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Feeder fact fun, forthwith
DC releases a new dashboard about what schools students come from and go to
Where do students go from elementary school to middle school? Middle to high school? How many from DCPS go to their assigned feeder schools, or another DCPS school, or a charter? If you’ve ever wondered about this, a new tool can give you insight. Mostly.
It’s part of the EdScape system from DC’s Deputy Mayor for Education office (DME). A brand new tool called Student Enrollment Pathways breaks down patterns of how students switch from one school to another. For instance, here’s a visualization it contains for each DCPS middle school, and what schools students come from:
The labels at the top show which “feeder pattern” the schools are in — each is named for the high school. But this isn’t showing who goes to the high school. It shows all the DCPS middle schools (at the bottom) and where they were before. Dark blue means students from one of the official feeder schools; light blue, other DCPS schools; green, charters (and gray is students who weren’t in DC’s system the previous year, like people who moved into DC or switched from a private school.)
You can see how some middle schools have a lot of students from feeders. Besides Deal and Hardy west of Rock Creek Park, there’s MacFarland and Ida B. Wells, two middle schools in northern DC. They were opened in recent years as part of a plan, from when boundaries were last revised ten years ago, to convert 6-12 “education campuses” into separate middle and high schools.
Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC), Kelly Miller, Hart, Francis-Stevens (here “School Without Walls @F”) and some others also have larger feeder continuation rates, while Cardozo (another 6-12 which is slated to turn into separate MS and HS in future years) has a particularly low one, as do some others. (Also there are some K-8 campuses, like Oyster-Adams or Walker-Jones, where almost all the students come from just being at the school in grade 5 and continuing to 6.)
I’ve spent a lot of time now getting to understand all the DCPS schools and how they fit together in the big puzzle that’s the DCPS system. If you’re new to this your eyes may be glazing over at all the names of all the schools. Here’s a quick(ish) reference about the feeder patterns, but it’s a big city!
Looking at the transition from middle to high school, the chart looks like this:
Here the dark blue is students from that middle school going to the assigned high school; sky blue is another DCPS neighborhood high school and teal is one of the selective high schools (Walls, Banneker, Ellington, McKinley, etc.) Green is charter and gray is people who move out of DC or go private.
We see a lot of feeder continuation from Deal and Hardy to Jackson-Reed, and again from MacFarland and Ida B. Wells to their high schools, Roosevelt and Coolidge. Though MacFarland, last year anyway, sent almost exactly the same number to Coolidge. You can also see pretty strong feeder continuation from some other middle schools (like in the Ballou pattern) and very little or none from some others.1
Privacy protection limits what we can understand
It’s important to protect families’ privacy, and to that end the DME data combines all numbers from 1-9 into just one “under 10” category. That means that if I want to understand where people come from to go to Cardozo MS, I can see what schools they come from, but it could be nine kids from that school or just one.
I know a single-digit number of sixth graders came from each of the three elementary schools that feeds Cardozo, eight other DCPS elementary schools, and three charters, but not more than that.2 Also if one student goes from school A to neighborhood school B, they might have gotten in by lottery, or might have moved, or something else (special education placement?)
I’d also like to know where the Cleveland Elementary 5th graders are going, but I mainly just know no ten of them went to the same place.
But, we can see that from Bancroft, which has rights to go to Deal MS or CHEC, 42 students chose Deal and 21 chose CHEC last year (and 1-9 each went to Hardy, E. L. Haynes PCS, or DC International PCS).
The tool also has data about charter schools, though I get a lot of these 1-9 boxes for those, not surprisingly. Charter experts, does this chart tell you anything interesting?
(Light and dark green is students who come from the same charter LEA — the operator or network; gold is other charters, blue DCPS).
If you play around with the tool, is there anything informative you’re able to find out? Or, what questions would you like to know about that you can’t get from this data? Comment below!
CHEC isn’t actually going to Cardozo, though this chart makes it look that way — the dark blue for CHEC is people continuing from the middle school (Lincoln) to the high school (Bell). Bell is an application high school for everyone except students at Lincoln who get to go there by right.
The feeders are Cleveland, Garrison, and Seaton; the other schools are Browne, H.D. Cooke, John Lewis, LaSalle-Backus, Marie Reed, Noyes, Raymond, and Tubman; the three charters are KIPP-DC Northeast Academy PCS, Meridian PCS, and Roots PCS.