DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp to close

There is shocking news this morning that the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation is closing its doors.  This is the same organization that former D.C. Councilman Harry Thomas, Jr. had utilized beginning in 2007 to steal over $350,000 in money targeted to helping low income youth.  He instead funneled the cash to himself for the purchase of items like a car and boat and to payback personal loans.

The Washington Post’s Aaron Davis reveals today that after receiving a clean financial audit only a year ago, “in a series of revelations that began in January, the [DC Trust] board learned that former executive director Ed Davies and senior financial officer Earl Hamilton had used taxpayer funds to pay tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of credit-card charges, including some for personal use. Some of the expenses charged by Davies included meals and travel costs for his family members.”  The board’s current members have determined that the group is insolvent and will shut it down.  Eighteen employees will lose their jobs as a result of the fiscal mismanagement.

In 2015, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who the Post states controls the selection of four board members, injected $700,000 into the Trust for youth violence prevention programs as a result of a jump in murders of over 50 percent.

The reason this development is so significant is that up until last September the DC Trust administered the Opportunity Scholarship Program, the private school voucher plan for low income children.  The Trust had taken over the OSP from Joe Robert’s Washington Scholarship Fund in 2010.  Mr. Robert closed the WSF, which had run the Opportunity Scholarship Program since its legislative inception by Congress in 2004, rather than battle with the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to kill it.

In a fierce behind-the-scenes struggle last summer the contract for managing the OSP was won by Serving Our Children, a non-profit headed by board member Kevin Chavous and whose staff is led by Rachel Sotsky, the deputy legislative director for former Senator Joseph Lieberman when the SOAR Act was created.  The SOAR Act contains within it the three sector federal dollars that provides money for DCPS, D.C. charter schools, and the private school vouchers.

All I can say is that due to the efforts of many local heroes the OSP now has a home where the effort to improve the academic achievement of low income kids can be expanded and strengthened.  Despite all of the numerous political twists and turns the future looks exceedingly bright for this educational life-preserver.

Sounds of silence over D.C. charter school waiting lists

It is a sobering exercise to let your eyes glance over the recently released list of students waiting to get into many of D.C.’s charter schools.

Basis DC, 553.  Capital City lower, 608.  Creative Minds International, 1,217.

We go to work, come home, have dinner, and perhaps watch some television. We do not give one thought to the families whose future is being determined by whether their children can get into one of these schools.

DC Bilingual, 832.  E.L. Haynes elementary, 585.  Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom French language school, 583.

The DC Public Charter School Board states that there are “8,640 individual students on waitlists to attend one or more participating public charter schools in the 2016-17 school year, a 1.3% increase over last year’s 8,526 students.”

Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Spanish language school, 894.  Inspired Teaching Demonstration, 892.  KIPP DC Promise Academy, 284.

In the nation’s capital, once you include DCPS, there are 21,000 kids trying to get into the school of their choice.  Parents of 21,000 individuals who desperately want to make better lives for their offspring.  If you have money there is an easy solution to this problem.  You move to a locality where there is a good neighborhood school or you pay tuition at a private institution.  This is not so simple for those living in the vicinity of the White House, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial.  Many of these people are poor, and just keeping a home is their main concern.

Latin American Montessori, 835.  Lee Montessori, 482.  Mundo Verde Bilingual 1, 295.

Almost defensively, the PCSB states that over the last three years 11 new schools have been approved and over a dozen Performance Management Framework Tier 1 facilities have grown their enrollment.  But for the vast majority of the scholars on these waiting lists their admission to a high performing school will never come.

Shinning Stars Montessori Academy, 367.  Two Rivers 4th Street, 1,388.  Two Rivers Young, 474.

I am mentioning only those with the greatest numbers.  Other charters have waiting lists of 50, 100, or 150.  However, it feels like there is no urgency to do anything by anyone.  We wake up in the morning, have our breakfasts, perhaps kiss our loved ones, and head out for another day.

Washington Latin middle, 787.  Washington Latin upper, 256.  Washington Yu Ying, 944.

It is not uncommon to hear leaders involved in school reform talk about this issue as a civil right.  Nevertheless, today, there are no rights for people on these rolls.  There is only waiting.

