After months of community turnout and parent pleas to the district, I am reaching out today with the disappointing news that the DPS Board of Education has voted against the opening of a DSST High School @ Noel for the 21-22 school year. While they have voted YES in favor of their resolution last night, this is in fact a NO in disguise.
The resolution is an empty promise of both “hearing the passion of the DSST students, staff and community members” while simultaneously denying existing 8th grade students a viable option to attend a DSST @ Noel HS next year. This resolution ignores the hundreds of community voices that have come before the board by placing unilateral and unreasonable conditions on DSST @ Noel HS that are not in the best interest of students, staff or families.
DSST Middle School @ Noel is the top performing school in Denver, and one of the top middle schools in the state, serving a student body that is 94% students of color and 80% eligible for free and reduced lunch. The student and parent demand for DSST schools in the Far Northeast is enormous. DSST: GVR HS has consecutively seen the longest waitlist in the city, with over 300 students.
Our Noel community has spoken loudly about their desire for a Noel High School. Over 1,000 community members signed a petition, and turned out by the hundreds at DPS School Board meetings to show their support of opening a High School. And still, the DPS School Board did not listen.
We stand with our 160 8th graders and their families who continue to hope for a high quality education for their students. Their desires and their needs are our North Star. We made a commitment to them three years ago and we intend to do everything we can to fulfill that commitment. This resolution leaves our 160 families out. It sacrifices their needs for political deal-making. We will not do that. Justice delayed is justice denied, and without a DSST neighborhood option for our Noel 8th graders in the 21-22 school year, we cannot agree.
The journey to a DSST High School is not over. While this decision is disappointing, it is not unexpected. When new board members running on the platform of halting charter expansion were elected in 2019, we knew there would be resistance to a Noel High School. We are energized and ready to fight for what we all know is right- high quality education for all students, regardless of adult politics and interests.
We will provide updates as the fight for a DSST Noel High School continues.