Urban Land Conservancy celebrates the achievements of our partnerships that create and preserve nonprofit facilities and affordable housing for communities.
ULC’s Monthly Partner Spotlight shines a light on partners who demonstrate the value of collaboration, furthering our mission to improve the lives of Metro Denver residents and beyond through our real estate investments and community assets.
Congratulations to our December 2020 Partner Spotlight of the Month: New Legacy Charter School
New Legacy Charter School is one of those special places Coloradans should feel lucky to have in their home state. Employing a unique approach to education, New Legacy provides support to pregnant and parenting high school eligible students, both male and female, and their children, age 0-5. The school’s vision is to create a legacy of education to compelling careers, financial independence, and positive parenting for young families. They achieve this vision by providing learning opportunities for parents to raise healthy children while they support their graduation prepared for success in college and careers.
Although New Legacy works with a particularly vulnerable population, their accomplishments outpace both state and national averages because when the right conditions are created, everyone has an opportunity to succeed. This past year their graduation rate was at 88% overall and 77% among teen parents, which is 54% higher than the national average for teen mothers. New Legacy’s Early Learning Center is rated level four out of five through Colorado Shines, putting it in the top 13% in the state. During the first two quarters of the 2019-2020 school year, 86% of Early Learning Center students met age-appropriate development and school readiness milestones. And 100% of New Legacy’s pregnant and parenting students showed growth in parenting skills and child development knowledge over the course of the year.
Steven Bartholomew said “As the executive director of New Legacy, I am blessed to work with and for amazing students and their families. I am also blessed to work with equally amazing staff. New Legacy is now in its sixth year and, even through this pandemic, we are moving positively into our future.”
New Legacy is the only high school focused on serving teen parents and their children on the east side of the Denver metro area, and it is the only one anywhere in the metro area serving teen mothers and fathers. An emphasis on health and wellness is woven into all their programs., including comprehensive sexual health, healthy parenting, healthy pregnancy mental wellness, fitness and movement, and a healthy breakfast and lunch for all students and their children.
The high school offers a flexible curriculum that prepares students for the future by promoting career and/or college readiness. Each student receives one-on-one academic support and opportunities for personalized learning at his or her own pace. The high school also includes an English-language learning program that combines language skills with literacy and academics. And because childcare is one of the biggest obstacles to teen parents’ consistent school attendance, New Legacy’s onsite Early Learning Center (ELC) removes this barrier. The ELC serves children ages six weeks to five years, preparing them for kindergarten and beyond. It also provides a Parenting Lab in which pregnant and parenting students apply techniques they have learned in the Parenting Education Program.
In addition, the Parenting Education Program is required of all pregnant and parenting students to develop positive parenting strategies and learn about child development. As students learn how to care for their children, they also go through Post Secondary Preparation, where they discover what options are best suited to their future goals.
Urban Land Conservancy and New Legacy’s partnership began six years ago, and our collaborative efforts underscores the effectiveness of employing unique approaches when addressing communities facing steep barriers. In December of 2014, ULC purchased a vacant bowling alley in Aurora for the future site of New Legacy as they aimed to prove their two generation education program.
“ULC used its real estate expertise and resources to buy a vacant bowling alley, demolish it, and then build a two-generational school in only eight months for under $7M,” said Aaron Miripol, ULC President & CEO. New Legacy used its educational expertise to make the school an incredible home and launchpad for its students.”
In early November, New Legacy purchased the Aurora-based building it was leasing from ULC, creating a permanent home for its programming. The land will remain in ULC’s land trust to keep it permanently affordable for the Aurora community.
“New Legacy also worked hard to purchase the building at a discount, because they didn’t have to buy the land, which remains in ULC’s Land Trust for long term community stewardship. This is exactly the type of outcome ULC works to cultivate with our unique methods, including land acquisition and preservation in neighborhoods at threat of gentrification. We are fortunate to have an amazing partner in New Legacy,” said Miripol.
Having a permanent, accessible place to provide services for all students is critical. “In these uncertain times, being able to control our own destiny, as we now do as owners of our building, is particularly important,” says Bartholomew, “Our work remains as critical as ever, and we continue to rely on our committed community to support our students and their families.”