We write to you to share some bittersweet news and to ask for your continued advocacy moving forward.
Earlier today, the SUNY Board of Trustees voted to recommend Kwenda Collegiate Girls Charter School for approval. Our application was one of thirteen applicationsapproved. However, under our state’s current legislative cap on charter schools in New York City, only seven of the approved schools will receive charters to open their doors in Fall 2020.
While our school’s application was the highest ranked application of any new standalone independent school, our score was not ranked in the top seven. This means, that despite this morning’s approval, absent a change in policy around the charter cap, our school will not be awarded a charter and will not be permitted to open.
We are humbled by the vote of confidence from the SUNY Trustees this morning. SUNY’s process was both comprehensive and rigorous. We send our congratulations to the seven schools earning the last remaining charters – who represent over 4,300 new high-quality seats for our great city. We also recognize that the six remaining schools - including Kwenda - represent almost 3,000 high-quality seats that, if not for the cap, would also be available to New York City families - a city where over 52,000 students remain on charter school waiting lists. We stand in solidarity with these schools.
We are grateful for each of you – whether you signed our petition, volunteered with our team, or shared about our school with a colleague – you continue to have an indelible impact on the trajectory of Kwenda Collegiate Girls. The strength of the application was made possible by your feedback and the showing of support from our community. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We are encouraged by the courage, hope for the future, and vulnerability of the hundreds of young women who entrusted us with their stories and reflections through our Amplify Her Voice campaign. Their resilience inspires us to push forward in this work regardless of politics.
We are resolute in our commitment to do something radical in public education - establish a gender conscious learning community where Black and brown girls are placed at the center and are safe, valued, and affirmed. Our work now shifts to advocacy, ensuring that the voices of our community - particularly those of young women, girls, and gender-expansive youth - are represented in the ongoing conversations around the cap and that we do all that we can to make educational equity a reality for our community.
We need you. We must advocate that the legislature increase the charter cap to allow schools like ours, who meet the highest bar of application quality, to open. Over the coming weeks, we will be learning more about the concrete next steps that we can take on behalf of Kwenda Collegiate Girls. We will be back in touch shortly to ask for your support in advocating for our school.
In the meantime, we would like to end this update with a reminder about who we are and what we believe. The ethos of our school is embedded in our name, Kwenda Collegiate Girls. Kwenda means “go” in Swahili. Our girls deserve a school that recognizes their full humanity where they will receive an education that provides the knowledge, skills, and habits for them to “go” wherever they want to in life – from college, to the boardroom, to the White House. A charter cap doesn’t change this.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to our Lead Founder, Christina Perry at 347-601-5939 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Always with courage,
Christina, Nisha, Emmanuel, Femi, Nicia, Jordan, Audeliz, Hansini, Lauren, and Andre
The Kwenda Collegiate Girls Founding Team