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Record Participation in DPS SchoolChoice with Over 27,000 Applications

Apr. 19, 2018

Contact: Jessie Smiley, Media Relations, 

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


Round 1 SchoolChoice/ At-A-Glance Participation:

                              2017 2018 Increase % Points Change
ECE 4483 5260 777 17%
Kinder 5194 5507 313 6%
Sixth 5438 5614 176 3%
Ninth 3778 4137 359 10%
All 23111 27102 3991 17%

Match Rates:

Kinder                  2017 2018 % Points Change
1st choice 85% 80% -5.4%
1st or 2nd choice 93% 88% -4.5%
1st, 2nd or 3rd choice 95% 92% -3.9%


Sixth grade         2017 2018 % Points Change
1st choice 81% 83% 2.0%
1st or 2nd choice 92% 94% 3.0%
1st, 2nd or 3rd choice 95% 97% 1.7%


Ninth grade        2017 2018 % Points Change
1st choice 79% 80% 0.6%
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 choice 82% 81% -1.1%
1st or 2nd choice 92% 92% -0.7%
1st, 2nd or 3rd choice 95% 94% -1.0%