In a report released by the Colorado Department of Education, the number of new charter schools continue to increase while the quality remains high. The report examines student academic achievement using CSAP scores, characteristics of charter schools and their students, and information on demographics and average teacher and administrator salaries. Further, this report highlights five successful charter schools in Colorado, including Georgetown Community Charter School, James Irwin Elementary, Life Skills Center of Colorado Springs, West Denver Prep and Ridgeview Classical Schools.
The state report is authored by Dr. Dick Carpenter, a professor at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Krista Kafer, an independent contractor. They found over 38,000 students are on waiting lists for charter schools with the average wait list size being 462 students. The average sized charter school enrolls less than 300 students. The largest brick-and-mortar school in the state is The Classical Academy in Colorado Springs. The largest charter school in the state is Colorado Virtual Academy with 2,366 students.
Sixty percent of charter schools do not conform to the traditional elementary, middle and high school grade level configuration. More than 41% served elementary and middle school grades together.
The study highlights another recent report released by the same authors, A Typology of Charter Schools, which determined what type of educational program best suits the needs of specific student populations.
While state charter schools still serve less than the state average of students from ethnical minorities, the gap has decreased. Currently 37% of students in charter schools are minorities while the state average if 39%.
Watch for more on this state report in future postings.