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News Release - State Board of Education directs Douglas County Schools to close HOPE Online Elementary School
Feb. 13, 2020
State Board of Education directs Douglas County Schools to close HOPE Online Elementary School
Board approves Denver Public Schools' plans for Lincoln and Manual high schools
DENVER -The State Board of Education at its monthly meeting directed Douglas County School District to revoke the charter for HOPE Online Learning Academy Elementary School, effectively requiring the school to close at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
HOPE Online Learning Academy Elementary School is a multi-district online charter school serving 846 students in kindergarten through fifth grade at 11 learning centers located in eight different school districts. The elementary school has received a Priority Improvement or Turnaround rating - the two lowest ratings - in the accountability system for nine consecutive years.
In 2017, the state board directed the school to reconstitute its governing board and hire a management partner to help raise student achievement at the elementary and middle schools. The elementary school continued to receive Priority Improvement ratings from 2017 to 2019, requiring HOPE to come back for additional direction from the state board.
In 2019, HOPE Elementary students scored in the third percentile on the Colorado Measures of Academic Success math assessment, and in the fifth percentile on the CMAS English language arts test.
The board will vote on an official written order to Douglas County School District within the next several days. State law requires schools that are closing to develop plans for communicating with families and ensuring students transition to other schools.
State board approves improvement plans for two Denver high schools
The state board approved Denver Public Schools’ updated innovation plan and proposal to increase student achievement at Manual High School, which has officially received one of the lowest two ratings on the state’s accountability system for six consecutive years. The state board is required by Colorado’s school accountability laws to direct action to improve student performance at schools with five or more years of low performance.
The board approved the proposal for Manual to implement its revised innovation plan, giving a stronger focus to an early college model that provides students with work-based learning experiences and industry credentials in health care careers. The plan also proposed a partnership with the University of Virginia to ensure teachers receive coaching and professional development they need to raise the level of instruction.
Manual has received Priority Improvement or Turnaround ratings since 2013. However, the school would have received a higher rating of Improvement in 2017 if the district had not asked the Colorado Department of Education to lower the rating to align with the district’s separate and in some cases more rigorous accountability system.
The board is expected to vote on the final written order approving Manual High School’s plans in the next few days.
The board also approved DPS’ proposed plan to dramatically improve student achievement at Abraham Lincoln High School and the district’s request for Innovation Status at the school. The innovation plan is designed to give the school more flexibility to meet the needs of parents and students in the neighborhood through college and career academies that will provide more work-based learning opportunities and options for students to earn college credit while still in high school.
The school’s plans also include adding school days for a new, year-long freshman academy, additional professional development and coaching for teachers, expanded family engagement activities and a partnership with the University of Virginia to help implement the plans.
Lincoln High School has received five consecutive years of a Priority Improvement rating; however, in 2014, 2015 and 2016, the school’s rating was lowered at DPS’ request to align with the district’s separate and in some cases more rigorous accountability system.
Board approves management plan for Bill Metz Elementary School
The board approved Monte Vista School District’s plan to partner with Generation Schools Network to improve student achievement at Bill Metz Elementary School. The school has received Priority Improvement or Turnaround ratings, the two lowest ratings in the accountability system, for five consecutive years. The school’s track record required the state board to direct a pathway to dramatically improve student performance at the school.
The board agreed a management partner is needed to accelerate the progress the school is making, specifically to increase fidelity in implementation of academic programming, and professional development and coaching to help teachers strengthen instruction.
- The board discussed and made several amendments to the proposed Rules for Administration of the Colorado READ Act. Amendments are meant to clarify district reporting requirements around budget and teacher training. The board also amended the proposed rules around use of assessments meant to identify significant reading deficiencies in students. The board is expected to vote on the rules as amended during its March meeting.
- Approved technical changes to the Rules for the Administration of the Early Literacy Grant Program. During its September 2019 meeting, the board approved amended rules for the program that increase grant funding, reporting requirements and training for K-3 teachers.
- Approved the Rules for the Administration of the School Leadership Pilot Program. The program provides professional development through mentorship. Principals who apply will be matched with high-quality school leadership to learn skills that help improve teacher retention, school culture and student outcomes.
In other actions, the board:
- Voted to support Senate Bill 20-158, which improves alignment between the State Board of Education and the Colorado Commission of Higher Education on how educator preparation programs are reviewed and expands and clarifies grant programs targeted at teacher recruitment and retention.
- Certified $386,221,830 in state share entitlements to school districts for January through June 2020.