DC Charter School Leaders Call for Equitable City Support to Extend In-Person Learning to More Students

Nov 9, 2020

70 charter school leaders and board members call for equitable funding and resources and access to school nurses and testing

Washington, DC — Today, public charter school leaders called on city officials to increase collaboration so that schools can provide in-person learning to more students. In a statement sent to Mayor Muriel Bowser, Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn, Interim State Superintendent of Education Shana Young, and the Council of the District of Columbia, charter school leaders laid out what schools need from city officials to increase capacity to educate students in school buildings. 

“Reopening our schools is an extraordinarily difficult task that requires balancing the needs of the entire school community with the best available public health data,” said Shannon Hodge, founding Executive Director of the DC Charter School Alliance. “To get more students, teachers, and staff safely back in school buildings, we need equitable city support, equitable access to health-related services, equitable funding, and greater collaboration across the district. We are hopeful that city officials share this vision.” 

The DC Charter School Alliance represents the 66 nonprofit organizations that educate nearly half of all DC students in public charter schools. 

The statement, which was delivered today, is as follows: 

Equitable City Support Needed to Fully Reopen for In-Person Learning During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

The District of Columbia’s public charter schools are committed to providing safe, nurturing, learning environments for our 43,000 students and safe working environments for the thousands of teachers, staff, and leaders who support them. This year, many charter schools are successfully providing these environments in school buildings for small groups of students. We understand that it takes knowledge, diligence, vigilance, collaboration, and community engagement to safely and successfully educate students in school buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the lessons we have learned and from our shared understanding of how COVID-19 spreads in and affects communities, we call for greater partnership with the city’s leaders to enable schools to open their buildings for in-person learning for most students

All public schools must receive equitable city support, equitable access to health-related services, and equitable funding during the COVID-19 public health emergency. In addition, safely and successfully bringing more students back into school buildings for in-person learning will require:

  • Authentic cross-sector collaboration and a seat at the decision-making table:
    • To share plans, strategies, and lessons learned;
    • To make recommendations to the city’s leaders about reopening; and 
    • To provide the city’s students and families with better communication, information, and engagement.
  • At least one school nurse or medical professional in every school building who will interact with, test, and serve all students and staff present at school sites, including those who are pre-symptomatic, symptomatic, and asymptomatic, or the funding to engage contracted medical professionals who will interact with, test, and serve all students, teachers, and staff present at school sites.
  • Equitable access to regular COVID-19 screening tests administered by medical professionals at school sites for every student, teacher, and school staff member in school buildings, which we know from firsthand experience is one of the most important determinants of teachers’ and school staff’s willingness to return to school buildings.
  • Transmission of clear, updated orders and public health guidance to enable schools to provide quality in-person learning environments for all students and quality working environments for all teachers, staff, and leaders.
  • Real-time enforcement of the Mayor’s order requiring public transit passengers to wear masks.
  • Clear public health metrics and indicators to inform schools’ decision-making about transitioning to or from in-person learning.

We know the importance of bringing students back into school buildings for learning, and we look forward to stronger collaboration with city and school officials so that together we can fulfill our commitments to the city’s students, families, teachers, staff, and school leaders.

Shannon Hodge, Executive Director

DC Charter School Alliance

Olivia Smith, Founder / Head of School

Bridges Public Charter School

Matthew McCrea, Head of School

Meridian Public Charter School

Will Stoetzer, Co-Founder & CEO

Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School

Mary Shaffner, Executive Director

District of Columbia International School

Edie Ashton, Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Meridian Public Charter School

