DPS Confident 500-600 Seats Are Enough for New Middle School
Denver Public Schools’ current Call for New Quality Schools is part of a robust conversation about middle school choice and capacity in the Greater Park Hill-Stapleton enrollment zone.
As part of that conversation, the September SUN News concluded that a school twice the size of the 500 to 600 students called for is needed to best serve the community. DPS carefully considered the need for additional middle school seats in the zone – utilizing enrollment forecasts conducted by expert third-party researchers – and is confident that a 500-to-600 student middle school will best respond to projected growth and provide for an effective SchoolChoice process for students and families.
Currently, 2,304 students live in the enrollment zone. The Denver Regional Council of Governments projects 2,805 middle school students will reside in the zone by 2021-22 – an increase of approximately 500 students. By 2022, projections indicate that the middle school population will begin to stabilize. We expect some net movement of students in and out of the zone, and that the school size DPS called for will accommodate the total number of projected students.
During the 2018 SchoolChoice process, 97% of sixth graders in the GPHS zone were placed in one of their top two choices and 92% were placed in their top choice. At the start of the 2018-19 school year, 50 sixth-grade students in the zone were on the McAuliffe waitlist – substantially fewer than the 136 cited in the Sept. 1 article.
With additional capacity provided by the new school, students will continue to be matched with their desired schools at very high rates and the zone will be able to serve both new residents and a meaningful number of students from outside of the zone.
—Respectfully, Jim Carpenter, Executive Director of Choice and Planning, Denver Public Schools
A Parent’s Concerns about the New Middle School
The following list of questions and concerns are in direct response to the Call for New Quality Schools and the recent discovery that the new Greater Park Hill-Stapleton (GPHS) middle school will be co-located on the Park Street Campus along with Inspire Elementary School.
There is Not Enough Space
There is a gap between the Call that requires a middle school that can accommodate 500-600 students and the Park Street Campus middle school expansion, which was designed to hold approximately 450 students.
The original design was for a middle school expansion of 10 classrooms. The proposed design now calls for 18 classrooms.
DPS is now creating an overcrowded campus.
- How will DPS support adding an additional 50-150 students at a campus whose facilities are not designed to accommodate the additional growth?
- Why did DPS not build out the middle school expansion while they were building Inspire Elementary last year?
Denver Public Schools’ Lack of Transparency
If the intent all along was to place the new middle school on the Park Street Campus along with Inspire Elementary, then this should have been placed in writing in the Call. Based on the fact that Inspire Elementary will be a shared campus, Inspire families would like to know…
- How does DPS support shared campuses? How will DPS ensure alignment with both schools? What does the escalation process look like? DPS needs to address the overall plan of how the Park Street Campus will operate and make it publicly available.
- Inspire Families should have significant input in the middle school selection process considering we will be sharing a campus with the new middle school starting the 2019-20 school year.
Listening to the GPHS Community
The GPHS community has asked for a large, comprehensive middle school with a wide range of clubs, electives, and sports, similar to McAuliffe International. Three schools submitted letters of intent to apply. What community assessments have DPS conducted and what are the results? What will DPS do if it’s determined that the three schools that submitted letters of intent to apply do not meet the requests of the community?
—Robyn Broghammer, Inspire Elementary PTO President
Stand Up for Health and Safety—Vote Yes on Proposition 112, Safer Setbacks from Fracking
I support Proposition 112 because I know from my own experience that the oilfield as an industry is not concerned with the wellbeing of its employees and is much less concerned with the health of the public.
I first worked on the oil rigs running casing in West Texas. Then later I unloaded trailers full of empty sacks that had contained materials used to make drilling fluid. While unloading these trailers at the landfill, I would breathe in these powders. I would ask for protective gear repeatedly, but it was not provided/replaced on a regular schedule. I started noticing that I produced a lot more phlegm, that my lungs felt full of mucus and I was always coughing it up. These are symptoms that I still have to this day.
I think that there are many oil workers who have experienced their health deteriorating but fear to get tested. There is also a cultural aspect to this: many men of color feel that our worth is connected to toughness, and this depends on our ability to work. I realize that there is also an oil field sub-culture that discourages workers from getting tested. I ended up leaving the oilfield because I knew that I was causing damage to my body.
Now we have the opportunity to stand up for health and safety by keeping these damaging oil and gas fracking operations farther away from our homes and schools. Please vote Yes on Proposition 112 – Safer Setbacks from Fracking.
Miguel Ceballos-Ruiz , Candidate for Denver City Council District 8