DC XQ Let's Rethink High Schools
DC XQ Let's Rethink High Schools

Community-driven Redesign with DC Public Schools

DC+XQ Design Journey

Teams made up of educators, students, families, and community members honed their boldest ideas into rigorous high school models with support from XQ and DCPS. Their school designs were driven by the unique needs and strengths of each school community. Two schools were selected by a panel of local and national experts to begin incubating their designs during the 2022-23 school year as part of DC+XQ Cohort 1. Four additional schools will continue refining their designs with an eye to joining future cohorts.

“This is a step forward in our work to reimagine what is possible for our schools and students, while ensuring we are preparing our young people for college and career pathways. We are inspired by the creative energy and advocacy from the community, and we look forward to supporting our schools in the next legs of their journeys to rethink and redesign the high school experience.”

Dr. Lewis Ferebee, Chancellor, District of Columbia Public Schools

About the

DC+XQ is a districtwide, multi-year, community-driven partnership to rethink what high schools can be and come together to make those visions a reality—so all students graduate ready for college, careers, and life.

We are at a moment of incredible opportunity for thoughtful and lasting change for our schools.

Now is the time to reimagine high school learning environments that are rigorous, relevant, and honor all students’ potential and ambition.

By bringing together the vast talent and ingenuity of the DCPS community, DC+XQ will make that vision a reality in every district high school.

Meet the First DC+XQ Cohort

During a seven-month design journey, teams at six DCPS high schools immersed themselves in XQ’s research-based Design Principles and Learner Outcomes. They conducted equity audits—to ensure all learners are given equal opportunities to succeed— deeply engaged their communities and students, and studied XQ school models across the country to understand what’s possible. These school-based teams included educators, families, students, and community members. Ultimately, each school developed a core design concept that identified the greatest areas of need for their students, the assets of their communities, and the boldest opportunities to rethink the high school experience for students. After a broad group of experts and stakeholders reviewed the final proposals, two high schools were selected as the first cohort to spend the 2023-2024 school year prototyping and piloting elements of their school models, testing ideas, and gathering further input from their communities. All six schools that applied for the first cohort will receive continued support to drive the realization of their school models. Meet Cohort 1!

Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus

The “Cardozo School of Business” will center its student experience on entrepreneurship, preparing students to be inventors of their own learning paths, careers, and lives and to address the next century of challenges in our ever-changing world. Students will develop and implement small business plans that build year-over-year through their high school journeys—infusing rigorous high school academics with real-world business and financial skills.

Dunbar High School

Dunbar will reimagine the high school experience and deepen academic achievement through the lens of Afrofuturism, a cultural and intellectual movement that leverages knowledge of the past to prepare for the future. Reflecting on its history as the first public high school for Black students in the United States, Dunbar will utilize new technology expanding the traditional classroom into the surrounding city and metaverse. It will also organize into five “academies,” focusing on the themes of engineering, law and public policy, sports management, informational technology, and Black Studies—ultimately preparing students to dismantle systemic inequities and become change agents in their communities and across the world.

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