Kaya Henderson did nothing wrong in soliciting funds from DCPS vendor

Today’s Washington Post includes an article by Perry Stein in which she reveals that her newspaper and the Associated Press has obtained an email from Kaya Henderson which demonstrates that the Chancellor solicited money to support her system’s annual teacher recognition ceremony from Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality, a food vendor that a whistleblower lawsuit had accused of stealing millions of dollars from DCPS.

The reporter adds that the 2013 email to Warren Thompson, the president of the food vendor, came two months after the lawsuit was filed and at a time that the contract with DCPS was coming to an end.  Apparently the Chancellor asked the company to contribute toward her event at the highest level which at the time was $100,000.  The firm ended up committing to $25,000 to which Ms. Henderson reacted by exclaiming “You Rock!”  The money went to the DC Education Fund, a non-profit that hosts the gala.

The Post quotes Michelle Lerner, the DCPS spokeswoman (no relation) as commenting about this story,  “We followed all the rules here.”

Let me be as clear as I can.  Ms. Henderson did absolutely nothing wrong.

First of all, the Chancellor has no role regarding DCPS vendor selection.  This is done through the D.C. Office of Contracting and Procurement.  These decisions then must be approved by the D.C. Council.  Councilman David Grosso, the chairman of the Council’s education committee, states that he never has discussed DCPS contracts with the Chancellor.

But all of this is really beyond the point.  Organizations and companies frequently fundraise for events from the vendors with which they do business.  This to me seems only natural.  Good vendors become strong partners in the mission of the groups to which they provide products or services.  This is true in the for-profit world and it applies equally for 501(c)3s.  I’m sure if you looked at money raised for charter school events you would find instances absolutely identical to the one written about this morning.

Ms. Perry indicates that the City Bridge Foundation, FedEx and Cisco have all donated in the past to the Standing Ovation for D.C. Teachers gala.  That’s a great start.  I hope that these are only a sample of names, and that in the future the list of those supporting hard working educators in this town becomes much much longer.






Unease at monthly Charter Board meeting

I attended last evening’s monthly meeting of the DC Public Charter School Board to witness firsthand the bestowment of the Exceptional Service Award to John “Skip” McKoy and to listen to the review of applications of three new charters.  Things didn’t go exactly as planned.

The recognition of Mr. McKoy was dignified as is most anything having to to with this gentleman.  This was the first time the board had given out this honor.  In his gracious remarks the past board chair stated that he should really be giving the award to his peers for all of the hard work they performed during his seven years on the PCSB.

It was then time to go over charter amendments.  Six schools appeared on this night, and I commend Eagle Academy PCS, Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom PCS, and Excel Academy PCS for solid presentations. I thought it was a little strange that during the conversation around Excel’s request to shorten its school year by eliminating its mandatory Saturday Academies there was no mention of management issues at the school that were identified in late 2014.  Perhaps that is because these difficulties have all been resolved.

But this section of the agenda went on much longer than anticipated.  It seemed like board members were asking numerous questions only tangentially related to the reason the charters were asked to appear.  The new school applications finally came before the group at about 8:20 p.m., about an hour and a half behind schedule even with executive director Scott Pearson postponing one agenda item to the following month.

It was highly encouraging to hear from Allison Fansler, KIPP DC PCS’s president and chief operating officer, as she detailed her school’s intentional effort to balance the structure of grades at her various facilities with the charter’s goal of accepting students at any level of their educational experience.  The contrast could not have been greater to that of Latin American Montessori Bilingual PCS, whose representatives explained to the obvious disbelief of the directors that the institution does not back fill empty spots after Pre-Kindergarten Four.  The Performance Management Framework Tier 1 school defended this policy on the grounds that children will not be successful in its program if they are admitted after this stage because of the challenging Montessori and language immersion program.  But the result of this practice appears to be that about half of the pupils that start at the school withdraw before graduating at the fifth grade.  Based upon yesterday’s discussion, be prepared for a change in this area.

Regarding the new charter applications, it had already been revealed on the agenda that one of them, Adult Career Technical Education PCS, had been withdrawn.  Speakers from both Interactive Academy, a 400 student charter to be located in Wards 7 or 8 that focuses on “bridging the gap between academics and real world application,” and Sustainable Futures, a “competency-based school” serving 500 students aged 14 to 21 who have not been successful in traditional classroom settings, did commendable jobs making the case that their bids should be approved.  My prediction is that Interactive Academy will be asked to re-submit next cycle over inquiries about serving special education students and the experience of the founding team in running a school.  Sustainable Futures, on the other hand, should be given the green light based upon the knowledge and familiarity of its representatives in our local school reform movement.

