front page - search - community 

Charter school board hears 18 applicants

(Published August 23, 1999)

The D.C. Public Charter School Board held public hearings Aug. 16 and 17 on applications from 18 organizations hoping to open charter schools in the city. Written comments on any of the applications will be accepted through 5:30 p.m. Aug. 24. Comments may be sent to the board at 1717 K St. NW, Suite 802, Washington, D.C. 20006 or faxed to 887-5026. For a written summary of applications, call 887-5011.

The charter board and education experts will review the applications and select up to 10 to receive charters. A preliminary decision is expected Sept. 7.

Charter applicants:

Floyd L. Coleman Middle School—The school would be designed for special education students in grades 6-8 with its curriculum focused on reading and language. The application was submitted by Araminta Coleman, who is earning a doctoral degree in special education from the University of Virginia. She is naming the school after her father. The school would be located in Ward 8.

Paul Junior High Public Charter School—This existing D.C. public school is applying to convert to charter status. The charter school would be geared toward minority students in the Brightwood neighborhood in grades 7-9. Curriculum would be based on Modern Red Schoolhouse standards and DCPS standards. It would include an arts program developed in partnership with The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The school also has a partnership with Booz, Allen and Hamilton, a major accounting firm in the District. Teachers would lead development of the curriculum. The application was submitted by Cecile Middleton, principal of Paul Junior High. Paul teachers, parents and principals previously applied twice for charter conversion but failed by a narrow margin to secure the required number of parent signatures.

New School for Enterprise and Development—The school, proposed to be built east of the Anacostia River, would offer a year-round high school curriculum for young people as well as General Equivalency Diploma (GED) preparation, remedial education and vocational training for adults. The school is geared toward low-income residents, using educational models developed at Howard University, Johns Hopkins University and Temple University. The school also would offer work skills training with daycare and other support services. The application was submitted by Charles Tate, Albert Hopkins, president of the Anacostia Economic Development Corp., and Lloyd Smith, former president of the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization and current chairman of City First Bank of D.C., and others.

Academy of the District of Columbia—The school would serve students in kindergarten through sixth grade with a curriculum that focuses on business, entrepreneurship and technology. The curriculum would be based on current DCPS standards and include foreign languages, music, sports and field trips. The application was submitted by Wilhelmina Hall, who is employed by Charter School Administrative Services in Michigan, and Bill Allen, employed by Academy of America, also in Michigan. The firm has founded charter schools in several states.

Center of Hope Public Charter School—The school would serve 550 students in kindergarten through fifth grade with a traditional liberal arts curriculum. The school would eventually expand to 12 grades, and students would be expected to complete a standard high school curriculum by the end of 10th grade. Then they would pursue either a two-year International Baccalaureate academic track, or a two-year technical track in partnership with a local or national business. The school would be managed by Advantage Schools Inc. of Boston, which currently operates 17 charter schools nationally. The application was submitted by the Rev. Thomas Weeks Jr. and the Center of Hope Community Development Corp. The corporation, founded by Weeks in 1997, offers a variety of social and family services.

Washington Public Charter School for Academic Excellence—The school would serve 550 students in kindergarten through fifth grade with a traditional liberal arts curriculum. The school would eventually expand to 12 grades, and students would be expected to complete a standard high school curriculum by the end of 10th grade. Then they would pursue either a two-year International Baccalaureate academic track or a two-year technical track in partnership with a local or national business. The school would be managed by Advantage Schools Inc. of Boston, which currently operates 17 charter schools nationally. The application was submitted by Marie Reardon Dudley, a Ward 8 parent employed by Greater Southeast Hospital.

Sasha Bruce Public Charter School—Founded by Sasha Bruce Youthwork Inc., a 25-year-old private nonprofit youth and family services provider in the District, the school would provide academic programs, psychological services and recreation for 250 students in grades 6-12. The curriculum would be based on "learning expeditions" of four to nine weeks and incorporate elements of the outdoor wilderness leadership program Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound. The school is geared toward students at risk of dropping out. The school would be located at 743Eighth St. SE.

Nelson Mandela Academy Public Charter School—The school would be geared toward urban students at risk of dropping out, especially those with a history of low academic performance or disciplinary problems. The school would operate on an extended-day, 11-month school year, with Saturday classes once a month. The curriculum would emphasize reading and math with tutoring and mentoring. The school would open with 60 students in grades 1-8 and then expand. A site at 14th Street and Florida Avenue NW is under consideration. The application was submitted by the Rev. Bruce Greening, pastor of an independent Catholic church in the District.

Tree of Life Community Public Charter School—The school is geared toward African-American children in pre-kindergarten through fifth grades, especially those whose academic performance is below grade level. The school would open with 74 students in kindergarten through grade 5 at a location east of the Anacostia River. The curriculum would include individual instruction and frequent assessment with an emphasis on reading and literacy. Psychological and social services also would be offered. The application was submitted by Patricia Williams, who has taught in public schools in California and Pittsburgh, Pa., and is currently employed as administrative services director at a social service organization in the District.

North Star Academy—The school, for students ages 14-18, would emphasize film, television and video as replacements for textbooks or lectures in math, language, social science and science. Students would also have opportunities to create video and film productions in connection with academic studies. The school would be located in the Petworth neighborhood of Northwest Washington. The application was submitted by Nathaniel Dickens.

African American Academy of Mathematics Science and Technology—The school would offer year-round instruction for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Curriculum would emphasize math, science and technology in preparation for employment. Weekend and after-school programs would be available. The application was submitted by Mohamed Sesay, a mathematics professor at the University of the District of Columbia.

Reading\Writing Institute—The school would serve students in grades 6-8, with small classes that emphasize reading and writing in all subject areas. Social etiquette and behavior would also be emphasized. The application was submitted by Betty Fenwick North.

East of the River Family Education Public Charter School—The school, proposed to be located in Ward 8, would offer classes for 60 preschoolers, ages 3 and 4, and 40 parents preparing for the GED examination. Parents and their children would attend separate classes but would eat lunch together. At the end of the day, parents would spend time tutoring their children under supervision. The school would also offer GED preparation to 50 adults during evening classes. All students would be encouraged to speak standard English. The application was submitted by Myra Stafford.

Techworld Adult Public Charter School—The school would offer GED preparation for 180 adult students three days a week, with an entrance exam required. Students would be issued computers and have home internet access. Instruction would be geared toward employment in information technology, starting a business or attending college. Techworld currently operates a charter high school chartered by the D.C. Board of Education. The application was submitted by Daanen Strachan, a professor at Howard University.

Metropolitan Adult Academy Public Charter School—The school would serve 100 full time and 30 part time adult students. A vocational instruction program would lead to certification as a medical assistant or to preparation for employment in computer technology jobs. An academic program would lead to a GED or high school diploma. The school is geared toward young adults, 18-25, who have dropped out of high school. The application was submitted by Phyllis Hobson and the Center for Empowerment and Educational Development.

Star International Lifelong Learning Center—The school would offer adult basic education for 250 immigrants and low-income adults. GED preparation and instruction in English as a Second Language would be offered. The application was submitted by the Ethiopian Community Center Inc.

Phoebe Hearst Public Charter School—The application, submitted by the Hearst Elementary School PTA, seeks to convert the D.C. public school to charter status. The plan is based on the school’s history as an Early Childhood Demonstration Center. The curriculum is based on the academic plan created by the school’s Local School Restructuring Team this year. The application was submitted by Ann Herr, PTA president, and Andrea Carlson, chairman of the LSRT.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator