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Lee Montessori and Washington Leadership Academy

Geography Washington DC

Reinvestment Fund financing is supporting a new home for two innovative, early stage public charter schools located in Washington, D.C.

The Charter School Incubator Initiative, an affiliate of nonprofit developer Building Hope, will acquire and renovate the former St. Paul Catholic seminary to house two early stage charter schools and several nonprofit offices, with additional space reserved for workforce housing targeted to school staff. The Incubator Initiative is a partnership between Building Hope and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education that provides short-term transitional space for start-up public charter schools located in high-need communities across D.C.

In fall 2016, Lee Montessori Public Charter School will begin its third year at St. Paul and grow to serve 290 students in PK3 to 6th grade. At Lee, a diverse student population learns in multi-age classrooms where they are encouraged to work independently and receive individualized or small-group lessons.

Washington Leadership Academy Public Charter School is a college preparatory, technology-focused high school that will open its doors in fall 2016. The school will grow to educate 400 students per year in 9-12th grade. The school was highlighted by the White House for its work to close the achievement gap and offer students the skills to succeed in the global economy. The school expects 45% of students to be considered at-risk, and 75% to be eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch.

Reinvestment Fund financing is supported by grant funds through the U.S. Department of Education Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program. This allows us to offer flexible terms on our loan and accommodate three rounds of renovations, which will take place over the next three summers. Capital Impact Partners and Low Income Investment Fund are also participating in the financing. The schools will reach their full occupancy in four years with combined capacity to educate 690 students.

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