The D.C. Public Charter School Board announced yesterday that it had received three applications under its revised Experienced Operator Guidelines Scoring Guide. The turnaround time for these applications is amazingly short with a public hearing being held on Wednesday, October 16th and final decisions being made on Monday, November 18th.
The new schools would eventually add 2,474 seats to the local charter school movement.
Harmony School of Excellence-DC currently teaches 25,000 students on 40 campuses in Texas. The operator already has three things going for it. Harmony specializes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education (STEM), wants to teach underprivileged students, and has a 100 percent college acceptance rate. It has won a $30 million U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top grant. The charter plans to enroll 624 pupils in grades Kindergarten through twelve.
Frederick Drew Gregory Academy has been a dream of D.C.'s Association of Chartered Public Schools. The institution would focus on students who have problems learning in regular schools, which include pupils with behavioral problems. The model for the school was established in California and currently encompasses 14 charters on 75 campuses. It would use Education Management Systems III, Inc. as its charter management organization. Frederick Drew Gregory Academy would eventually teach 1,200 students in grades seven through twelve. Mr. Gregory is a D.C. native who became a decorated military pilot and astronaut.
The third application comes from Democracy Prep, a charter that would enroll 650 students in Pre-Kindergarten three through fourth grade. The operator currently serves 2,000 students in grades Kindergarten through twelve in Harlem and Camden, New Jersey on nine campuses. The charter focuses on students requiring special education and English language learners. Democracy Prep prides itself on college preparation for its student body. Its slogan is "work hard, go to college, change the world."
If approved these charters would open in the fall of 2014.