In Denver’s gentrifying neighborhoods, some middle-class parents are avoiding the school down the block

“I don’t want her to lose privilege, as weird as it is,” Hilbert said of his daughter.

By Melanie Asmar, Chalkbeat

Eagleton Elementary is a block and a half away from where Brian Hilbert lives with his wife and two young children in west Denver. It’s a largely Latino working-class neighborhood that is rapidly gentrifying, and Hilbert said he values the diversity of the area.

But when it came time for the family, who identify as white and middle-class, to choose a public preschool for their 3-year-old daughter, Hilbert said their first instinct was to look at schools in wealthier parts of the city, where the test scores are higher.

“I don’t want her to lose privilege, as weird as it is,” Hilbert said of his daughter. “My pre-parenthood politics, I hate the idea of saying, ‘I want my kid to be privileged.’ On the other hand, it’s hard to say, ‘I want my kid to be disadvantaged.’”


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.


Chasing equity, Colorado Sikhs get their faith added to a list of religions that could be taught in school

Observers of Sikhism in the Denver area have been campaigning for years for their religion to be recognized as a tradition distinct from any other.

Karanpreet Singh holds up an American flag. The second-annual Sikh festival at East High School, May 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) sikh; colorado singh sabha; east high school; denver; colorado; parade; kevinjbeaty; denverite;
Karanpreet Singh holds up an American flag during the second-annual Sikh festival at East High School, May 28, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Observers of Sikhism in the Denver area have been campaigning for years for their religion to be recognized as a tradition distinct from any other. Their motivation came in the wake of 9/11, when Sikhs were among those targeted in an uptick of hate crimes. Fearing violence, community leaders in Denver have been pursuing education as a means of dispelling ignorance and fostering better relationships with the community at large.

Part of that effort was a lobby to add Sikhism to the Colorado Department of Education’s social studies standards, a list of world faiths that could be taught in Colorado schools. Last week, as part of sweeping revisions to the state standards, the department approved that addition.