DENVER (CBS4) – A charter school in northeast Denver is continuing to make a plea to the board of Denver Public Schools for expansion.
“We really need a high school,” said 7th grader Raekelle Jennings. “This is probably the closest, best school in my neighborhood.”
Last school year, DSST Noel opened in the Gateway neighborhood. It serves many kids from Montbello and Green Valley Ranch. After one year of testing, the school says it was the highest ranked in the city.
“We’re really proud to be the number one school in Denver. So that’s out of all elementary schools, middle and high schools,” said Dr. Brandi Chin, the DSST Noel Principal. “The biggest thing we do here is bust every myth you hear about kids. All the myths you hear about kids from low income backgrounds, kids of color. They can achieve at the highest levels if you hold them to a really high bar and support them there.”
The school has already made an impact on the community thanks to high test scores and positive parent feedback.
“You’re going to make it. You’re going to strive. My family tells me you’re going to be somebody. Good thing you’re going to a number one school,” said Jennings.
A few years ago, DPS approved the charter for DSST Noel to be a 6-12 school. As of now, there’s only space for the middle school.
“We’re over 75% free and reduced lunch, and we are almost 100% students of color,” said Chin. “What we’re doing is saying, there’s no excuses for the performances that we see in school and that kids can achieve at the highest levels.”
School officials say without expanding the charter to include a high school, hundreds of kids will be competing for just a few spots at other DSST high schools.
Students, parents and staff of DSST Noel will once again take their cause to the DPS School board on Thursday.
“The biggest thing that we’re asking the board for is to support us with keeping their promise. Our school was approved a couple of years ago. All DSST schools are 6-12 campuses, and right now we’re coming up to the moment where we need to have a location, a facility. That can be a problem. Where are kids going to go?” Chin asked. “We want to make sure as the board is deciding on shifts they’re making specifically in far northeast Denver, that parents voices are at the center of that.”