DPS' New Choice System Explained

Sunday, January 08, 2012

DPS' New Choice System Explained 

Written by EdNews Staff

For some Denver Public Schools parents and students, the transition years into elementary, middle and high school can be a stressful time as they try to find the best fit amid a plethora of choices.

This year, families may stress more than usual as they adapt to a radically new system, dubbed SchoolChoice, that district officials promise will be simpler and fairer.

In the past, families with a student entering kindergarten, sixth or ninth grade faced a daunting array of forms and processes. Each charter school had its own choice and enrollment process, and some selective admission and magnet schools required different forms and processes than traditional neighborhood schools.

This year, there is one four-page form. Every family in a transition grade fills out the same form, listing their top five school choices. All DPS-managed schools and the city’s 33 charter schools are participating.

Still, change ruffles feathers, and for some families, particularly the savvier families who had learned to “work” the old system, this particular change had proved vexing, according to Shannon Fitzgerald, DPS’ director of choice and enrollment.

“I think one of the things we might have underestimated a little bit was the amount of parent outreach that has been required,” Fitzgerald said. “Especially for those super-savvy parents who have perhaps been through the system before with an older sibling.”

DPS and its partners in this project, Get Smart Schools, will be holding an information session on the new choice program from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at George Washington High School, 655 S. Monaco Parkway.

Click here for a link to the original story and to listen to a podcast of the session. 

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