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What you should know about Denver Public Schools in Stapleton

Friday, June 14, 2013 Leave a Comment

Forest City hosted some of us social media folks for a quarterly luncheon yesterday. We were lucky to hear from Kurt Dennis, the Principal of McAuliffe Middle School and Sonny Zinn and the leadership team at Isabella Bird Community School, as well as a Will Lee-Ashley, DPS Director of Planning and Analysis. Lots going on in Stapleton, and we got to hear it straight from the horses mouth. So to speak.

So here's the things you should know about DPS in Stapleton:

1. Crews broke ground on the new Eastbridge elementary school, Isabella Bird Community School at 26th & Kingston! The school design is gorgeous - every detail has been thought through to match the school's values of community, giving back, exploration, nature. The school opens this fall with kindergarten and 1st grade, as well as ECE-4. The school will temporarily be located in the old Samsonite building - which is where Monarch Montessori school is located.  There are spots available! The school will  move into its permanent facility in Bluff Lake for the 2014-15 school year.

2. McAuliffe Middle School is moving to the Smiley Middle School campus in Park Hill. More importantly, the school board will be voting on a proposal for Park Hill and Stapleton residents to share middle school boundaries. That means all students from both neighborhoods will be on a lottery system for 5 middle schools, including McAuliffe, Bill Roberts, DSST as well as a new, smaller middle school in the SMIS building and a potential DSST program at Conservatory Green. You can read more about it at The Denver Post.  

2.1 (I got some of the stats wrong the first time around... ) For reference, there are 400 6th graders at McAuliffe and 250 (or more than half) about 210 6th graders expected next year at McAuliffe.  About half of them are Stapleton residents and about half of them are Park Hill residents. In the new location, they will have room for 750 6th graders, and half will be designated for Park HillIn the new location they will have about the same number of seats.  However, across the 5 options, there will be more than 600 seats available – more seats than total numbers of 6th graders in the area.   DPS expects to need another middle school by 2016 or 2017 to keep pace with growth.   Transportation will be available for families living more than a reasonable distance from their chosen option, if families would like it. 

2.5 The reason McAuliffe is leaving the Swigert location is that they have simply outgrown the space. See the background here.  A smaller middle school will be located in the Swigert building. It will not be an IB (International Baccalaureate) school. Swigert students are not guaranteed a spot in McAuliffe - it's all a lottery system.

3. A new elementary and middle school campus is planned for Conservatory Green to open in 2014-15 school year. DPS is proposing placing High Tech Elementary School there. Dr. Amy Gile, the school leader, will explain the program at a meeting at the Stapleton Foundation on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 5:30-6:30pm at 7350 E. 29th Avenue, Suite 300. RSVP for the event here. DPS is also proposing to place a new DSST middle school there - it will participate in the shared middle school boundary.

4. Northfield High School is in the works and will open in 2015.

5. The SUN Board is opening conversations on the hot issue of school boundaries.  If you are interested (ahem, all you Central Park West residents who have hired lawyers)*, you should attend this meeting at Westerly Creek Elementary School Auditorium on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 6:30PM.

Carry on!

Updated 6/19 * My apologies for misrepresenting this issue. I do not know whether legal action is actually being taken on the issue of boundaries and no knowledge of the legal issues.