One of the pillars of an extraordinary community is providing citizens with high quality educational experiences. On Tuesday, October 16, SUN held its annual Communities Championing for Children Education Forum to unite community members, schools, and district leadership. This year the forum focused on the three new middle school proposals, Denver Green School, High Tech Elementary, and Beacon Network, submitted to Denver Public Schools, as well as an update on the achievements being made at Northfield High School.
Applicants and Process for New Middle School in North Stapleton
Denver Green School, the highest performing middle school in Denver Public Schools, celebrated achieving the highest growth in math and literacy of the 58 middle schools. How do they do it? Community and joy. DGS prioritizes community, intentional leadership, educating students to live a more sustainable life, and making learning relevant through a wide array of excursions and arts. Prioritizing the Stapleton community, DGS is determined to meet the community’s desire to have foreign language offerings, a robust sports program, and dynamic range of the arts. Learn about the Denver Green School’s model, farm and garden, and excursions at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ksce2JuFtzY. Additional information is available at: https://www.dgsnorthfield.org/.
High Tech Elementary, inspired by the successful High Tech schools developed by a coalition of San Diego civic leaders and educators, shared their desire to Reach Up, Reach Out, and Reach In. Reach Up: High Tech desires to be the first ECE-8 school with more seats at middle school than elementary, creating available seats for students entering High Tech from other elementary schools. Utilizing a 21st Century learning environment, complete with maker space, High Tech students are immersed in the learning process through Project-Based Learning (PBL), technology, enhanced exploration, discussion and reflection. Reach Out: High Tech students participate in “learning families,” groups of 12-15 students working with an advisor to provide authentic opportunities to grow socially in a safe environment. Reach In: Students have authentic opportunities to practice leadership, utilize PBL, and engage with global pen pals. Additional information is available at: http://hightechelementary.dpsk12.org/middle-school/.
Beacon Middle School presented four focus points for the proposed middle school: 1) blended learning, including the utilization of 1:1 technology, 2) extended school day providing opportunities for enrichment for all students; including sports, leadership, arts, culture, and STEM taught by teachers and community providers, 3) positive character traits including behavioral incentives encouraging students to earn points to be spent at the school store, and 4) challenging students at the appropriate level to prepare for high school and the workforce. Additional information is available at: https://beaconnetworkschools.org/
Next Steps in Selecting the School
The DPS Board of Education will vote on the quality of new school applications on November 15, 2018. This vote is only for schools seeking to be the Greater Park Hill-Stapleton middle school who have not yet been approved on a quality basis.
The DPS Board of Education will vote on the placement of one of these applicants at the Park Street Campus at their meeting on December 20, 2018. Only those applications approved on a quality basis may be considered for placement.
Northfield High School
Northfield High School joined the Forum to celebrate their successes. Now serving 820 students in grades 9-12, NHS will celebrate its first graduating class on May 28 at 2pm. Leaders proclaimed, “It’s a great time to be a Nighthawk,” and celebrated their International Baccalaureate program, seniors earning college credit, and the 18 athletic programs offered, including varsity sports. In anticipation of serving over 900 students next year and 1600 at build out, NHS is expanding their campus and is in need of an auditorium. Their current cafetorium, available 3 of 8 hours each day, is insufficient in meeting the needs of students. Northfield High School expressed the need for an auditorium to serve both students and the community at-large. Every other comprehensive high school in Denver has a traditional auditorium, and Northfield wants to provide its students with an equitable opportunity, as the arts are a critical academic component of a robust high school education.
Make Your Voice Heard
Our community needs YOU to be a champion for our children! Communicate your voice to district leadership. You can email the Denver Public School Board at firstname.lastname@example.org and Jennifer Bacon, our District 4 Board Representative, at Jennifer_Bacon@dpsk12.org, as well as our At-Large Board Members: Happy Haynes, Happy_Haynes@dpsk12.org, and Barbara O’Brien, Barbara_Obrien@dpsk12.org. Examine the school models and communicate why you believe our community needs a particular program. Also, be sure to advocate for an auditorium to support performances in our NE Denver community!