Creative Minds International Public Charter School opening at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in September

Upshur and Rock Creek Church Rd, NW

From Congresswoman Elanor Holmes Norton’s office:

“In December, Norton met with AFHR and requested that AFRH submit its notification of the lease to Congress, as required by law, by the start of January so that CMI could sign the lease this month and open in time for the start of the school year. Norton helped secure $15 million for D.C. Public Charter Schools in the fiscal year 2015 appropriations bill.

“The partnership between CMI and AFRH is not only innovative but increasingly necessary in a city where land is scarce and the unoccupied space is often on federal land,” Norton said. “We appreciate how hard CMI and AFRH have worked together so that hundreds of students will have the opportunity to learn and grow in an excellent charter school surrounded by green space.”

“The Creative Minds International Public Charter School community is enthusiastic about our upcoming move this August to the historic Sherman Building, on the beautiful grounds of the AFRH campus,” Abedin said. “We look forward to growing a long-term partnership with AFRH, and are grateful for this wonderful opportunity.”

“This new space will be a big improvement to the learning environment of the 250 students that will attend Creative Minds this fall,” Pearson said. “It is particularly exciting that they will be in a facility close to where so many of our nation’s retired veterans live.”

“We are very pleased that Creative Minds International Public Charter School will be opening in the fall of 2015,” McManus said. “This will be a wonderful partnership for many years to come, and this partnership will assist AFRH in continuing to grow ties with the Washington, D.C. community.”

The school will lease 32,000 sq. ft. of space for 16 classrooms at AFRH in its North Sherman and Annex buildings. Beginning this fall, 250 CMI students will attend classes at the AFRH campus.”


24 Comment

  • This is beyond awesome!

  • My kid goes to CMI and I’m really excited. It’s great to have all that green space and quite surroundings.

  • hoping my kid gets to attend this school…it is all in the hands of this year’s algorithm.

  • Does this move mean that kids who live in the neighborhood have a better chance of getting in? (In other words, how does the charter school lottery system work?)

    • There are no boundary or proximity preferences for charter schools. The only preferences that charters can have are for siblings and for children of staff. I’m also hoping this is a possibility for my son- I can’t imagine a DC public school in a more bucolic setting.

    • No. Charter schools are not allowed to offer location-based preference.

      • And for the most part, Charters don’t want neighborhood proximity. They prefer motivated, engaged families that navigate the lottery process over those who’d take proximity for granted.

        • I think it makes sense, for the most part. It takes a while for most charters to find their permanent homes, so just because they are in your neighborhood one year, doesn’t mean they’ll be there the next.

        • How does one “navigate the lottery”?

          Allowing neighborhood proximity, and some certainty that I can send my child to a decent school, is exactly the kind of thing that would prevent me from moving out to the suburbs.

          It seems to me that “motivated, engaged families” are simply rolling the dice with their children’s future, and that’s not a risk I’m willing to take.

          • Charter school lotteries aren’t as simple as you might think. They have a somewhat onerous application process in place – in part to weed out non-engaged parents. To get into it, there is a good deal of paperwork (biographical info, school history, transcripts, medical records, etc.) required.

          • charter school lottery is no harder than the DCPS lottery–it just requires making an online account and ranking preferences. Enrollment once you have a spot might require some of the things you listed, but DCPS requires medical records and a bunch of other forms too.

            allowing neighborhood preference would incentivize schools to open in richer neighborhoods so they could have student bodies who scored well on standardized tests. That’s just one reason neighborhood preference is a terrible idea. Others: they make it harder for families or schools to move to real estate that’s a better fit, families interested in certain curricula (Chinese immersion, Montessori, etc.) are not clustered in specific neighborhoods, they would take away from the neighborhood focus of DCPS schools when that’s a big thing they have going for them.

          • A local DCPS principal told me that they routinely have kids show up on the first day of kindergarten with no prior contact, because “it’s time to start school.”
            With a charter, you have to apply through a not-very-complicated lottery. It requires some advance planning, and some idea that certain schools are more desirable for your child than other schools. It’s a low bar as far as “engagement” goes, but it does weed out the most education-uninterested families.

  • Bittersweet yay. I live across the street, and didn’t get my kid into the school last year in PK3 when they were located further away. This year, I was told that they predict they will have zero spots other than for their own students in my kid’s new grade, PK4.

    • pru, there’s no way anyone can know that for sure. The deadline for current students to submit an intent to return is at the end of this week. Every year there are a couple of open spots in each grade.

      I know exactly how you feel. I live relatively close to the current location and my kid didn’t get in the first year. I had to walk by it all the time. However the next year we got one of two open spots. Good luck!

  • My kids also attend this school. We know how lucky we are. This is such awesome exciting news! Yay!!! Good luck to everyone doing the lottery.

  • So is this a second CMI location? Or a new facility that existing students will be moving to?

  • Our daughter is lucky enough to attend CMI and this move feels like winning the lottery all over again!

  • On one hand I am so happy to have it in the neighhborhood. On the other, our chance of getting in for PK are probably zero,. Basically, our kids right to a really good education at least through 5 grade depends on how lucky we get at age 3. Im not bitter or anything.

    • Some of the more disadvantaged among us might say their kid’s right to a really good education depends on how lucky they were at birth.

      Thank your lucky stars your kid got a 3 year head start.

    • Most charters are easier to get in to as the years go on, with PreK 3 & 4 and kindergarten being the hardest. If you’re willing to send your kids to the in-bounds elementary for a year or two, and try again, you will likely get the school you want. Just not exactly WHEN you want it.
      That’s what we did, and the kids are now in the dream charter and doing just fine.

  • Nonnie, there aren’t any requirements like you mention for charter schools in the District. Maybe there is one or so that requires this b/c of some special skill being taught, but I believe it is against charter law to require anything to get in beyond your application, which is your name, age and DC address. Perhaps charter schools in other locales require this, but not in DC.

  • This school seems great, and the new setting is GORGEOUS. We live nearby and I wish we could go, but it looks unlikely. At the open house, a school administrator said they expect to have 35 open spots for new 3-year-olds (so, that’s nice for 35 people). They think they will have zero spots for any older kids, maybe one or two per grade. The word of encouragement he gave me was, “you never know, someone just finally got off the waiting list for Yu Ying and left our school, so we had a spot open up on our waiting list.” one spot! Yay! Because someone did the impossible and got into Yu Ying! This is one of those schools that gives the illusion of great options in DC, but I am happy for the kids who get to go there! Just wish we were as lucky as you.

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