John Henry High is in compliance with its charter and in “good standing” with the West Contra Costa Unified School District, the district’s superintendent stated in a letter last week to the California School Finance Authority’s executive director.
That declaration, posted below this story, has brought relief to representatives and members of the Richmond public charter school serving 319 students at 1402 Marina Way South. The school, operated under Amethod Public Schools, has battled allegations involving its policies and performance. Despite being among the highest performing local public high schools academically, it received a Notice of Violation from the district in February.
On Oct. 3, John Henry High faced a charter revocation hearing before the Board of Education following reports that administrators instructed teachers during a training event last year to investigate reports of child abuse themselves before alerting Child Protective Services. California law requires that child abuse reports be immediately forwarded to CPS.
Amethod officials have argued their policies on child abuse cases are, and have always been, consistent with the law and that its staff undergoes training in mandatory reporting to CPS.
At that Oct. 3 meeting, which inspired a march and rally involving hundreds of John Henry High school members, the Board of Education voted to postpone the decision on revoking the school’s charter, which would have stripped the school of public funding. The postponement aimed to allow for an agreement between the district and John Henry High on the policy of mandatory reporting to CPS.
While that agreement is pending, according to Amethod, the district’s Notice of Violation has been removed, resulting in Superintendent Duffy sending the letter on Oct. 31 to the California School Finance Authority stating John Henry High is in good standing. Duffy’s letter states the charter school “is in compliance with the terms of its charter.”
“We are relieved to be putting the frustrating events of the past year behind us,” Sylvia Flores, site director of John Henry High, said in a statement. “We are encouraged that after investigating the facts, the West Contra Costa Unified School District has recognized that our charter is in good standing, as stated in their letter.”
Flores added John Henry High, which serves mostly low-income students and where 93-percent of last year’s graduating class were accepted into four-year universities, will “continue to partner with the District as we focus on our mission of providing our students with a rigorous college preparatory program that will help them achieve their personal and academic goals.”