[Benjamin Mays Preparatory School] is one of four charters in transition this year. The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted in December to strip the school of its charter because of low academic performance. Three other charters, Pride College Prep, Crocker Arts and Technology School and Intercultural Charter School, also were not renewed. But other operators agreed to run those schools, giving enrolled students priority. Though another school will be at the Mays site next year — Akili Academy — Akili is moving from its former location, not expanding, and it will enroll its own students first. That means Mays’ students will be dispersed to schools across the city...
Critics, such as education advocate Ashana Bigard, argue that shuttering schools for any reason uproots families and can be traumatic.“The whole model of closing and replacing a school is the opposite of stability,” which is key to a child’s success, Bigard said...Mays principal Shanda Gentry sees the school’s closure as unavoidably disruptive for its enrollment of about 360 students, many of them low-income residents of the nearby Desire neighborhood...RSD officials, as well as representatives from Akili and other nearby schools, were on hand to answer questions at a Feb. 5 school fair catering to Mays families, but the event was sparsely attended. Kids who don’t make the cut at Akili will face sometimes lengthy commuting times — and in some cases, so will their parents, those who have cars...“Our population … we’re just as bonded to them as they are to us,” she said. Parents sometimes even ask teachers for help with a utility bill. “ ‘My lights are off. Can you help me? My water’s off,’ ” [Jasmine Graves, who has been a middle-school teacher at Mays] said...
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Benjamin Mays Preparatory School
“Ben Mays families lament loss of community as charter is pulled.” The Lens (LA), 2/14/2013