Emily Hedin, Executive Director

Breakthrough Montessori Public Charter School

Tracy Wright, CEO

Paul Public Charter School

Russ Williams, President & CEO

Center City Public Charter School

R. Rodriguez, Executive Director

Shining Stars Montessori Academy Public Charter School

Claire A. Libert, Head of School

YouthBuild Public Charter School

Mashea Ashton, CEO / Principal

Digital Pioneers Academy Public Charter School

Shawn Hardnett, CEO

Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys Public Charter School

Valaida L. Wise, Board Chair

Creative Minds International Public Charter School

Nicole Solomon Mitchell, Board Chair

Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys Public Charter School

Chuck Jackson, Executive Director

Creative Minds International Public Charter School

Jennifer Leonard, Executive Director

DC Scholars Public Charter School

Kathy Lane, Chief Education Officer

The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School

Stacy Kane, Co-Founder & Executive Director

Washington Leadership Academy Public Charter School

Antonio Mason Williams, Board Chair

Washington Leadership Academy Public Charter School

Raymond Weeden, Executive Director

Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter School

Jonathan Stoel, Board Chair

Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter School

Andrea Lachenmayr, Board Chair

District of Columbia International School

Haley Wiggins, Executive Director

The Family Place Public Charter School

Michael Barnet, Board Chair

The Family Place Public Charter School

Kathryn Procope, Head of School

Howard University Public Charter School Middle School of Mathematics and Science

Maquita Alexander, Executive Director

Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School

Justin Rydstrom, Executive Director

IDEA Public Charter School

Justin Lessek, Executive Director

The Sojourner Truth Montessori Public Charter School

Nicole Hanrahan, Co-Founder & Executive Director

LAYC Career Academy Public Charter School

Allison Fansler, President


Lori Kaplan, Chair, Board of Directors

LAYC Career Academy Public Charter School

Karen Dresden, Head of School

Capital City Public Charter School

Connie Spinner, President & Chief Advocacy Officer

Community College Preparatory Academy Public Charter School

Monica Ray, Board Chair

Community College Preparatory Academy Public Charter School

Bernida Thompson, Principal

Roots Public Charter School

Josh Bork, Head of School

Sela Public Charter School

Travis Miller, LEA Academic Director

Imagine Public Charter School

Hilary Darilek, CEO

E.L. Haynes Public Charter School

Linda McKay, Executive Director

Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy Public Charter School

Alison Arnold, Board Chair

Capital City Public Charter School

Dr. Jeffrey Grant, Head of School / CEO

Monument Academy Public Charter School

Janine Gomez, Executive Director

I Dream Public Charter School

Joe Smith, CEO

Eagle Academy Public Charter School

Monica Green, Executive Director

Capital Village Public Charter School

Kennesha Kelly, Executive Director

Kingsman Academy Public Charter School

Peter Anderson, Head of School

Washington Latin Public Charter School

Erika Bryant, Executive Director

Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School

Pat Brantley, CEO

Friendship Public Charter School

Laura Maestas, CEO

DC Prep Public Charter School

Shantelle Wright, Founder and CEO

Achievement Preparatory Academy Public Charter School

Karen Venable-Croft, Executive Director

Girls Global Academy Public Charter School

Max Levasseur, Board Chair

Girls Global Academy Public Charter School

Joyanna Smith, DC Regional Director

Rocketship Public Charter School

Deborah Dantzler Williams, Head of School

Inspired Teaching Demonstration Public Charter School

Clarisse Mendoza Davis, CEO

Maya Angelou Public Charter School

Jonathan D. Mathis, Ph.D., Executive Director

The Next Step Public Charter School/El Próximo Paso Public Charter School

Kristina Kyles-Smith, Executive Director

Two Rivers Public Charter School

Kristin Scotchmer, Executive Director

Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School

Jack McCarthy, Board Chair

AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School

Dr. Marco Clark, CEO

Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts

Elizabeth Torres, Ed.D., CEO / Co-Founder

Washington Global Public Charter School

Lecester Johnson, CEO

Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School

Wendy Edwards, Executive Director

Early Childhood Academy Public Charter School

Christie Mandeville, Principal

St. Coletta Special Education Public Charter School

Christie McKay, Executive Director

Briya Public Charter School

Allison R. Kokkoros, CEO

Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School

Chris Pencikowski, Co-Founder & Executive Director

Lee Montessori Public Charter School

Brian Rahaman, Head of School

SEED Public Charter School of Washington, DC

Daniela Anello, Head of School

DC Bilingual Public Charter School

Kelly Smith, Director of Operations

Perry Street Preparatory Public Charter School

Catherine Meloy, President & CEO

Goodwill Excel Public Charter School

Myron Long, Executive Director and Founder

The Social Justice Public Charter School

Kourtney Miller, Principal

César Chávez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy