Start with the Facts: Strengthening Denver Public Schools’ Education Pipeline

Measuring academic success as students progress from preschool through high school and into college provides important information about the quality of the DPS education system.

This report uses the latest data available to look at key transition points for DPS students from 2005 to 2011 to identify: Outcomes and trends in academic achievement and growth as students move from preschool through K–12 and into college; and Potential barriers to success. DPS has much to be proud of.

Across all grades and subjects, the district is making significant gains in improving academic achievement, especially among lower-income students, who are the primary focus of this report. Indeed, very few, if any, Colorado school districts have consistently made this level of progress. That said, DPS student outcomes for each grade and in each subject area remain below state averages. Primary findings include:

Enrollment in DPS schools: Enrollment in DPS schools is up. Between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of Denver K–12 students attending DPS schools increased from 76 percent (63,380 students) to 81 percent (69,375 students). Despite this increase, compared to other large school districts in the state, DPS has the highest number of students choosing to enroll elsewhere.

Preschool and kindergarten: Data indicate that lower-income Denver children participating in preschool programs catch up with their higher-income peers in terms of language and literacy; cognition; and physical, social, and emotional development by the end of the preschool year.

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