It is with great joy and PRIDE that we welcome you to another year at Dunbar High School. The entire Dunbar Family is looking forward to another great year of academic and personal growth, challenges, and accomplishments. We remain committed to working with your students as they achieve high academic, social and personal goals. It is our mission to help make your students more responsible members of their community.
In order to succeed at this goal, students, families and staff must continue to work together. Active parent participation and committed adults can make each day a positive experience for our high school students. Our learning approach is geared towards offering our students a balanced and rigorous instructional program that is infused with technology. Utilizing teams at each grade level we are able to create an academic experience that has the ability to meet the needs of all learners. We emphasize academic excellence while making connections through music, the arts and technology. We are committed to supporting the whole child and we invite you to join in this effort to ensure that innovation, creative thinking, intellectual curiosity, thoughtful change, and good citizenship all occur
We are glad you and your student are members of the Dunbar Family and we look forward to another wonderful year.
The Legacy of Dunbar, America’s First Black Public High School
In the first half of the twentieth century, Dunbar was an academically elite public school, despite being racially segregated by law and existing at the mercy of racist congressmen who held the school’s purse strings. These enormous challenges did not stop the local community from rallying for the cause of educating its children.
Dunbar attracted an amazing faculty: one early principal was the first black graduate of Harvard, almost all the teachers had graduate degrees, and several earned PhDs—all extraordinary achievements given the Jim Crow laws of the times. Over the school’s first eighty years, these teachers developed generations of highly educated, high-achieving African Americans, groundbreakers that included the first black member of a presidential cabinet, the first black graduate of the US Naval Academy, the first black army general, the creator of the modern blood bank, the first black attorney general, the legal mastermind behind school desegregation, and hundreds of educators.
By the 1950s, Dunbar High School was sending 80 percent of its students to college. Today, as with many troubled urban public schools, there are Dunbar students who struggle with basic reading and math. Journalist and author Alison Stewart, whose parents were both Dunbar graduates, tells the story of the school’s rise, fall, and path toward resurgence as it looks to reopen its new, state-of-the-art campus.