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Posted at 07:28 PM ET, 11/19/2012

Three charter school operators apply to open doors in the District

Three experienced charter-school operators have applied for fast-track approval to run 10 campuses serving thousands of students in the District, D.C. Public Charter School Board officials said Monday.

The applications come as the city’s traditional public school system prepares to close 20 schools because of under-enrollment, which is likely to give the already fast-growing charter sector an opportunity to continue expanding.

Two operators are applying to open in fall 2014, said charter school spokeswoman Audrey Williams.

Nexus Academy, which currently partners with Connections Education to run schools in Michigan and Ohio, aims to enroll 600 students in Washington. Virginia-based K12 Inc., which operates full-time virtual schools around the country, wants to open a 550-student school in the District.

The third applicant — Rocketship Education, a California-based charter chain — hopes to open eight campuses between 2015 and 2020, Williams said. Those campuses would eventually serve more than 5,000 D.C. students.

All three charters would offer “blended learning” models in the District, combining face-to-face teaching and online education. The charter school board is scheduled to decide whether to approve their applications by February.

Executive summaries of each of the three applications will be posted online soon, Williams said.

The charter board established the expedited approval process this summer in an effort to encourage proven charter operators to come to the city.

Prospective charter operators who lack experience will be able to apply by March for May approval. Those approved through that process also would be able to open as soon as fall 2014.

Charter schools currently serve more than 40 percent of the city’s public school students.

Four charters that were approved last year to open in fall 2013 are in the midst of securing facilities.

Sela, the city’s first Hebrew immersion public charter, announced Monday that it will move into a building in the Takoma neighborhood at 6015-6017 Chillum Place, NE.

That building formerly housed Young America Works, a charter school that was shut down in 2010 for chronic poor performance.

Sela officials said in a written statement that they would renovate the building to allow for “multiple playground spaces and lots of natural light infused classrooms.”

The school is enrolling students in pre-k, kindergarten and first grade for next fall. It plans to eventually expand to eighth grade.

Community College, an adult education school, is exploring two lease options in Ward 8, according to a school board member.

Ingenuity Prep, a preschool-8th grade school that blends traditional instruction with online learning, aims to open in Ward 8, according to school officials. It will have an extended school day and year.

Officials with Somerset Preparatory Academy did not immediately respond to an e-mail about whether they have secured a building.

Somerset will be a 6th-12th-grade school run by a management organization that has previously opened charter schools in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. Somerset’s application said school officials would seek a facility in either Ward 4 or Ward 8.

By  |  07:28 PM ET, 11/19/2012

Tags:  dc public schools

 
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