Dear DPS Community,
As we have shared previously, we know that students thrive when their school has the resources to provide consistent staffing, robust academics, whole child support and meaningful enrichment programs. However, due to significant declines in enrollment caused by lower birth rates and a changing housing market, our smallest schools are struggling to offer these critical supports to all students. We commit to a process that results in schools with increased, sustainable enrollment by bringing together the students and communities. We have learned from past school closure processes both here in DPS and across the nation. As we learn, we do better. To that end:
- For this consolidation process, we are committed to working with all impacted team members to guarantee a position in DPS for the 2023-24 school year either at the welcoming school or in the rare case of consolidating into an enrollment zone, another position in DPS.
- We believe it is important to keep students together to the greatest extent possible. Students will be automatically enrolled in the welcoming school. In the case of a school consolidating into an enrollment zone, we will work with all families to identify cohorts of students to attend surrounding schools in the enrollment zone and connect them with their new school communities to participate in school welcoming activities and family engagement. (Families can participate in SchoolChoice to explore other options if desired.)
- This spring and summer, we will begin connecting our students, staff and families across schools to get to know each other and share desires for bringing our communities together.
In 2021, the DPS Board of Education directed the district staff to lead a process of reviewing under-enrolled schools and making recommendations to address enrollment challenges. As a result, DPS convened a representative community working group called the Declining Enrollment Advisory Committee, which identified guiding criteria for identifying and/or consolidating schools. This process is based on the committee’s first criteria to identify schools with critically low enrollment.
Criteria #1: Elementary and Middle schools with enrollment less than 215 students.
The School Unification Plan below starts with schools that meet this criteria but also looks at the specifics of each school community. For all the school unifications in the plan, there is a school within two miles that has available capacity, and the resulting unified school will provide equally strong TNLI programs for our multilingual learners.
School Unification Plan:
- Columbian Elementary will unify with Trevista at Trevista.
- Palmer Elementary will unify with Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment K-5 grades at Montclair ECE at Palmer.
- Math Science Leadership Academy (MSLA) will unify with Valverde Elementary at Valverde.
- Schmitt Elementary will unify with Godsman Elementary at Godsman.
- Eagleton Elementary will unify with Cowell Elementary at Cowell.
- Fairview Elementary and Colfax Elementary will unify with K-5 grades at Cheltenham and ECE at Colfax.
- International Academy of Denver at Harrington will unify with Columbine Elementary and Swansea Elementary in a new enrollment zone with Columbine and Swansea.
- Denver Discovery School will unify with schools in the Greater Park Hill – Central Park Enrollment Zone.
- Whittier K-8 will unify with schools in the Greater Five Points Elementary Enrollment Zone and the Near Northeast Middle School Enrollment Zone.
This recommendation will be presented to the Board of Education on Thursday, Nov. 3. The Board of Education will vote on this slate of school consolidation recommendations on Thursday, Nov. 17. A public comment session is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 14. DPS team and community members are always welcome to attend Board of Education public comment sessions and sign up to speak. More information is available here to sign up for public comment.
Additional information on frequently asked questions and available support can be found at www.dpsk12.org. For further support, please reach out to your school’s principal or our Family Constituency Services helpline by calling 720-423-3054.
We are here to support our impacted students, staff and communities through this change.
Dr. Alex Marrero