DC Public Charter School Board Approves Four New Charter Schools

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Contact: Audrey Williams  202-328-2748
Washington, D.C. —The D.C. Public Charter School Board (PCSB) voted April 23 to approve four applications to create new public charter schools for the 2013-2014 school year. The proposed charter schools are: Community College Preparatory Academy; Ingenuity Prep; Sela (formally DC Hebrew Language) and Somerset Preparatory Academy.  These applications received conditional approval and must satisfactorily address the required conditions outlined by the Board before they can be granted a charter.  Seven applications were denied.  All current Board members voted on the applications with Sara Mead voting by proxy.
“The Board was inspired by the vision of these applicants.  The diversity and innovation of their ideas are remarkable,” said PCSB Board Chair Brian W. Jones. “But at the end of the day, what matters most are the quality of the plan and the team that will implement these ideas on the ground. The Board has a great deal of confidence that the applications we approved will be successful.  In our judgment, these teams know how to execute and they know how to get results.”
Community College Preparatory Academy will provide education and skills development to prepare under-credited adults for postsecondary education, employment and lifelong learning.  The program will be co-located in Wards 5, 7 and 8 with the Workforce Development Program space of the University of the District of Columbia Community College’s Backus Campus, Shadd School and the PR Harris Educational Center.
Ingenuity Prep’s early childhood program will use a blended learning model that includes a mix of classroom instruction, online programs and digital content. Students will also be prepared to be strong civic leaders.  The school will offer extended day (8am – 5pm) and extended year.
Sela will provide developmentally appropriate academic offerings in Hebrew-English language immersion to all types of learners—including at-risk students, students with disabilities, and English language learners—underscoring their strong commitment to serve a diverse population from across the city.
Somerset Preparatory Academy’s college prep program for middle school students will prepare them for advanced academic coursework. This school will be supported by Academica and Somerset Inc., which run successful charter schools in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California. The academic results of Somerset schools are consistently strong and include many schools with high concentration of low income, Latino and African American students.
The Board encouraged several of the applicant groups that were denied to strengthen their applications and consider applying again next year.
In February, the PCSB received 11 complete applications and conducted a rigorous review process before deliberating and voting at the April 23rd meeting.   During the review process, each applicant received a technical review as well as interviews with the PCSB staff.  Public hearings were held where applicants presented their proposals to the Board and the public, and responded to questions from the Board.  The public was invited to provide input at each hearing. Each applicant will receive a decision letter from the Board detailing the basis for the Board’s decision with respect to its application.
The DC Public Charter School Board currently oversees 53 public charter schools on 98 campuses serving nearly 32,000 students living in every ward of the city.  Seventy-five percent of the students attending public charter schools qualify for free or reduced price meals. Public charter schools serve 42% of all public school students in Washington, D.C. Learn more about the PCSB at www.dcpcsb.org.