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From the Principal's Desk: 8/27-9/12/2023

8/27/23 Greetings Ellington Community!

Welcome back to another exciting school year! We hope this newsletter finds you refreshed and eager for the year ahead.

Our co-founders, Peggy Cooper Cafritz and Mike Malone, envisioned a place where young minds would be ignited with creativity and a passion for change. Their dedication to creating a diverse and inclusive space for budding artists and activists has shaped the heart and soul of our school. If you haven't done so already, we ask that you review the "Founders" section on our website to learn more about our trailblazing co-founders.

Peggy Cooper Cafritz and Mike Malone's legacy continues to inspire us. Their commitment to fostering an environment where students can explore their passions, challenge societal norms, and strive for greatness serves as a beacon guiding us into the future. Together, we can build on the legacy of the giants who stood before us, ensuring that Duke Ellington School of the Arts remains a place where young adults can shape the world through art, activism, community service, and innovation.

So, as you step into this new school year, be fearless, be curious, and be the best version of yourself. Your future is bright, and your potential is limitless. Embrace this transformative journey with open arms, and let's make this year one of inspiring growth and lifelong success!

Bell Schedule

School starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 4:55 p.m. Please see the Bell Schedule below for more details!

Student Devices

Information on Technology distribution will be shared in homeroom this week.

Course Schedules

Students have already received their course schedule in Aspen. We will have add/drop forms available for students. Students should follow their schedules until they are notified by their counselor that the changes to their schedule have been made.

Arrival Instructions

  • 9th and 10th-grade students will enter using the side entrance on 36th and R.

  • 11th and 12th-grade students will arrive using the main entrance on 35th and R.

Please note all students and staff will be required to go through security prior to entering the building.

Locker Updates

Students will use the first week of school to clear out their lockers. Each student will receive their locker number the following week. If students need help accessing their locker, they can contact Director Kam Howard at

Back to School Night

September 21, 2023. Save the date for DESA's in-person Back to School Night! More details coming soon.

COVID-19 Information for School Year 23-24

As the public health emergency is lifted, COVID-19 is now treated the same as any other communicable disease. We are sharing the following reminders for your reference:

  1. COVID Testing: DCPS will not conduct COVID tests at school. COVID tests are not required to return to school this year.

  2. COVID Contact Tracing: No contact tracing will occur.

  3. Testing Positive for COVID:

  4. Staff who test positive for COVID-19 should alert their school leader and follow guidance from their health provider.

  5. Students who test positive should follow up with their health provider for guidance and the family should alert the school of their absence (in accordance with normal absence reporting requirements).

  6. Masks:

  7. Mask-wearing is optional, and schools should support individual decisions to mask for health reasons.

  8. For individuals who test positive for COVID: A mask should be worn through the 10th day from a positive test or onset of COVID symptoms.

  9. Notifications: No notifications (classroom, staff, or school-wide) will be sent for COVID-positive cases.

Here's to an incredible school year SY23-24 filled with opportunities, growth, and the discovery of your full potential!

Sandi M. Logan, Principal / Head of School

9/6/2023 Greetings Ellington Community!

I hope you're all doing well and staying healthy. Congratulations on completing your first week of the SY23-24 academic year!

The excitement and energy that have filled our hallways and classrooms are truly inspiring. Your commitment to learning and growth is commendable, and I have no doubt that this year will be filled with numerous opportunities for academic and personal achievements.

On a note of celebration and cultural enrichment, I am thrilled to announce the grand opening of our Museum Studies Exhibition, "Fifty Plus" on September 7. The exhibition will be celebrating the almost 50-year anniversary of the founding of Duke Ellington School of the Arts and we are celebrating the expectation of a promising future beyond our milestone achievement. Selected artists with a love and admiration for Ellington have submitted a total of 50 pieces of art to commemorate each year of Ellington's existence. We can't wait to see everyone there!

On September 9, we have the launch of the Young Artist Entrepreneurship Workshop, hosted by our Cinematic Arts and Media Production (C.A.M.P.) department. This workshop is tailored for DESA students and families. There will be a distinguished panel of guest speakers from Howard University, the Greater Washington Urban League, 202 Creates, and more. They will share their expertise and insights on entrepreneurship in the creative arts industry, providing valuable guidance to our young artists. Sign up here.

We are also thrilled to announce that DESA will be collaborating with the March on Washington Film Festival on September 30 to celebrate the power of storytelling and social change.

This Week Bell Schedule

School starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 4:55 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday - Even Schedule

Wednesday and Friday - Odd Schedule.

Back to School Night

September 21, 2023. Save the date for DESA's in-person Back to School Night! More details coming soon.

Thank you for your ongoing support and involvement in our school community. Together, we can make this academic year one filled with learning, creativity, and memorable experiences.

Sandi M. Logan, Principal / Head of School


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