This week, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation announced that DSST Public Schools is one of three 2017 Broad Prize finalists - recognizing DSST as one of the three top performing charter networks in the country. This is the most distinguished prize that can be given to a charter school network.  The award recognizes the charter school networks that have the best overall academic performance on a variety of measures.   Networks which are chosen to be finalists, are widely viewed as beacons for the nation's public schools.  We are honored to be finalists alongside two other amazing charter networks, Success Academy and Harmony Public Schools. 

More than anything else, this nomination celebrates the hard work of our team, our families and our students. It speaks to our deep focus on learning, a sustained track record of excellence, and commitment to living our core values - respect, responsibility, integrity, courage, curiosity, and doing your best every day. This commitment - by our students, families and all of you - is why we are recognized as running Denver's top public schools, and why 100% of our seniors have been accepted into 4-year colleges for 10 years in a row.  While we are incredibly honored by this recognition, we know that we still have the opportunity to better serve the students and families of Denver - and this recognition can propel us to do so.  


Dear Team,

This weekend the Denver Post named DSST Public Schools among the top 20 places to work of all large Colorado companies and organizations. We are both excited and humbled by this honor. We strive for excellence in everything we do at DSST, which this distinction celebrates. Most importantly, this award represents the extraordinary people who work at DSST and our collective commitment to value, support and challenge each other to be our best. It is an honor to work side by side with each of you every day on behalf of our mission to end educational inequity.  

The Top Workplace list is an independent measure, based solely on employee feedback collected by a third-party research firm. The survey was designed to gauge your satisfaction - something that is very important to me. Making DSST an exceptional place to work has been a focus of our team and this distinction helps us to see that we are headed in the right direction. Our students deserve our best, and I believe we can only be our best selves when we feel valued for our work. 

While this award recognizes progress, we still have a lot of work to do in this area. In January, our Board approved a strategic plan which places people development at its core. In particular, we will continue to focus on building the capacity of leaders to create great teams and provide clear pathways for increased fulfillment and development for all of you. We will also work to create a more inclusive and equitable organization for our team. These areas of emphasis reflect that DSST is simply about developing people - our staff, our students and our families.

This award very simply speaks to the incredible people who comprise our organization. Thank you for your extraordinary work and feedback - this award wouldn't be possible without each and every one of you. As a heartfelt 'thank you' for being what makes this organization great, please look for a celebratory treat this Friday at your campus. I remain honored to work with and alongside you.

With gratitude,

Bill Kurtz


Congratulations to the DSST: Stapleton and DSST: Green Valley Ranch classes of 2017, the 10th class of DSST graduates to achieve 100% acceptance to a four year college or university. In the last decade, and including the class of 2017, DSST has graduated a total of 1,173 students, each one of whom has been accepted college. 

 DSST: Stapleton was the first campus to achieve 100% acceptance in 2007 and they continue to trailblaze by sustaining a track record of student success through the changes and challenges of the last 10 years. The DSST: Green Valley Ranch class of 2017 was the first class to enter DSST: Green Valley Ranch as 6th graders. In their seven years as DSST students, they have defined their school as a National Blue Ribbon School and Denver's Far Northeast region as a home to academic excellence.

We are so proud of our amazing staff, community, and students, whose commitment to high quality education and the DSST mission is making college a reality for a decade's worth of DSST graduates. In the next ten years, we renew our commitment to ensuring our students' success in college and the 21st century as we graduate more students from more DSST schools, and work to transform urban public education. Congratulations class of 2017!  


This week, during a Colorado Department of Education event ​celebrating a host of awards given to schools, DSST schools appeared 20 times – almost a third of the total awards given to DPS schools—with at least one DSST school in each award category. A huge congratulations to DSST staff, students and families on these impressive accomplishments!


Colorado Centers of Excellence Award – Established by the Colorado State Legislature, the Centers of Excellence award recognizes schools that demonstrate the highest sustained rates of student longitudinal growth as measured by the Colorado Growth Model among those that have at least 75% at-risk students.

