Message to the Community We Serve
As we have shared, we made the difficult decision in January to close our middle school at the end of the current school year. Our plan was to partner with Friendship Public Charter School (FPCS) to sublease our middle school building to them for a year while they finished construction of their own campus in Southeast. The plan we laid out would have allowed current and rising Achievement Prep middle school scholars to be enrolled in the temporary FCPS campus at Wahler Place, trying to minimize as much disruption as possible for our scholars and their families and keeping an active middle school in our community.
Unfortunately, while the plan was approved by the DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB) last month, the Deputy Mayor of Education issued a letter to FPCS this week that states that any enrollment at this point by FPCS at the Wahler Place campus outside of the District’s Common Lottery (My School DC) would be deemed improper enrollments and potentially violate the principles of open enrollment as set forth in DC Official Code § DC Official Code §38-1802.06, which requires that all District students have the opportunity to be randomly selected for the new charter school option to ensure a fair process for everyone. The letter further stated that a paper application by FPCS would violate the rights of other District families and the My School DC Common Lottery process, as almost 1,000 families have indicated interest in either Achievement Prep MS or FPCS campuses serving grades 4-8.
While we truly believe that our plan was what was best for our scholars, and for the students at FPCS, we have to follow the law. Since there is no clear path forward for all, if not the majority, of our Achievement Prep scholars to attend the Wahler Place campus, we will not be partnering with FPCS to operate at Wahler Place MS. There will NOT be a MS at Achievement Prep next school year. Families are being notified today and we will hold meetings all of next week to walk families through this complicated matter.
We know that the majority of Achievement Prep’s current third through seventh grade families applied in the initial lottery round of My School DC by the March 2nd deadline and will know their lottery seats for the 2020-21 school year in a few weeks. For those families who did not meet the March 2nd deadline, they can now enter the post lottery to be placed on a waitlist for the schools they select. We, along with the Family Enrollment Specialists from the PCSB, will work to support these families in understanding the post-lottery process and their school options moving forward.
This is not the result we’d hoped for our scholars and their families, but the law is the law. We respect the processes put in place by the District to ensure equal access for all children and would never want to be part of setting precedent that in any way jeopardizes this. We teach our scholars to be good citizens and so supporting a plan that does not fully follow the law is not something we can do.
We are truly sorry for any inconvenience this causes our scholars and regret that this decision has come after the first lottery deadline. We were working hard with FPCS, the PCSB and the Deputy Mayor of Education to make this plan work. Unfortunately, it just didn’t happen and we are not willing to short-change scholars and keep them in limbo about their education.
This does not change anything happening to or with the elementary school. We will also continue to move forward with our plan to redesign the Achievement Prep Network to serve middle school grades again in the future.
I sincerely thank each and every one of you for your service and your commitment to end this school year strong for scholars and your colleagues.
Please do not hesitate to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or call us at (202) 562-1307 ext.105
Founder and CEO
Last updated Friday, March 6, 2020 at 4:32 pm EST.