Board Approves One Out of Four DC Public Charter School Applications
Washington, DC — The DC Public Charter School Board (DC PCSB) approved one new public charter school Monday at its first-ever virtual meeting, increasing school quality and choice for District students and families. The approved school, Global Citizens, is a dual language public charter elementary that will “immerse [students] in the Mandarin and Spanish languages, promote the value of diversity, and equip them with the knowledge, skills, and mindsets they need to contribute to a better world.”
This school is approved with conditions that must be completed before the schools can open in 2021.
DC PCSB received 3 other public charter school applications. The Board declined to approve Washington Arabic, The Garden School of Business and Entrepreneurship, and Capital Experience Lab.
Board Chair Rick Cruz emphasized the rigorous nature of the charter application process:
Before we approve any new school, there is a rigorous process that applicants must follow. They need to demonstrate need, an ability to succeed, a commitment to quality, and a dedication of openness to all students. And we expect applicants to consult with the community and be a good neighbor. We also look at the changing demographic patterns in the City.
Some say that we open too many schools. It’s a nice slogan, but that is not true. In fact, we have a very rigorous process. Since I’ve been on the board, we’ve received and reviewed 35 applications but only approved a little more than a third (37%).
Cruz asked the newly approved schools to meet with the Deputy Mayor of Education to talk about available facilities and to coordinate their school opening with the city.
With the approval of these schools, the percentage of students attending public charter schools in the City is expected to stay roughly the same.
Because of the Board’s commitment to quality, it has in recent years closed nearly as many schools as it has approved.
In January, the Board received four applications, notified Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) citywide of the applications and opened the charter applications for public comment. Meanwhile, PCSB staff began reviewing each application, which included 1) analyzing academic, operational, and financial plans, and 2) conducting interviews with the founding group. The Board held a public hearing last month to hear from the public and the applicant groups.