  • DSST: Cole High School
  • DSST: College View High School
  • DSST: College View Middle School
  • DSST: Green Valley Ranch Middle School


Colorado Governor's Distinguished Improvement Awards –  The Governor's Distinguished Improvement awards are given to schools that demonstrate excellent student growth. On the School Performance Framework used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools "exceed" expectations on the indicator related to longitudinal academic growth over three years.

  • DSST: Byers Middle School
  • DSST: Green Valley Ranch High School
  • DSST: Stapleton High School


Colorado John Irwin Schools of Excellence Awards – The John Irwin awards are given to schools that demonstrate excellent academic achievement. On the School Performance Framework, these schools "exceed" expectations on the indicator for academic achievement over three years. The Excellence Awards are named for a true friend and visionary of education, former Colorado State Representative John J. Irwin.

  • DSST: Byers Middle School
  • DSST: College View High School
  • DSST: Green Valley Ranch High School
  • DSST: Stapleton High School
  • DSST: Stapleton Middle School


High School Academic Growth Awards – The High School Academic Growth Awards recognize high schools that demonstrate the highest levels of student academic growth in reading, writing and math, within each classification used by the statewide association for high school activities for the sport of football.

  • DSST: Green Valley Ranch High School


National Blue Ribbon Schools – The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

  • DSST: Green Valley Ranch High School


ELPA Excellence Award – The ELPA Excellence Awards honors 10 districts and 10 schools that achieved the highest growth among English learners in an English Language Proficiency Program and that achieve the highest ​academic achievement for English learners who transition out of an English Language Proficiency Program.

  • DSST: Cole Middle School
  • DSST: College View Middle School
  • DSST: Conservatory Green Middle School
  • DSST: Green Valley Ranch High School
  • DSST: Green Valley Ranch Middle School
  • DSST: Stapleton High School
  • DSST: Stapleton Middle School​​

For Black History Month, we're celebrating figures and events in Colorado and Denver history. These are just a few of the many fascinating Coloradoans of African American descent in our local history. For more information, check out this list of local figures or visit the Black American West Museum (free admission Saturday, February 25th).


Jim Beckwourth (1798-1867)

Beckwourth was an early fur-trapper of the Rocky Mountain regions and a co-founder of Pueblo, CO. Did you know that about a third of 19th century American cowboys were of African American descent? You can learn about their lives at the Black American West Museum in Denver and learn about Beckwourth's adventures online!

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The Douglass Brothers (1840-1908)

After serving in the first black regiment in the Civil War, two of Frederick Douglass' sons moved to Denver. Lewis and Frederick Jr. created Denver's first black school, ran a mortuary, a restaurant on California Street and petitioned for Colorado to remain a territory until all men could vote. Learn more!

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 Lewis Douglass

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Frederick Douglass, Jr.

Sara Breedlove, also called Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919)

Breedlove was the first woman in America to become a self-made millionaire. In one speech she said, "I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the bus​iness of manufacturing hair goods and preparations....I have built my own factory on my own ground." Learn how she started her business in Denver.




Marie Anderson Greenwood (1912-  )

Greenwood was the first African American teacher in Denver. In high school, a dean told her she could only "work in somebody's kitchen or clean somebody's house." "It hurt, it hurt deeply," Anderson said. "I left home office and went to the girls' room. I cried, I pounded on the walls; I said, 'I'm going to show her.'" Watch a 9News interview with Greenwood.



Rachel B. Noel (1918-2008)

Rachel B. Noel was the first African American woman elected to Colorado public office and the first African American elected to the Denver Public School Board. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of upholding the Noel Resolution to integrate Denver Public Schools. Read more about her work integrating Denver schools. DSST: Montbello Middle School will open on the Rachel B. Noel campus in Denver's Far Northeast in Fall 2018.



Keyes v. Denver Public Schools (1973)

Denver has a long history of school segregation. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court mandated the racial integration of Denver Public Schools and DPS buses were bombed in response (below). This CPR story interviews the lawyer who argued for integration and this Denver Post article speaks to re-segregation in Denver schools since the end of forced busing in 1995.



Evie Dennis (1924 -  )

Evie Garrett Dennis was the first female and first African American superintendent of DPS. Dennis has always been a staunch advocate for Title IX and for school integration. Read more about her work. DSST: Green Valley Ranch Middle and High Schools are located on the Evie Dennis campus.