Design Thinking Academy Charter School To Close For Good In June

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Design Thinking Academy will shutter its doors at the end of this school year.

The charter school announced the news in a statement released on their website on Thursday.

“Design Thinking Academy Community, it is with a heavy heart that I write tonight to inform you that Design Thinking Academy will close its doors at the end of this school year. On Thursday night, the school’s board of directors voted to relinquish our charter to the state.

This is a decision we did not take lightly. Frankly, it was not unanimous. But the simple truth is this: We have been unable to attract the number of students needed to keep our school financially viable.

For the past two years, we have worked to reverse our declining enrollment numbers, but those efforts have not resulted in the applications we need to be viable. We fell below the minimum enrollment mandated by our charter as of May 1. Due to this, we will not be able to run this school with the excellence that your children deserve.

I want to make one point very clear: We will finish this school year. Our seniors will graduate, our students will continue to attend classes, and our doors will remain open. A few school days at the end of the school year calendar may not be needed to meet state requirements. If the decision is made to cancel school on any specific days, an updated calendar will be sent out as soon as possible.

It is important that you immediately start thinking about what school your students will attend next year. We hope to provide the resources you need to find the right school for your student. Starting tonight, you can go to bit.ly/DEPublicSchools for information about Delaware public schools. Lists of schools with openings and dates for school Open Houses will be on our website and sent home with students tomorrow. In addition, the Delaware Charter Schools Network will host a school fair on campus in late May, where representatives from Delaware schools with openings for the 2019-20 school year will be available to help you through the application process. As soon as we confirm a date, we will let you know.

I understand this will be a difficult time for everyone involved – students, staff, and teachers alike. If you have any questions about the process or the reason why this decision was made, please feel free to reach out to me at dtaboardofdirectors@gmail.com or the school at 302- 292-5450.

On behalf of the board, administration, and staff of Design Thinking Academy, I want you to know that it has been our honor to educate your students over the past four years. To our students, I wish this story could have a different ending, but as this chapter closes, another begins for you, and I have no doubt you will design a great future.”

The Delaware Department of Education issued the following statement regarding the school’s decision to close.

“Design Thinking Academy leaders have informed the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) that the Newark-area school will close its doors at the end of this school year and relinquish its charter due to low enrollment. The school’s senior class will graduate as scheduled.

About 216 students were enrolled for next school year, below the 300 minimum required by the school’s charter.

“Design Thinking Academy’s Board of Directors deserves credit for making the difficult decision to relinquish the charter now, recognizing that the low enrollment would inevitably lead to financial challenges that would make it impossible for the school to provide its students with the academic program they deserve,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said. “While this was not an easy decision, it was necessary, and the board’s resolve to make it now gives DTA’s students more time to make plans for next school year.”

DDOE, in coordination with district and charter schools, is assisting Design Thinking leaders as they help families enroll the students in new schools for the fall. The students may return to the district schools in their home feeder patterns or choice into other district or charter schools that are accepting students.

DDOE, in collaboration with the Delaware Charter Schools Network, also will engage with educators about job openings in other district and charter schools and benefit information.

Questions regarding Design Thinking Academy’s closure process should be directed to the school leadership. Families seeking assistance in enrolling their students in new schools should contact the school office at (302) 292-5450.”

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About Staff Writer

First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.

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