UMKC will not renew charter for Derrick Thomas Academy - KCTV5 News

UMKC will not renew charter for Derrick Thomas Academy

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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 opened with much fanfare a decade ago. Supporters rallied at Kansas City School Board meetings to get the charter school created. It was named for former Chiefs great Derrick Thomas, who died from injuries suffered in a car crash. His mother were among those championing the creation of the charter school.

The school held a closed door meeting Tuesday night to discuss the new changes. The changes include the current board resigning because of the loss of charter. A transition supervisor was also appointed.

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.

"That's why we've continued to put them on probation for a couple of years, more than we probably should have," said Chase, who has been a top administrator in the Kansas City, North Kansas City and Columbia school districts.

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.

Parents of students attending the Derrick Thomas Academy will be getting letters in the mail Wednesday informing them school management is changing immediately.

A new administrative team at the school will report directly to transition supervisor Jerry Cooper, former director at the university's charter school center. A new governing board will also be put in place.

UMKC said it will explore other long-term options for managing the school.

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