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Counseling & College Preparation for Students at DESA

Counseling Department

Every Ellington student is assigned a Professional School Counselor. While your child’s specific needs will change from year to year, your child’s school counselor ensures that your child is college-ready and armed with post-secondary options. We work closely with students, making sure that they:

  • achieve academically and artistically,

  • begin and complete the college and career search,

  • manage time and improve study skills,

  • learn about extracurricular and co-curricular opportunities (summer study, evening programs, study and test preparation, etc.

  • apply for scholarships and grants

  • and more!

For all scheduling inquiries:

We also collaborate with colleagues, parents, and our communities, monitor and foster student progress through meetings, school programs, and data collection, and serve as advocates for our students. We have many resources at our fingertips and are eager to help counsel your family through your Ellington experience!

Communty Service

Community Service

In 1992, the District of Columbia Board of Education recognized the importance of instilling in students an ethic of service and an appreciation for giving back to the community.


All students must complete at least 100 hours of community service in order to obtain a high school diploma from DCPS. There is no maximum. All community service hours must be completed through a 501(c)(3) non‐profit organization or a federal, state or local government agency.


A list of 501(c)(3) organizations can be found online at or

Community service is defined as an independent act of providing a needed service to a person or persons. The goals of community service are to:

  • Foster a lifelong habit of serving others;

  • Increase a student’s sense of social responsibility and civic engagement;

  • Provide opportunities for students to identify and engage issues impacting their community;

  • Provide access to real life authentic experiences that will prepare them for college, career and life.

Smiling student organizes cans within a basket

Here are a few suggestions for community service in Washington DC that are convenient on weekends and after school.


  • Capital Area Food Bank

  • Martha’s Table

  • Central Union Mission

  • Boys and Girls Club

  • Humane Society

  • After-school tutoring programs

  • Any non-profit agency

  • Prince George's Sports and Learning Center

When recording community service hours, students must use the DCPS Community Service Form.


Completed forms should be turned in to a student’s school counselor. Please contact your school counselor with additional questions.



To receive a DCPS diploma, students who enroll in 9th grade for the first time in School Year 2007-2008 and thereafter must earn 24.0 credits (or Carnegie Units) as follows:

Please Note: Red courses are by recommendation of teacher only & Red requires summer work packet completion in addition to teacher recommendation


4.0 Credits


4.0 Credits

Social Studies

4.0 Credits


4.0 Credits

World Languages

2.0 Credits



English 1 or

Adv English 1

Algebra 1 

World History & Geo 1


Spanish 1 or French 1 or

Italian 1

Health Education

PE1 and PE2


English 2 or

Adv English 2

Geometry or

Honors Geometry

World History 2 or

AP World History

Chemistry or

Honors Chemistry

Spanish 2 or French 2 or

Italian 2

Art A

Music History or Music Theater


English 3 or

AP Eng Lang

Algebra 2 or

Honors Alg 2

US History or

AP US History

Anatomy, AP Bio, Environmental Science, or Physics


English 4 or

AP Eng Lit

PreCal, Cal, Honors, Stats, AP Stats, AP Cal AB, AP Cal BC

Principle of Govt OR

AP Govt AND DC History

Anatomy, AP Bio, Environmental Science, or Physics


The Duke Ellington Arts Diploma requires a minimum of  10 credit hours in a specific arts discipline if you enroll as a 9th grader and 7 credit hours if you enter as a 10th grader. Please see your Department Handbook for specific details.

Students must also earn 100 hours of Community Service.

Grad Requirments
Dual Enrollment


Eligible DCPS high school students have the opportunity to participate in dual enrollment offerings. Through Dual Enrollment, DCPS students can take challenging college courses that are not offered at their home high school, while earning college credit that can be transferred to many postsecondary institutions. Tuition is waived for DCPS students who participate in any of the programs below.

Each participating university sets its own admissions criteria and selection process for dual enrollment students. DCPS serves as the intermediary to facilitate the application process and to provide student support while DCPS students are enrolled in the program.

After graduating from high school, participants are under no obligation to continue their academic studies at any participating university.

DCPS Dual Enrollment Opportunities

Listed below are the DCPS Dual Enrollment opportunities available to students. Please click each program to learn more about application requirements and deadlines.

  • Accepting applications from DCPS students in grades 11 & 12 with a minimum 3.0 GPA

  • Participating Universities: American University – School of Education, American University - Data Science Program, Catholic University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, & Howard University

  • Accepting applications from DCPS students in grades 10-12 with a minimum 2.5 GPA (view each university-specific grade level & GPA requirements)

  • Participating Universities: American University - School of Education, Bard College, Bay Atlantic University, Bowie State University, Marymount University, Montgomery College, NOVA Community College, Trinity Washington University, UDC-Flagship, & Virginia State University

  • Accepting applications from DCPS students in grades 10-12

  • Participating University: UDC-Community College

IT Dual Enrollment

  • Accepting applications from 10th and 11th grade students in DCPS CTE IT programs with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

  • This is an opportunity to take an IT themed Dual Enrollment course and participate in a paid internship over the summer!

Dual Credit Opportunities

Students interested in earning both college and high school credits for their Dual Enrollment course can request Dual Credit. Dual Credit is a component of Dual Enrollment that allows students to earn both high school and college credits. A Dual Enrollment course not taken for Dual Credit does not affect the student’s high school GPA, and students will only earn college credit upon successful course completion.

To learn more about the Dual Credit Request Policy, including deadlines and the pre-approved course list, visit:

Contact: Larry Davis, and Suwana Reavis, 


Introducing Family Connection from Naviance!

A web-based service designed especially for students and parents. Family Connection is a comprehensive website that you and your student can use to help in making decisions about colleges and careers. Family Connection, is a service that we use in our office to track and analyze data about college and career plans, so it provides up-to-date information that’s specific to Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

Family Connection will allow you and your student to:

  • Get involved in the planning and advising process – Build a resume, complete on-line surveys, and manage timelines and deadlines for making decisions about colleges and careers

  • Research colleges – Compare GPA, standardized test scores, and other statistics to actual historical data from DESA for students who have applied and been admitted in the past

  • Sign up for college visits – Find out which colleges are visiting our school and sign up to attend those sessions

Family Connection will also lets us share information with you and your child about up-coming meetings and events, local scholarship opportunities, and other Web resources for college and career information. In addition, the site includes a link that your child can use to send us an e-mail message.

To visit our school’s Family Connection site, use your Web browser to connect to:

Parents a personal registration code is required to open your account and begin utilizing this tremendous resource. Please e-mail to receive your registration code, including your name and your students name and grade.

Once you receive your personal registration code; please follow the instructions below:



On the Naviance Family Connection Portal, click the “I need to register” link.


Enter your personal registration code


You will be asked to complete your registration by filling in your email and setting up a password.

Once this is completed, you will be brought to your student’s Naviance Family Connection Portal. Remember that what you see is a read-only version of the portal. Feel free to explore all of the wonderful things that you and your student have access to!

Questions? Please contact the Counseling Department for further details.

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