Two years ago, every member of the graduating class of a public charter school in Southeast D.C. was accepted into college, but this year the school is fighting to save its charter.
National Collegiate Prep is being forced to shut down next year.
“They said that we needed to be closed because we demonstrated a low graduation rate below the state standard,” National Collegiate Prep founder and CEO Jennifer Ross said.
The D.C. Public Charter School Board voted to close the school in 2020, saying it’s had performance issues like low test scores and low re-enrollment and graduation rates over the past few years.
“What we found is that we had some error in our processes,” Ross said.
She said the class of 2018 lost several of its students who moved to different areas and schools, and they didn’t keep track, so it looked like those students dropped out of school.
The school said for almost a decade they have invested in and changed the lives of students, giving them opportunities to see the world and gain more than just an education.
“They’re going to build you up to be what they know you can be,” senior Shamara Sutherland said.
The school has the support of Councilman Trayon White and other community leaders.
They said their next plan of action is to try and encourage the board to reverse its decision.
“I don’t understand how you close a school in the most disenfranchised community when they’ve made eight of their nine goals,” Ross said.
“It’s sad because, I mean, kids usually want to give back to their school, you know, revisit, come and see the old teachers that helped them get to where they are,” Sutherland said.
D.C. Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn gave the following statement to News4:
“Our continued focus is on ensuring that the needs of our students are met so that they can concentrate on reaching their greatest potentials. The decisions about whether to certify and renew charter schools rest with the Public Charter School Board, and we will not be disturbing that allocation of authority over the charter schools.”