A charter school is a publicly funded, independent school established by teachers, parents or community groups under the terms of a written grant. El Paso County is home to 33 of these schools, according to the Colorado League of Charter Schools. Models range from classical curricula to specialization by student groups or mission, such as gifted students, language immersion or entrepreneurship. Here’s a sampling of local offerings. Find more info and charter schools on public school district websites and at coloradoleague.org.
Academy for Advanced Creative Learning (D11)
Gifted K-8 students learn in multi-age divisions rather than age-based grades.
Banning Lewis Academy (D-49)
Fostering intellectual curiosity and exposing K-12 students to diverse cultures with a balance in fine arts, technology and character development.
Colorado Springs Early Colleges (Charter School Institute)
This high school provides the opportunity for students to earn an associate degree or higher. Recipient of John Irwin Schools of Excellence Award 2017.
Global Village Academy (D-11)
K-8 students spend half of each day in language immersion in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, French or German.
James Irwin Charter Elementary, Middle and High Schools (D-2)
Serving nearly 2,000 students in five schools on three campuses, the network prioritizes rigorous instruction, scholarship and character.
Launch High School (Charter School Institute)
An innovative, academic environment acting as an incubator for entrepreneurship.
Thomas MacLaren School (Charter School Institute)
The K-12 school emphasizes rigorous academics, and uniquely uses single-sex classes, original texts and Socratic seminars in its upper school. Recipient of John Irwin Schools of Excellence Award 2017.