Manual High School (Denver)

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Manual Hamilton High School
1700 East 28th Avenue, Denver, CO 80205
Coordinates 39°45′24″N 104°58′03″W / 39.75654°N 104.96744°W / 39.75654; -104.96744Coordinates: 39°45′24″N 104°58′03″W / 39.75654°N 104.96744°W / 39.75654; -104.96744
Type Public
Established Since 1892
School district Denver Public Schools

Sam Jamesinosn

Don Roy (Mr. Roy)
Head of school

Brian Dale

Vernon Jones (2010-2014)
Faculty Mark Lansing (Assistant Principal 2010-2014)
Grades 9–12
Color(s) Teal and Red         
Athletics conference Denver
Mascot Lakers[2]
Information (720)-423-6441[3]

Manual Hamilton High School is located in the Whittier neighborhood on the east side of Denver, Colorado.


Since 2014 it has been reported that Manual High School has about 500 students where 60 percent of the student body is Latino and 30 percent is African-American.

Manual Today[edit]

Manual Hamilton High School of the 2011 school year will be graduating their first senior class since re-opening from closure in the spring of 2006. With Manual's graduating class of 2011 they show the renewed preparation for making students college bound. Manual high school has made a commitment to leave no T-Bolt behind and to do “whatever it takes to ensure that students stay in school and are prepared for success in college, career and in life.”

Since re-opening, Manual High School has had 4 graduating classes (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). Thanks to the help of former assistant principal Vernon Jones and former principal Brian Dale, the test scores increased significantly from the years 2010 to 2013.


Manual high school High School is one of the oldest schools in the area. The original building was located near the current one, and opened its doors in 1892, an institution deeply woven into the fabric of the community. Manual was also one of the firsts schools in Denver, Colorado to educate African-Americans.

Once a model of educational excellence and community, Manual High School fell on hard times. Test scores dropped and gang related violence troubled the school and community. For these reasons, the Denver Public Schools (DPS) administrators made drastic changes to Manual. In 2006, after several failed attempts to fix the problems, Manual High School was closed. When the decision was made public, several hundred students from Manual High School rallied outside the headquarters of Denver Public Schools to protest. Students were disappointed and angry because they couldn't finish the rest of their school year.

Students shouted "Hell, no. We won't go" and "Go T-Bolts" as they marched for about an hour in sub-freezing temperatures outside DPS headquarters at 9th and Grant. Some students suggested that the decision to close Manual was motivated by race. In the end, the displaced Manual students were given the option of attending other higher performing schools. The school then reopened in fall of 2007.

A 2007 article by Katherine Boo in The New Yorker described efforts by then-superintendent of school Michael Bennet to turn the school back to a high performance high school.

Manual High School was re-open in the fall of 2007, starting with a freshman class in the 2007-2008 school year, then adding a class of students every year thereafter. In the 2010-2011 school year, Manual was once again a 9-12 grade high school. Dr. Robert Stein, a Manual graduate and top school leader in Colorado, was tapped to lead the new Manual High School in 2007. Stein created a new program for the school modeled after high-performing charter schools where student's performance data is scrutinized and students must follow clear guidelines for behavior. This program was a success for the first three years, and helped Manual to post the third-highest growth in test scores in the city. But after 3 years, Stein left the school in 2010.

Joe Sandoval led the school for the 2010-2011 school year, until administrators of DPS could find a principal for the school. Vernon Jones Jr. was also added to the faculty staff as the new assistant principal. For the 2011-2012 school year, the principal selection committee decided that Brian Dale, former principal of Bruce Randolph, was the most appropriate and adequate person to lead the school with Vernon Jones Jr.

Brian Dale's vision for Manual expanded to the far future. He created a program to prepare Manual students for life after high school. The school’s vision looked beyond “college and career”, and Dale said that “graduates will be the scholars and revolutionaries that our society needs to abolish inequalities.” Dale, with the help of Rebecca Martinez and Vernon Jones was able to provide a plan that took more than 500 students all over the United States. This program included five week-long trips in 2012-2013 to places of historic importance to the social justice movement including Little Rock, Arkansas; San Francisco; New York City; and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. These trips gave Manual students the opportunity to experience historic places and connect those experiences to their future lives. This experience taught young adults than you can be a revolutionary no matter who you are. This is exactly what Dale wanted, and to some extent he succeeded and gave the 2012-2013 school year students a new perspective on life and education.

Dale was asked to leave Manual High School in 2014 and in the middle of the school-year after disagreements with administrators of DPS. Don Roy took his place as the new and fourth principal to take over Manual since its re-opening in 2007. At the end of the 2013-2014 school year, Vernon Jones' contract wasn't renewed. Jones had fought the changes made to Manual by the DPS administrators and Principal Roy. After various meetings, a new program for Manual was created to put East High School students and new faculty into Manual to fill empty spaces and improve academic performances. Jones, Manual students, parents, and faculty voiced their concerns for the new changes being made. DPS's plans for Manual for the 2015-2016 academic year are still undecided.

Notable Alumni[edit]

The first black mayors of Denver, Wellington Webb, and Seattle, Norman Rice; boxer, poet, and activist Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales; writer Ted Conover and National Public Radio correspondent Scott Horsley. Manual has excelled at basketball and baseball where they have produced players such as Micheal Ray Richardson, Billy Lewis, Daniel Banuelos/Cortez, who went on to play college baseball, and LaVon Williams, who went on to a second career as a celebrated wood carver.

During WW II at least 50 Manual men and one teacher, Richard Orange, gave their lives in service. Unfortunately, no complete and accurate honor roll record could be kept of the men who served, but presumably the roll call would include a major fraction of all graduates of the 1930s and 1940s.

The first black VP at Information Handling Services - IHS a world leader in Engineering and Energy standards (Mark Hutchinson class of 1980) Mark achieved back to back "Exceptional" performance ratings by Vicki Raeburn Phd for delivering multi-million dollar operational expense reductions, driving efficiency gains and unlocking resource productivity.



External links[edit]