Arts Disciplines


Students in DCPS are learning across arts disciplines - dance, music, theater and visual arts

DCPS is dedicated to providing a high-quality arts education for all students.  All DCPS schools offer courses and instruction in a minimum of two arts disciplines, with a focus on music and visual art. 



Approaching music as a language through which students communicate, music education in DC Public Schools aims to provide students with a strategic and sequential development of musicianship and music theory while supporting their capacity with ownership of the creative process.  Students will engage in study, performance and composition throughout their DCPS music experience.

Student development in music is strategically based on the DCPS Music Achievement Guides and conceptually formatted based on the Framework for Arts Learning.  The former lays the foundation for skills and theory acquisition, providing benchmarks for student understanding and experience while the latter set the stage for students to experience music through the lens of their own development and context.

Outside of the the school environment, students in DC Public Schools will have opportunities to perform at the district level.  Each year, DCPS Arts organizes the DCPS Music Festival.  This Festival is presented through a collaboration with the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, providing students with the opportunity to enter the nation's performing arts center as performers.  
Each year, additional performance opportunities arise throughout the district that put students center stage.  In past years these have included performing at Chancellor's events, the Washington Performing Arts Annual Gala, and the White House.



Rooted in our students' personal experiences while strategically building their competence and control over visual language, visual arts education in DC Public Schools seeks to foster young people who have an understanding and awareness of the complex visual culture in which they live.
Students engage with art through the lens of their own development and use art as a tool to communicate with their peers, their community and their society.  Students become critical consumers and producers of the media that surrounds them.

Outside of the school setting, each year students are provided opportunities to present their work at the district level.  In the 2016-17 school year, these opportunities will be directly aligned with the Framework for Arts Learning. Student work will be presented in shows that highlight each of the thematic arcs. Additionally, in January 2017, we will showcase the role and process of art-making at the CREATE DC Festival, an interactive display and demonstration of the process of creation.  The festival will engage students and families through workshops, creation stations and small performances.



Driven by community goals and in addition to the DCPS requirement that all schools provide visual art and music education for all students, schools are encouraged to build programs in dance and theater to broaden student experiences in the arts.  While many of these programs are led by talented partners, the following schools maintain Dance and/or Theater educators on staff to provide programming that is integrated into the students' school day.

Brookland Middle School
Columbia Heights Education Campus
Dunbar High School
Eastern High School
Fillmore Arts Center (serving 5 DCPS schools)
Ketcham ES
Kramer MS
School Without Walls High School
Sousa MS
Takoma EC
Wilson High School