We're proud to be able to say that CHEC is one of the premier grades 6-12 institutions in the country, and below are just a few reasons why we hope you'll consider enrolling at CHEC, partnering with us or applying to become one of us.




Columbia Heights Educational Campus is a unique globally themed bilingual campus that serves grades 6 through 12 and prepares all of its students for success in college and the careers. CHEC has been recognized as one of the top schools in the area and country on the Advanced Placement Challenge Index for offering Advanced Placement to all students. It also has the only Spanish language dual immersion high school program in Washington, DC. Students can take a full bilingual program through the 12th grade. In 2013, CHEC was selected by Fight For Children as the winner of the Quality Schools Initiative Award for innovation in education. CHEC students come from over 50 countries and we use this diversity to complement our globally themed curriculum. Every grade explores a global theme, which ties together their learning and builds their global awareness.


Beginning in middle school, all students become articulate communicators in English and Spanish through our dual language immersion program. The middle school also develops the students' full potential through music and visual art for all students. In the eighth grade, students can transition early to high school by taking high school courses for credit, and in high school as early as the ninth grade, students can take college courses for both high school and college credit through our early college program. Once in high school, students can choose one of two career paths, Math, Science and Business, or Multilingual Communication and the Arts. In addition to Spanish, students can take French, Italian, or Arabic. Students are engaged in exploration and inquiry through our project based learning and portfolio assessment process. All students collect their work for all classes and present it to their classmates, teachers and parents in a portfolio presentation process. CHEC has a full athletic program at both the middle school and high school level with a variety of sports for boys and girls. In addition to athletics, there are numerous clubs and extracurricular activities. CHEC offers a globally themed after school program which includes both academics and enrichment. We are also a Flamboyan Parent Partnership School and conduct home visits for all parents who wish to participate.


On behalf of our school community, I welcome you and thank you for your interest in Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC).  It is truly an honor to serve the students in our community. It is also a privilege to lead a campus consisting of remarkable staff, invested parents, a dedicated nonprofit Board and very caring community and business members, all of whom are committed to the well-being of our students.    


CHEC is an integral part of the District’s vibrant public schools and we take great pride in being recognized externally as one of the top schools that has no exclusionary entrance requirements. As a community, we are dedicated to providing safe, secure and nurturing environments that facilitate and enhance student achievement and success. We are confident that we have a very special and educationally enriching experience to offer the children in our community.


It is our belief that we must vigorously seek opportunities to engage students in the most relevant learning opportunities possible in order to prepare them for the demands of the future. Our children deserve no less than the best and our teachers, staff, and administrators are committed to providing the highest quality education so our students become lifelong learners and responsible citizens.


I invite parents and community members to become actively involved in a student’s school experience. Home, community, and school partnerships, founded on mutual respect and regular communication, provide an unbeatable combination for quality education and student success.


I invite you to learn more about us by browsing the site, visiting our campus or simply contacting our main office.


Maria Tukeva 



Assistant Principal for

11th and 12th Grade MCA


Math Administrator and

Math Institute Director


Instructional Coach


Assistant Principal for

9th Grade


Assistant Principal for

10th Grade


Assistant Principal for

11th and 12th Grade MSB



Principal and

Campus Leader


Assistant Principal for

6th and 7th Grades


Assistant Principal for

8th Grade


Director of Operations


Director of
After School Programs


Program Coordinator
World Cultures & Extended Day



All students who graduate from our Dual Language Immersion Early College Campus will be prepared to succeed in college and civic life as leaders in the quest for social justice. We develop intellectually curious scholars who are articulate communicators in two languages, critical thinkers and consumers, cultural ambassadors, and contributing community members. Our students develop positive habits that build physical and mental health.  We focus on socio-emotional learning as a key part of the instructional program, and our students demonstrate perseverance, ethics and character in the pursuit of excellence. Restorative practices are the foundation of our school climate, as we enhance relationships and build community. As lifelong learners in the pursuit of excellence and innovation, we foster a growth mindset through which teachers, administrators, students, parents, and community members all collaborate to achieve goals. We trust one another to continually improve our practice.

an Academic and Career Curriculum with


  • Small learning communities

  • Differentiated, individualized and multisensory instruction (including field trips)

  • Group work

  • Development of language skills across content areas

  • Development of each student’s language skills in more than one language

  • Rigor in college preparatory and vocational courses

  • Clear, high standards as a driving force

  • Teachers with expertise in content and methodology

  • Supplies and materials to support all aspects of instruction

  • Multiple and Systematic Final Assessments

  • Well-planned student workload

  • Learning in the home

  • Extension  beyond the school day

  • Conflict Resolution

  • A strong emphasis on Arts and Music

a Climate which is
  • Warm

  • Accommodating

  • Supportive

  • Collaborative

  • Excited

  • Multicultural

  • Patient

  • Filled with school spirit

  • Respectful

  • Representing high expectations

  • Safe

  • Thinks Big

a Socio-Emotional
Curriculum with


  • Parents in the total program

  • Mentoring and partnerships for students

  • Extensive social services which empower students

  • Programs which develop self-esteem and inner strength

  • Teaching demonstrates respect and professionalism

  • Provides bilingual support

  • Provides discipline without excluding students

  • A uniform dress code

  • Safe and well protected

  • Services for Parents

  • Responsible

  • Independent – Self-sufficient

  • Empowered

  • Able to Communicate well in English and his or her native language(s)

