The new Northfield High School (NHS) turned out to be the second most requested high school in the city (after East)—and it had the most requests per seat of all DPS high schools.
The school’s admission priorities, as set by the DPS Board, are that all boundary students (Stapleton and East Park Hill) are guaranteed a seat if they want one, and after that 35 percent of the seats are set aside for students from Far Northeast Denver (FNE). Interest was strong from FNE students, who represented 65 percent of those whose first choice was NHS.
Principal Avi Tropper has already hired the administrative staff, an advisor, a history and a science teacher. He is observing literature and math teachers present lessons in local middle schools in March and April and expects to hire more teachers soon. The faculty will vote on the school’s innovation plan early in the school year.
Tropper asks teacher applicants to read the school innovation plan and write how the plan fits with their philosophy as an educator. He says “…a key part of the process for any teacher is to buy into the vision of the school where you want to be part of the team.” One component of the innovation plan is that teachers will serve at the will of the principal in the first year, and after good ratings in the first year they will have annual contracts.
Northfield students will select two “pathways” (interest areas) that they will pursue throughout their four years in high school. In a survey at the orientation, engineering was the most popular student selection in the STEM choices (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Other STEM options were computer science and biomedical science. Tropper reports that overall, engineering was the most popular pathway selected.
The arts pathways to be offered in the fall of 2015 will be music, studio arts, creative writing and theater. Studio arts was the most popular in this group. The economics and business pathway and the politics and law pathways will also be launched this fall.
A final list of fall sports is not yet available, but at the meeting volleyball was the most popular student choice for girls. Soccer for boys and cross country for boys and girls were also listed as popular fall choices, and those coaches have been hired.
Since the founding class was announced, Tropper has been visiting the feeder middle schools and has met with nearly all the new students. He says, “The excitement, passion and diversity that our students are bringing to the school is amazing.”