Statement of Darren Woodruff on Latin American Montessori Bilingual PCS

Darren Woodruff, DC PCSB, Board Chair

Darren Woodruff, outgoing DC Public Charter School Board Chair, spoke on Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School at February's meeting before LAMB's charter was renewed. 

We’re here tonight to discuss LAMB’s track record over the last 15 years and then we’ll vote on their charter renewal. As a consistently high performing school, LAMB has had a lot of successes, and we applaud you for that. However, our staff has heard from dozens of your families time and time again about a few critical issues – the most tragic being the conviction of a former LAMB teacher for sexual abuse of six students. These families have also talked to us about other issues that they are concerned about including replacing school leadership, a perceived unwillingness to help subsidize transportation to your new facility that you are working towards and poor communication between the school and families.

We commend your teachers for their courage to speak out and the Board’s commitment to understand the facts around all of this. Our heart remains heavy for the students and families that have been affected as well for the entire school community. Excellence in public charter education assigns different roles to different entities. The law requires that the PCSB holds each public charter school to high standards. The law also gives individual boards, such as your own, the responsibility of meeting those high standards. That means that LAMB hires and fires school leadership, sets the curriculum and provides financial oversight. But as a check and balance, we must not only hold school leaders accountable for academic success but also ensure that they are acting the best interest of all students attending the school.

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