Protests Fail to Save Oak Cliff Charter School from Closing Its Doors for Good

The last day of school is meant to be a celebration, but at Focus Learning Academy in Oak Cliff smiles were replaced by tears Friday.

After nearly two decades of educating some of Dallas' poorest families the charter school closed its doors for good.

The school surrendered its charter to the Texas Education Agency in late 2016 just to stay open until the end of the year.

"I was teary-eyed and sad for some of the day, shed some tears on the way to school, because I may not get a chance to see them again," said kindergarten teacher Shea Merriweather.

The closing has forced hundreds of families to find somewhere else for their kids to go to school next year. Many teachers will also have to find new jobs as well.

Merriweather said her biggest concern is the uncertainty her students and their parents face.

"My fear is that they may not have a teacher who will love them and look at them and see beyond where they come from," she said.

The school surrendered its charter after the TEA threatened to shut it down for low performance. Administrators asked the TEA to waive its second year of under performance because the school took in about 300 new students from the now-defunct Prime Prep Academy.

That stunted the progress teachers said they were making in the classroom.

"We have to start back over at another district, or wherever we may end up in life, so it's a big transition," said first grade teacher Susan McLaurie. "It ties up your emotions. My students are going to second grade, but it's sad because we're going to miss them. We've become like their second moms."

Representatives from the TEA will be on campus next week, which will give the staff one last chance to save the school.

Regardless of what happens McLaurie said a teacher's job is never finished and she won't stop educating the most under-served kids in Dallas.

"We continue to teach. We continue to impact life, but I'd rather be here than to be somewhere else, because I felt like this was my place," she said.

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