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News Release - State Board of Education gives Adams 14 School District deadline to select different management partner

April 11, 2019

State Board of Education gives Adams 14 School District deadline to select different management partner

Board approves management partners for schools in Aurora

DENVER – The State Board of Education on Thursday rejected Adams 14 School District’s selection of Mapleton Public Schools as the external manager tasked with improving student outcomes.

The board’s decision was based on a letter sent to the state board from the Adams 14 school board on April 10 and requires Adams 14 to choose another partner by Thursday, April 25, as laid out in the Nov. 27 order. 

“The state board will evaluate Adams 14’s new selection with a critical eye to ensure that it meets the requirements of our November order.” said Board Chairwoman Angelika Schroeder. “That means it needs to have a long, solid track record of improving student outcomes at low-performing schools.”  

At last month’s meeting, board members voiced concerns about Adams 14’s selection of Mapleton Public Schools, which does not have a steady track record of improving student academic outcomes. The state board also questioned whether the Adams 14 Board of Education would continue to support the Mapleton choice given the recent change in membership on Adams 14’s board.

At the March meeting, the state board requested that Adams 14 work with Mapleton and/or others to strengthen its application by identifying additional partners with whom they will work. Since that March meeting, Adams 14 and Mapleton have not made progress in meeting that request.  

“I hope that the district will take the next couple of weeks to seriously reflect on the idea of change and select an external manager that can affect change and get things done,” said Steve Durham, state board vice chairman. “The status quo is not acceptable.”    

External management approved for schools in Aurora
The board approved Aurora Public School’s request to turn over partial management of North Middle School and Gateway High School to external management organizations. The district was before the state board for a voluntary Early Action Accountability Hearing after North Middle School and Gateway High School earned four years of low ratings on the state’s school accountability system.

Aurora Public Schools proposed giving  MGT Consulting Group, a private consulting firm, primary responsibility and decision-making authority over teaching practices, curriculum and instruction, assessment, and ensuring data is being used effectively at North Middle School.  

The district proposed giving Communities in Schools, a non-profit service organization, authority over social-emotional learning, family and community engagement and outreach, and mental health supports at Gateway High School. Aurora Public Schools came forward with the proposals now so that the schools can get started on these turnaround strategies early and potentially see improvements in student outcomes prior to the statutory limit of five years of low performance. If North Middle School or Gateway High School receive a Priority Improvement or Turnaround rating in 2021, then the state board’s vote requires that Aurora Public Schools return at that time for another hearing.   

Vega Collegiate Academy’s charter contract sent back to Aurora Public Schools
The board remanded Vega Collegiate Academy’s charter contract back to the Aurora Public School Board of Education, finding that the local board’s decision to revoke the charter contract was not in the best interest of students and the community. The state board recommended the Aurora Public Schools board impose a corrective action plan that would allow the school to continue to operate but also to ensure that Vega delivers special education services in compliance with state and federal law. The board’s decision would allow the district to intervene in cases where services were not being met.

In other action, the board: