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Guide to College and Career Academies: Frequently Asked Questions for Students and Families

What is a College and Career Academy? What are the benefits of enrolling in a College and Career Academy?

A DCPS College and Career Academy is a small learning community within a high school that provides hands-on career training and college readiness. Students in DCPS College and Career Academies get access to paid internships, career mentoring, and can graduate with certifications that make it easier for them to find a career after high school or college.

Students who enroll in DCPS College and Career Academies are more likely to graduate high school, more likely to attend college, and have more immediate opportunities to enter a career pathway with many job opportunities that fit their interests. While 8th grade students may not know exactly what they want to do now, the Guide to College and Career Academies will help them explore some of the great programs DCPS has available to prepare them for life after high school. 

Where did the career cluster information included on my Guide come from?

In spring 2020, some 7th grade students had the opportunity to take a Career Cluster Survey in their school before virtual learning began. Those students received Guides to College and Career Academies with personalized career survey information listed at the top.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to take the Career Cluster Survey last spring and want to explore more about interesting career pathways that might fit your career interests now, you can find the survey in Naviance. Find information here for directions about how to sign in to Naviance and take the survey! 

What is an “in-boundary” school?

Your in-boundary high school is the DCPS school you have a right to attend based on your family’s home address. Every student in DC has the right to attend their in-boundary school in grades K-12. To identify a student’s in-boundary school, go to enrolldcps.dc.gov/node/41.

Students may also have the ability to attend their feeder pattern school. A feeder pattern school is the school you have a right to attend based on the completion of the terminal grade of your current school. 

To attend any school other than the in-boundary or feeder pattern school, your family must complete an application in the My School DC lottery process, which opens this year on December 14 and closes for grades 9-12 on February 1, 2021. Some DCPS schools have particular admissions requirements — including three schools featured on this Guide: McKinley Technology High School, Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School, and Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC). 

Learn more about high school options and feeder patterns at enrolldcps.dc.gov

My family moved, and now I have a different in-boundary high school. Where do I find out what my new in-boundary high school offers?

If your family has moved in the past few months, you might have a different in-boundary high school than the Guide to College and Career Academies shows. You can see a map with different College and Career Academy options on the back of the guide. You can also explore more about all the DCPS College and Career Academies at dcpscte.org.  

Some DCPS high schools don’t appear on this Guide — why is that?

The Guide to College and Career Academies showcases DCPS high schools that have College and Career Academies, which are small learning communities that provide hands-on opportunities in different career pathways, from public safety and leadership to engineering to hospitality and culinary careers. In total, twelve DCPS high schools feature College and Career Academies. There are other great options for college and career preparation at other DCPS high schools that don’t offer College and Career Academies — for example, visual and performing arts at Duke Ellington School for the Arts, or the International Baccalaureate program at Benjamin Banneker High School. While you’re selecting the high school option that’s the best fit for you, we encourage you to explore the many options DCPS offers

I want to hear more about the certifications and internship opportunities available at my in-boundary high school. Where can I find more?

Each College and Career Academy provides the opportunity for students to get hands-on, real life experience in the career pathways within the focus of their Academy through paid internships. For example, students enrolled in the Academy of Hospitality at Woodrow Wilson High School, Columbia Heights Education Campus, or Ballou High School might be able to intern at one of the District’s hotel chains to gain experience in working in the hospitality industry. 

Academy students are also prepared to take industry-specific certifications that will give them a head start on a career. For example, culinary students complete the ServSafe certification; Digital Media and Mass Media students complete Adobe Premier Pro and Photoshop certifications, and IT students complete CompTIA A+ and CompTIA A+ Security certifications. 

To learn about the internship opportunities and certifications at your high schools’ Academies, please visit dcpscte.org. You can also explore more about internship opportunities for DCPS students at dcpsinternships.org

How do I find my Guide to College and Career Academies in Aspen?

DCPS sent all 8th grade students a copy of their Guide to College and Career Academies in the mail to their home, but families can also find a copy of their Guide in their Aspen Parent Portal. After logging into Aspen, you can find the Guide to College and Career Academies by going to the lower right hand of the main screen under “Published Reports.” Or, you can click on the “Family” tab at the top of your screen to view the guide in the Documents section. Visit bit.ly/dcpsmsguide for more detailed instructions. 

If you need help logging into the Aspen Parent Portal, find directions for accessing Aspen on the DCPS website. 

What should my next steps be?

Use the Guide to College and Career Academies to explore more about different DCPS high school options. There are plenty of opportunities to connect with your in-boundary high school, the College and Career Academies, and other DCPS high school choices. 

  • EdFEST, the District’s annual public school fair, will be held virtually this year on December 12, 2020. Learn more at www.myschooldc.org 
  • Learn about DCPS school open houses on the DCPS Enrollment website.
  • My School DC lottery opens December 14, 2020. Visit the My School DC website: www.myschooldc.org.