By this point I was ready to go home.

John “Skip” McKoy to be given Exceptional Service Award

At tonight’s monthly meeting of the DC Public Charter School Board former chairman John “Skip” McKoy is to be presented with an Exceptional Service Award.  The recognition is well deserved.

I cannot remember when I first met Mr. McKoy, but I do recall the impression he made upon me.  The man epitomizes class.  During his over six year tenure on the board and as head of the PCSB he consistently interacted with everyone he met in a manner that exuded dignity and respect, no matter their point of view.  This approach was especially important because during his two years as chair he faced a couple of the most difficult issues that the organization had experienced in its twenty year history.  Of course, I’m referring to the financial irregularities that were uncovered at Options PCS and Dorothy I. Height Community Academy PCS.  His steady calm leadership led to both situations being resolved for the betterment of the students attending these institutions and for the nation’s capital as a whole.

There were many other accomplishments.  Mr. McKoy continued the emphasis on quality that was begun under the fine direction of prior PCSB chairman Brian Jones. By the time he left his position in 2015, D.C.’s charter school movement had seen an increase of 59 percent in the number of pupils attending Performance Management Framework Tier 1 schools from the PMF baseline 2010 to 2011 term and, perhaps more significantly, a 74 percent reduction over the same period in the number of students in Tier 3 facilities.  About a dozen charters that were not meeting standards were closed.

Both the District of Columbia International School and the unified lottery, My School DC, were created with Mr. McKoy at the helm at the PCSB.  Moreover, I cannot forget one of my favorite of his achievements, in that I am now able to watch the proceedings of board meetings over the Internet in the comfort of my home.

Mr. McKoy sat down with me for a couple of interviews during his tenure as Chairman.  He was always forthcoming, honest, and warm.  Even when he was in the middle of the Options and Community Academy controversies he would answer my questions.  He also had no reluctance to let me know, softly, where he thought I had got something wrong.  The former PCSB chair did all of this and more because of his unwavering commitment to kids living in Washington D.C., something that also drove his strong work for years as head of programmatic initiatives at Fight for Children.  From my first interview:

“We can get to the point where each child is learning in a quality seat. We owe it to our parents and students. We have the structure, most of the resources, and talent to get there with the schools we have. We recognize that we are working in a political environment. Our charter schools have autonomy provided through the School Reform Act, but we must understand we are operating with public money. It has been the freedom to create and innovate that has led to the sector’s success and that must not be impeded.”

Congratulations on your award Mr. McKoy.



Ryan Tauriainen wins Principal of the Year Award

Ryan Tauriainen, leader of the AppleTree Institute Early Learning Public Charter School’s Columbia Heights Campus, has won the Washington Post’s 2016 Principal of the Year Award.  It appears that Mr. Taurianen is an outstanding choice.  From the Post article by Perry Stein:

“When Tauriainen started as the principal at the Columbia Heights campus in the 2013-2014 school year, 66 percent of students were meeting the school’s target goals for language and literacy, and 82 percent were meeting math goals, according to Anne Zummo Malone, AppleTree’s chief of schools.

In his second year as principal, 95 percent of students hit their language and literacy goals, and 91 percent reached their math targets.”

Ms. Stein describes Mr. Tauriainen as a teacher’s principal meaning that he especially enjoys getting into the classroom and participating in instruction directly with the children.  He is also apparently extremely supportive of his staff, helping others to improve their pedagogical skills, and even paying for pedicures for educators that are having a bad day.

The 2016 Washington Post Teacher of the Year received some excellent training here in the nation’s capital.  He started out at KIPP DC and did a principal fellowship at one of the Friendship Public Charter Schools.  He then realized that he could have his biggest impact focusing on early childhood education.

The award is only the first step in Mr. Tauriainen’s future plans.   Ms. Stein quotes the AppleTree principal as asserting, “I just want to keep moving.  I wanted to run a building. Then I want to run a school system. And then after that, I want to work at the Department of Education so I can have an impact nationally.”

