I am a parent to two children but hold 7,200 children in my mind and heart everyday. Every single child we have the honor to educate at Democracy Prep matters deeply to me. And so, I, along with the school’s dedicated board members, made the extraordinarily difficult decision to accept that Democracy Prep is not the right organization to operate the school after this year.
The news of our departure from Congress Heights has been met with a spectrum of responses, from measured support, to justified anger and frustration. Democracy Prep has designed an educational model that has worked in multiple states. As a result, we’ve been fortunate to have seen many scholars attend and graduate from the college of their choice; some have even returned to us as teachers. We have stellar best practices to share but nothing beats the partnership of best practices AND local talent and perspective.
Despite the challenges in Congress Heights, our scholars and school teams persisted. We are extremely proud of their exceptionally hard work and the incremental growth that came from it. As an organization, we are indebted to the educators, community partners, families and scholars that had faith in our ability to turn the school around. We are deeply apologetic that we did not meet their expectations, or our own. We have unending faith in your ability to reach your highest potential and cannot wait to celebrate with you when you do, no matter where you are.
We are big DREAMers and hard workers. We take a great deal of pride in our ability to accomplish anything to which we put our heads, coupled with our hearts and hard work. Now, I’m asking you to expand your definition of pride to include humility. At the foundation of our work is a mission-critical commitment to do right by kids. What we have learned from this is that sometimes doing what’s right means having the humility to make space for someone else to come in to do what is best.
You likely still have questions about what happened here and what happens next. I want you to know they are welcomed. We are on new ground and we make the road by walking; your questions help Democracy Prep expand its perspective and they are incredibly valuable.
And finally, this year, right now, Congress Height’s scholars are still Democracy Prep scholars. And as Soren Kierkegaard said, ‘Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.’ Set an intention to use your work to matter the most in the 2018-2019 academic year, looking forward; no matter your role or your region, your work matters to all of us and all of our kids.