These five schools all have shared vision of a full PK3-12 path for their students. The first step towards realizing this 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 implement a curriculum framework that is based on inquiry and internationalism; and all have a focus on sustainability and social justice. Finally, they are all high-performing charters with a history of successful fiscal and educational practices.
Each of the Member Schools had been asked by its parent community to expand its students’ education through secondary school, and each had 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 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 each adopted the International Baccalaureate Middle Years and Diploma Programmes as the curriculum framework for their middle-high programs. And they each expanded to create DCI. Then, through an act of DC legislation, DCI was able to become its own Charter School.
The establishment of DCI is an innovative and unique response to the needs of the Member Schools 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.