DENVER — The second half of the school year may have just begun, but school officials say parents should start planning for the 2018-2019 school year now.
Jan. 21 to 27 is National School Choice Week, a nationwide effort to promote school choice and educate families on their options in K-12 education.
Colorado is one of 10 states that allows parents to opt out of sending kids to their default neighborhood school in favor of a school of their choice, without restrictions.
School choice enrollment in Denver begins Feb. 1. Any student who wants to attend a school other than their neighborhood school will need to rank their top five school preferences in the application, which is due by Feb. 28 at 4 p.m.
For Douglas County Schools, the second round of choice enrollment starts next week. The program is currently open or about to begin at other districts in the area, including Aurora Public and Jefferson County schools.
The vast majority of students who use the choice enrollment system end up at their top choice, according to Denver Public Schools.
Officials recommend families visit the school their student is interested in attending and also research the following factors:
Does the school have a particular focus? What kinds of classes does it offer beyond the core subjects? What kind of programs or classes are available for advanced students?
How important is it that the school be close to home/work/daycare? How far are you willing to drive or have your child ride the bus?
Does the school have a particular approach or philosophy? Does your child learn better in certain environments? How many students are in each class?
How do the school’s test scores compare to other schools in the district? Have those scores gone up or down in recent years? What’s the graduation rate?
What kind of safety procedures does the school have? Is there a school resource officer on duty during the day? Does the school have emergency plans and drills?
After-school programs and other offerings
Does the school offer academic or other programs after school or on weekends? Will your student be participating in any sports? Do classes go on field trips often?
What kind of discipline policy does the school have in place? Is the school proactive about preventing and addressing behavior issues? Does the school have programs to encourage good behavior?
Families can also find information such as academic performance, what makes each school unique and contact information on Denver Public Schools’ school choice website at schoolchoice.dpsk12.org.