Group of students posing

Our Vision: Every Learner Thrives

Our Mission

Educational equity is our collective responsibility. We prepare students for career, college and life. We create conditions and partnerships where students, families and team members belong and thrive.

Striving for Excellence: Supporting Brighter Futures for All Students

At Denver Public Schools, we’re focused on building a system that’s designed to help every student thrive. We’re re-focusing our efforts where they matter most: on creating classrooms that are vibrant centers of learning, where caring teachers are engaging their students in rigorous, culturally responsive experiences in order to lift all students toward a bright horizon.

In the last ten years, Denver Public Schools has experienced unprecedented growth and an expansion of programs. 

Building on the strong progress we’ve made, we want to continue transforming Denver Public Schools into a school district grounded in equity. This districtwide focus on equity will be embedded in everything we do, so that we can help break historical patterns and become a school district that is designed to inspire every student to dream big and make their own future.

Denver students outpace their classmates statewide in academic progress.

  • In 2006, DPS students posted the lowest year-to-year academic progress on state reading and math tests of Colorado’s 12 largest school district. Today, DPS students lead all those districts in combined reading and math year-to-year academic growth.

Families are choosing DPS.

  • Enrollment in preschool through grade 12 has grown nearly 28% since 2005, up to 93,356 in fall 2018.

More DPS students are staying in school and graduating, and more of our graduates are going to college. 

  • Our four-year, on-time graduation rate increased from 66% in 2017 to 70.2% in 2018, which means 317 more of our students graduated. For our students who start with us in ninth grade, their likelihood for success is even greater. Our class of 2018 saw a 77.4% graduation rate for students who were enrolled in DPS schools all four years. Our graduation numbers have been on the rise for more than a decade — up from just 39% in 2007. 

  • Our dropout rate is declining. In 2005-06, 11% of DPS students dropped out of school compared to a 4.1% dropout rate in 2017-18. 

  • The number of DPS students enrolling in college the fall after high school graduation has increased 92% from 2005. In the fall of 2018, 2,461 DPS graduates enrolled in college. In 2005, that number was 1,282.

  • DPS graduates from the class of 2018 enrolled in 322 different colleges around the world. 

Throughout our district, students are provided with opportunities to explore career paths and plan for their futures, and they are getting a headstart on paths toward meaningful careers and college credits. 

  • Free college in high school is helping put our students on a clear path to success. Last year alone, DPS students earned 54,000 college credits while enrolled in high school! Based on average college tuition rates, this equals more than $8.7 million in savings in college costs for DPS students and families. 

  • Last year, DPS graduates also received more than $85 million in scholarships.

  • Students who would be traditionally underrepresented in Colorado’s highest-growth industries are now accessing those same industries while in high school through programs and paid work experiences like internships and apprenticeships. In what is now a national model, our DPS CareerConnect program has grown from 5,600 middle and high schoolers back in 2015 to more than 12,600 in 2018. 

We’re working together to close gaps that lead to inequities in access to higher education and a great career. Today in DPS, more Latinx and African-American graduates are enrolling in college and earning college credits for free while in high school. 

  • In 2006, 711 African-American and Latinx graduates enrolled in college the fall after high school, compared to 1,413 in 2018.

  • Access to college prep courses also increased dramatically for traditionally underserved students. Latinx and African-American students saw a nearly eight-fold increase in college credits earned by passing AP exams during this time. The number of exams successfully passed grew from 198 in 2006 to 1,573 in 2018.

We’re creating a culture that supports the whole child. 

  • In DPS, we are committed to providing equitable and inclusive environments where we ensure students are healthy, supported, engaged, challenged, safe, and socially and emotionally intelligent.

  • We support student growth for all students through a variety of programs, including social-emotional learning, social workers, school psychologists, nursing services, health centers and community partnerships.  

  • With a focus on scratch-made food, our Garden-to-Cafeteria program provides an opportunity for our students to grow fresh vegetables in their school gardens with the goal of supplying some of their harvest to the school cafeterias.

We celebrate our diversity. 

  • In DPS, nearly 37,500 of our students are English Language Learners. More than 170 languages are spoken in our schools, including Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese, Amharic, Somali, French, Nepali, Mandarin, Russian and Tigrigna!

  • English Language Learners in DPS have moved from trailing their peers statewide to outperforming them. In 2005, these Denver students were 11 percentage points below their peers statewide in reading, nine points behind in writing and 10 points below in math. In 2017, DPS English language learners outperformed their peers statewide by five points in reading and writing, and three points in math.