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Colorado Board of Education directs HOPE Online Elementary School closure
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By Source: Colorado Department of Education
Board approves Denver Public Schools’ plans for Lincoln, Manual high schools

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 2019-2020 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.

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