Deion Sanders,Charter school,Pre-kindergarten,Sixth grade,Prime Prep Academy,University Interscholastic League,Twelfth g

Dallas charter that inherited kids from Deion Sanders’ failed school faces shutdown

February 3, 2017
in Kids

For three straight years, Focus Academies in southwest Dallas has failed to pass academic muster. Under a “three strikes” law, state officials say the charter school must close at the end of this school year. School leaders vow to fight for survival. “We’re going to do what we can to keep the school open,” said Leroy McClure, founder and CEO of Focus Academies. “Our school does not fit the criteria of a low-performing school or a school that needs to have their doors shut.” Focus was among Dallas’ first charter schools, opening in 1999 with about 100 students. Its mission: Teach kids who have learning disabilities or are likely to drop out. Now Focus enrolls about 1,100 students at two campuses on West Ledbetter Drive: Focus Learning Academy for prekindergarten through sixth grade and Triple A Academy for seventh through 12th grade. Along the way, the school became a basketball powerhouse. Triple A Academy won the 2013 University Interscholastic League Class 1A Division I boys basketball title, becoming the first charter school boys team to win a UIL title. While competing in one of the state's smallest classifications, four players on that championship team — including King McClure, son of founder Leroy McClure — signed with Division I colleges. The school has excelled on the court, but it has struggled in the classroom. In 2014, Focus Academies was rated “improvement required” — meaning students failed to meet state academic standards as judged by STAAR scores. Then Focus inherited about 80 students from Prime Prep Academy, the charter school co-founded by former NFL star...

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