Traditionally public school students have known exactly what school they will attend based on their neighborhood boundary. But that system didn’t work with the rapid growth at Stapleton. Homes were initially spread out and everyone attended the one and only school. With growth came new schools, but families didn’t want to change schools because a new one was built closer to their home. The solution was a zone. Everyone could attend any of the schools in the zone, subject to availability of seats based on a lottery and established priorities (such as for siblings and children of full time employees).
A year ago, DPS instituted the zone concept for Stapleton and Park Hill residents to have a guaranteed seat at one of five middle schools, but not an assurance of attending any particular one.
Stapleton is only 60 percent developed and growing rapidly. The middle school class size in the shared boundary area grew by 150 students in the past year, changing the percent of those who got their first choice from 98 percent last year to 75 percent this year. This dramatic growth and change in class sizes has created anxiety for families with children entering kindergarten and middle school, wondering what their chances will be of getting into their first choice school.