Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus
Where students take charge of their economic futures.
Cardozo plays an important role in Washington, D.C. It was the nation’s first all-Black business high school, dating to the early 1940s. Today, Cardozo’s student population is now more than 50 percent English Language Learners. In redesigning their school, the Cardozo Education Campus team devised a model highlighting their history while being responsive to the needs and interests of their current community.
Cardozo’s community-designed model focuses on entrepreneurship, working to prepare students with the necessary skills and opportunities to break the chains of institutional poverty, disenfranchisement, and racism that have left too many families unable to achieve the American Dream. Students will select one of four Houses, or small learning communities, in which they’ll explore a career pathway in entrepreneurship. They’ll develop and refine their business plans during their four years at Cardozo, including launching their businesses, while taking courses in financial literacy and business foundations. Every course will integrate at least one e-skill (electronic skills necessary to use information and communication technologies) for every unit for all students. Students will also experience learning opportunities throughout the city to continue developing their understanding of these skills. And students will have academic, financial, and mental health advisors to support them and their families throughout these experiences in Cardozo and beyond.
“The norm is that students graduate from here feeling very confident about what their next step of their life is going be like, and that it includes creating an economic experience for their family, for the generations to follow.”
Design Principles in Action
Learn how Cardozo Education Campus applies these XQ Design Principles to sustain student success:
Strong mission and culture
Cardozo’s mission is to stay grounded in the school’s unique history as the nation’s first all-Black business high school while addressing the current needs of the evolving community.
Meaningful, engaged learning
All courses will spend time co-designing unit plans with students.
Caring, trusting relationships
To support the whole student and family over time, students will receive regular support and engagement from an academic advisor, a financial advisor, and mental health advocate.
Youth voice and choice
On top of identifying which House Pathway they would like to join, students will have quarterly opportunities to identify an area of entrepreneurship, such as culinary or nonprofits, that they want to explore more through weekly Learning Lab experiences.
Smart use of time, space, and tech
The school will utilize a flexible schedule to create additional space for student experiences and intentional supports for teachers. In the Learning Lab, students will select an area of entrepreneurship to explore weekly for an entire quarter, then switch to another area for the next quarter.
Community partnerships are key to the model, supporting exposure to entrepreneurship through the Learning Lab and serving as advisors and advocates for students.