West Denver Prep or Wherever, It's Now for Colorado Public School Open Enrollment

The hubbub about New Year’s is past, the Christmas toys have grown old and boring. What’s to get excited about around here — except for maybe the Denver Broncos in the playoffs? Well, ’tis the open enrollment season for families in many Colorado school districts who are looking for a better, more effective educational option for their child. Like Jeffco Public Schools, the state’s largest district, where the first round of choice enrollment began a couple days ago and continues until January 24.

Denver Public Schools students and parents have from now until January 31 to exercise their school choice, using a new process that allows families to list up to five schools in order of preference. The Denver Post opined recently that the new, streamlined system is fairer and ultimately will prove more user-friendly. Parents can learn more from DPS at meetings either tomorrow morning at East High School or Wednesday evening at George Washington High School.

The range of educational options is expanding within DPS, and sometimes coming directly to families as schools compete for students. Viva Colorado’s Roxana Soto reports (H/T Ed News Colorado) that leaders from the newest West Denver Prep school are going door-to-door in the city’s Montbello neighborhood to recruit fifth-graders into their highly successful program:

On this particular morning, the recruiting team, which includes the principals of the two new schools, hopes all this favorable information will help them persuade parents on the fence. All recruiters are equipped with marketing materials and Google maps showing where current fifth-graders live.

“It’s just a time for us to make sure that every fifth-grader knows there’s an awesome option in their neighborhood,” says [WDP enrollment manager Alicia] Lucero.

Yes, there’s no doubt the first four West Denver Prep middle schools have been “awesome,” and there’s every reason in the world to believe the new Montbello and Green Valley campuses will follow suit. But the success also may create a dilemma as the charter franchise reaches out to families in these neighborhoods. Does “West Denver Prep” create too much confusion among denizens of the city’s northeastern corridor and necessitate adjustment, or do all the successful schools retain the well-earned brand of distinction?

A minor issue, I guess. Whatever the name is, the beautiful, real-life chaos of school choice expands and thrives, bringing more opportunity along with it. And families in our state can find the information they need by visiting the incredible duo of fantastic informational sites, School Choice for Kids and Colorado School Grades.

Onward and upward for Colorado educational choice in 2012. In the meantime, don’t forget that now is an ideal time to exercise the right to search for a better learning option while the first round of open enrollment lasts. It will be over before you know it.