Board Votes to Close Excel Academy PCS

The DC Public Charter School Board (DC PCSB) voted 6-0, this evening, to revoke the charter of Excel Academy PCS.

The school will close at the end of the school year.

To help students transition, DC PCSB staff will hire enrollment specialists who will meet one on one with families to discuss available school options and assist with navigating My School DC, the common lottery.

Darren Woodruff, Board Chair, made the following statement at the meeting:

“The mission of the Excel public charter school is to provide preschool through eighth grade girls with “a solid academic foundation and enrichment opportunities to prepare them to succeed in high school and college.”

“As a board member, I continue to be supportive of the Excel mission – providing a high-quality education in one of the most challenged areas of our city through a school that serves more than 600 almost exclusively African American, economically disadvantaged elementary and middle school girls and their families. With one of the most important student populations we have and as the father of a daughter who attended DC public charter schools I am very aware of how important it is for us – this board, our public charter schools, and the larger community - to get the education of our girls right. We will not get a second chance to do well by these students. Toward that goal I want to acknowledge the obvious passion, engagement and commitment I witnessed during our December hearing with Excel faculty and staff, board members, parents, and students. I have no doubt that everyone involved wants nothing but positive outcomes for these girls.

“Every five years the Public Charter School Board is tasked with reviewing the performance of our schools to determine if they have met the goal of providing a high-quality education. And in the case of Excel, despite the clear commitment and engagement we have witnessed, the student outcomes have unfortunately not matched the passion. The agreed upon expectation of earning an average of at least 45 percentage points on the performance management framework over the past five years was not achieved. A PMF score above 45 was only achieved once in the last 5 years, and that was during the 2012-2013 school year. In fact, the most recent score from last year was 37 points out of 100, the school’s lowest score over the 5-year period we are addressing. In addition, student proficiency at Excel in both reading and math on the PARCC was lower than the citywide average for the past 2 years when compared to girls attending other schools. So, the trend for student performance over the past several years has been negative, despite any benefits that may have occurred from learning in an all-girl setting.

“Recent changes to the school’s academic leadership team, a reconstituted Board of Trustees, the planned addition of a Chief Academic Officer, implementation of restorative justice practices, and a proposed school turnaround plan all represent welcome steps that ideally would have been implemented when the first indications of decreased student performance became evident. However, without these steps more fully in place and clear data on their impact, this Board lacks convincing evidence that Excel represents the best opportunity for these young girls that we all care so much about. For this reason, I am in support of the staff recommendation for charter revocation.”

Read more about the charter revocation process.

Read the meeting materials.

Read detailed decision letter here.

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