All six charter schools up for renewal this academic year have been renewed by the state secretary of education.
In the State Board of Education’s monthly meeting Thursday night, Education Secretary Mark Holodick gave the final OK on Kuumba Academy, Positive Outcomes Charter School, First State Military Academy, Sussex Montessori School, Freire Charter School and Great Oaks Charter School to continue operating.
Every five years, the state requires charter schools to apply for renewal.
Applications include basic information about the school – like leadership personnel, contacts, enrollment, district of residence, mission statements – and more complex details – like trends in enrollment, academic performance, graduation rates and proficiency rates.
There wasn’t too much action as Holodick made his announcements, as he takes strong consideration into the recommendations of the Charter School Accountability Committee.
The state secretary renders a decision after the the accountability committee’s recommendation, but the final authority, per statute, rests with the State Board of Education, who voted for the renewal of all six.
That committee spent the last two months having renewal hearings for each of the six charters, where they asked questions about areas of concern, allowed the school to present some highlights of student achievement and progress, and sometimes set conditions that schools have to meet in order to stay open.
For example, Great Oaks had a pretty hefty hail of 16 conditions it needs to meet heading into and through next school year, mainly in regard to steady student enrollment and educator certifications.
Great Oaks was put on formal review by the state last year due to low enrollment, and there’s been plenty of hearings in the past two years – with school community members, school leadership and representatives from the accountability committee and the Department of Education – to ensure the school is making progress.
Holodick made three amendments to the 16 conditions. One was to add “mandatory” in between “all” and “deadlines”, so the new condition reads: “Great Oaks will meet all mandatory deadlines required/requested by DOE.”
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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