Success x 35

A high-scoring Denver charter school will be the model for 35 new Texas high schools to be created in high-poverty neighborhoods. The Denver School for Science and Technology is one of a few Colorado high schools rated “excellent” by the state, reports the Denver Post.

About 38 percent of DSST’s 335 students live in poverty. The school is diverse: About one-third are Latino, one-third are African-American and one-third are white. The school has ninth-, 10th- and 11th-graders and will be a full high school next year.

DSST offers a small number of classes taught by teachers who specialize in a subject – rather than the “cafeteria- style” comprehensive high school. Almost all the students take the same core classes, and many of the school’s few electives are taught by outside people.

For example, an engineer comes in to teach a computer-aided design class.

Texans were impressed by DSST’s culture.

Almost every day opens with a schoolwide meeting where kids — standing in a circle — celebrate accomplishments. If a student gets in trouble, he or she often has to apologize to the group.

Students are also given grades on “values,” such as integrity and responsibility.

It sounds KIPPish.

The Texas schools — a mix of charter and district-run schools — also will try to emulate San Diego’s successful High Tech High, another charter that attracts a mix of students.

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  1. Joanne,

    I checked out the dissagregated data for the school, and it isn’t pretty. Most of the impovement is a result of 33% of their poorest performing black students dropping out.

    I broke it out over at my site.

  2. Shhh, Rory, don’t go injecting the facts into the stories hear. People will accuse you of being a rotten teacher, a flaming liberal and all kinds of other horrible things.

    Excellent post. You’ll find the “facts” presented in many of the stories hear often don’t contain “the rest of the story”

  3. wayne martin says:

    > You’ll find the “facts” presented in many of the stories
    > hear often don’t contain “the rest of the story”

    So please post the truth for the rest of us.

  4. I check out many of Joanne’s stories and I don’t think I have ever run across any deceptions.

    In this case, Joanne did not endorse this school, she just commented that it seemed “KIPPish” (based on the article). I am a fan of the KIPP way of doing things, especially since they stress the basics skills. This school is no KIPP, but it took me several hours of investigation to figure it out.

    I love the idea of charter schools, because they are great tests of innovation in education. Inevitably though, some charters will use different methods. This seems to be one of those schools that chose a “project” based curriculum that fails low performing students. The school appears to be successful based on the scores of its already high performing students.

    Disclaimer: Joanne is one of my favorite bloggers, and I read her site daily. I agree with 99% of everything she says.

  5. I’m on vacation — we just got to Barcelona yesterday — and using an unfamiliar computer that’s a bit harder to use, so I didn’t check out DSST, other than to note it’s on Colorado’s short “excellent” high school list. Great Schools gives DSST a 9 ranking out of 10, but doesn’t have enrollment info. Here’s the test score link.