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Children December 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm

DC Public Schools

Hello everyone,
I am looking to buy a house in DC and have been interested in researching and comparing different DC school districts. I know Capitol Hill has reputedly great public schools. I’m interested in staying in the Columbia Heights and Petworth area, though, which I know less about. I’ve also heard that the farther north you go into 16th Street Heights, the district lines put you in with the Tenleytown schools, which are really good. Does anyone know of any good websites or resources to find out this information? I know Redfin will tell you which schools are closest to the house you’re looking at. What’s the best way to figure out if they’re any good? Any thoughts greatly appreciated!

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Here is a map for elementary school zones:

http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/Files/downloads/SCHOOLS/Boundary%20Maps%20-%202009/DCPS-Attendance-Zones-Elementary-Grades-September-2009.pdf

And here is one for middle schools:

http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/Files/downloads/SCHOOLS/Boundary%20Maps%20-%202009/DCPS-Attendance-Zones-Middle-Schools-September-2009.pdf

As you can see, there are some pockets east of the park that feed into Deal middle school, but you have to live west of the park to be zoned for Ward 3 elementary schools.

From what I’ve read on PoP in the past two years or so, if you want good schools, your best bet is to live west of the park.
 
There are a lot of parents east of the park working hard to improve their childrens’ schools (and I think the Capitol Hill elementary schools are supposed to be good), and there are lots of parents trying to get their children into certain charter schools… but it sounds like neither is an easy proposition.

1. I’ve heard that the feeder lines for Deal from east of the park may go away (only rumors at this point), but I’m not counting on them being there in 10 years.
2. The best way to figure out if they’re “good” is to check the data and go see the schools – there are a lot of open houses coming up soon. Good for you and your kids is different than good for me and mine.

BS

If you are considering the school thing simply because of property value etc…personally, I think there are better aspects of the property to consider for inside the city.  If you looking in Fairfax or MoCo, perhaps the school districting is more important.  However, with the charter school system as robust as it is in town, I dont think that the public school zoing is going to change the house value.

Also,  http://www.greatschools.org allows you to compare schools and if you filter out the boosters and detractors the public and charter school forum on http://www.dcurbanmom.com can be helpful.  Neighborhood preference only applies to DC public schools so even if there is an excellent charter school in your neighborhood you will still have to enter the lottery to get your child admitted.  Check the lottery open and close dates for charter schools as they are all different whereas in DCPS the lottery for 2013 opens end-January and closes end-february.

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