School Details

Duke Ellington School of the Arts

3500 R St. NW, Washington, DC 20007
(202) 282-0123

(out of 10)

Public Grades 9-12 & ungraded 530 students 32 students/teacher (DC avg is 14)

Test Scores by grade


District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC-CAS)

In 2013-2014 Washington, D.C. used the District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC-CAS) to test students in reading and math in grades 3 through 8 and 10, science in grades 5, 8, and 10, and composition in grades 4, 7, and 10. Currently GreatSchools is displaying results for reading and math only. The DC-CAS is a standards-based testing program, which means it measures specific skills defined for each grade by the District of Columbia. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level.
  • This school in 2014
  • District of Columbia Public Schools average
  • Washington, DC state average

% scale represents number of student who met or exceeded standards

About this school

Duke Ellington School of the Arts is a public high school in Washington. The principal of Duke Ellington School of the Arts is Rory Pullens, who can be contacted at 530 children attend Duke Ellington School of the Arts and identify as Hispanic; Black, non-Hispanic; and Multiracial. 2% of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts students are "limited in English proficiency." 35% of the 530 students here get reduced lunch prices. The student to teacher ratio at Duke Ellington School of the Arts is 32:1. Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School is one of the nearest high schools.

Extracurricular activities


  • Band
  • Ceramics sculpture
  • Chorus
  • Computer arts
  • Dance
  • Drawing painting
  • Orchestra
  • Photography
  • Theater drama
  • Video film production

Languages Taught

  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish


  • P.E. classes

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School District
Hispanic 9% 13%
Black, non-Hispanic 76% 75%
Multiracial 2% %
Asian 2% %
White, non-Hispanic 10% 9%
Asian/Pacific Islander 0.8% 2%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0% 0.07%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0% %

Student Subgroups

Subgroup School District
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 35% 53%
Limited English proficiency 2% 9%

Community ratings & reviews

  • (1 year ago)

    Kudos to Ellington! As a parent of two graduates I'm so excited about the latest news DESA had a 99% senior on-time graduation rate Those seniors earned over $5 million in scholarships(!) Ellington achieved the highest proficiency level in the DC CAS standardized testing Reward level - the only high school to do so that does not have a minimum GPA for acceptance For the 2nd year in a row Ellington swept the DC-CAP STARS talent competition - this year with winners from vocal music dance and instrumental music Ellington continues to improve with each year in no small part because of the caring and supportive Ellington community. Congrats to all the staff students and parents!!

  • (1 year ago)

    The audition process is unorganized and all about who you know at at this school. It's sad because the children with the skills to continue studying are overlooked for the children that live out of state know someone behind the scenes or look a certain way.

  • (2 years ago)

    The education here is so bad that I felt like I hadn't gone to school the years that I had been there. Only certain departments work hard and some kids learned. I feel unprepared for college and there was no strong college counseling. This school may have a somewhat good graduation rate but I doubt the kids who go to college will stay in college. Duke Ellington simply does not teach you the academic skills necessary - or sometimes even the arts - and teachers sometimes grade without any basis behind their decisions. I would not recommend going here. It is however quite helpful with certain disabilities. Although the school is extremely disorganized. Most teachers are kind although not motivating and peers seem disengaged and do not seem to try in the academics. Not a good experience at all! I worry about the years of school I have essentially missed while I attended Duke Ellington as I go on to college. All of my knowledge is from my past schools. I do not recommend it.

  • (2 years ago)

    THIS is a great school! Kids actually like to go to school here. There are always those who are bitter because they got kicked out or couldn't adjust. But it is the best thing that can happen to the right student.

  • (2 years ago)

    I as a child always had a dream to go to Duke Ellington Scol Of The Arts..... But now i see that 3 out of every 10 people get accepted into this chool of my choice.... So now all i can do is TRY and TRY my hardest to get accepte in t this school.

