Carpe Diem Innovative School Westwood announced they will be closing following the end of this school year.
Carpe Diem Innovative School Westwood will close at the end of the 2017-18 school year. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Perpetually struggling Westside charter Carpe Diem Innovative School Westwood announced March 2 it will close following the 2017-18 school year.

The school, which has failed to hit state performance indicators in its three years of existence, wrote to parents and families that “due to under enrollment” the school’s board of directors voted to end operations.

Carpe Diem, brought to San Antonio by Choose to Succeed, opened in the fall of 2015 and served students in grades 6-12. Choose to Succeed is a nonprofit organization that works to attract charters to San Antonio, with the goal of serving 80,000 local public school students by 2026.

Its website lists five charter partners, including BASIS Schools, Carpe Diem Schools, Great Hearts Academies, IDEA Public Schools, and KIPP San Antonio, as enrolling close to 18,000 students in 2017-18 with an approximate 15,000 on the waitlist. Carpe Diem enrolled 262 students in 2016-17.

Carpe Diem’s website indicates that plans existed to build a second campus in the 2016-17 school year.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) grades campuses and districts on four performance indicators: student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, and postsecondary readiness. Carpe Diem failed in three of the four indicators in both 2016 and 2017. The charter school only scored a passing grade in the student progress category each year.

If Carpe Diem was given a third consecutive failing score in 2018, the TEA would have closed the school per state law .

In February, the TEA marked Carpe Diem as “accredited-warned” for 2017-18. Without improvement, Carpe Diem could have been placed on probation or have had its accreditation revoked. The TEA issued this status to just nine of 1,201 districts and charter schools statewide.

June 1 will be the charter school’s last day of operation. In its letter to parents, Carpe Diem said it would work with the TEA to transfer student records to its students’ next schools. It plans to host a school fair on Wednesday, March 21, to present students and parents with alternative options for the next year. School representatives from Brooks Academy, Compass Rose Academy, IDEA Public Schools, Families Empowered, KIPP San Antonio, School of Science & Technology, Southwest Preparatory School, and LEEP Dual Language Academies will be in attendance, among others.

LEEP will take over Carpe Diem’s facility at 8038 W. Military Dr. in its first year of operation. This will be LEEP’s first campus in San Antonio, beginning operations in August 2018. LEEP will open with enrollment in kindergarten and first grade, and add a grade each year, eventually enrolling up to eighth.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.