M.E.T.S. Charter School announced Tuesday that it will be shutting its doors at the end of the year.
The early college preparatory school, which just opened its downtown Newark location to much fanfare on Aug. 29 following a ribbon-cutting attended by Gov. Chris Christie, made the decision after an Oct. 18 Board of Trustees meeting.
According to a letter disseminated by the school to its 250 students and signed by Interim Lead Administrator Madelyn Dullea, M.E.T.S. 9th and 10th graders will be working with Newark Public Schools to place students at schools within the district, with freshman and sophomore grades being discontinued.
The 11th and 12th grades will finish out the year, with the school permanently shutting its doors at the conclusion of the school year in June.
“This decision was an extremely difficult one, as the faculty and staff at M.E.T.S. cares deeply about each of our students and their success both in school and in the future beyond high school,” states the letter. “The M.E.T.S. Newark campus cannot in good conscience say that it is currently equipped to provide the highest level of education to the number of students currently enrolled. High school is such a vital time in a young person’s life, and it would be a detriment to our students to not find a truly appropriate placement for them.”
Just months ago the state ordered three low-performing Newark charter schools to close at the end of the school year.
The number of charters in the state has doubled in the last eight years under the Christie administration, bringing the total to 89.
Christie approved the expansion of 22 existing charter schools in March, which added hundreds of new charter school seats across the state.
While details surrounding the decision to shutter its doors have not yet been released, the school has made news in recent weeks with the arrest of a 15-year-old student after he was found at the school with a loaded gun.
The boy was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon in an educational institution.
The closing of the of the school represents a blow to the M.E.T.S. name, which opened its first location in Jersey City in 2011 and is known for its rigorous college-preparatory curriculum, standout student achievement and perfect graduation rate.
In a separate letter to 9th and 10th grade parents, school leaders assured them they “have been working very closely with Newark Public Schools in order to help facilitate a smooth transition.”
The school announced an information session with representatives from NPS to be held next week, where parents can meet with enrollment specialists to discuss the placement process and next steps.
“We want to ensure an easy transition to another educational environment for our students,” the letter read.
The school also said it was committed to keeping 11th graders on track to graduate next year and will be working closely with NPS to ensure placement for each student.
A meeting for parents will be held by the school next week to outline plans for next year, noting they will be working with both NPS and the M.E.T.S. Jersey City campus, as well as meeting with 12th grade parents to detail the school’s plan.
“We remain committed to our 12th graders and want to ensure you that they receive an outstanding educational opportunity through the end of this school year that will allow you to graduate from M.E.T.S.,” the school told parents.