Successful Denver School of Science & Technology Impresses, Seeks to Expand

Not long ago my friends in the Education Policy Center went to visit the Denver School of Science and Technology, an innovative and successful public charter school in the city’s Stapleton neighborhood.

Ninth and tenth graders at the Denver School of Science and Technology meet for their morning assembly to share announcements, accountability for tardiness and other infractions, and a special performance by school faculty and staff

You can’t leave DSST and a meeting with head of school Bill Kurtz without a clearly unique understanding of how brain science research is applied to design the school’s program and classroom instruction. As an example, teachers are drilled in understanding the human mind’s 10-minute attention span and formulating lessons and activities accordingly to get the most out of every minute from each student.

DSST’s unique record of success at achieving both remarkable academic performance and significant academic growth (with a majority minority student population, and nearly half in poverty) makes clear that this is a model worth replicating. 100 percent of students attending a four-year college? More high schools should aspire to that sort of record.

The wonderful news is that the model very well may be replicated within Denver. DSST is seeking formal approval from the school board to expand to five campuses, as the school will create its own charter school management organization to oversee them all.

My Education Policy Center friends were very impressed by their tour, and especially with the two student guides they met. Each student has to do an internship in their junior year. One of them had worked at the Department of Agriculture unit in the same building as the Independence Institute offices. Small world.

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