Denver approves more schools that will wait ‘on the shelf’ to open, despite pushback

In a split vote, the Denver school board last week approved three more middle schools — but none will open right away.

By Melanie Asmar, Chalkbeat

In a split vote, the Denver school board last week approved three more middle schools — but none will open right away.

Though they are modeled after successful existing schools, and though district officials feel an urgency to improve school quality districtwide, the three will wait with more than 20 others until a school building becomes available.

That could happen if the district closes a struggling school or builds a brand new one. But slowing enrollment growth means it will likely not build many schools in the coming years.


Denver doesn’t graduate half of its Native American students. This charter school wants to change that.

Fewer than one in four Native American sixth-graders were reading and writing on grade-level last year, according to state tests.

Tanski Chrisjohn gets help adjusting the microphone at a school board meeting from Denver Superintendent Tom Boasberg. (Melanie Asmar/Chalkbeat)
Tanski Chrisjohn gets help adjusting the microphone at a school board meeting from Denver Superintendent Tom Boasberg. (Melanie Asmar/Chalkbeat)

By Melanie AsmarChalkbeat 

The Denver school district is not serving Native American students well. Fewer than one in four Native American sixth-graders were reading and writing on grade-level last year, according to state tests, and the high school graduation rate was just 48 percent.

Even though that percentage is lower than for black or Latino students, educator Terri Bissonette said it often feels as if no one is paying attention.


The Denver school district is exploring the idea of creating its own police officers

The goal would actually be to end the “school-to-prison pipeline” that criminalizes students for misbehavior at school.

By Melanie AsmarChalkbeat 

School safety patrol officers in the Denver district would get the authority to arrest students and write tickets under an idea being explored by the district’s safety department.

The head of Denver Public Schools’ safety department says the goal would actually be to end the “school-to-prison pipeline” that criminalizes students for misbehavior at school.


A new guide aims to help Colorado school districts offer mental health support to students

The 60-page online guide from the nonprofit Mental Health Colorado comes out at a time when many school leaders say they desperately need help addressing students’ mental health needs.

First-graders at Denver's Munroe Elementary do a mindfulness exercise led by school psychologist Amy Schirm. (Ann Schimke/Chalkbeat)
First-graders at Denver’s Munroe Elementary do a mindfulness exercise led by school psychologist Amy Schirm. (Ann Schimke/Chalkbeat)

By Ann SchimkeChalkbeat 

A new toolkit to be officially released Monday will help Colorado educators, parents, and district administrators infuse mental health support into classrooms and schools.

The 60-page online guide from the nonprofit Mental Health Colorado comes out at a time when many school leaders say they desperately need help addressing students’ mental health needs and districts have increasingly emphasized social and emotional skills.


What Colorado lawmakers did for and to schools in 2018

In a world of competing priorities, education came out ahead.

Protesters fill the State House in protest of a lack of funding for schools, April 27, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) redfored; education; teachers; protest; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;
Protesters fill the State House in protest of a lack of funding for schools, April 27, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

By Erica MeltzerChalkbeat

The Colorado General Assembly’s 2018 session ended with a down-to-the-wire compromise on pension reform that left some teachers feeling bruised, but Gov. John Hickenlooper said there should be no confusion. In a world of competing priorities, education came out ahead.