Columbia Heights Educational Campus

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CHEC is the #1 non-select school* in the region

In overall rankings CHEC is #3 in DC and #34 in the metro area.

Washington, DC, April 8, 2014: The Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC), home to Bell Multicultural High School and Lincoln Multicultural Middle School, is once again one of DC’s most academically challenging institutions according to the Washington Post's annual rankings.

CHEC is #3 overall in the District and #34 in the metro area when compared to other public schools and public charter schools. CHEC has held the position of 34, which is in the top 19% on the index, for the past 3 years. CHEC is ranked 291 out of 2025 of the top high schools nationally, which is in the top 14% of this exclusive grouping of schools.  What is even more significant, 85% of CHEC’s students qualify for free and reduced lunch, the highest level of any of the schools in the top 50. The average percentage for the other schools was about 25%, with only two schools other than CHEC above 50%.

Annually, the Washington Post "America's Most Challenging High Schools" ranks schools, locally and nationally, based on the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. A ratio of 1.000 means the school had as many tests as graduates. Of particular importance is the percentage of students who come from families that qualify for lunch subsidies and the percentage of graduates who passed at least one college-level test during their high school career, a score called equity and excellence.

According to Principal Maria Tukeva, "Our Excellence and Equity percentage, which is the percent of graduating seniors who have taken and passed at least one AP course, has risen over the past three years from 23% to 39%! All of this is possible due to the belief, commitment and hard work of our faculty and students."

(click to read more)

*(Non-select schools do not have entrance exam requirements and enroll on a first come, first serve basis)

Principal Tukeva receives In Her Honor Award

March 25, 2014, in a ceremony at Howard University, CHEC’s very own Maria Tukeva was a distinguished recipient of the
2014 In Her Honor award from The Emergence Community Arts Collective. The award recognized Maria for making history through an enduring legacy of activism and excellence in the field of education. This grassroots award celebrates significant contributions to the Pleasant Plains and Park View community.

The tradition of
In Her Honor is the sharing of stories of women committed to preserving the foundation of a community – its people. The award publicly acknowledges behind-the-scenes work of just a few women who help sustain the social and cultural fabric of our neighborhood, tirelessly maintaining standards of education, social service and civic engagement. This year’s recipients also included; Shirikiana Aina, Rev. Dr. Shirley B. Cooper, Maria S. Gomez, Tahia Jackson, Lori Kaplan, and La Donna Smith.  

Through Maria’s example, the award is yet another that lights up the Columbia Heights Educational Campus and makes known our contributions to the vitality of this great city.

First Lady Michelle Obama returns to CHEC to tell students: 'My story can be your story'



The Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Faculty is one of the District of Columbia Public School’s top honors, and the selection process is very competitive. Chris Best, the Custodial Foreman at Columbia Heights Educational Campus received a Rubenstein Award for 2013-2014 and this well-deserved recognition reflects his lasting impact on our school. Mr. Best is one of only two support staff city-wide to receive this honor - it was said by the DCPS nominating committee that "he stood out among the many candidates as an outstanding asset to DCPS."

Mr. Best has been with CHEC since 2004, and with the DC Public Schools since 1985. It is well known to the entire CHEC community that he is an inspirational natural leader and an excellent role model for our students. It really is our good fortune that he is an institution on the Campus.  

He will be presented with his award during the A Standing Ovation ceremony at the Kennedy Center on November 4th. This is the third year running that a CHEC staff member has received recognition at the DCPS Standing Ovation Ceremony – Principal Maria Tukeva in 2011, Middle School Assistant Principal Mayra Canizales in 2012, and now Mr. Best in 2013.


6th & 7th Grade - Mayra Canizales
7th & 8th Grade - Roman Smith
9th Grade - O’Kiyyah Lyons
10th Grade & MSB - Kristie Edwards
10th Grade & MCA - Desepe DeVargas

The 2014 Washington Post
Challenge Index ranks CHEC as:

#1 Non Select School in U.S.
#3 Overall School in DC
#34 Overall School in DC-MD-VA
#293Overall School in U.S.
Federal employees, designate MCIP as your 2014 Combined Federal Campaign beneficiary! Click CFC logo to learn more.


June 6, 2013 - BetterLesson selects 8th grade Math instructor,  Ms. Krishunda Penn, as one of 14 new Master Teachers in thecountry who will share their teaching insights and experiences through the BetterLesson site.


I’m thrilled to be collaborating with teachers across the country to create and share lessons that will help students meet the Common Core State Standards!” - Krishunda Penn


The Master Teachers were selected for their exceptional mathematical knowledge, unique ability to illuminate math for their students, as well as leadership in their schools and community. They are an inspiring, dedicated group who are eager to help teachers around the country make the leap to the Common Core.  (Read more here)

Thank you to ABC7 (especially Abby, Mary Kay and Leon Harris!) and “Harris’ Heroes” for showcasing our students and the incredible impact of the England's at CHEC.

Idit Knaan

Native Washingtonian Raquis Petree, 37, shows a board displaying his achievements as a performing artist. On Monday, Feb. 25, Petree was enjoying the praise of his colleagues for a successful first production at the Northwest Washington, D.C., school where he has worked since January. Washington, D.C. (American Observer/Idit Knaan).

By Idit Knaan

When 37-year-old Raquis Petree walks into the Columbia Heights Education Center on a recent Monday, he is the man of the hour.
Fellow teachers and staff holler “Great job” and offer warm handshakes. Everyone he runs into seem to be in agreement: Friday’s show, the first he produced since starting his job at the Washington, D.C., school in January, was the school’s best show yet.
But when Petree told his mother he wanted to be a performer, she half-jokingly told him that he would be “tap dancing and passing a hat outside of a shelter.” His mother’s concerns were not unfounded.

Data from the 2010 U.S. Census shows
the performing arts have one of the highest rates of unemployment and one of the lowest median income rates. Making a living in the performing arts has long been considered unstable, and the recession hasn’t made things easier. For Petree, it was never a conscious career choice. From the moment he stepped into a de facto all-girl dance class in middle school — he was the curtain guy — he knew that he wanted to be on stage. (read more)


3101 16th Street, NW Washington, DC 20010 / H.S. Tel: 202-939-7700 / M.S. Tel: 202-939-6680 / Fax: 202-576-9145 /

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