“Great schools in every neighborhood is the core goal of our Denver Plan. And, our SchoolChoice process plays a vital role in that.”
Dear DPS Community,
Under Colorado law, families have the opportunity to choose which school they wish to send their children to. Our mission is to bring that opportunity to life — to ensure that our families have great schools to choose from and that those great schools are in every neighborhood throughout the city.
Great schools in every neighborhood is the core goal of our Denver Plan. And, our SchoolChoice process plays a vital role in that. We have an open, transparent, equitable school choice process among all public schools — both district-run and charter — that has helped Denver be recognized as the top district in the country for school choice.
We celebrated the results of SchoolChoice this week — thousands more families participated in our new online process, and an overwhelming majority of families (over 90%) were able to receive their first or second choice.
At its heart, SchoolChoice is about equity — giving all students access to high-quality schools. We encourage all parents to start with schools in their neighborhood. In addition, we also offer a wide variety of schools throughout the city to meet the very different needs and wishes of our families. Educating families about their opportunities and empowering them to participate in the SchoolChoice process is an annual endeavor that we take up with pride.
The result: Grant Beacon saw its highest level ever of families making it their first choice. “It’s great to see that prospective students and families are seeing what a great place Grant Beacon is and have chosen to be a part of our school,” said Principal Michelle Saab.We gathered this week at Grant Beacon middle school, which is a great example of the benefits that school choice has delivered for communities. Grant Beacon, which has a strong focus on technology and interactive learning, had long been under enrolled. But, it has focused both on bringing back neighborhood families as well as being an appealing opportunity for students outside their boundary.
Parent Nadia Madan-Morrow said, “We considered a lot of factors when we chose Grant Beacon, academic performance among them, but also its diversity, its focus on the Whole Child and its blended learning model.”
We were also heartened to see the number of schools striving for greater school diversity and integration as part of our enrollment pilot aimed at building more integrated schools that reflect the diversity of our communities. Because research shows all students benefit from diversity in their classrooms, a number of our higher-performing, more affluent schools prioritized enrollment for students from low-income families.
We knew we were taking a big step this year with our new online application, but our SchoolChoice team, community partners and incredible school front-office teams stepped up in a big way. From answering questions at schools, staffing neighborhood events and hosting Choice help centers, they went above and beyond to support our families and ease the transition.
To reach our vision Every Child Succeeds, we know all students need access to quality schools, regardless of their background or address. Thank you to our families for taking the first step in choosing a brighter future for our kids.
Pictured above: Grant Beacon parent, Nadia Madan-Morrow, spoke on the importance of SchoolChoice for her son.
As we have been communicating with you, DPS has been working extraordinarily hard and in partnership with superintendents across the state to press our state government to restore education funding to our schools and ensure our students and our educators receive the supports and compensation they deserve. The statewide teachers association, the Colorado Education Association (CEA), is planning a statewide rally of educators on Friday, April 27, to advocate for greater state funding and expects that many of our teachers will participate. As such, we’ve been working with our teachers on a plan that will have as minimal impact as possible on our students and families.
Given the number of teachers expected to participate in CEA’s event that afternoon, DPS has decided to schedule an early release day for all district-managed schools on Friday, April 27. Innovation schools can opt out of the early release schedule and decide to operate on a normal schedule. We felt it was important to get a decision on this as early as possible so schools and families can plan ahead.
The planned early release will not impact student meals, and both the 34th Annual Shakespeare Festival and the African-American Young Ladies’ Summit will continue as scheduled.
Your school leaders will be sharing information about your school’s specific schedule, transportation and afterschool activities. If you have any questions, please reach out to your student’s school.
As in every case, our students’ safety is our top priority, and we will make necessary revisions to these plans to prioritize their well-being. Thank you for your support of our educators and your partnership in our students’ education.
Click here to learn more about the Early Release.
April: Discounted Mammoth, Rapids and DCPA tickets
April 26: Board of Education meeting — public comment
April 27: Early Release Day — See additional information
April 27: African-American Young Ladies Summit
April 27: 34th Annual DPS Shakespeare Festival