HISTORY & EVOLUTION OF CHARTER SCHOOLS
YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES IN A CHARTER COMMUNITY
In 1993, Colorado became the third state in the U.S. to enact a Charter school law. In fall of 1993, the state's first two Charter schools opened their doors. Both are still open today.
Stargate - Gifted Education Since 1994
Responding to cuts in gifted education program funding and new legislation allowing Charter schools, Stargate's original charter was submitted in early 1994. The school opened on August 29, 1994, making it one of the oldest Charter schools in the state. The school's name was created by combining 1) "Star" for Adams Twelve Five Star Schools, our authorizing school district and 2) "Gate" for Gifted And Talented Education. The school's mission has remained consistent over time: Stargate School will provide a differentiated program designed specifically to meet the needs of identified intellectually gifted learners in order to challenge each student’s academic abilities, support their unique emotional needs, promote individual character development and encourage a lifelong love of learning.
The Colorado Charter Schools Act
In authorizing Charter schools, the General Assembly sought to expand choices in Colorado public schools and to create an avenue for parents, teachers, and community members "to take responsible risks and create new, innovative, more flexible ways of educating all children within the public school system."
"Different pupils learn differently," notes the act. The act seeks the creation of schools with "high, rigorous standards for pupil performance." The General Assembly sought "to create an atmosphere in Colorado's public schools where research and development in developing different learning opportunities is actively pursued."
How Does Colorado Define a Charter School Today?
A Charter school in Colorado is a public school operated by a group of parents, teachers and/or community members as a semi-autonomous school of choice within a school district, operating under a contract or "charter" contract between the members of the Charter school community and the local board of education. In a Charter school, each student, parent and teacher chooses to be there. The "charter," as defined in the Charter Schools Act (Sections 22-30.5-101et. seq. C.R.S.), spells out the school goals, standards, education design, governance and operations. The degree of autonomy to be exercised by the Charter school on such issues as personnel, curriculum and facilities is negotiated between the Charter applicants and the local school district and reflected in the Charter. School-centered governance, autonomy, and a clear design for how and what students will learn are the essential characteristics of a Charter school.
Continuing to Evolve
Implementation of the Colorado Charter Schools Act is an evolving process. Charter applicants, district staff, local boards of education, legislators, the State Board of Education, Colorado Department of Education staff, and others work in partnership to find creative solutions to the questions and issues that surface from time to time in fine tuning Colorado's Charter Schools Act. For more information, visit the Colorado Department of Education website.