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Our DPS Weekly: Choice – For All Our Families

Jan. 27, 2017

“We’re working hard to give all of our families one great system of schools and a simple path to access all of them.”

Dear DPS Community,

This is National School Choice Week, and we’re proud to be recognized as a leader in increasing the number of quality schools our families have to choose from and in empowering them to find the right school for their child. A critical component of this is ensuring that there is equity and collaboration among the public schools serving your children, regardless of whether those public schools are district-run or charter.

During our choice period (which ends Jan. 31), we urge parents to start first with looking at their neighborhood schools. Our central goal of our strategic Denver Plan is to have Great Schools in Every Neighborhood. Through a combination of talented teachers and school leaders, school supports and, where necessary, school turnaround efforts, we are seeing significantly improved schools in all neighborhoods in the city, which has caused Denver over the last decade to experience the most rapid enrollment and academic growth of any major city school district.

A key element of improving school choice has been making the system easier and more efficient for our parents. We were one of the country’s first districts to go to a single streamlined choice system in which all schools play by the same enrollment rules and parents use a single form to choose among any school — district-run or charter — in Denver. That has made the school choice system more equitable and accessible for families.

We also have high expectations of service for all our public schools. In many school districts, charter schools are not held to the same enrollment expectations as district-run schools. In Denver, that is not the case.

Learn three easy steps for navigating SchoolChoice in this video.

All our district-run and charter schools enroll students who move in the middle of the school year; they are expected to serve students with severe disabilities; they provide necessary supports to English-language learners; they follow the same practices with regard to expulsions and transfers. We require all of our schools to provide equitable service in all of these areas. And our service commitment means providing district facilities and equitable funding to all of our schools and looking for innovative ways to extend transportation service to put more schools within our families’ reach.

School choice should not be a choice between two different school systems operating under two different sets of expectations. That’s not healthy for the community. It’s not equitable. And it’s not putting the needs of students first. We’re working hard to give all of our families one great system of schools and a simple path to access all of them.


Read more online in this week’s edition of Our DPS Weekly: Choice – For All Our Families.