Thursday, November 17, 2011

School Choice in Denver

Denver is implementing a new school choice system. IIPSC, the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice, is helping. Denver Public Schools will be the first large district to unite charter schools and district managed schools under one umbrella of centralized choice.

New, Unified DPS Enrollment Process Backed by Coalition of Education Advocates
DENVER – A coalition of 10 local education advocacy groups announced their support today for Denver Public Schools’ (DPS) new, unified enrollment process, SchoolChoice. 
The coalition worked closely with DPS and national enrollment experts to develop SchoolChoice, a unified enrollment process for the 2012-13 school year that is designed to simplify how families enroll students in schools. The group will continue to assist the district with the campaign to notify parents and community leaders as well as the implementation and review of the new process.
“Years ago, families identified significant drawbacks and hurdles to the way DPS enrolled students in schools across the district.  Many families were spending days or weeks trying to navigate multiple deadlines and driving across the city to find different forms. And many other families didn’t participate at all.  We all came together to find ways that the current process could be simplified and streamlined,” said Amy Slothower, Executive Director, Get Smart Schools.  
“We believe the new process will increase access to the district’s highest-performing schools and make enrollment much easier for students, their families and their schools,” Amy continued.
Prior to the introduction of SchoolChoice, charter and magnet schools each conducted their own enrollment.  When combined with the district’s own choice process for its traditional neighborhood schools, there were more than 60 different enrollment processes with different forms and due dates for public schools across Denver. The range of due dates, methods and applications made enrollment overwhelming for many parents and made planning for the school year challenging for schools.
SchoolChoice is designed to simplify school enrollment because every transitioning student (incoming K, 6th and 9th grades and any student who wants to choice into a different school) will prioritize their schools of interest on a single form with a single deadline. All transitioning students will then receive a school assignment, based on their preferences, during a single week in March.
Putting into place one process for all district schools and one form per grade will simplify what has been a confusing and often overwhelming system for students and families to navigate.
 “We’re excited because SchoolChoice will ensure a fair and equitable enrollment process for all DPS families,” Slothower continued. “With the help of our partners, the district and the Walton Foundation, we’re making it easy to connect students with the schools that best fit their needs.”
SchoolChoice is being funded by a combination of public and private funding in the form of grants and bonds, including a substantial grant from the Walton Foundation.
The full list of coalition members includes:
·        Get Smart Schools
·        The Walton Family Foundation
·        Denver Public Schools
·        A Plus Denver
·        Colorado League of Charter Schools
·        Colorado Succeeds
·        Donnell-Kay Foundation
·        Metro Organizations for People
·        Stand for Children Colorado
·        University of Colorado Denver

Update: see also


Tayfun Sonmez said...

Hi Al,

Thanks for the post. I'm glad to see that charter schools are part of the centralized match at least in the case of Denver. One day I'm hoping to see even the private schools to join such initiatives, perhaps with the help of some vouchers that might encourage their participation. (Private schools will receive a payment for every student they receive via centralized system). Is there any document/link for which mechanism Denver decided to adopt? Is it one of student-optimal stable mechanism or top trading cycles?

Great to see research on school choice is bearing its fruits.


Al Roth said...

Denver will be a deferred acceptance algorithm...documentation still to come...