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High percentage of Denver kids enrolled in top-preferences through SchoolChoice | Schools

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High percentage of Denver kids enrolled in top-preferences through SchoolChoice

Tens of thousands of Denver kids enrolled in one of their top-preference schools through SchoolChoice, Denver Public Schools’ new streamlined enrollment system that offers access to all DPS schools through one form and one timeline. The SchoolChoice system allows families to enroll their child in a school that is not their attendance-area school, as all families have a guaranteed enrollment slot at an attendance-area school for half-day kindergarten through 12th grade.

For those families who participated in SchoolChoice, 70% of students were enrolled in their first-preference school; 80% were enrolled in their first- or second-preference school, and 83% were enrolled in their first-, second-, or third-preference school.


More than 22,000 students submitted SchoolChoice forms in the first round of enrollment, which concluded Jan. 31. Of those applications, a total of 393 families listed five preferred schools and were not offered a seat at any of them. The overwhelming majority of those were at the preschool level (where enrollment places are still limited in the district) and the kindergarten level. Of those 393 families, 224 families were applying for preschool enrollment, and another 108 were applying for kindergarten. Only a very small percentage of those 393 families who did not get one of their five choices were applying for slots in elementary grades 1-5 (47 families) or middle grades 6-8 (14 families). All families who listed five high schools on their SchoolChoice form received an enrollment slot at one of those schools.


Over the past several years, DPS has seen steady increases in the number of families served, with enrollment increasing by about 8,000 students since 2007, following years of flat or declining enrollment. As a result, DPS now needs additional capacity to meet the demand, particularly at the preschool and kindergarten levels, in order to better serve all families.


“We’re seeing enrollment increases all across the city and are thrilled to be serving more Denver families and seeing the high level of participation in SchoolChoice,” DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg said. “Now we need to work hard with the community on ways to invest in creating more early childhood offerings and in further strengthening our schools all across Denver.”


DPS’ annual Call for Quality Schools is one way the school system is working to address the need to add more high-quality seats. Through the “Call” process, the DPS Board of Education last year approved a new elementary school, Creativity Challenge Community (C3), to open for the 2012-13 school year in Southeast Denver, which has several over-capacity elementary schools. C3 will provide 50 additional spaces in kindergarten, first and second grades. Underscoring the need for still more enrollment opportunities, C3 filled all of its kindergarten and most of its first- and second-grade seats in the first round of SchoolChoice.


DPS is now working with teams of dedicated educators on new-school applications through the 2012 Call for Quality Schools. The school system has also convened a community committee to discuss the possibility of asking the Board of Education to approve tax initiatives for the November ballot that, if approved by voters, would allow for additional investments in expanding educational programs, such as preschool and arts and enrichment offerings.


There is still an opportunity for families to participate in SchoolChoice through the second round, which is currently ongoing and offers enrollment spaces on a first-come, first-served basis. Families may visit their school or schools of interest to submit a second-round SchoolChoice form through Aug. 31. More information is available at http://schoolchoice.dpsk12.org or by calling (720) 423-3493.


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