Aurora charter school for teen parents gets 5-year state renewal

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Grecia Garcia, left, and Ruby Gutierrez work on ceramic boxes they made in art class, May 3 at New Legacy Charter School.
Photo by Philip B. Poston/Sentinel Colorado

AURORA | A charter school for teen moms and their children has been approved to keep doors open for another five years.

The state Charter School Institute allowed New Legacy Charter School this month to continue offering a high school with no grades, no flunking and childcare.

New Legacy is tailored for pregnant and parenting teens that otherwise wouldn’t have access to traditional schooling.  The school is in north Aurora — just blocks from the Stanley Marketplace — but is overseen by the Charter School Institute, the state government charter school wing.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with New Legacy, a charter school whose model closely aligns to our mission of fostering high quality options that seek to close the opportunity gap, said CSI Executive Director Dr. Terry Croy Lewis.

New Legacy’s Executive Director, Steve Bartholomew, said the school will continue to focus on giving opportunities to future generations of students.

The school was first approved in 2015 and has been open since.

High school Principal Leah Bock told The Sentinel in May that high school classes include parenting techniques and chemistry alike. Students between the age of 14-21 can enroll, or graduate, at any time.

It’s a small school with about 95 high school students and 65 of their children. Most students are female, Hispanic and are either parenting or pregnant.

Whereas teens with children of their own are at-risk of dropping out from normal high schools to parent during the day, New Legacy offers free daycare during school on site.

Even so, attendance rates in recent years were far below state and APS averages, and standardized test scores aren’t available on the state Department of Education website. Many students enroll because they weren’t engaged in other schools for various reasons — even some non-pregnant teens without kids of their own.

The state education department, which rates all schools on test scores and other factors, says Legacy students aren’t meeting academic achievement benchmarks, with multi-year declines in PSAT math, reading and writing scores.