Board of Education Update – January 25, 2018 Regular Board Meeting

DPS Class of 2017 Largest in District History 

The Board of Education tonight celebrated the Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) release last week of 2017 graduation and dropout rates for Colorado school districts, showing the DPS Class of 2017 was the largest graduating class in the district’s history.

After a decade of growth, four-year rate relatively static

Ten years ago, in 2006-07, DPS’ four-year graduation rate was just 38.7%. This year, DPS’ four-year graduation rate is 66.6%, a slight decrease from last year — less than 1%. The dropout rate also increased slightly, by 0.2%, over last year.

“After 10 straight years in which our on-time graduation rate went up and our dropout rate decreased every year, I am disappointed to see the negative movements, however small, in both indicators,” Superintendent Tom Boasberg noted.

Students staying enrolled longer than four years
Districtwide, 86% of students are persisting through high school — they have either graduated, completed high school or are still in school after four years. And more DPS students are graduating after five years as a result of innovative new programs that encourage students to stay in high school for a fifth year.

These programs include ASCENT, which gives students access to a fully-funded fifth year of college classes, providing a head start on an associate or bachelor’s degree; the Early College program; and the CareerConnect CareerResidency Youth Apprenticeship Program.

“As we are encouraging more and more students to take advantage of Concurrent Enrollment [and other College and Career Readiness programs], we really are fostering five- and six-year plans for students,” said Board Member Lisa Flores. She added, “The district’s graduation numbers will continue to change because the narrative behind these numbers is changing.”

Flores also complimented the Denver Scholarship Foundation for its support of DPS students, and determination in working with the schools our students attend to ensure they are persisting in college.

Read the full presentation here, and learn more about college and career readiness at

New and Renewing Charter School Contracts Approved   

The board held a lively discussion after newly-elected Board Secretary Carrie Olson removed all new charter school contracts off the meeting’s consent agenda, saying, “I have heard loudly and clearly from my constituents that they do not want any new charter schools in their neighborhoods.”

Also newly-elected, Board Member Jennifer Bacon expressed that the vote on charters was difficult for her. She said she’d like to see the district “start at the beginning, with our contracts, to think about new terms for accountability and equity.” She said she will push for true diversity in the school models available, including “bringing back a true comprehensive high school in Montbello.”

Board President Anne Rowe said significant progress has been made in DPS school performance, regardless of governance type — charter or district-run. “We need to support schools that support our kids. While progress has been made, we have a long way to go, and we owe it to our kids and our community to do the best we can to provide quality environments for our kids. As we dig in and think about these issues, I hope we can come together.”

Board Treasurer Lisa Flores said she agreed with Bacon’s concern around enrollment and diversity of school models. She said: “I just hope this doesn’t become a conversation focused on pro- or anti-charter, but that we can … continue to focus on providing quality options for our students.”

The board approved contracts for the following new charter schools, which had previously been approved last June, with Olson dissenting on each vote:

  • 5280 High School
  • The CUBE
  • KIPP Sunshine Peak Elementary
  • Rocky Mountain Prep Berkeley
  • DSST Middle School at the Noel Campus

The board tonight renewed the contracts for the following charter schools:

  • Colorado High School Charter
  • Denver Justice High School
  • DSST Cole High School
  • DSST Conservatory Green High School
  • DSST Green Valley Ranch Middle School
  • DSST Stapleton High School
  • GALS (Girls Athletic Leadership School) High School
  • Highline Academy Northeast
  • SOAR Charter School
  • STRIVE Prep – Sunnyside
  • STRIVE Prep – Ruby Hill
  • University Prep – Arapahoe Street
  • Venture Prep High School

The board also approved resolutions to defer the opening of the following charter schools:

  • DDES (Downtown Denver Expeditionary School) High School
  • DSST VIII Middle School
  • DSST Middle School X
  • DSST Middle School XI
  • STRIVE Elementary School Southwest
  • STRIVE Far Northeast Elementary School
  • University Prep III

You can read the contracts and resolutions for each school here.