clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Aurora school board votes to oust HOPE Online from district boundaries

Ana Gramajo, left, is the co-director of HOPE Online Action Academy in Aurora. Here she works with a student on reading.
Ana Gramajo, left, is the co-director of HOPE Online Action Academy in Aurora. Here she works with a student on reading.

The Aurora school board unanimously decided Tuesday to end its relationship with HOPE Online Learning Academy, moving to shutter the charter school’s five online learning centers in the district’s boundaries

In May, Superintendent Rico Munn and his administration recommended the struggling school district not renew its agreement with the academy because of the school’s poor performance.

Heather O’Mara, HOPE Online’s CEO, pleaded with the board to allow her school to remain.

“I commit that I will work to earn that support,” she said.

She said that HOPE had improved, and that the board should consider that progress in making a decision.

HOPE Online has been on the state’s accountability watchlist for five years for poor student performance. It faces state sanctions next year if academic achievement hasn’t improved.

Officials from HOPE earlier pledged to appeal the decision to the State Board of Education. The Republican-controlled board previously has sided with charter schools in similar dustups but also has signaled a willingness to take a firmer stance against persistently struggling schools.

Almost 70 percent of HOPE’s 2,100 students statewide are either black and Latino, according to state data. Nearly 80 percent are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches.

The charter school, which is authorized by the Douglas County School District but has campuses throughout the state, said it has made major shifts in how it approaches instruction.

During the last several years, students are spending less time online and are working with a new curriculum better aligned to the Common Core State Standards, officials said.

The decision to effectively evict HOPE from Aurora comes as the Aurora school district takes steps to improve its own low performing schools.

The district pushed more money into schools for new programs, asked a Denver charter school to take over a flailing elementary school, and redesigned five schools under the state’s innovation law.

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing our daily reality

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn't possible without your help.

Sign up for the newsletter Chalkbeat Colorado

Sign up for our newsletter.