This past Thursday (Sept. 22), the Denver school board approved a new charter school centering Black students and culture after it was initially rejected. 5280 Freedom School is set to open its doors to students next fall.
According to The Denver Post, 5280 Freedom School’s opening comes with conditions. The school must fill all of its open seats in its first year. They plan to open with 52 students for both kindergarten and first grade, and add grades each year up to fifth grade.
5280 Freedom School was initially rejected because the school board feared that it would struggle to enroll enough students to be financially viable. The school then appealed the decision and as of last month, the state’s board of education was ordered to reconsider. The board members felt that it was unfair to assume that 5280 Freedom School would face the same fate as other charter schools.
The school wants to empower young Black students to become leaders, including those who identify as queer or trans. According to the school’s mission statement, 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.”
One of their many principles is restorative justice. “We are committed to collectively, lovingly, and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting,” the school’s website states.
The new charter school is currently collecting information from parents with intent to enroll their kids, as well as crowdfunding for additional materials and classroom supplies. There is a GoFundMe fundraiser set up so people can contribute. So far they have raised $18,750 out of their $20,000 goal.