DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver public school is receiving national attention for its work preparing students for college. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College (DMLK) in Northeast Denver is one of only seven schools from across the country this year to receive recognition as a “School of Opportunity.”

(credit: CBS)

The designation honors excellent public high schools that engage in research-based practices that build on students’ strengths and create rich, challenging learning opportunities for all students.

“It was really awesome to be recognized for what we’re doing because sometimes out here in the far Northeast people forget what we’re doing, sometimes we’re an afterthought out here. So it’s nice to say actually we’re doing some pretty cool stuff out here,” said Brian Cochran, an assistant principal at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College.

CBS4’s Dominic Garcia interviews Brian Cochran. (credit: CBS)

DMLK, and the six other 2018-2019 recipients, join 45 other public high schools that are part of Schools of Opportunity network, an initiative of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) based at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The NEPC started the Schools of Opportunity recognition program to honor public high schools in the United States. Test scores are not part of the rigorous application process, which includes in-depth narratives, supporting documentation of practices and site visits. DMLK serves students in grades 6-12 and puts a big emphasis on getting students ready for college. The school not only offers college classes, but also pays for them.

(credit: CBS)

“The average senior is graduating with 15 college credits and 84% of our senior class has taken at least one college class,” Cochran told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.

Sydnee Scadden is a senior at the school and will be graduating with almost a whole year of college under her belt. She says it is something that will save her a lot of money in the long run. Scadden is headed to Colorado State University in the Fall and wants to focus on a career in medicine.

“It’s an opportunity to get ahead in life. This school provides so much for each student,” she told CBS4’s Dominic Garcia.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College also offers internships and programs for students who are more interested in a vocational path.

The school also has three full-time mental health professionals who work on site with counselors and therapists from Denver Health. More than 70 percent of the school’s students use these and other dental, vision and physician services offered by the school and its partners.

For more information on the school you can visit: https://mlk.dpsk12.org/

Dominic Garcia

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