Arts & Technology Academy shutting down due to poor performance

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - A Northeast Washington charter school that serves 629 students will shut down - possibly by the end of this school year - because it did not meet its academic goals.

The Arts & Technology Academy Public Charter School, which is located on Blaine Street Northeast and serves students between pre-kindergarten and 5th grade, did not meet standards to have its charter renewed for another 15 years.

Officials with D.C.'s Public Charter School Board say that it would listen to proposals to transfer its students and assets to a higher performing campus. The board's website indicates that the school was classified as "low performing."

The decision has left the school's students, staff and principal devastated.

"We just asked that the Public Charter School Board give us more time," Principal Allison Artis said. "My team and I have been here just a few months."

The vote to reject the Arts & Technology Academy PCS's charter was unanimous. According to the board, 95 percent of the school's students come from low income families and 10.5 percent are special needs children.

While the school met four of its non-academic goals as laid out by its charter, including recording high attendance and art communication, students at the campus did not meet major reading and math academic achievement goals.

A trip to the school is a pleasant experience; the newly-renovated school is well decorated and spotlessly clean. The students seem engaged and happy to be there.

The talk now, though, is that perhaps one of the city's larger charter companies, such as Friendship or Kipp D.C., can take over the school and improve scores.

It's no consolation, though, for students who will likely be finding a new place to get their education this coming fall.

"I feel sad because I'm going to miss my friends, my teachers and this school most of all," 4th grader Joniyah Adams said.