Achievement Prep Breaks Ground on the Wahler Place Campus Redevelopment Project
On Tuesday March 17, 100+ Achievement Prep leaders, Board members, school partners, local partners, Platinum Parents, community members, and legacy scholars gathered together at Achievement Prep’s Wahler Place Middle School Campus to celebrate the commencement of the Wahler Place Campus Redevelopment Project with a groundbreaking ceremony.
The Wahler Place Campus Redevelopment Project is a two-year plan to expand the existing site from a 50,000 square foot, single building campus for grades four to eight to a 100,000 square foot, two building campus for grades Prek3 to eight by the 2016-17SY. The two-phase plan includes the construction of a new building and the renovation of the existing building on Wahler Place. Achievement Prep plans to move the existing Wahler Place Middle School (grades 4-8) into a new building at the campus in December 2015 (Phase I of the project). In Phase II, Achievement Prep will add an early childhood campus for grades PreK3 and Prek4 and relocate the Mississippi Avenue Elementary School (grades K-3) to the renovated building on Wahler Place in August 2016.
Achievement Prep Board Chair John Green opened the groundbreaking ceremony, acknowledging the continued support that Achievement Prep has received from our guests, all of whom are helping to make the Achievement Prep DREAM a reality. Chairman Green also recognized the dedication to our mission and the vision for our scholars and families that have driven our Founder and CEO, Shantelle Wright. In her speech, CEO Wright shared the history of Achievement Prep, starting in 2008 when the flagship opened to serve just 68 scholars in grades four and five at the Wahler Place Campus, and growing to a network serving 650 scholars in grades K to eight. CEO Wright shared with our guests the challenges that she faced in founding a school East of the Anacostia River seven years ago and her firm commitment to bringing a high quality school option with high quality school buildings to the children and families in Ward 8. In her speech, she thanked education leaders and partners who have supported Achievement Prep since its founding, and gave a special thanks to the Achievement Prep parents and families who were in attendance and who partner with us to ensure that all of our scholars go to high school, college, and beyond. CEO Wright concluded by turning to and acknowledging the heart of our organization – our scholars – and sharing with them, “This is all for you.”
The ceremony’s keynote speaker, Washington D.C. Deputy Mayor of Education, Jennifer Niles, noted that being a part of the groundbreaking ceremony was an honor that brought her full circle with a fellow founding charter leader, noting that her “heart is brimming” about the permanent home for the school. The Executive Director of the DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB), Scott Pearson, and PCSB Board Member, Barbara Nophlin, each spoke about the positive impact that Achievement Prep has made on the DC charter community. Joe Bruno, President of Building Hope, shared the history of the Wahler Place Campus, originally Draper Elementary School, which first became home to Achievement Prep through the Charter School Incubator Initiative, a partnership between Building Hope and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Brian Talley, Accounts and Lending Executive with Bank of America, shared their excitement at being a part of the Achievement Prep DREAM through financing of the project. Closing out the ceremony with a stirring speech, eighth grade legacy scholar and class of 2023, Kevin Akers, finished by stressing the importance of a new building, saying, “We have shown that given the opportunity, we can learn and we can receive one of the best educations in Washington, DC. I can’t think of a community of people that is more deserving.”
After the speeches, the ceremony concluded with a traditional turning of the sod, where legacy scholars joined the event’s speakers, Chairman Green, and CEO Wright to celebrate the start of construction.
Achievement Prep’s Wahler Place Middle School Campus has consistently received a Tier 1 rating from the DC Public Charter School Board since the inception of the Performance Management Framework in 2011. In 2016, once the Wahler Place Campus Redevelopment Project is complete, Achievement Prep will be able to offer a high-quality Pre-Kindergarten option for families through a partnership with Appletree Early Learning Charter School. In 2016, the school will offer 960 high-quality seats to scholars in grades PreK3 to eight at the Wahler Place Campus, East of the Anacostia River.