I have been a tremendous fan of AppleTree PCS for years and the institution’s effort to close the academic achievement gap.  I interviewed its founder and CEO Jack McCarthy back in 2014.  In addition, and not to take away from Mr. Tauriainen ‘s outstanding achievement, gratitude should be offered to  Fight for Children for the group’s strong support of improving the lives of low income kids.  Fight for Children was an early financial backer of Appletree, and Friendship PCS is a participant in the non-profit’s Joe’s Champs program for training teachers in early childhood education.

Congratulations Mr. Tauriainen on your award.



The 2016 FOCUS Gala

Last Thursday my wife Michele and I had the tremendous pleasure of attending the 2016 Friends of Choice in Urban Schools gala which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the start of Washington, D.C.’s charter school movement.  In keeping with the evening’s theme, planners of the event included multiple clever reminders of 1996.  For example, participants arriving at a function customarily receive an identification badge.  Not tonight.  Guests were greeted with various brightly colored slap bracelets imprinted with their names.  The cocktail tables held containers filled with candy from the era such as Pop Rocks.  Surrounding the treats were origami fortune telling squares of paper like those I can remember making with my kids.  I imagine that the one I tried stated “you will meet the love of your life” which has been true for over three decades.

The tables also included highly professional glossy brochures detailing the program, complete with a history of charters in the nation’s capital.

The setting for the celebration was spectacularly beautiful.  Hundreds gathered at the Mexican Cultural Institute on 16th Street, N.W.  The elegant mansion was designed by Nathan Wyeth and George Fuller, the same architects as the White House’s West Wing.  My wife and I felt like we were back in Mexico City as murals painted by Roberto Cueva del Río in the tradition of artist Diego Rivera graced many of the walls.  We were in for an excellent experience.

Prominent leaders in education reform in this town joined us for the festivities.  These included D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang, Deputy Mayor for Education Jennie Niles, D.C. Council Ward 4 representative Brandon Todd, Former Louisiana U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, former PCSB  chairman Tom Nida, current PCSB chairman Dr. Darren Woodruff, former PCSB executive directors Nelson Smith and Josephine Baker, current PCSB executive director Scott Pearson, executive director of the D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools Dr. Ramona Edelin, and Building Hope’s president Joe Bruno.

There was a cocktail hour with an open bar and appetizers in which heads of some of the most recognized local charters congregated over lively conversation.  It was here that I ran into Irene Holtzman, FOCUS’s executive director.  I asked her what it was like for her to be hosting this gala for the first time.  “I’m excited to have this opportunity, particularly because this is the 20th anniversary of our local movement,” Ms. Holtzman stated.  “This is a special year for FOCUS as we inaugurate the new Charter School Hall of Fame.  I’ve closely followed the amazing progress of charters in this city, and so it is especially poignant for me that at this point in our history I find myself in this role.”

It was soon time to move into an adjoining room for the presentations and recognition of the Hall of Fame inductees.  As the FOCUS executive director had mentioned these awards had not been given out in the past, but the event ran like clockwork as if the ceremony was old hat.  Perhaps this was because it would have been hard to find three more deserving people to join the initial cohort.  The winners were Sonia Gutierrez, founder of Carlos Rosario International PCS; my hero Donald Hense, founder of Friendship PCS; and Malcolm (Mike) Peabody, founder of FOCUS.  Maquita Alexander, FOCUS board member and head of Washington Yu Ying PCS, introduced Ms. Gutierriez.  Mary Procter, FOCUS board member and former chief operating officer of Friendship, gave opening remarks about Mr. Hense, and Karl Jentoft, FOCUS board chair, provided the background information regarding Mr. Peabody.  If I had to find one common element to the words of those joining the Hall of Fame, it would be the grateful recognition that they each paid to Josephine Baker for her invaluable assistance during her time at the PCSB.

At this point in the program we heard from Mayor Muriel Bowser.  She congratulated FOCUS and the movement on its first 20 years, and she took the opportunity to announce that she has put forward the largest public education budget in D.C.’s history. The Mayor committed to her unwavering support of public school reform, and she expressed her  strong desire to work with all stakeholders in a collaborative fashion to strengthen each sector.  Final remarks were offered by FOCUS’s senior director of government relations Michael Musante, who sincerely thanked Mayor Bowser and Council Chairman Mendelson for their enthusiastic backing of the Congressional SOAR Act, the legislation that contains within it the Opportunity Scholarship Program.

