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APS authorizes renewal for 3 charter schools

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Three charter schools, authorized by Albuquerque Public Schools, were given the green light for another five years. But the schools are expected to create and implement academic turnaround plans.

The board unanimously voted in December to approve renewal for William W. and Josephine Dorn Community Charter School, La Academia de Esperanza and Los Puentes Charter School for another five-year term from July 1 to June 30, 2025.

The charter schools’ contracts that will include the turnaround process are expected to be presented to the board in the spring for approval.

As part of its contract, schools are required to work on a “turnaround plan” – a new approach in APS for charter schools that need academic improvement.

Deborah Elder, executive director of APS’ Office of Innovation and School Choice, said the schools will be given a framework, but it’s up to the individual charters to create the plans, which must include academic benchmarks based on how students performed in the 2018-19 school year. It should also include ways the governing council will help improve the school and monitor goals; teacher development, recruitment and retention; and ways to analyze student learning.

Elder said the approach “has been nationally proven across different types of schools to support student learning.”

Joseph Escobedo, senior director in the Office of Innovation and School Choice, said the three charter schools were identified for turnaround plans based on academic performance and because they didn’t have a clear enough strategy for the future.

“What do we do when a charter school provides data that’s average and an analysis that’s average, but provides us with no clear strategic plan of where they’re going in the next five years?” Escobedo asked at a committee meeting in December.

The idea of the new approach is to maintain a charter’s autonomy while still having measures of oversight and accountability from its authorizer.

If a school doesn’t implement or meet targets in its plan, it could face revocation as its part of the charter contract.

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