In Washington, D.C., D.C. Bilingual Public Charter School recently celebrated its 15th birthday by throwing a quinceañera for staff, students and families. In the traditional fashion, this coming-of-age Latin American celebration involved a lot of food, music and dancing.
The school had good reason to celebrate. The Public Charter School Board, D.C.’s charter school authorizer, ranked D.C. Bilingual as one of the top three charter elementaries in the city, with a top score in academic growth.
The dual-language immersion school also ranked first for student achievement among charter elementaries whose students were more than 40% English language learners and first among those with more than 16% special needs students. Not surprisingly, thousands of students are on its waitlist.
D.C. Bilingual’s 15th birthday is a particularly special occasion because just four years ago, it nearly closed due to poor fiscal management.
To clarify, charter schools are public schools operated by independent organizations – usually nonprofits. Freed from many of the rules that constrain district-operated schools, charter school leaders can create unique school models and make decisions that best meet the needs of their students.