- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 18, 2006

A private school in Northwest this fall will be the first newly formed school in the District to join the city’s voucher program.

J. Daniel “Danny” Hollinger, who founded Rock Creek International School 18 years ago, announced last week that he has founded Coeus International School, at 4401 Connecticut Ave. NW.

Coeus officials said the school is another possibility for students trying to earn an education through the federally funded voucher program, particularly those who have scholarships but cannot find space in the city’s few non-public high schools.

“One of the primary reasons for [founding the school] was to create new opportunities for students in the D.C. metropolitan area,” Mr. Hollinger said. “And the [vouchers] program is serving children, it’s serving families and it’s serving schools.”

The curriculum at the 15-teacher, 100-student school will include dual-language immersion in Arabic, French, Mandarin and Spanish and will focus on experiential learning inside and outside the classroom, Mr. Hollinger said. He said the interconnected curriculums at Coeus will offer students a unique learning opportunity.

“The teachers have worked very closely together to make connections” between subjects, he said.

The school is accepting applications for students in the fifth through 10th grades.

Grades 11 and 12 will be added in the 2007-2008 school year, and a lower school will be added as soon as possible, school officials said.

Tuition will cost about $26,000 a year. Voucher recipients will be required to pay $250. The remainder is covered mostly by financial aid and other scholarships, Mr. Hollinger said.

Coeus is the 68th school in the District to participate in the federally funded school vouchers program, which is administered by the Washington Scholarship Fund.

“It’s wonderful to have a new school in the District with someone like Danny Hollinger” in charge, said Sally J. Sacher, the fund’s president and chief executive officer. “Particularly in terms of the high school, where there’s a shortage in grades nine through 10.”

The nonprofit organization runs the Opportunity Scholarship Program for the D.C. government and the U.S. Department of Education, providing scholarships to low-income families in the District.

The program, approved by the Senate in January 2004, is the country’s first federally funded K-12 scholarship. It provides low-income D.C. children with as much as $7,500 a year for tuition, transportation and fees.

To qualify, students must live in the District and have a family income of no more than $28,990 for a family of three. More than 1,000 students received scholarships in the first year of the program, 2004-2005. This year, more than 1,700 students enrolled at 59 private schools through the program.

Students are given priority over other applicants if they attend one of more than 100 D.C. public schools identified as needing improvement, restructuring or corrective action under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

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