Of the 87,710 students expected to attend public schools starting Tuesday, 340 students at Burrville Elementary School will be required to wear uniforms.

The dress code calling for uniforms at the far Northeast school was welcomed by most of the pupils' parents, according to Principal Walter Henry, who proposed the idea. Henry met with school officials and parents last year to discuss the dress code and found that most parents agreed that buying uniforms would cost less than trying to keep up with the latest fashions.

"We're concerned with developing an understanding of values amongst our students," Henry said.

He said there is a great deal of competition to model the latest styles in clothing, even at the elementary level. Some parents cannot afford the latest fashions, but they usually find means to get them, he said, and "this fosters a false sense of values at a very early age." He said he hopes the uniforms can help in teaching "the real purpose of attending school."

The dress code is but one of the changes taking effect as school officials prepare for the school year. Students attending District public schools this year -- about 1,000 more than last year -- can expect smaller classes, according to officials. Also effective this fall will be an emphasis on advanced academic courses in some junior high schools, mainstreaming special-education students into the career and adult centers, and expanding the Home Study Program to include more sites, according to school officials.

The uniforms are expected to be delivered to Burrville elementary, at Division Avenue and Hayes streets NE, where parents will pick them up. The uniform package for girls consists of two blue plaid jumpers, three blouses, a sweater and three pairs of socks for $80, and for boys, three pairs of dark blue trousers, three light blue shirts, a sweater and three pairs of socks at a cost of $107. Financial aid was available for the purchase.

The dress code is experimental at Burrville, where students scored above the national norm on standardized tests, Henry said. "We want to see if it {the dress code} has any impact on our youngsters' behavior and learning."

The few parents who chose not to comply with the dress code transferred their children to other schools in the area, Henry said.

In an effort to strengthen students' writing and speaking skills at Burrville, public school officials have added Latin and public speaking classes to the curriculum. Nate Bush, Ward 7 representative to the Board of Education, said Latin classes will "give students a foundation for a better understanding of the English language."

Bush said intensified educational programs will begin in at least five schools in far Northeast and Southeast. A rigorous math and science program was added to the curriculum at Roper and Sousa junior high schools, and a humanities program, which will offer advanced literature and writing, was added to Woodson Junior High School. This is an effort to prepare students for the advanced courses offered at Ballou and Woodson senior high schools.

Academic classes, as well as classes in the arts, will be offered students in far Northeast and some parts of Southeast as part of an extended day program. Because not every school offers all the special classes, buses will transport students between schools in the afternoon. Students can contact their principal and counselor to sign up for the afternoon advanced classes.

About 439 certified and temporary teachers were hired to accommodate smaller classes this year, according to school officials. Class sizes, particularly in English and math, will be about 20 students per teacher.

Also, in an affort to keep pace with the marketing industry, the Marketing Education component of the Career and Adult Education Department will add telemarketing courses to the curriculum to be offered at career centers throughout the school district.

"We want our students to be able to meet the needs and demands of the private sector," said Nina Gaskin, director of marketing education.

School board member Phyllis Young (At Large) has proposed a stronger effort to mainstream special-education students into the school district's career centers. This year, about 20 students with physical, mental or emotional handicaps are expected to enroll in Burdick Career Center, which offers courses in culinary arts, child care management and services, hotel/motel management and marketing, business and data processing, and related fields.

A large room at Sibley Plaza in Northwest, will be opened to offer students assistance with homework from 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays as part of the Home Study Program, which was implemented last year to accommodate students who need a quiet environment in which to study in the afternoons.

Because of a federal mandate, District pupils will be offered whole milk, in addition to the 2 percent milk usually served, according to Julius Jacobs, food services director for the D.C. public school system. He said whole milk is less nutritious, but the students must be given the option. About 41,000 students will get free lunches this year. And parents can obtain monthly menus from the individual schools.

Catholic school officials are making a greater effort to improve parent involvement in the school system this year, according to Vincent Clark, recently appointed public relations director of the Archdiocese of Washington. School officials are planning to organize an advisory board, which will include parents, to assist in policy development, financing, public relations, and school evaluations among other functions.

The beginning of the school year is the time for updating shots and health records.

All children attending public or private schools in the District are required by law to have proof that their immunizations are up to date. Shots are required for DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus), polio, mumps, measles and rubella. Also, the city requires that children be tested for tuberculosis when they start school.

In addition, all children entering District schools for the first time should have a physical and a dental examination or proof that they have been examined by a doctor within the past year. If students have not had such a checkup by the first day of school, they must do so within 150 days.

Children must have physical exams repeated in kindergarten and first, third, fifth and seventh grades. Students participating in athletics are encouraged to have physicals before the sport season begins.

Additional information about health exams and shots is available by calling 673-6666.