UrbanTurf Reader Asks: What DC Neighborhoods Have Good Elementary Schools?

by Mark Wellborn


In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a woman who recently bought a condo in Arlington because of the good public school system, but wants to eventually move back to DC, wants to know what DC neighborhoods have good elementary schools.

My fiance and I just bought a condo in Ballston and while I love Arlington, I really want to move back to DC in a few years. (Didn’t realize I’d miss my Cleveland Park apartment quite this much when I signed my life away to the mortgage company.) My question is about DC’s school systems: Are there any decent public elementary schools in the city? One of our main reasons for moving to Virginia was so that we wouldn’t have to pay for private school, but I’d be willing to look at properties in the District again if there’s a good public school option. We’d love to live anywhere in Northwest, especially Cleveland Park or Tenleytown.

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_what_dc_neighborhoods_have_good_elementary_schools/1476


  1. Tenley said at 10:04 am on Wednesday November 4, 2009:

    The Tenleytown neighborhood has Murch and Janney that are widely considered to be very good public elementary school options.

  1. R.J. said at 10:23 am on Wednesday November 4, 2009:

    The public elementary schools in D.C. are better than those in both Arlington and Alexandria.  Look at GreatSchools.net.  When you get to high school, the balance shifts.

  1. Alexis said at 10:48 am on Wednesday November 4, 2009:

    Horace Mann near AU.

  1. Steve Williams said at 11:53 am on Wednesday November 4, 2009:

    Watkins Elementary at 12th and E St SE is very good.  It offers a public Montessori program as well as a traditional program.  Kids go to Stuart Hobson for middle school, and we are pleased with our daughter’s progress, the teachers, and the parent participation there.

  1. Tom A. said at 12:39 pm on Wednesday November 4, 2009:

    “The public elementary schools in D.C. are better than those in both Arlington and Alexandria.”

    Have you compared test scores?  Please define “better.”

    If you can’t afford to live in a neighborhood with excellent DCPS schools - (what is the average home price in upper NW, anyway?) the public charter schools are a very good alternative to the pretty dreadful DCPS schools in most of DC.

    (Dreadful to me = very poor student achievement.)

    But you can probably get an ok 2 bdrm condo for about 6 or 7k in a decent DCPS district.

  1. R.J. said at 1:08 pm on Wednesday November 4, 2009:

    By better, I mean better based on the ratings of GreatSchools.net.  The no. of D.C. elementary schools with a rating of 10 is greater than the no. of Arlington and Alexandria schools (possibly combined) with the same rating.  The fact that they are all geographically situated in the N.W. does not change this fact.

    The truth is, there isn’t any huge benefit in living in the suburbs while your children are in elementary school.  You are correct that the price for homes is cheaper in Arlington and Alexandria, but not as much you would necessarily think, and further it’s not that cheap in those areas either.

  1. J said at 2:01 pm on Wednesday November 4, 2009:

    The Capital Hill Cluster Schools are really pretty good with an active parent base and excellent teachers.


  1. Julia said at 4:00 pm on Wednesday November 4, 2009:

    Lafayette Elementary in Chevy Chase. My alma mater!

  1. Bloomindale res said at 8:52 am on Thursday November 5, 2009:

    aside from greatschool.net, does anyone know of any elementary school rankings that are similar to the MBA rankings? i want my little ones to obtain knowledge on thermal dynamics, intuitively discredit the black swan theory, speak Mandarin and Cantonese, and devise a Middle East peace plan if they have any time leftover. on the other hand, maybe i will allow them to be kids and have fun playing. it seems to work for the kids in the Norwegian school system.

  1. Finn_McCool said at 11:13 am on Thursday November 5, 2009:

    Two words, Private School.  DC has the best Private Schools.  Enjoy.

  1. SimonF said at 11:18 am on Thursday November 5, 2009:

    Oyster Bilingual near Cleveland Park. Every youngster should be learning another language these days.

  1. Paula Product said at 12:53 pm on Thursday November 5, 2009:

    Stoddert Elementary in Glover Park.  A little cheaper and denser than Lafayette or Janney in Checky Chase or AU, respectively.  (The neighborhood, that is - Stoddert and its students are neither cheap nor dense.)

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