The Education Innovator #2
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The Education Innovator
 March 12, 2003 • Number 2
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Innovations in the News

Ridge View Academy Charter School, Denver, Colorado
The Colorado General Assembly, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Youth Corrections, and the Denver Public School District have developed an innovative model for rehabilitating young men in Colorado through a charter school. The school is not the typical punitive institution with high barbed wire fences surrounding the property. Resembling a small liberal arts college, Ridge View Academy's major emphasis is on character and the trustworthiness of its students.

Responding to the need for additional correctional institutions, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Division of Youth Corrections determined the next juvenile detention facility constructed would be based on a new approach. DHS opted for creating a place that would focus on academics, vocational training, and a positive peer culture in an open, unfenced campus. On January 19, 2001, the Denver Public School Board of Trustees approved the Ridge View Academy's charter application.

Ridge View Youth Services Center and Ridge View Academy are operated by Rite of Passage, an organization with 15 years of experience working with high-risk youth. Rite of Passage provides a continuum of services that allows youth an opportunity to make positive changes. The school offers nine hours of instruction per day for 250 day per year. Activities are centered on academics, community service and vocational training. Other services such as drug and alcohol counseling are available to students as well. An individualized program can be designed for each student, with a balance of individual and group learning strategies. Ridge View Academy requires that all graduates be enrolled in school, enlisted in military service or employed when they leave the school.

Rite of Passage received a grant to develop Ridge View Academy through the Public Charter Schools Program administered by the Office of Innovation and Improvement. The charter school plans to reach its 500-student capacity by July 2003. For more information about Rite of Passage and Ridge View Academy, go to


What's New
From the U.S. Department of Education

A new Department of Education web site to help school officials plan for any emergency is now available.

On March 20, the U.S. Department of Education's Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives will host free workshops across the country on how to apply to provide supplemental services. Deadline to register: March 14.

Secretary Paige hails the launch of the new online competency-based Teachers College of Western Governors University, an OII grantee.


Innovations in the News

More money doesn't necessarily buy high scores on Michigan's MEAP test. Standard & Poor's released its second comprehensive analysis of Michigan's K-12 education system. The report, reviewing both academic and financial data from districts in the state, covers a five-year period. [MoreThe Detroit Free Press]

Parental Choice
An estimated 12,000 students enrolled in school districts in Wisconsin other than their own this school year because of the public school choice program. This accounts for $62 million moving from one district to another, so "marketing" is now part of the education vocabulary these days. [More-JS]

A measure that will set up additional testing to comply with No Child Left Behind won final approval from the South Dakota Legislature. [More-Aberdeen News]


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Last Modified: 04/26/2011