Find COVID-19 guidance, testing and vaccine information.


South High Awarded Gold by “Schools of Opportunity”

Jan. 22, 2018

Contact: Jessie Smiley, Media Relations,

One of only eight schools in the nation recognized as creating remarkable learning opportunities

Denver – The National Education Policy Center, which is located at the University of Colorado-Boulder, has recognized South High School for its extraordinary commitment to equity and excellence by giving all students the opportunity to succeed. The policy center awarded South High School, Denver Public Schools’ (DPS) only Newcomer Center serving refugee students who have had limited or interrupted formal education, with a Gold Recognition by the Schools of Opportunity Recognition Program.

The program committee recognized schools for engaging in proven practices that close opportunity gaps for student learning. In doing so, they seek to encourage such practices by bringing attention to what good schooling looks like, by showing policymakers alternative ways to ascertain school performance, and by inspiring schools to improve learning outcomes for all students with strong and welcoming cultures.

Recognized schools are all required to demonstrate either advanced or exemplary practices in the two primary criteria. Gold schools must demonstrate either advanced or exemplary practices on at least five criteria, of which at least three must be exemplary. Some of the 10 criteria include:

  • Broaden and enrich learning opportunities
  • Create and maintain a healthy school culture
  • Sustain equitable and meaningful parent and community engagement

“We are so proud to be awarded a Gold level distinction as a School of Opportunity,” said South High School principal Jen Hanson. “I want to extend a HUGE ‘Thank You’ to our incredible teachers and support staff. They all make South possible and are the reason our kids succeed.”

Each “School of Opportunity” will receive a banner to hang in the school and a logo to post on their websites. In addition, each will be invited to participate in the Policy Center’s newly formed Schools of Opportunity Network (SOON). The Washington Post is recognizing these eight schools.