Contact: Jessie Smiley, Media Relations, Jessie_Smiley@dpsk12.org
Denver Public Schools Reveals Round One SchoolChoice Results
Denver – Students were placed in their most-preferred schools in high numbers as Denver Public Schools (DPS) marked the end of another successful enrollment season. SchoolChoice aims to level the playing field by giving all DPS students equal access to a high-quality education, regardless of their address or socio-economic background.
DPS celebrated record participation in the SchoolChoice process, with over 27,000 applications submitted. Round one wrapped up last week with the district notifying families of their students’ school assignments for the 2018-19 school year.
For the seventh year, DPS provided students with equitable access to all schools through its unique and nationally-renowned enrollment process. For two years in a row, the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, The Brookings Institution, rated DPS No. 1 in the country for school choice among large districts. The SchoolChoice process ensures equity, consistency and simplicity in the district’s enrollment process. The approach is a crucial piece of the district’s vision of Every Child Succeeds. In working toward that vision, DPS is committed to the Denver Plan 2020 goal of placing Great Schools in Every Neighborhood.
“We have a goal to have a great school in every neighborhood,” said Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova. “We think that means any school can be a great school – district-run, charter or innovation school. What we love is when we walk into a school, set aside those labels, and know we are in a great place where learning is happening for our students and families.”
The DPS SchoolChoice process allows families to rank their top five school choices on a single form. DPS switched to an online-only application system for the first time to simplify the process further for families. DPS was the first district in the country in which all its schools, whether traditional, charter or magnet, participated in its choice program. Prior to 2011-12, families had to complete different applications for different schools on different timelines.
This year, SchoolChoice placed 92% of kindergarteners, 97% of sixth-graders and 95% of ninth-graders in their first-, second- or third-choice school.
SchoolChoice is primarily for families with students who will be transitioning into a new school the following school year, including those entering kindergarten, middle school and high school. The process is also open to families who are not necessarily in a transition year but would like the opportunity to choose a new school for their student. All families are encouraged to consider their neighborhood school first.
“We leveraged SchoolChoice to enroll our son at Grant Beacon [Middle School] because it was the best fit for our son and it really met his learning style,” said sixth-grade parent Nadia Manan Morrow. “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.”
“I like Grant Beacon because it fits my style of learning; they make learning fun,” added Nadia’s son JoJo, a sixth-grade student at Grant Beacon Middle School. “You read a book, and don’t just write about it for one day. You stay on it for a while, doing activities to make you learn it better.”
Because every school is an option in this single enrollment process, it’s crucial that DPS provides families with the tools they need to adequately research schools and make informed decisions. These tools include the annual Great Schools Enrollment Guides, the online SchoolFinder tool, five regional School Expos and individual school tours.
Round two of SchoolChoice begins May 1. Round two is for families who did not participate in Round one, or who participated in Round one but want to re-explore their options. Round two is operated at the school level on a first-come, first-served basis. Families are asked to fill out the round two form online at schoolchoice.dpsk12.org.
Round 1 SchoolChoice/ At-A-Glance Participation:
|2017||2018||Increase||% Points Change|
|Kinder||2017||2018||% Points Change|
|1st or 2nd choice||93%||88%||-4.5%|
|1st, 2nd or 3rd choice||95%||92%||-3.9%|
|Sixth grade||2017||2018||% Points Change|
|1st or 2nd choice||92%||94%||3.0%|
|1st, 2nd or 3rd choice||95%||97%||1.7%|
|Ninth grade||2017||2018||% Points Change|
|1st or 2nd choice||93%||93%||-0.6%|
|1st, 2nd or 3rd choice||96%||95%||-0.9%|
|K, 6, 9||2017||2018||% Points Change|
|1st or 2nd choice||92%||92%||-0.7%|
|1st, 2nd or 3rd choice||95%||94%||-1.0%|