Durham News

Durham charter school still trying to contact recent graduates with missing credits

One-third of the 160 former Kestrel Heights charter school students who graduated without meeting state requirements may not know their diplomas are no good, Kestrel leaders have notified the state.

The school has yet to hear from 54 students despite sending letters and making phone calls. School officials are also using social media and other efforts to reach them, executive director Mark Tracy said.

Meanwhile, 50 students have met with Kestrel officials, 31 have contacted the school and 26 have resolved their credit deficiencies, according to a Feb. 13 letter from Kestrel Heights Board Chairman Brandon Paris to State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey.

The school anticipates resolving all of the cases by the end of the 2017-18 school year, the letter states.

“Students impacted by this situation are interested in correcting the deficiency and resolving the matter as soon as possible,” the letter states.

The letter also outlines corrective actions Kestrel Heights has taken to help students address their credit deficiencies and to ensure that future graduates have all their credits.

It was sent to Cobey as the state board plans to consider next week whether to follow the state Charter School Advisory Board’s recommendation to shut the high school down.

The state Board of Education was set to take up the issue at its Feb. 1 meeting, but postponed the discussion and action until its March 1-2 meetings to give members time to review information from the school, students and the public.

The state Charter School Advisory Board’s recommendation followed Kestrel’s discovery that 40 percent of Kestrel’s 399 graduates from 2008 to 2016 hadn’t completed the required credits. The report, outlining the scope of the credit issue, was sent to the state charter school in early January. An earlier school review over a shorter time frame found 53 graduates lacking proper credits.

The school’s charter expires this year, and it was being considered for a 10-year renewal.

Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges