Delaware education secretary will rule on Moyer’s charter this week

The head of Maurice J. Moyer Academic Institute said he hopes the Delaware Department of Education will give his school one more chance to make improvements.

On Thursday, Dept. of Education Secretary Mark Murphy will make his recommendation on whether or not to revoke the school’s charter.

Last month, the Delaware Department of Education’s Charter School Accountability Committee recommended the revocation of the charter because of poor academic performance.

Moyer Principal Keenan Dorsey, who took over the school in July, said he needs until at least the end of the school year to prove that they’re making progress.

“The best case scenario for me to hear would be remediation, which is pretty much a probationary year to say ‘let’s see how things go this year and make a decision based off that,’” Dorsey explained. “If they say to us on Thursday that they’re going to shut down the school, regardless of the progress we make in the school year, that’s going to be counterproductive of everything I’ve been able to do so far.”

The Wilmington-based charter school has a history of instability over the past several years. It 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 2011 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.

Dorsey said he’s the seventh principal of the school since it received its new charter.

“Last school year alone they went through three,” Dorsey explained. “When I look at the test scores, that reflects chaos, and it was chaotic at the top. I could see how it could be hard for the students because there was no stability of leadership. It lacked leadership.”

When Dorsey took over earlier this year, he said he replaced 90 percent of the staff after re-interviewing and reviewing all employees.

Although the school year has just begun, Dorsey said he’s received compliments from parents and the community for the changes that have been made.

Last year, the DOE revoked the charter of Pencader Business and Charter School in New Castle, following poor academic performance and mismanagement.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.