The steady expansion of charter schools in Colorado has introduced these autonomous public schools to communities across the state. Yet significant misunderstandings about charter schools, their purpose, and the nature of their existence remain. Outside of education policy circles, few are aware of the diversity of charter schools, the wide variety of student populations they serve, or who founds and governs them. While it would be nearly impossible to capture the full picture of charter schools in Colorado in a single publication, case studies can be instructive and can help bring abstract policy arguments into perspective at the ground level.
In this publication, Senior Education Policy Analyst Ross Izard examines two existing charter schools and one prospective charter school on the Front Range. While outside information or data are often used to provide context for a discussion of particular policy issues, the information used to illuminate the schools and their work was primarily obtained through interviews with school leaders, charter board members, and staff over the course of several weeks. These are their stories.