As was mentioned in my interview with Ms. Holtzman last November, much of her school experience took place at KIPP D.C.  So it was only fitting that the last item on the program was a 90’s dance compilation from Mr. Sorto’s Kindergarten class at KIPP D.C.’s Promise Academy PCS.  About a dozen of cute and well-behaved children put on a flawless performance to songs such as “The Macarena,” and “U Can’t Touch This.”  The audience was encouraged to join in.  All in all it is was a party perfectly suited for schools proudly teaching 44 percent of all kids in our neighborhoods.



Time for a charter school governance report card

The D.C. charter school movement is leading the nation in transparency and accountability regarding our alternative schools.  The DC Public Charter School Board’s Performance Management Framework has been recognized as a best practice regarding data around academics.  Equity Reports provide almost any piece of demographic information about a school that the public would want to know.  Finally, the Financial Audit Review includes metrics on the health of schools regarding its use of money.  But after 20 years of public school reform there is still one important piece missing.

When the PMF was first envisioned it was being designed to provide a grade on governance.  Of course, how a school is governed by its board of directors is crucial.  The failure of individual charter schools has been directly linked to how that school is governed.

The subject never made it into the PMF but that doesn’t mean that metrics on quantitative measures in this area are unavailable.  Both the PCSB and Charter Board Partners have tons of knowledge about how our 62 Local Education Agency non-profit boards are operating.  They receive feedback on membership, turnover, self-evaluations, and whether they have in place the documents and procedures necessary to perform at a high level.  All of these factors could be assembled into some type of report card that could be made available to anyone seeking this kind of understanding.

The nation’s capital has led this country in the area of school choice.  It has been estimated that only 25 percent of our children attend our neighborhood schools.  Our charters now educate 44 percent of public school students with an enrollment of almost 39,000 pupils.  Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars each year are spent on this sector.  A natural question with this much invested is why can’t we at this point evaluate each school’s board of directors?




Lack of growth of D.C. charters could end sector

As more and more young families move into the District of Columbia the focus on the quality of the public schools will sharpen even greater than in the past.  Couples will find the inability to gain seats for their children in high performing charters so frustrating that it may drive them to relocate to the suburbs.  Even more disappointing to these residents may be the fact that even if an excellent charter school is located near their homes their kids may not get admitted because these are institutions of choice.

Simultaneously, Chancellor Kaya Henderson has been working nonstop on enhancing her brand.  All of these factors: the lack of availability of quality seats, the fact that charters are choice schools, and the significant improvement in the traditional schools, may shift public opinion and then public policy away from the alternative sector that now educates almost 39,000 pupils in 62 schools on 102 campuses.

Add to these pressures the severe lack of permanent facilities, the $100 million a year that the DCPS gets to which charters do not have access, and a regulatory body that only approves new  charters that will be Tier 1 on Day 1, and we have a situation in which our locality may decide that the whole charter experiment is just not worth all the effort.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not calling for the Public Charter School Board to turn their attention away from superior academic performance of their portfolio.  But at the 20 year mark of school reform I would have expected to be much further ahead.

By now the facility issue should have been solved, the revenue equity issue fixed, and a sufficient number of charters in operation so that their student bodies approximate those of neighborhood schools.

It is time to kick-start our local movement.


Exclusive interview with Mary Shaffner, DCI Executive Director

I recently caught up with Mary Shaffner, the executive director of the District of Columbia International School which is now in its second year of operation.  Ms. Shaffner explained to me that 404 students now attend the charter, with 176 children in sixth grade, 126 pupils in seventh grade, and 102 kids in eighth.  During the 2015 to 2016 term there was a student body of about 200.  Next year it is anticipated that there will be about 500 kids attending DCI.

