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.



DSST: Conservatory Green High School will be located at the Samsonite campus for the 2017-2018 school year and then will be moving to its permanent placement at the Sandoval Campus in Fall 2018. DPS will build a facility at the Paul Sandoval campus to house DSST’s newest high school; architectural mock-ups of the building are above and below.

A big thanks our DSST: Conservatory Green Middle School staff and parents, who have engaged in this process and advocated on behalf of our students for a high quality, centrally located building. We cannot wait to see the Hornets in their new high school! 









DSST Community and Legal Resources for Families

In order to best serve our families, we have created an online legal resource guide. Access the guide by clicking here. 

Purposes of this guide:

  • Provide information about who families can reach out to for help within the community.

  • Provide general guidance on your legal rights in event of an immigration visit or raid.

  • Always seek the advice of an immigration lawyer on all legal issues. This guide is not meant to provide formal legal counsel.

  • Make sure that the sources you are using for updates and news are trusted and reliable sources.   

  • If you have questions about information within this guide, or would like to add resources to this guide, please contact our Manager of Advocacy, Monica Acosta (monica.acosta@scienceandtech.org).


DSST: Green Valley Ranch High School is one of 279 public schools recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School this year by the U.S. Department of Education. The Prestigious National Blue Ribbon Award recognizes the high degree of academic excellence at Green Valley Ranch. It speaks to the amazing Green Valley Ranch community and their commitment to ensure that every student is ready for college and life. You can watch the Blue Ribbon announcement by US Secretary John King at 11am MST here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heb5Mtr51BM. Congratulations Raptor Nation!





Friends of DSST,

We are committed to ensuring all of our students are four year college ready and leaving DSST schools prepared to succeed in college, careers and life.  Colorado state tests (CMAS) and college assessments (ACT) are one measure of many that we use to assess our success against this goal.  The Colorado Department of Education released results this morning and I am excited to share with you some of DSST’s outstanding results.


In 2015-16 DSST: Stapleton High School and DSST: Green Valley Ranch High School ranked #2 and #3 in Denver for their composite average ACT score.  They both ranked in the top 8% out of all high schools in Colorado. The graph below includes every other Colorado high school as a blue dot, DSST: Stapleton HS as a red dot, and DSST: Green Valley Ranch as a purple dot.  Our high schools continue to achieve radically different outcomes than virtually any other schools in the state serving a population representative of Colorado. 


Colorado State Tests (CMAS)

All four DSST high schools rank in the top five math proficiency rates on Colorado’s standardized test, the CMAS, out of Denver’s 49 high schools.

All four DSST high schools also rank in the top eight in Denver for combined proficiency of math and English language arts on the CMAS.

Additionally, DSST’s high school students who receive free and reduced price lunch (FRL) have the same level of math proficiency (52%) on the 2016 CMAS standardized test as Denver Public Schools’ non-FRL high school students. We were also enthusiastic to see that network wide DSST middle and high school students had higher proficiency rates than their Denver peers in the key areas of SPED, ELL and FRL students. Finally, DSST: Byers Middle School had the #1 math rank and #2 English language arts rank for middle school CMAS proficiency in Denver. 


Advanced Placement Scores

DSST’s high school students make up only 6% of DPS’ high school population but our schools make up a disproportionate number of passing AP scores in math and science courses:

I am proud of our students and our team for the consistent outstanding results they produce year after year.  These results represent hard work, a commitment to learn and desire to serve all students day in and day out. These results, however, also point to areas that we continue to need to grow.  We still have achievement gaps in our schools, and we are not getting all of our students to proficiency.  Change is already underway to address these gaps and we are committed to turning out even better results next year. 

All of this would not be possible without your continued support. Thank you for making our mission to end educational inequity in Denver come to life.  


Bill Kurtz

CEO of DSST Public Schools