Dinosaur on right path

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They've done it.

Dinosaur Community Charter School has picked itself up and dusted itself off. It's standing on its own two feet and making a fresh start.

School officials reported Friday that the first week of operation under the Hope Online Learning Academy has been successful and glitch-free.

The transition, suggested by the Moffat County School District board, has been completed in the few short weeks before the start of a new school year.

Administrators said everyone -- students, parents and teachers -- seems to be excited about the change.

"We haven't seen any kids frowning or unhappy to be at school," Dinosaur school board President Richard Blakley said. "It's been a great atmosphere."

We're excited, too.

What a change from the news we're used to hearing from the oft-criticized Dinosaur school. The students seemed happy before. They praised the individualized attention they received and the accepting attitude of the school. And we expect those sentiments to remain.

Blakley said Hope Online will work with the school to ensure it's in compliance with mandates and the No Child Left Behind Act.

Still, children receive one-on-one attention they can use to challenge themselves and improve on the specific areas where they need help.

The change in attitude comes from above. Dinosaur school used to operate under a charter with Moffat County School District. And the relationship between Dinosaur and Moffat County officials was a turbulent one.

The district board and Dinosaur school have butted heads for some time. In November 2005, Moffat County School Board members revoked the institution's charter for non-compliance with state and federal laws.

Since then, the two groups have been trying to work out an arrangement that satisfied both parties. As the district closed in on a decision to shut the school down and send students to Rangely or Vernal, Utah, the board suggested that Dinosaur become an online school.

Enter Hope Online.

After some research, Dinosaur officials agreed, and it appears this may be the best thing for both the school and the district.

Under the online format, students complete coursework in the Hope Online curriculum via the Internet. They are also required to regularly attend school in person.

The board has contended that it was difficult for a district to operate a school 90 miles away.

Dinosaur parents and school officials have insisted the school board simply did not care about the school or the children who attend it.

Maybe the board and the school didn't ever see eye-to-eye, but somehow, it seems they both got what they wanted.

The board wanted to wash its hands of a school riddled with problems.

School officials wanted an agency that could help them run the school properly and effectively.Hope Online was the answer to both.

We're pleased that Dinosaur school is on its own and that they're succeeding in doing so, and even more pleased that students are getting what they need and deserve -- a good education.

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