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Baltimore students deliver petitions to save Monarch Academy Baltimore

City Schools recommends board close the school
Posted at 6:34 AM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 18:45:17-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Students from Baltimore’s Monarch Academy are fighting to keep their school open.

Kids involved in the school's student government delivered 1,100 letters and petitions in a red wagon to City Hall today, greeted by representatives of Mayor Catherine Pugh and City Council President Jack Young.

"To me, Monarch Academy isn't just a school. It's a home, a place where everyone can come together and learn and be great," 8th grader Serenity Whittington said.

RELATED: Rally to keep Monarch Academy open

Baltimore City Schools recommended the K-8 charter school in Northeast Baltimore close at the end of this school year, citing low test scores and issues with special education instruction. But students say they are much more than a score; that the school is making a big difference in their lives, many of whom come from low-income neighborhoods.

"We do our best as we possibly can and I don't think we should be judged by a score that you get on a computer," 8th grader Shamiriah Brunson said.

"The message that we send to our students is that progress does matter, that their lives and their voices do matter. We recognize that we have a long way to go in terms of closing the gap for our children. We are going to work tirelessly hard to make sure these children are the future, that they have the skills to be contributing citizens," Chief Academic Officer Nakia Nicholson said.

Since November, they have held several rallies and made presentations at board meetings.

RELATED: Inside Monarch Academy Baltimore; Families fighting to keep school open

Today, student government representatives joined by staff delivered 1,100 letters and petitions to representatives of the Mayor's Office and City Council President, asking for their support.

"We work with the CEO. We work with the school board of commissioners to make sure our students have the best options so I am going to receive this gladly," Karen Stokes, Director of Government Relations for Mayor Pugh, said.

"We’re proud of them for doing it. We need citizens to come and let officials know when they disagree. This is a part of democracy so I know this is something he wanted to witness personally," Lester Davis, Council President Deputy Chief of Staff, said.

The school holds nearly one thousand students and more than 80 staff members. The board of school commissioners will vote next week on if they will close the school or keep it open.