Durham’s Kestrel Heights High to close for 3 years, State Board says

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina State Board of Education accepts Charter School Advisory Board’s recommendation to shut down Kestrel Heights’ high school for three years.

The State Board voted unanimously Thursday to followed the recommendation of the Charter School Advisory Board and close the school.

An internal review at Kestrel Heights Charter School discovered 160 students at the school received diplomas from 2008 to 2016 without meeting the requirements to do so.

Kestrel Heights’ high school will close at the end of the school year.

“We have been in communication with a couple of organizations already to talk about potential working, helping us with high school moving forward. So that is something we have considered, but we certainly have not come to any final decision in reference to the assumption of the high school,” said the school’s executive director Mark Tracy.

It’s an action board member A.L. Collins said they were forced to take, after the system failed the students.

“I don’t think we have a remedy other than what we’ve got before us today,” Collins said.

Board members have called the situation tragic.

“This always is emotional right here. This is certainly unfortunate, but it is necessary,” said Becky Taylor, State Board of Education member.

The internal investigation into the diploma scandal found that students were missing credits in subjects such as science, math and physical education.

The investigation also found a “systematic breakdown” by principals and a counselor over an eight-year period.

Two principals and one guidance counselor were found to be involved in not providing the proper support, according to the internal review.

All three of those administrators are no longer employed by the school.

The Kestrel Heights School Board held an emergency closed-door meeting Thursday night. No decision was reached, and the board is expected to meet again Tuesday.

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