Derrick Thomas Academy





Derrick Thomas Academy has lost its charter.

The University of Missouri at Kansas City announced it is pulling its charter because of the school's poor academic performance over the past decade.

UMKC officials said classes will resume without interruption on Monday.

"Hopefully parents and students will notice no change when they arrive at school on Monday," said Phyllis Chase, director of the UMKC Charter School Center. "After reviewing their data, the decision has been made that we will not renew their charter again."

UMKC says the charter school has struggled with governance, organizational and academic performance issues since it first opened its doors...

The school is not necessarily closing at the end of the school year, but the university will no longer work with the school.

Chase said UMKC has been patient, perhaps too patient, with issues at the school. She said yanking the charter was a tough decision...

Several teachers at Derrick Thomas Academy say they were excited about the board change and direction of the school. Some parents said there have been problems at the school all year long...

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“Will low test scores, shaky financial situation spell the end for Derrick Thomas Academy?” KHSB (MO), 7/16/2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A new Missouri law requiring more accountability from charter schools takes effect in August, but is it already too late for a school bearing the name of one of Kansas City’s most beloved athletes?

A 41 Action News investigation found that low academic scores and poorly-managed money have created an uncertain future for Derrick Thomas Academy.

Because of large staff turnover, the charter school has been working to hire teachers and administrators over the summer, but remains unsure if the upcoming school year will be its last...

But the school built in number 58’s honor is on shaky ground, an uncertain future all captured in a letter obtained by 41 Action News.


In early April, Jerry Cooper sent a strongly-worded warning to administrators and board leaders at DTA. Cooper is the director of the UMKC Charter School Center, which sponsors DTA.

Every charter school needs a sponsor to operate. Cooper says UMKC’s role is to hold schools academically and financially accountable, along with providing resources and consultation.

The letter delivered a harsh wakeup call to DTA. It said the school was meeting the criteria for being “financially stressed” by operating with a deficit of more than $600,000.

Cooper listed several violations of Missouri charter school laws, including breaking a contract with the DTA’s management company ( EdisonLearning ) without sponsor approval...

The letter also said the school was on academic probation for low state assessment results and was out of compliance with several federal and state special education requirements.

Cooper issued a final warning to DTA leaders, who had not provided requested documentation to UMKC, despite repeated inquiries...

But the letter from UMKC did not just get the attention of school administrators. Copies of the letter also circulated through the building to teachers and other staff members.

People panicked. A number of them decided to leave the school in pursuit of other jobs.

According to Cooper, up to 45 employees left the school, including the elementary and secondary principals...

According to DESE, four other Kansas City charter schools have closed over the past five years: Academy of Kansas City, Don Bosco Education Center, Renaissance Academy of Environmental Science and Math, and Urban Community Leadership Academy...

It is too early to tell how some of the turmoil will affect enrollment when the school year begins...

4 comments:

The Perimeter Primate said...

UPDATE from the Associated Press: "UMKC pulls plug on Derrick Thomas Academy." 11/25/2012

http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/UMKC-pulls-plug-on-Derrick-Thomas-Academy-4065267.php

dana britton said...

Since UMKC has pulled the charter, Allen Village charter has taken over Derrick Thomas Academy. Over the Christmas break, all existing school policies changed. Prior to that all administrators and the school board were fired. Ms. Phyllis Washington is now the superintendent of both schools. Some of the new policies are ridiculous or change, even after being given new handbooks with policies that took effect January 9, 2013. I have been battling with the school over several issues for the past week now and the Superintendent has refused my repeated request for a meeting with her. I do not know who the new school board is or who I would go to above Ms. Washington. I am at a loss, but don't want to transfer mid-year like a lot of other people have done with their students. someone please help whtchocchaplain@gmail.com

dana britton said...

Since UMKC revoked the charter, Allen Village Charter has taken over. The new way of dealing with our students is to invoke the threat of suspension for anything. My invitation for Parent/Teacher conferences says "I want you to come to conferences so that I won't get suspended." I have been dealing with serious issues for the past week, and been refused admittance to the school without an appointment and Ms. Washington the superintendent refuses to meet with me. I am seeking help to find out who I go to that would oversee charter schools or an attorney that could help. Please help me..

Anonymous said...

GIRL Get your kids and RUN. Phyliss is an ugly lunatic who has no interest in serving the communities where the schools' students come from. Read the reviews of Allen Village on greatschools.org She is a damn nut who will kick your kids out if she does not like you.