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Charter Talk

From “New focus on DC public-charter collaboration” (02/02/2012) in the DC Schools Insider:

DCPS maintains a system of neighborhood schools with seats guaranteed to anyone within prescribed boundaries. The [Public Charter School Board] oversees schools open to all comers citywide. Decisions about openings, closings, program offerings and facilities have, more often than not, been made in isolation. Last week’s IFF report on school capacity is the latest sign that the silos are about to come down. [...]

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The First Charter

As we mentioned in yesterday’s In The News, Montgomery County (and Kensington specifically) will welcome its first charter school in 2012, run by Catalogue non-profit Crossway Community, Inc. As the Post reported:

The Montgomery County Board of Education approved its first charter school Monday night, sending a cheer through the crowded board room and signaling a breakthrough for a movement that is pushing to expand beyond struggling inner-city districts. [...]

School board member Patricia O’Neill (Bethesda-Chevy Chase) said she was proud to help shepherd in a “historic moment in Montgomery County” by voting for the school.

Nearly 28,000 students are currently enrolled in DC public charter schools, an increase of about 400% in the past decade; but such swift change has yet to appear in the surrounding counties. For example, Prince George’s County is home to less than ten charter and contract schools and Maryland as a whole will have 43 charters schools this coming fall (primarily in Baltimore). But should we predict further and faster growth?

Pressure to open charter schools has increased dramatically in recent years as national and state leaders have embraced the publicly funded, privately run alternatives as a stimulus for school reform. [...]

The board rejected Crossway Community’s first application a year ago. But school officials worked with the organization in the spring to address concerns.

The growing prevalence of charter schools has certainly catalyzed a national conversation about education reform this past year; but can we perhaps expect a more highly-localized conversation in this coming year? And should we expect more charter schools to open in DC’s surrounding counties, or will such schools simply remain less common in suburban or rural areas?

Best wishes to Crossway! You can learn more right here.

In The News …

How to make a musical (Washington Post): “The 46 kids with parts in the show (another 16 work backstage or on costumes and lighting) auditioned in April. But rehearsals didn’t begin until the performers arrived at a summer camp that runs every afternoon for six weeks — and requires a lot of hard work [...] But opening night, Robinson said, is very special, and gives all the kids an incredible sense of accomplishment.” Do read the full piece to learn more about Catalogue non-profit Sitar Arts Center’s production of Bye Bye Birdie, which will open this coming weekend in Adam Morgan. All the shows are sold out, but you can arrive one hour before curtain and jump on the waitlist.

First charter school approved in Montgomery County?(Gazette.Net): “Charter schools usually don’t appeal to Montgomery County Board of Education President Christopher S.

Barclay. But Monday night, he supported Community Montessori Public Charter School’s application, because he believes it might help the school system consider education from a holistic perspective. Community Montessori, which will serve students in pre-kindergarten through the third grade in Kensington, was approved in a 6-2 vote Monday evening by the Board of Education [...] The school will be run by Crossway Community, a nonprofit organization that serves low-income women and children and already operates a Montessori school for children.” Continue reading