Board of Education Update – June 14, 2018 Board of Education Meeting

Innovation Schools, iZone Approvals

At the June 14, 2018 Board of Education meeting, the board approved several new innovation schools and iZones previously discussed at the May 14, June 7 and June 11 board meetings.

Established under the Innovation Schools Act of 2008, innovation schools are DPS schools that — through the votes of teachers, school leaders and community members — elect to waive certain requirements of state education laws, collective bargaining agreements and/or district policies. The Act also makes it possible for groups of schools to submit a plan to create an innovation school zone, or iZone. The schools in an iZone must share “common interests, such as geographical location or educational focus.”

An innovation zone application must first be developed and approved by the staff of all the schools in the iZone, then by the DPS Board of Education and finally by the State Board of Education. The DPS board must review iZones every three years, and also approve which schools are permitted to enter the Zone.

The board approved innovation status for the following schools:

The board also approved that Valdez Elementary School be included in the Luminary Learning Network (LLN), the district’s first iZone, established in 2015. Valdez will join Ashley Elementary, Cole Arts & Science Academy, Denver Green School and Creativity Challenge Community in the LLN iZone.

The Northeast Denver Innovation Zone officially became the second iZone approved by the DPS Board of Education. The iZone plan was brought forward by McAuliffe International, McAuliffe Manual, Northfield High School and Swigert International. It will become operational in August 2018 for a three-year term if approved by the State Board of Education.

SchoolChoice Round One Update

The board reviewed the results of DPS SchoolChoice enrollment round one for the 2018-19 school year. SchoolChoice aims to level the playing field by giving all DPS students equal access to a high-quality education, regardless of their address or socio-economic background.

The presentation focused on participation in the process, the supply of seats available and match rate for fulfilling our families’ choices.

  • Participation: DPS celebrated record participation in the SchoolChoice process, with more than 27,102 applications submitted in round one — the highest since unified enrollment launched in 2012. ECE increased 15% versus 2017. Participation rates for students in transition were 88% for kindergarten, 84% for grade 6, 76% for grade 9, and 83% across all these three transition grades.
  • Offer: High quality seats are being filled at a high rate, with 87% of blue/green seats filled versus 63% of orange/red seats. However, we still do not have enough high quality seats — 67% of families selected a blue/green school as their first choice but only 55% of available seats met that criteria.
  • Match: SchoolChoice placed 92% of kindergarteners, 97% of sixth-graders and 95% of ninth-graders in their first-, second- or third-choice school.

The SchoolChoice process ensures equity, consistency and simplicity in the district’s enrollment process. The approach is a crucial piece of the district’s vision of Every Child Succeeds. In working toward that vision, DPS is committed to the Denver Plan 2020 goal of placing Great Schools in Every Neighborhood.

Round two of SchoolChoice began May 1. Round two is for families who did not participate in round one, or who participated in round one but want to re-explore their options. Round two is operated at the school level on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can learn more about DPS SchoolChoice and enroll in round two here, read the full news release here and the full board report here.

Parent-Teacher Home Visit Program Nears 11,000 Visits This Year

DPS’ Parent-Teacher Home Visit Program has more than doubled its partner schools from 59 in the 2014-15 school year to 130 this school year, cumulatively conducting 10,822 home visits this year alone. DPS has the second largest home visit program in the country.

Home visits between school staff and families are focused on building positive relationships that support students, centered around the questions: “What are your hopes and dreams for your child?” They are totally voluntary for staff and families, and can be hosted anywhere outside of school — whether that’s in the student’s home, or at a local park, a library or other meeting space. Meetings are typically 20- to 30-minutes long and are proven to improve student achievement, attendance and behavior.

To learn more, visit