At-Risk Funding

How DCPS Receives At-Risk Funding from the District

DCPS receives at-risk funding through the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF). Students are designated as “at-risk” if they meet one or more of the following characteristics:

  • They are experiencing homelessness.
  • They are in the foster care system.
  • Their families qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
  • They or their families who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); or
  • They are at least one year older than the high school grade for which they are enrolled.

Meeting one of these characteristics triggers the per student at-risk funding amount for DCPS.

Calculating Students Designated At-Risk for DCPS

OSSE directly certifies students who meet at-risk criteria via data sharing agreements with the appropriate agencies (DC Department of Human Services for TANF and SNAP, DC’s Child and Family Services Agency for foster care, and the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness for homeless students). DCPS uses audited enrollment data that includes the number of students identified as at-risk in the prior year to project general enrollment and at-risk students for the upcoming school year.

Allocating At-Risk Funding to Schools

DCPS allocates 90% of all at-risk funding received to schools through the Comprehensive Staffing Model allocations. The Fair Student Funding Act allows DCPS to retain 10% of the at-risk funding centrally for administrative purposes. A portion of this 90% is allocated directly to schools through an allocation line titled, “Excellence through Equity” (EtE).

Excellence through Equity is intended to support student attendance, promotion, and graduation; to embed social and emotional learning into daily academic routines; and to support students who need additional support to access core instruction. To calculate EtE allocations in FY22, the most recent Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) data from 2019 (school year 2018-19) was used.

Schools with students who are furthest behind along with schools who have greater concentrations of at-risk students, receive more of their at-risk allocation through the EtE allocation and therefore receive more flexibility with their at-risk dollars.

The remaining at-risk allocation provided to schools that is not allocated through the EtE framework is assigned to specific positions and programs at the school level to support district-wide initiatives that address the achievement of at-risk students. Such allocations include at-risk technology and programming such as afterschool programming with community partners, literacy partnerships, and credit recovery.

Budgeting Excellence Through Equity Funds

At-risk funding allocated through the Excellence through Equity framework is flexible funding that schools may use for either personnel (including administrative premium and overtime) or non-personnel budget items. While it is a flexible allocation, principals budget these funds through the petition process to show their Instructional Superintendents how they plan to use the at-risk funding. The funding must be directed toward improving outcomes for at-risk students (though other students may benefit from the investments). Examples of how these funds have been used in the past are below:

Non-Personnel Examples

Personnel Examples

School partnerships

Interventionists, including Reading Specialists 

Tutoring programs

Mental Health supports, including Counselors and Social Workers

Student-facing Technology 

Instructional Aides

Literacy partners 

Afterschool programming

Academic Interventions  

Administrative premium/overtime to support tutoring