  • Able to ask questions

  • Proud

  • Able to express himself or herself

  • Aware of, and sensitive to other cultures

  • Able to interact with peers and be a team member

  • Knowledgeable of technology

  • Motivated

  • Able to articulate and reach goals

  • Prepared to do college work while in high

a Student who is





Music Theory

Studio Art: 2-D Design

Studio Art: 3-D Design



English Language

English Literature


US Government and Politics

US History




AP Computer Science

AP Computer Science Principles






French Language

Italian Language

Spanish Language

Spanish Literature

Four-Year Graduation Rate:


Students Attending 4 Year Colleges:


Average Daily Attendance Rate:


World Language courses offered:




Mandarin Chinese

Spanish (dual immersion)

Student Exchanges:

Brazil, China, Haiti, Guatemala, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Paraguay and The Bahamas



Total Enrollment: 1,410

Male: 702

Female: 708

African-American/Black: 34%

Asian/Pacific Islander: 1%

Caucasian/White: 1%

Hispanic/Latino: 61%

Multi-ethnic: 2%

Other: 1%



Academy of Hospitality & Tourism - in conjunction with the National Academy Foundation (NAF) helps CHEC students chart career paths in one of the world’s largest industries, from hotel management to sports, entertainment, and event management.

Early High School - allows middle school students the opportunity to accrue high school credits in advance of entry to Bell Multicultural High School.

Early College - provides students with a variety of off campus college courses and the opportunity to accrue tuition-free college credits while still in high school. We believe that many of our students are ready and eager to do serious college work and that their ambition should be taken seriously.

World Languages - prepares students to be linguistically and culturally competent in languages other than English. CHEC has DCPS’s only grade 6-12 Dual Language immersion program. Students also have the option of taking Italian, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin Chinese.

Robotics - is part of CHEC's Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) initiative. Students use math, physics, art, and their ingenuity to create robots to compete with other schools. Students interact with professional mentors from science and engineering fields at least once a week, giving students positive role models, job skills, and an insight into the engineering field.

Study Abroad - prepares CHEC students to be global-ready. Today’s employers seek graduates who can communicate in at least one foreign language, have multi-cultural knowledge, possess skills and training in negotiating with people of different cultures and have the basic skills to travel and work outside of the United States.


Dreams are what drive us.  Every dream that is woven into our spirits is carefully stitched with the threads of pride, poise and perseverance. As we glance into the window of opportunity offered at Bell Multicultural High School, we value and respect  our education.  Ambassadors of the future, receiving a solid education is our responsibility and a right we must firmly uphold as we enter a world brimming with challenges. If it is to be, it is up to me! 

- Kenrry Alvarado,

Science Instructor

Gates Millennium Scholar, Class of 2011




The Washington Post 2017 School Challenge Index of America’s Best High Schools listed CHEC as the top performing non-selective school (no entrance exam requirement) in DC. When measured against selective schools, CHEC ranks #9 overall in the District and #35 in the DC metropolitan area. CHEC is ranked 383 out of over 2,369 of the top high schools nationally, which is in the top 17% of this exclusive grouping of schools.  What is even more significant, 100% of CHEC’s students qualify for free and reduced lunch, a level of challenge shared by only 3 other top-400 schools. 

It wasn’t always like this. In fact, the improbable journey of CHEC began from very humble beginnings with a burning desire to right a social injustice.

This story began 36 years ago with the founding of the Multicultural Career Intern Program (MCIP) in 1979 by a team of educators led by CHEC’s founding and current principal, Maria Tukeva, an inductee of the DC Education Hall of Fame and the longest serving principal in the modern era of DC public school system.  The founders boldly envisioned an innovative alternative school that would transform the challenging educational experiences of many poor minority and limited English speaking students in DC Public Schools into a more rigorous and comprehensive instructional program that would produce scholars and skilled workers for the future workforce. At the time, the disenfranchising practice of mislabeling limited English speaking students as Special  Education students was prevalent.  Recognizing this, Maria Tukeva found a remedy through a U.S. Department of Labor Career Intern Program grant in 1981. With funding support she quickly recruited forty students who had either dropped out or were on the  verge of dropping out of school. Success and acclaim came quickly for MCIP’s novel approach of holding nontraditional students to even higher academic standards than their US born peers.  For the next ten years Tukeva would simultaneously serve  MCIP as executive director, principal, teacher, curriculum developer and fundraiser, while the school grew through three relocations and an enrollment increase from 40 to 680 students.

