Behind the Headlines: BASIS DC

Photo credit: Washington Post

We wanted to take you behind the headlines of this story on BASIS DC, one of four new charter schools opening this month.

After the DC Public Charter School Board voted 5-1 on April 25, 2011 to approve the school, Board Member John H. McKoy, who cast the minority vote, sat down with the founders of the school to talk about how they would address getting all children – even those who were academically behind – up to speed so they could take full advantage of the rigorous BASIS DC curriculum.

The school was receptive, McKoy reported. After that discussion, and others, the school moved to hold weekly catch-up sessions for students and to adopt a two-week “boot camp,” to address academic inequities.

“Those are concrete examples of Basis’ responding to concerns I and others had about the uneven readiness of students accepted to the school,” said McKoy. “I’m impressed with Basis’ commitment to preparing their new enrollees for the upcoming school year and look forward to seeing how Basis supports all their students, especially those who are struggling against the backdrop of the academic rigor.”

PCSB approved BASIS DC because of its successful national record in educating students. It is not always guaranteed that a school that works elsewhere will be a right fit for DC, but BASIS DC has worked hard to tailor its education program to DC students—without compromising on education quality.

As the calendar turns to fall, PCSB will start its application cycle for new charter schools. We are fortunate to have many outstanding local charter operators and every year local applicants submit high-quality applications. But we also continue to encourage national operators of high-quality schools to apply.  It is in the best interest of DC families that we look everywhere we can for the very highest performing applicants to run DC schools – that means inside DC and outside.

PCSB will vote at its board meeting Monday on new guidelines for experienced charter school operators. The result is that there could be more schools from elsewhere, like BASIS, that would open up in DC. Our goal, as always, is to improve the number of high-quality classroom seats for DC schoolchildren.

New School

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