Jeffco Looks at Offering More Choice

As more innovative education models emerge, school districts must adapt and provide competitive education options to retain students, or face the threat of diminishing enrollment. The Jefferson County school district is currently encountering this exact problem. In recent years, it has seen a declining trend in enrollment­–largely due to the emergence of nearby “choice” schools.

To combat the loss of students to innovative schools such as the Denver School of the Arts, Jeffco has begun the conceptualization and appraisal of a new, specialized art school for the district. The “arts academy” would be a terrific effort to integrate more choice into the district, and to allow students to pursue “customized pathways.” I wonder if it’ll have a finger-painting class?

The district is also considering reconstructing one of its existing schools, Pennington Elementary. The renovation would likely incorporate an expeditionary education model; however, an expeditionary model is not a set-in-stone solution. Though the school is open to the idea and has shown excitement, there is still time and opportunity for other proposals.

In a recent article, Chalkbeat Colorado noted that the “[Jefferson County] officials said they want to have a searchable site where families can enter a program-type they are interested in to find all the Jeffco schools where it is available.” However, the district claims that there is not enough money to create such a website.

Well, I have some great news for the Jeffco School Board! School Choice for Kids, the innovative and informative website designed by the Independence Institute Education Policy Center, is exactly what they’re looking for. School Choice for Kids features a user-friendly platform and search tools that help the user find schools with their desired educational program, location, and school type­–and, it’s completely free!

Needless to say, I am excited about the newly proposed school renovations. Providing more choice will lead to superlative, customized education options for Jefferson County students. Hopefully the Jeffco school board will embrace these proposals, and, with a bit of serendipity, find their way to the School Choice for Kids website.