Friday, April 04, 2008

12 organizations looking to start charters

12 organizations will be seeking to open new charter schools in the District.
The number of applicants is equal to last year’s pool, but far below the highest number in the city’s 11-year charter history — 26.

Nona Richardson, spokeswoman for the D.C. Public Charter Board, said the board is allowed to authorize up to 20 new charter schools. Board members will rule on how many make the cut in June.

Criticism of the charter movement has long revolved around the high quantities of new schools authorized without regard to location. Many existing charters are clustered in the northern and eastern parts of the city.

To address this concern, Richardson said the charter board is starting to do more strategic planning, especially as nearly two dozen public schools in D.C. close at the end of the academic year.

“In the past the board’s position was to approve any and all that we felt were strong applicants and could bring something different,” she said. “Now we’re ... looking at whether they fit in with what’s already out there.”

Of the applicants, three — Accotink, Dream Catchers and Lighthouse — are proposing to open schools that focus on special education, while Academy of Hope plans to focus on adult education. The remaining indicate they will educate children at the elementary and middle school levels, with some placing particular emphasis on college preparatory skills.
The applicants are:
  • Academy of Hope
  • Accotink Public Education Center
  • Back to Basics
  • Center City
  • Dream Catchers Academy
  • Enrichment Academy
  • Imagine Freedom
  • Lighthouse Academy
  • Millenium Literacy Academy
  • National Prep
  • Northstar Academy
  • Washington Archdiocese

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