A new charter school in Denver centering Black students and culture finally got the greenlight after initially being rejected. This past Thursday, the school board approved plans for the 5280 Freedom School to open it’s doors to students next fall.
According to the Denver Post, while there is widespread celebration surrounding the news, the school’s opening won’t be without its conditions. For one, the school must fill all of its seats its first year. The plan is to open 52 seats for both Kindergarten and first grade, and then increase the number of seats for each grade up to fifth.
Apparently, Denver Public Schools are sticklers for filling seats, as funding is allocated per student. Other charter schools set to open have previously been delayed due to the inability to meet the enrollment goals. The district has also closed schools for not being able to maintain those numbers.
The 5280 Freedom School was initially rejected because the school board didn’t believe that it would enroll enough students to be viable. The school then appealed the decision, and as of last month, the State Board of Education was ordered to reconsider. The State Board members felt that it was unfair to assume that the new charter would face the same fate as others.
According to the school’s mission statement:
“The 5280 Freedom School teaches students from ECE-8th grade to become racially literate and civically-minded by centering Black knowledge, people, and principles. The 5280 FreedoThe 5280 Freedom School teaches students from ECE-8th grade to become racially literate and civically-minded by centering Black knowledge, people, and principles. The 5280 Freedom School exists in order to dismantle oppressive systems, to liberate ourselves, and to empower our students to transform the world.m School exists in order to dismantle oppressive systems, to liberate ourselves, and to empower our students to transform the world.”
With the ongoing war around Critical Race Theory, many Black parents are opting to either homeschool their children, or enroll them in Black owned and operated educational programs. Per their website, their vision is to have their students “become leaders for social change.” The new charter is also dedicated to affirming and empowering all Black children, including those who identity as queer or trans.
The 5280 Freedom School is currently collecting information from parents with intent to enroll, as well as crowdfunding for additional materials and classroom supplies. For information on how you can contribute, click here.