In 1989 MCIP’s instructional component consolidated with Bell Career Development Center to become Bell Multicultural High School (BMHS), a fully accredited DC public school.  The new school community inherited a hazardous and severely under equipped  facility that was deemed by the Army Corps of Engineers to be the worst in the DCPS facilities inventory.  After years of broken promises by a succession of Mayors and School Board members regarding the unmet need to improve the facilities, Tukeva and  the MCIP Board did the unthinkable - they initiated a public/private partnership to build the first new school in DC in over a quarter century! 

In March 2001 Lois and Dick England launched the campaign for CHEC by issuing a $1 million challenge grant that required the MCIP Board to raise $3 million. In time, other distinguished D.C. residents and foundations including Calvin Cafritz of the Gwendolyn  and Morris Cafritz Foundation and Anne Loeb Bronfman would step forward with their own generous $1 million donations.  Over the next five years, other individuals and organizations would lend their support to the CHEC capital campaign.  Not to be outdone,  DC Public Schools committed $63 million to make CHEC a reality.  These tremendous efforts are permanently memorialized through the named gifts bricks that adorn the entrance of the campus that opened in February, 2006.  

In 2008 BMHS merged with its main feeder school, Lincoln Multicultural Middle School, and is now known as the upper division of the Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC).  Since 2008, Bell High School and Lincoln Middle School have operated under  the guidance of Tukeva as Campus Principal. 

In thirty-six years the MCIP and CHEC partnership has successfully served 28,000 youths and their families, consistently graduated 90% of its senior class and developed strong relationships with the public and private sectors to millions for underserved  youth.  Tukeva has also responded to the broader responsibility of improving the public school system by serving in the capacity of Assistant Superintendent in two separate school administrations.  Whether measuring our achievements in the changed futures  of so many promising young lives, or in the lasting emotional return to our generous program donors and sponsors, the success of MCIP and CHEC has surpassed all expectations. But we cannot afford to stop here. In such a competitive world, it is inexcusable  for urban schools not to prepare their students for college and beyond. In spite of our successes we understand that more should, can and must be done. 

Our real work has just begun.


CHEC is located at 3101 16th Street, NW at the corner of 16th and Irving Streets.  It is one block from the Columbia Heights Metro Station on the Green Line.  The Campus is adjacent to the Headquarters of the DC Parks and Recreation and the Capital City Charter School.


From the west on the Beltway (I-495):

Take Exit 31 (Georgia Avenue South) and drive one-fourth of a mile.  Turn right on 16th Street.  Stay on 16th Street for approximately 5 miles to Irving Street, NW.  CHEC is  located on the corner of 16th and Irving Streets, NW.


From the east on the Beltway (I-495 or I-95):

Take Exit 31B (Georgia Avenue South) and drive one-fourth of a mile.  Turn right on 16th Street.  Stay on 16th Street for approximately 5 miles to Irving Street, NW.  CHEC is located on the corner of 16th and Irving Streets, NW.


From downtown Washington:

Locate 16th Street, NW and head North away from the White House. CHEC is located on the corner of 16th and Irving Streets, NW.

Metro Rail:

By Metro, take or transfer to the Green Line, and exit at the "Columbia Heights" Station.



3101 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC  20010

Bell Multicultural High School (Upper House)
Phone: (202) 939-7700 / Fax: (202) 576-9147

Lincoln Multicultural Middle School (Lower House)
Phone: (202) 939-6680 / Fax: (202) 576-9147

Office of the Registrar: (202) 939-7700 Ext 5087
Attendance Office: (202) 939-7700 Ext 5014

Bell Parent Center: (202) 939-7700 Ext 5089
Lincoln Parent Center: (202) 939-6680 Ext 5010

Office Hours on Regular School Days
Main Office: 8:00am-4:30pm
Development Office: 8:00am-6:00pm
Attendance Office: 8:00am-6:00pm
Library: 9:00am-6:00pm

Classes held on regular school days: 8:45am-3:15pm.
Campus closed during regular school days: 7:50am-2:00pm.

Students are not required to be on campus until their first period of the day. Once students are on campus, they are not permitted to leave during the school day from 8:45am-3:15pm without permission.

When a special schedule designates classes are held for half of the day, students may leave after their last class on that day.

With the exception of special functions, campus activities that involve students end by 7:00 pm
Generally, the campus is closed to students on Saturdays after 3:00 p.m. unless an event is occurring. 
The campus is closed all day on Sundays.


We are always looking for educators and administrative staff who share our core values of social justice, that all students can attend and graduate from 4-year colleges and that our diversity is the backbone of this nation.


If you have experience working in a fast paced and date driven environment along a track record of being an effective professional, please email a cover letter and your resume directly to Mr. Pankaj Rayamajhi, Director of School Operations at pankaj.rayamajhi@dc.gov.


Resumes and cover letters will be screened for experience and educational qualifications.  





3101 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010

High School: 202.939.7700
Middle School: 202.939.6680
Fax: 202.576.9145