Denver officials recommend closing Try Prep – Kepner constitution school for reduced exam scores

A Denver charter middle school could close at the conclusion of this college year if the faculty board follows a suggestion to shutter Attempt Prep – Kepner for minimal exam scores. 

Superintendent Alex Marrero is recommending the board choose the exceptional phase of not renewing Strive Prep – Kepner’s charter. A memo notes the school, which opened seven years in the past, attained the most affordable point out rating previous year, signified by the coloration pink. 

Kepner learners scored in the very first percentile on state math and looking through tests final spring, the memo suggests, which suggests 99% of Colorado pupils did superior.

College closures are controversial. In 2018, the Denver university board commenced backing away from a former policy of closing universities with reduced check scores. No district faculty has been closed for lower functionality due to the fact then.

In November, board associates rejected a suggestion to shut a number of district-operate elementary faculties with reduced enrollment. But board customers did not supply significantly pushback Thursday on the advice to shut Strive Prep – Kepner, with a handful of even expressing they agreed with it. The board is established to vote Jan. 12.

Vice President Auon’tai Anderson was the sole member to convey reservations.

“I’m battling with the Kepner conclusion for the reason that the optics would seem as if we are closing the university vs . a faculty acknowledging, ‘We have not achieved the mark and we are heading to surrender’” our charter voluntarily, Anderson mentioned.

Try Prep – Kepner has 178 pupils this yr, in accordance to community spokesperson Julia Virnstein. District knowledge reveals 91% of its students previous calendar year have been Hispanic and 86% skilled for backed university meals, an indicator of reduced relatives cash flow.

Attempt Prep – Kepner opened in 2016 just after the district made the decision to near district-operate Kepner Middle University for lower examination scores. The hope was that Try Prep – Kepner and an additional faculty that opened at the identical time, Kepner Beacon, would improved provide students.

In a letter to families last thirty day period, Try Prep acknowledged its shortcomings.

“STRIVE Prep asked for the option to work Kepner to improved supply for young children and people, and inspite of our greatest efforts, we did not reside up to our claims,” the letter says.

Charter educational facilities are publicly funded but independently operate by their individual boards of administrators. The Denver college board authorizes charters to open up and votes to renew their contracts periodically. A vote from renewing a school’s contract is a vote to near the school.

Constitution surrenders are extra widespread than closures. The university board hasn’t voted to near a charter in at minimum a ten years, officials claimed. In 2011, the board voted to near Existence Techniques Middle, a high school that served students who’d struggled in other places. In the many years considering the fact that, an additional 13 Denver charters closed voluntarily, frequently because of small enrollment.

With 10 faculties, Try Prep is Denver’s 2nd-major constitution network. It is at present in the method of merging with yet another homegrown constitution network, Rocky Mountain Prep, right after the departure of its founder final yr.

Strive declared in October that an additional of its educational institutions, 188-pupil Strive Prep – Lake, will voluntarily close this spring. Denver universities are funded for each university student, and Try claimed the Lake closure is to assure “students have accessibility to well-resourced faculties.” 

Marrero is recommending that the board renew the contracts of 19 other charter colleges for durations ranging from one to five years. The duration of a renewal recommendation is based on a school’s educational efficiency and other aspects. 

Denver has a whole of 56 constitution educational facilities this 12 months.

Melanie Asmar is a senior reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado, covering Denver General public Universities. Contact Melanie at [email protected].

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