Delaware Dept. of Education to close Moyer Academy [video]

Moyer Academy (file/NewsWorks)

Moyer Academy (file/NewsWorks)

The Delaware Board of Education voted unanimously to revoke the charter of Moyer Academy on Thursday.

Education Secretary Mark Murphy said he agrees with the Charter School Accountability Committee’s recommendation to shutter the Maurice J. Moyer Academic Institute due to poor academic performance.

The high school serves about 200 students in one of Wilmington’s economically deprived neighborhoods. 

A report released by the accountability committee in August showed only 23 percent of students passed the state’s reading exam and just 10 percent passed math.

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“The academic performance, and the trends the school has shown cause for action,” Murphy said. “While the public record makes clear the school’s dedication to improvement, my decision must be based upon evidence and not intentions.”

In July, Wilmington native Keenan Dorsey singed on to lead the school as the ninth principal in three years.

As a former school counselor, Dorsey said he has a better understanding of the social issues, such as student homelessness and lack of parental involvement, that effect academic performance.

His leadership was warmly welcomed, and the school officials say students have shown improvements in attendance and participation this school year.

Dorsey said he wasn’t given enough time to make any significant changes.

“The decision was based off of last year. Even he [Murphy] acknowledged that the efforts that we’re putting fourth are really good but it seems like the department of Education cannot forgive last year,” Dorsey said.

Dorsey said he’s worried about where the student’s will go next year, but will remain focused on helping his student achieve academic success this year.

“What I’m going to tell my students and staff are we’re going to have great school year and let’s not have this get us down,” he said. “Let’s move forward and it’s definitely not over.”

History of Instability

This isn’t the first time Moyer’s charter has been on the chopping block.

The Wilmington-based charter school opened in 2006 as the Maurice J. Moyer Academy, but was closed by the state in 2010 because of poor performance and lack of qualified teachers.

It received a new charter in 2012 and re-opened as the New Maurice J. Moyer Academy. The administration changed the school’s name again last year when it attempted a major overhaul.

The school is set to close at the end of the academic year.

The Department of Education has set up an email address ( and phone number (302-735-4020) to answer questions and help families transition to a new school.

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