Colorado has one of the widest achievement gaps in the country between affluent and low-income students and one of the nation’s highest dropout rates. While progress has been made in boosting high school graduation rates, college remediation rates remain staggeringly high, greatly impacting college completion rates, particularly among low-income students. Denver’s high-performing charter schools are changing this dynamic. Their educational programs are closing the academic achievement gap and ensuring college readiness.
Denver School of Science and Technology, STRIVE Preparatory Schools and KIPP Colorado are three high-performing charter networks that are building thoughtful feeder patterns in high-need Denver neighborhoods. The creation of quality educational seats in these neighborhoods acts as a significant lever for community change, driving increased educational attainment and the development of a highly skilled workforce. Gates has recently renewed its commitment to the growth plans of each of these charter school networks.
STRIVE Preparatory Schools. Currently, STRIVE operates a network of eight schools serving 2,300 students. This year, STRIVE will move from a middle and high school model to a K-12 model. Over the next two years, STRIVE will open four more schools including two elementary schools – one in Southwest and the other in Far Northeast Denver. By the end of the decade, STRIVE will serve 7,000 students in 15 schools. Gates will invest $1 million over four years to support this growth.
Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST). Last year, DSST enrolled 2,700 students in seven schools on five campuses. Over the next two years, DSST will open its sixth and seventh campuses, which will house four DPS-approved schools and serve an additional 1,900 students. By 2022 at full enrollment, DSST will enroll over 6,500 students (approximately 18% of the DPS secondary school population) in 14 schools on seven campuses. DSST’s growth and continuing success will nearly double the number of four-year college-ready DPS graduates by 2022. Gates has committed $800,000 over four years to support this growth.
KIPP Colorado. KIPP Colorado operates three schools in Denver: two middle schools and one high school. Over the next five years, KIPP Colorado plans to expand by opening three new schools: two elementary schools and one high school. All of these schools will be concentrated in Southwest and Far Northeast Denver. Gates is investing $225,000 over four years towards this growth plan.
Gates supports these three CMOs in their efforts to transform urban public education by eliminating educational inequity and preparing all students for success in college and their future careers.