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School Choice Season is Here
School choice for DPS opens January 15th, and closes February 15th.  If you've never gone through the choice process, it can be a bit daunting.  The district provides some resources here, but we wanted to provide a few additional thoughts as we enter this season.  

Given PHNEE's focus on our neighborhood elementary schools, we think a bit of context about the options in Park Hill is needed.  As many of you may have heard, Roots Elementary is closing at the end of this year.  That means that Park Hill elementary-aged kids will have 5 choices in the neighborhood:
  1. Hallett
  2. Odyssey
  3. Park Hill Elementary
  4. Smith
  5. Stedman
Park Hill Elementary and Odyssey have been highly sought after schools for many years, which means they can be quite hard to get into (unless you live in the Park Hill Elementary Boundary and choose PHE). But, the other three schools have seen leadership and programmatic changes recently and have wonderful things to offer as well.  Hallett's new principal, Dominique Jefferson, has transformed her school, and students are making tremendous progress. Stedman is also under new leadership, and added a Spanish Immersion program several years ago that led to growth in enrollment of over 20% from 2017 to 2018.  Principal Mike Atkins (who grew up in Park Hill) will take over full time from Interim Principal Greta Martinez in the fall.  Smith Elementary, led by Emily El Moudaffar, had the fourth highest growth in English Language Arts for African-American students in the entire state on the 2018 standardized test.  

If you haven't considered these schools because of things you've heard in the past, it's time to take a tour!  You'll be amazed by the wonderful, welcoming learning environments you'll find.  Tour details are listed on each school's website - links above.

There are great schools throughout the city, and there are many good reasons to choose a school.  However, your choice is not without consequences for our neighborhood.  Last year over 650 elementary aged kids who live in Park Hill chose a DPS school outside of our neighborhood, and because school budgets are based on the number of students attending, those kids took roughly $2.8 million in school funding with them, not to mention the social capital, time and energy that those families now devote to other schools. Supporting the schools in our neighborhood benefits all of us, and all of the schools have great things to offer.  

For a bit more reading on this topic, PHNEE Co-Chair, Andrew Lefkowits, wrote an opinion piece for Greater Park Hill News with some thoughts on how neighbors should approach the choice process.   In the same issue, GPHC Education Chair, Lynn Kalinauskas, has a great overview of SPF.  

For an overview of both Park Hill, and Stapleton schools, The Front Porch has a very comprehensive article out this month that includes information about all middle and elementary schools in the area (note - the elementary schools are only listed in the on-line version for space reasons), as well as a conversation about ways to think (or re-think) about school choice.

If you would like to speak with a current parent at any of our Park Hill elementary schools, shoot us an email, and we'll connect you to someone.  
If you'd like to participate in a conversation about school choice, we are pleased to be co-sponsoring an event on Jan 15th.  We'll discuss choice, what information is available and what it can tell us.  We'll also discuss what things would be helpful to know about schools that might be a bit harder to find out.  If there is information that the group would like to have that we can find, we will be sure to share it with everyone prior to choice closing on Feb. 15th.  Details below.
PHNEE, Stapleton United Neighbors, The Front Porch and Greater Park Hill are sponsoring and event to discuss school choice.  
Please Join Us!
Tuesday, Jan 15th
6pm - 7:30pm
Central Park Rec Center

9651 MLK Jr BLVD
Denver, CO 80238
Child care and snacks will be provided.  Please RSVP on Facebook to help us plan.
PHNEE Co-Chair, Andrew Lefkowits, produces and co-hosts a podcast with an organization based in LA called  It features conversations with parents, authors, teachers, public figures about race, parenting, segregation, and inequities in our schools.  Subscribe on iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. 
What we're reading:
  • An article from Greater Park Hill News on DPS's SPF system of school ratings.
  • An interview from The 74 Million with founder, Courtney Mykytyn.
  • An article from NBC news on the ways privileged parents prop up unjust systems.
  • A video overview of the work Park Hill Collective Impact does.  We are proud to collaborate with PHCI, and incredibly thankful for their support of our work.
Copyright © 2019 Park Hill Neighbors for Equity in Education, All rights reserved.

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