Five groups have signaled their intent to apply to open a charter school in the Aurora school district.
Based on the letters of interest, which were submitted last week, the five possible applications that Aurora could see this year include one high school, a Denver-grown charter school, and one tied to a national charter management organization.
Groups are required to submit a letter of intent a month before they submit a full application. In Aurora Public Schools, the deadline for applications is March 9.
District officials and two committees would review the applications that are submitted and present a recommendation to the Aurora school board before a vote in June. The earliest schools would open would be fall 2019.
Last year the district received only one application from a charter network that was invited to apply. That was for a DSST school, the high-performing Denver charter network, that is approved to open its first Aurora school in the fall of 2019. Based on this year’s letters of intent, there could be five applications.
Denver-based charters have started to express interest in moving to the suburbs as the low-income families they serve leave the city and as the Denver district slows the pace at which it seeks new schools. The national network KIPP is one charter network looking at possible suburban locations, though KIPP leadership won’t make a decision until this summer about where and didn’t submit a letter of intent to Aurora this round.
Here is a look at each of the five proposed schools with links to their letters of intent:
- Aurora Community School
This would be a community school model that would work with community organizations. Founders include officials from the Achievement Network.
- Friendship Aspire Academy
The Friendship Public Charter School system operates a network of 15 schools around the country, including in Washington, D.C., Louisiana, and in Arkansas.
- Empower Community School
This would be operated by the HadaNou Collective, a local organization that already operates centers that provide resources for students.
- University Prep
University Prep already operates two high-performing elementary schools in Denver. Recently, the charter won a federal grant as part of a U.S. Department of Education program that helps pay for the expansion and replication of successful charter schools.
- Academy of Advanced Learning
This is a school being led by Mike Miles, a former superintendent for Dallas and for a Colorado Springs school district. One Academy of Advanced Learning opened in Aurora this school year.