Inspiring Performance

The City Arts Way

As young artists, City Arts Scholars gain daily exposure to dance, theatre, music, and visual arts during the early years and benefit from intensive training in the discipline of their choice.

Since its inception in 2004, City Arts + Prep Public Charter School remains as the District’s only college-preparatory public charter school that integrates rigorous academic instruction with world-class performing arts programs at no cost to families. All students in grades pre-kindergarten through fifth receive 90 minutes of arts instruction each day and are afforded myriad opportunities beyond the classroom to learn more about the arts.

When City Arts Scholars reach middle school, they are given the responsibility of choosing their arts major. Our students also complete 20 hours of creative traineeships in the community, through which they write, develop, and produce art pieces that are showcased and shared with the community.

Together with our partners, we provide an exceptional academic and arts education experience for all of our students through four arts-based majors:



City Arts Scholars develop their dance skills and abilities, with a focus on dance history, composition, and production. Students also explore ballet, modern, contemporary, West African, and other cultural forms of dance. Through performances, master classes, and student workshops, our students receive a first-hand experience into the field of dance and the process of becoming a dance artist.

We believe dance is an integral part of our students’ lives, as it fosters self-empowerment, life skills, social interaction, and discipline. Our rigorous curriculum produces students who have a passion to perform, the discipline to accomplish their dreams, and the educational training to enter into the careers in dance.



City Arts Scholars receive rigorous training and technique in acting, script writing, movement, speech, and theatre production, while also helping develop skills in critical thinking and problem solving. Our students also have unique opportunities to perform, write, and direct plays, as well as learn the production aspects of the theatre.

Our emphasis on individual growth, ensemble or group work, self-discovery, and creativity gives our students an education for life and prepares them to become successful theatre arts leaders.



During the early years, City Arts Scholars learn different aspects of music making by incorporating singing, dance, and music basics.

Lower school students in grades kindergarten through second explore instrument care and violin basics by imitating instructor movements to rhythms and dynamics while listening to the first pieces they will play – leading to the mastery of the beginning fundamental skills – that are further developed through City Arts Chorus and Band.

City Arts middle school students participate in audition only music programs, serve as student leaders of the choir and orchestra, and are organized quartets, divided by band, string, and voice instrumentation.


Visual Arts

City Arts’ visual arts program gives students an opportunity to find their artistic voice by exposing them to drawing, color theory, painting, and more.

Our students learn art history, contemporary styles from different cultures, and skills to develop creative and artistic expression. By extension, students also develop self-confidence, arts appreciation, and grow as arts leaders of the future.


Serving the Whole Child

We know all students benefit from a positive, nurturing, and welcoming learning environment. City Arts ensures that our students receive the academic, social, and emotional support they need to succeed in school and in life.

Working closely with families, teachers, counselors, and other highly-skilled faculty, our student support teams anticipate and respond to the needs of our students inside and outside of the classroom. City Arts also provides special education, counseling, and English language learning services to go the extra mile to support our students and their families.

Results + Impact

Building on a 13-year legacy as the William E. Doar, Jr. (WEDJ) Public Charter School for the Performing Arts, City Arts Scholars are competitive with their peers on city-wide reading and math assessments, often improve two reading levels and achieve double-digit gains on reading assessments with targeted intervention, and gain acceptance to competitive audition-based high schools.

Propelling Students Towards Success in School and in Life

City Arts blends academics and arts to help produce young people who are creative, disciplined, collaborative, visionary, and able to solve problems and think critically. Our students foster skills for success including self-discipline, responsibility, goal-setting, and the ability to envision a product and see it through from beginning to end.

In addition, the City Arts 100 percent Homework Policy engages all students with homework every school day and over every holiday or extended break except during performance nights, which occurs no more than nine days per year for each student.

Nearly 70 percent of our students that applied, were accepted into Duke Ellington and Baltimore School for the Arts. City Arts Scholars also shine at the annual DC Mayor’s Arts Awards and on the national stage in various television and radio commercials.

Individualized Teaching and Learning with Guided Support

City Arts infuses highly-skilled instructors to foster small-group, targeted instruction in English language arts and mathematics to increase student comprehension and mastery of subject content.

Highly Qualified Instructional Staff

According to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, 100 percent of the City Arts instructional staff is highly qualified and our school administration conducts rigorous, ongoing evaluation of teacher performance, while providing feedback and mentoring for instructional improvement.

City Arts offers weekly, onsite professional development opportunities – through a six-week coaching cycle for instructors – which include hands-on co-teaching, modeling, student performance data reviews, and lesson planning periods. Our teachers are also encouraged to pursue advanced degrees and seek other methods to strengthen their skills and professional capacity.

Engaging Families, Parents, and Caregivers

As their child’s first teacher and best advocate, at City Arts, we consider our parents and caregivers to be our greatest strength. Our school maintains an openness to invite parents through our doors and actively encourages them to volunteer for various activities, both on campus and beyond school walls. Parents and caregivers can also gain further insight and track student activities and movement throughout the school day on our innovative LiveSchool platform.

Program partners


cityartspartner_atlas cityartspartner_danceplace