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For Many Students In DCPS, Day Two Will Be Day One

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Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. Public Schools chancellor Kaya Henderson tour a school on the first day of school Aug. 22.
Kavitha Cardoza
Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. Public Schools chancellor Kaya Henderson tour a school on the first day of school Aug. 22.

Yesterday was officially the first day of school for D.C. public schools, both traditional and charter. But for some DCPS students today will be the first day of school.

Erica Huge is at Hart Middle School in Southeast D.C. She's only now picking up enrollment forms to register her daughter.

"I wasn't for sure if I wanted her to come to Hart cause I know she knows a lot of kids older than her," Huge says. "I didn't want her to pick up no bad habits."

In the past, the school had a poor reputation and Huge wanted to wait until the first day to see what the school culture was like firsthand.

Last year 16 percent of DCPS students had not registered or completed the paperwork needed to enroll by the first day of school. That was approximately 7,000 students.

Chancellor Kaya Henderson says this makes it challenging to plan for staffing. For students, the first day is supposed to set the tone for the rest of the year, she adds.

"There are assemblies that lay clear foundations and there is actual instruction going on," she says. "We want children in their seats ready to go."

But 10-year-old Deanna is excited about starting school even if it's later than the other children.

"I think it's going to be fun," she says.

Approximately 70,000 children are in the D.C. public school system.

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