demonstrating their confidence in the education we offer,” State Superintendent Hanseul Kang said. “Year after year, more families choose public schools in the District of Columbia, which is testament to the amazing work of our teachers, school leaders and staff. I look forward to seeing this trend continue as we dig deeper into the important work of improving the quality of public education in the District.”

Enrollment totals for DCPS and public charter schools and the percent change from the 2014-15 school year are captured in the chart below:

District of Columbia Public Schools

Public Charter Schools

SY 2015-16 audited enrollment

SY 2014-15 audited enrollment

Percent change

SY 2015-16 audited enrollment

SY 2014-15* audited enrollment

Percent change

48,439

47,548

1.9 %

38,905

37,684

3.2 %

*This count excludes the 171 student enrollment at Hospitality High School. In the 2014-15 school year, Hospitality High School was managed by OSSE. The school is now closed.

The District’s audited enrollment numbers released today closely mirror unaudited enrollment numbers recorded during a student headcount taken Oct. 5, 2015, which reflected a statewide student enrollment increase of just under 3 percent.

Background on the District’s Audit of Student Enrollment

As the state education agency, OSSE is responsible for conducting an annual audit of the student enrollment data submitted by local education agencies (LEAs) in the District. Prior to the audit, OSSE holds a series of training sessions for school-based staff before the first day of school to review the annual enrollment audit process and all documents required by families to enroll their children at public schools in the District.

In the first week of October, auditors contracted by OSSE launch an annual headcount of students, which includes physically counting each student present in every public school in the District. OSSE contracted with F.S. Taylor & Associates again this year to conduct the student enrollment audit for the District. F.S. Taylor & Associates is a full-service accounting firm providing professional accounting, auditing and advisory services in the District since 1980.

The headcount, which began Oct. 5, 2015, for the 2015-16 school year, also includes a review of student enrollment documentation submitted by LEAs. In the months that follow the headcount, LEAs resolve any anomalies found in enrollment documents and are offered the opportunity to appeal the results of the audit as they relate to their schools. Once documents are resolved and appeals exhausted, OSSE releases final, official enrollment numbers to LEAs.   

For the 2015-16 school year, OSSE launched a public awareness campaign that targeted enrollment fraud prevention and provided information to the public on how to report suspected residency fraud. 

For additional resources regarding the District of Columbia 2015-16 school year student enrollment audit, and information from past enrollment audits, visit the OSSE website at osse.dc.gov.