Five Immersion Charter Schools in Washington, DC have partnered to pursue the creation of the District of Columbia International School:
- DC Bilingual Public Charter School
- Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School
- Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School
- Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School
- Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School
DCI will eventually serve approximately 1400 students in the 6th through 12th grades. Operation of DCI began in school year 2014-15 with 200 Students from the Member Schools in the 6th and 7th grade classes and will grow to its capacity of 1400 students in grades 6-12. This combined middle/high school will allow students from each of the Member Schools to continue to pursue a rigorous academic program while building on the language and cultural immersion experiences from their primary schools.
At DCI, students will have the unique opportunity to study advanced languages and earn the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP) Certificate in middle school, followed by the globally recognized International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB DP) and/or International Baccalaureate Career-Related Certificate (IB CC) in high school. With proficiency in one or more languages and an IB Diploma, these DC public school children will graduate positioned for success in postsecondary education, their careers, and as contributors to their communities here in the District of Columbia and throughout the world.
The first step towards realizing our vision was to create a collaborative and cooperative venture between the five small independent Member Schools. The Member Schools have philosophical and pedagogical frameworks in common that facilitate achievement and success: all five offer language immersion to their students in key world languages. All five implement a curriculum framework that is based on inquiry and internationalism and have a focus on sustainability and social justice. Finally, all five are high-performing charters with a history of successful fiscal and educational practices.
Each of the Member Schools has been asked by its parent community to expand its students’ education through secondary school, and each has recognized the need to increase the size of its student body in order to establish a rich secondary school environment with a wide diversity of course offerings and college/career preparation. Thus, the concept for the establishment of DCI was born. Through the cooperation of the five Member Schools, the best of each is represented in this new creation, which will allow students who have spent their elementary experience progressing towards biliteracy and bilingualism to continue their journey. The establishment of DCI also means that students who were not able to access this model of education during their elementary years will now be afforded an opportunity to do so with any new spaces open in the 6th-9th grades.
The Member Schools have each adopted the International Baccalaureate Middle Years and Diploma Programmes as the curriculum framework for their middle-high programs at DCI and the school has applied to the IBO as an applicant school. The IB organization offers a world-class educational opportunity with a variety of instructional options to meet the needs of diverse learners. The students at DCI will be offered education in English, French, Spanish, and Chinese. Students continuing on to DCI from the elementary school programs of the Member Schools can continue to master their elementary foreign language in advanced classes, and/or, along with new students first enrolling in the Member Schools at the middle-high level, begin to master a new target language. The MYP and DP Programmes are international in focus, interdisciplinary in curriculum organization and require students to engage in rigorous and stimulating learning and enrichment experiences both within and beyond the classroom. These programs also require long-term assignments and activities involving investigative research and community service, which align perfectly with our mission. Students will graduate highly prepared for postsecondary education and/or careers. Flexibility in curriculum pathways combined with a culture of high expectations and global stewardship will ensure that our students enter adult life with knowledge, skills, willingness to contribute, and self-determination.
The establishment of the DCI is a unique and innovative response to the needs of these stakeholders that promises to provide a high quality education to urban public school students across Washington DC. These DC public school students, the citizens, workers, and leaders of an increasingly complex tomorrow, will be equipped with tools (language, international perspective, global understanding) that hold the promise of helping to make our world a better place.