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The Douglas County School Board's decision to renew the charter contract of Hope Online Learning Academy received a standing ovation from dozens of parents and teachers in the audience at a Feb. 6 meeting.
“When I look at Hope and my observation of the way our teachers and mentors interact with students and the students interact with them, I have two words to tell you about Hope, they are difference-makers,” Eric Peters, an employee of the school, said during public comment.
The alternative school for at-risk students has an online program and 26 community learning centers across 12 school districts. The school opened in 2005 and Douglas County became its authorizing district in 2007, allowing the school to operate independently but still receive state funding. Douglas County has one community learning center that serves 58 students. The majority of the school's 2,172 students are from Aurora, Jefferson County and Denver.
For the past seven years, Hope Online has been under watch by the Colorado Department of Education for low performance. Last April, school and district staff appeared before the state board of education to finalize an improvement plan, which outlines restructuring of the school's learning model, recruiting quality educators and evaluating staff.
The school's performance ratings are grounds to revoke or not renew its charter contract, according to district documents. The school board voted to renew the contract until June 2019 to give Hope Online time to enact its latest improvement plan.
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