Cornerstone closing private school to focus on charters

Cornerstone Schools recently announced that it will close its Leadership and Business Private High School at the end of the 2017-18 school year. The 62 students currently enrolled in the academic program located on E. Nevada, will be transferred to Cornerstone’s Health + Technology High School and other schools in the city.

Cornerstone School are touted nationally for excellence in education and accelerated academics and have been providing first-class instruction to metro Detroit students since 1991. “In terms of our funding, in terms of the resources we were able to give to students in the private school setting, we saw that we would not be able to continue that at a high performing level, so we made the decision to do the right thing by our students and our donors and close the school,” said Ernestine Sanders, Cornerstone Head of School. “We grappled with that and it’s sad, but we did it in a very thoughtful way.”

Plans are in place now to step up operations for a One Cornerstone school initiative. The One Cornerstone concept involves private school and charter school programs focused on applying best practices gleaned from the 26-year history with the private school model. “While we are closing one, we are still reaching out to many young people in the city with are charter school network. We are going to focus all of our educational efforts on providing an excellent education at our charter schools.”

“The private cost model is a difficult one to sustain with so many quality free options now available,” added Sanders. Historically, tuition for Cornerstone private school students involved a combination of funding sources, with only one-third of the tuition of $8,500 annual tuition paid by families and the balance picked up by Cornerstone corporate and individual donors.

“Cornerstone is committed to extending excellence to as many students as they can. I am very pleased that they will focus on transferring 25 years of private school excellence into its charter schools,” said Tonya Allen, a former member of the private Cornerstone School Board and president of The Skillman Foundation. “More quality and high-performing schools is what our city needs and our children deserve.”

“Strategically, we are making tremendous progress on our previously adopted One Cornerstone plan,” said Clark Durant, co-founder of the school. “By concentrating efforts on bringing excellence to our charter schools, Cornerstone will continue the upward enrollment growth trend it has experienced the past two years.”

Enrollment at the five Cornerstone Education Group charter academies is at an all-time high.

“The Cornerstone charters provide a distinctive educational experience for our almost 3,500 students,” said Reid Gough, CEO of the Cornerstone Education Group. “The focus of Cornerstone Schools is to prepare students for a career, trade, college and a fulfilling life.”

In the 2016-17 school year, 100 percent of students at the Cornerstone Health + Technology High School (17351 Southfield Fwy. in Detroit) graduated and more than $6 million in scholarships was awarded to its students. Additionally, students have opportunities in workforce development, dual enrollment in local colleges


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