Anyone who has met Ms. Shaffner knows that she is the definition of a go-getter.  Her story about landing at DCI is one of the best examples of this character trait.  After having her first child, the DCI executive director looked around for possible schools in which to send her offspring.  Although she visited some of the best public schools available at the time, little excited her about the environment.  She thought that there must be a way to make educating kids dynamic, more relevant to the outside world, and less about preparing for a test.  So she got together with about 11 other like-minded parents who had an interest in international education and the Chinese language.  “In the group was a lawyer, Andrea Lachenmayr; a writer, Lisa Chiu; an elementary school educator, Amy Quinn; and a special education specialist, Carmen Rioux-Bailey,” related Ms. Shaffner.  “It took us two years to create the charter.  We received fantastic assistance from FOCUS in forming the application.  Washington Yu Ying PCS opened its doors in 2008.  Amy Quinn is still the International Baccalaureate program coordinator at the school.”  Ms. Shaffner served as Washington Yu Ying’s executive director from the beginning until the end of the 2011 to 2012 school year.

Ms. Shaffner explained that the same problem that existed when she was trying to find a school for her child played itself out for the parents of students at the city’s bilingual charters.  There were simply no satisfactory public or private middle schools once the elementary years were completed.

In an unprecedented charter collaboration, five elementary school leaders joined to start DCI: DC Bilinqual PCS’s  Myrna Peralta; Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom PCS’s Linda Moore; Latin American Montessori Bilingual PCS’s Diane Cottman; Mundo Verde Bilingual PCS’ Kristin Scotchmer; and Mary Shaffner from Washington Yu Ying PCS.  They all received permission from the PCSB to extend their charters so that DCI would exist, with Ms. Shaffner and Yu Ying the first of the group to ask permission to expand.

One of the major driving forces for creating another new facility that would go through the twelfth grade was the desire for kids to be able to obtain the IB diploma, which is the gold standard in international education.  It was the combination of IB with language immersion that was behind the motivation to create DCI.  Carmen Rioux-Bailey, the special education teacher referred to earlier who was one of those behind the start of Yu Ying, reprised her role again for the new middle and high school.  Andrea Lachenmayr, the attorney who was also part of the Yu Ying founding group, worked pro-bono on DCI.  The team spent a year ironing out the final proposal.

But not all went exactly as planned.

The original concept of DCI was that each graduating senior would get their diploma from their member school.  But Ms. Shaffner related that after the school was formed the Office of the State Superintendent of Education and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer informed her in May of 2014 that the city could not pay for educating their enrolled pupils.  The issue was that the school was not its own Local Education Agency.  Ms. Shaffner cringed at the thought of telling the parents that that they had to find another middle school for their sons and daughters at such a late date.  But then Councilmember Phil Mendelson and Deputy Mayor of Education Abigail Smith pushed through emergency legislation that corrected the problem.  Now all students at DCI attend one institution and will receive their commencement from DCI high school.

Now that the charter has had the experience of a year of instruction, Ms. Shaffner described the school as heading in the right direction.  “We have built a great culture,” the DCI executive director attested.  “Students have a lot of freedom here.  There are speaker presentations they can take advantage of participating in.  There are numerous clubs and after-school sports.  When a student comes here they will find a lot of choice, a sincerely caring environment, great intellectual thinkers, and an opportunity to join the IB program.  As part of the IB program students complete a community project in the eighth grade and a personal project in tenth.

The population of the school,” Ms. Shaffner added, “is exceptionally diverse, which is something the students greatly appreciate.”

Looking at sample student schedules, it appears that the kids are taught approximately 40 percent of the day in the language they are studying other than English.  Of course, they take classes dedicated to the second language as well as a class entitled Approaches to Learning, art, and history, as examples.

Ms. Shaffner is especially proud of the grant provided by the CityBridge Foundation as part of its Breakthrough Schools DC competition.  The award has contributed toward DCI developing student-led inquiry in which each scholar can create their own curriculum and course of study.

The DC International executive director stated that she and her staff consistently strive to find a balance between personal interests of the students and academic standards.  Everything the school does, according to its executive director, is geared toward advancing its mission to foster “inquiring, engaged, knowledgeable and caring secondary students who are multi-lingual, culturally competent, and committed to proactively creating a socially just and sustainable world.”  This includes, according to Ms. Shaffner, benchmarks that students must meet that are consistent with the mission.

The DCI community is excited that this summer ground will be broken on the school’s permanent facility on the site of the old Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  The building will be 170,000 square feet with a 25,000 square foot wing dedicated to an expansion of LAMB.  The new space will permit the charter to grow eventually to the 1,450 students included in its charter.  As Ms. Shaffner would say, the future of DCI looks exceedingly bright.