Indian Peaks looks to join Charter School Institute of Colorado |

Indian Peaks looks to join Charter School Institute of Colorado

Lance Maggart

Indian Peaks Charter School (IPCS) in Granby may soon be breaking away from the East Grand School District (EGSD).

Indian Peaks is currently working through the application process with the Charter School Institute (CSI) of Colorado to formally join CSI’s school district. If Indian Peak’s application with CSI is approved the local charter school will no longer be a part of the EGSD.

Indian Peaks is a charter school serving kindergarten through eight-grade students in the Granby area. The school offers an alternative curriculum option for local parents with a mountain outdoor education program, a focus on foreign languages and a five-day a week school schedule.

Currently IPCS is a part of the EGSD. To be a part of the school district Indian Peaks typically negotiates and signs contracts with the EGSD every five years. Those contracts lay out expectations for both entities. The current contract between IPCS and the EGSD expires in June of this year.

According to Indian Peaks current Academic Director Polly Gallagher IPCS typically looks to renew their contract with the EGSD a year before the contract expires. When officials from both IPCS and the EGSD met late in 2014 to begin discussing contract renewal the suggestion was made that Indian Peaks consider joining the CSI.

The process took another step forward in April 2015 when Indian Peaks held a meeting with parents to discuss the possibility of transferring to CSI’s school district. According to data provided by Gallagher that meeting resulted in overwhelming parental support for the transfer with 16 parents voting in favor, two absentees and no votes against.

After the school meeting with parents officials from Indian Peaks had to wait until the fall for the application process to become open. Their application for transfer to CSI was submitted on Dec. 10 and IPCS is listed on CSI’s Web site as an officially accepted application. From here the transfer process will move through several steps.

Today, Wednesday Jan. 27, representatives of IPCS will go before CSI’s Review Team for a formal Applicant Interview. After the Applicant Interview Indian Peaks will still be required to formally present their application to CSI’s Board on Feb. 9 in Denver.

A Community Meeting event will be held on Wednesday Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. at Indian Peaks Charter School to discuss the transfer with parents more thoroughly. In that meeting officials from IPCS will outline what a transfer will look like and seek feedback from parents.

Following the Community Meeting the CSI will hold additional internal meetings to discuss the application. A decision from the CSI on the transfer application is expected on March 8. Gallagher said she is cautiously optimistic about approval of the transfer application but highlighted IPCS’s relatively small size as a possible barrier to approval.

The transfer of IPCS to the CSI is supported by East Grand School District Superintendent Jody Mimmack, Ph.D. Mimmack wrote a letter of support for the transfer stating in part, “we believe that a move to being chartered under your organization (CSI) will allow them (IPCS) to receive additional support and resources unique to charter schools.”

If Indian Peak’s transfer to CSI is approved the school will still have to negotiate several issues with the EGSD and Northwest BOCES such as food service and transportation.

Indian Peaks Charter School was established in 2000. The Charter School Institute of Colorado oversees 35 schools with approximately 14,000 students from Durango to Fort Collins.

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