  • (3 years ago)

    I came to this school hoping for a good arts and academic education. The arts education was good aside from teachers who don't grade based on valid evidence. The academics were so horrible I am most definitely transferring as well as possibly moving to Virginia. The academic level was the same in history as I got in third grade. Biology was so remedial I was moved into AP Biology as a freshman a course typically only taken by juniors or seniors. They try to make it seem as though they put work into the academic portion of the school but it's all a big joke. This school was the most remedial and utterly ridiculous thing it's a joke to even call it school.

  • (4 years ago)

    There is no shortage of talented kids at Ellington but the school does not require nor hold the kids to high standards. The kids should shine on stage as well as off - sadly that is not the case. When the performances are over and the lights are off the schools interest in making these kids better more disciplined sort of fizzles. Since it is a performing arts school academics are not given the highest priority which in my opinion will leave the kids unprepared for life after high school. This is a school of less than 500 students -- I see a great opportunity to make these kids strive to be better and brighter and hold them to the highest of standards (like the Seed School) whether its with academics or their art or with their friends or teachers or other adults. Unfortunately when the curtain goes down so to does the expectations for these kids. The lack of discipline and structure and focus is very disappointing. I expected much more from this school...

  • (5 years ago)

    Duke Ellington School of the Arts is full of many talented lively students. I am a student myself and I love the people like a family. However Ellington ceases to provide me with a good education. I would say that my arts classes are good and the education I have received in math and english is so-so but the level of teaching in the rest of my classes (biology french history) is positively unacceptable. Along with that the school is terribly disorganized. I will most likely be transferring in the near future.

  • (7 years ago)

    As a parent of the Ellington School of the Arts I have to say that this institution is really a competitive one. I absolutely love it and it is evident that the students love it as well. The principal is dynamite!!!What makes him dynamite is the fact that he shows unconditional love for his students and staff and I don't have to mention the parents. He is a fair individual who really supports his school. Whatever or wherever his students are performing you can be sure to see him there cheering them on. The principal constantly stress the importance of academics to his students and reminding them that while have great talent is 'great' having an incredible education is even greater.

  • (9 years ago)

    I am a parent of an Ellington student. I am very proud of the overall accomplishments of the school. If D.C. decides to close Ellington as planned; it will be the worse mistake they have ever made. An Ellington student is a different breed of student; only the Ellington staff who are artists themselves understand fully how the students learn.

  • (9 years ago)

    As an alumna I can say I graduated as a well rounded visual artist. My talents were nourished by my instructors from the 1st day of 9th grade all the way to the last day of 12th. The teachers at Duke Ellington take their jobs seriously and appreciate students who take what they do seriously also. I received tremendous help in applying to colleges from teahcers both artistic and academic and was accepted and now attend my first choice university in NYC. Other classmates from my grad class now attend Berklee School of Music Rutgers Juilliard Harvard George Mason amoung others. The student body of Ellington is more like a family and everyday at school was different and full of fun things to do while learning.

  • (10 years ago)

    As an alumnus of Ellington an alumnus of the nation's only University of the Arts having had a successful career in the arts and now a certified teacher at a high school for the arts I have a great appreciation of how valuable my training at Ellington was. I thank God everyday for a special place like Ellington which gave me the possibility to make my sucess and dreams eminent. Ellington also was the ground breaking conversation when I met my wife as she is an Ellington graduate also and she is a teacher at a middle school for the arts. We both agree that this school truly prepared us for a career in the arts as well that the key at Ellington was the discipline which has always sustained us. It is our hope that we may inspire up and coming artists the way Ellington did for us.

  • (10 years ago)

    i am not a parent i was a student at ellington. the school is great for those who are looking to make the arts an occupation. The school has great teachers in all the 7 arts departments. Academic teachers are all great also. They try to help the students prepare for college life.

  • (11 years ago)

    Both my sons are graduates and both got into their first choice colleges (Rutgers & Vassar). The atmosphere at the school is vibrant. Everyone there wants to be there. Talent is respected. It's not perfect but it's a great place.

  • (11 years ago)

    i'm not a parent but i'm a student. This school is great for preparing for college while having great fun around very talented people.

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Overall score

(based on 20 ratings & reviews)

  • Teacher quality
  • Principal leadership
  • Parent involvement


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