DPS Partners with Community College of Denver to Provide Students More Opportunities to Qualify for College Enrollment

Nov. 11, 2020

Students who complete a Literacy or Mathematics Capstone will no longer have to take an entrance exam to apply for college coursework

DENVER – Denver Public Schools (DPS) and the Community College of Denver (CCD) announced a partnership today to provide students with greater access to college English and mathematics courses.

Historically, in order to enroll in college-level classes, students had to earn a qualifying score on one of the college-entrance exams such as the ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER. Effective immediately, CCD will allow students who complete a DPS Literacy or Mathematics Capstone to use it as evidence of college readiness. The Capstones provide students the opportunity to meet competency demonstrations, one of three DPS graduation requirements. Through Capstones, students are able to demonstrate core content competencies and show readiness for 100-level English and math college courses.

“This partnership is awesome for Denver Public Schools, the Community College of Denver, the City of Denver, and most importantly our students. This removes a barrier to college entry and completion, while also recognizing our students’ hard work towards achieving a Literacy or Mathematics Capstone,” said Bernard McCune, Senior Executive Director of Career and College Success for Denver Public Schools.

Schools are embedding the Capstones into the classroom experience as a way for students to demonstrate graduation competency in English and math. Students access the Mathematics and Literacy Capstones through performance tasks that are aligned with district curriculum.

“Accessing college courses while in high school provides important opportunities to accelerate college credential completion, saving students and their families considerable time and money,” said Ruthanne K. Orihuela, Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs, Community College of Denver. “Additionally, early success in college classes helps build identity as a college student already making progress toward a postsecondary certificate or degree completion.”

Since 2008, DPS has offered free college courses to high school students through the Concurrent Enrollment program. Since 2015, more than 23,000 DPS students have simultaneously earned both high school and college credits, saving them time and money on their path toward a meaningful career. More students of color are taking advantage of the Concurrent Enrollment program than ever before, with a 43% increase in the last five years. Taking college courses while in high school prepares students for a changing workforce, where three out of four jobs will require postsecondary education.