Our Statement on Green Dot Destiny and Excel Public Charter School Closure Announcement

The Green Dot Public Schools Washington’s Board of Directors voted to close two of its schools at the end of the current school year: Destiny Middle School in Tacoma and Excel Public Charter School in Kent. Both of these schools experienced significant struggles tied closely to low student enrollment and related operational challenges. While currently enrolled students are demonstrating academic growth, the Green Dot Washington Board concluded that the organization is not able to sustain its programs in Tacoma and Kent. Green Dot announced that it will consolidate operations and will continue to offer a middle and high school program at Rainier Valley Leadership Academy in Seattle.

First and foremost, at WA Charters, our hearts go out to the enrolled students, families, staff, and communities who are directly impacted by school closure. Green Dot is actively offering transition supports to students, families, and staff.

Closure is difficult, yet these developments point to a sector that is focused on continuous improvement, quality, rigor, and equity. While school closure is never a desired outcome, one of the great hallmarks of the charter public school sector is the ability to respond, adapt, and make improvements quickly when something is not working. As a sector, we are learning these lessons together, and seeking input from parents, teachers, neighborhoods, and communities.

Our state’s charter public school sector is just five years old, and has experienced historic legal challenges in its early years. As with any initiative focused on change and innovation, there has been both progress and setbacks. Five years in, we are still learning. We’ve seen some major legislative support, better outcomes, and strong community demand at many schools, while a few schools have struggled with low enrollment and financial sustainability.

Our sector remains strong. High-performing charter public schools in our state are delivering on their promise of preparing students for college and showing us the types of educational options that we need to more of – schools with groundbreaking community engagement strategies, and specific instructional approaches that work. According to the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University, Washington’s high-performing charters are on par with the best models nationwide.

Next week, 100 percent of our state’s founding charter public high school seniors in Seattle and Tacoma will graduate college-ready, with 100 percent of those graduates accepted to at least one four-year college or university. Data shows promising academic gains for students at charter public schools in King County, Tacoma, and Eastern Washington, and we have great confidence in Ashé Preparatory Academy, launching in August 2019, as well as four newly authorized schools, set to open in 2020. All of these models—and more high-quality, free, charter public schools in the pipeline—have benefitted from lessons learned in our sector’s early years and will continue to hold an important place in our state’s public education system.

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