The Denver Arts & Technology Academy, whose charter was not renewed by Denver Public Schools this week on a 5-4 vote, will appeal the decision to the State Board of Education. DATA is in northwest Denver, next to the former Elitch's area, and is operated by Mosaica Education.
DATA serves a Title I (high poverty) population and two years ago underwent a state School Support Visit, which is highly encouraged for underperforming Title I schools. As a part of the school review, DATA received a grant to implement an improvement plan.
DATA has a new principal this year. One of the unfortunate things about the timing of charter renewals and appeals is that while the school is going through this tumultuous time dealing with an appeal and charter nonrenewal, their students are taking CSAPs. You see, the decision to not renew the charter school's contract was largely based on March 2007 data -- before the new principal had time to implement his new plan with his staff members. Last year Life Skills Center of Denver was in much the same situation. To be sure, good schools would have a variety of academic measures to demonstrate the effectiveness of their work with students, but that doesn't mitigate the fact that these students are taking high-stakes state tests at the same time they're wondering about whether or not their school will be open next year. In situations like this, it's extremely important for all the adults involved to make sure the academic success of students is of prime importance.