The DC Public Charter Schools Board’s 20-year review of Chavez Schools’ charter coincides with both an important anniversary for our network of four schools and a period of aggressive improvement. We are disappointed that on Dec. 18 the Board voted 4-2 to follow its staff’s recommendations and close Parkside Middle School beginning in June 2018. We are also disappointed that the Board gave the Parkside community no opportunity to protest the Board’s decision.
Under PCSB’s plan, all current Parkside Middle School students will be able to complete 8th grade at Parkside. After June, the middle school will not enroll a new 6th grade class or new students. Parkside High will remain open because its performance meets PCSB’s standards.
Parkside Middle serves a higher percentage of at-risk students than any standalone middle school in the city, and is vital to Chavez’s pipeline to college for at-risk students, which continues at Parkside High School. Across our network of schools, we are focused on implementing a proven improvement plan that we are hopeful will rebuild PCSB’s confidence in Chavez.
What sets Chavez Schools apart is our emphasis on public policy and its power to create a more just, free and equal world. In a city where only about half of 12th graders enroll in college, two-thirds of Chavez graduates enroll, and their completion rates far exceed DC and national averages for at-risk students.
Chavez has been a solidly performing network, with a unique value to DC, for 20 years. We appreciate the trust that families place in us and the commitment our staff makes to supporting all our scholars.