Potomac Preparatory Public Charter School Faces Possible Charter Revocation

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The DC Public Charter School Board (DCPCSB) announced this week that Potomac Preparatory Public Charter School (Potomac Prep) is on the agenda for a vote that could revoke the school’s charter due to its inability to meet academic and attendance standards in the one-year time frame designated by DCPCSB.

More than 430 DC charter school students could be forced out of their school next year. The DC Public Charter School Board (DCPCSB) announced this week that Potomac Preparatory Public Charter School (Potomac Prep) is on the agenda for a vote that could revoke the school’s charter due to its inability to meet academic and attendance standards in the one-year time frame designated by DCPCSB.

“While this vote does not come as a shock, school leaders hoped DCPCSB would advocate for and support the school’s turnaround efforts – which match initiatives citywide and nationwide to improve upon the academic outcomes for the most in-need students,” said Nicholette Smith-Bligen, Potomac Prep’s Board Chair.

In 2014, DCPCSB voted to initiate charter revocation proceedings against Potomac Prep. However, the school maintained that a significant turnaround was underway, which led the way to a DCPCSB vote that approved a continuance of the school’s charter, conditioned on the school’s ability to meet specific targets for the 2014-2015 school year and beyond. Smith-Bligen says changes have been made in academics, administration and mission – all in an effort to meet or exceed the targets set forth by DCPCSB.

The vast majority of Potomac Prep’s students, more than 70%, are special education students with an identified exceptional learning plan in place. During the 2015-2016 school year the school experienced a growth of more than 300% in its special education population moving from 22 students in 2014-2015 to 72 students this year!

“The astounding increase in our special education population, particularly at a time when parents and families had an accurate and complete understanding of the school’s charter status but still chose to enroll their children at Potomac Prep, is a clear indication of the frustration families experience in seeking educational options for their children in the District of Columbia,” said the school’s head of school, Dr. Marian White-Hood – a nationally recognized educational leader who led schools in both Prince George’s County, MD and the District of Columbia and came out of retirement to support the Potomac Prep learning community.

"We often get kids that are 12, 13-years-old that are reading at the second and third grade level. No matter what you do you're not going to be able in one academic year to bring them up to grade level expectations," explained White-Hood.”

If Potomac Prep’s charter is revoked, it would have to shut down on June 30, 2016. Potomac Prep plans to seek due process protections guaranteed by the School Reform Act.

For more information on the school’s efforts to retain its charter, visit http://www.potomacprep.org. Use the hashtag: #POTOMACPREPPRIDE to share the facts and the news about how Potomac Prep has positively impacted your child. Make plans to support Potomac Prep’s efforts by attending the DCPCSB Public Hearing, being held at Cesar Chavez Preparatory Public Charter School on Monday, December 14, 2015 at 6:30 pm.

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Ingrid Padgett
@PotomacPrepDC
since: 08/2015
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