Denver Public Schools

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Denver County School District 1
Denver Public Schools
School District, Government Owned
Industry Education
Founded Denver, Colorado (1859)
Headquarters Denver, Colorado
Key people
Happy Haynes, School Board President
Tom Boasberg, Superintendent
Number of employees

The Denver County School District No. 1, more commonly known as the Denver Public Schools (DPS), is the public school system in the City and County of Denver, Colorado, United States.


In 1859, the first school in Denver, the “Union School,” is established by Owen J. Goldrick. It is a private school and serves only 13 students. Other private schools open shortly thereafter to accommodate Denver’s rapidly growing population during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. In 1861, the new territorial government establishes Goldrick as the Superintendent of Schools in Arapahoe County (which then encompassed Denver). Soon after the first two public school districts in Denver are formed: District One on the east side of the city and District Two on the west side. District Two opens the first public school in Denver on December 1, 1862 in a rented log cabin and District One followed suit soon after. On April 2, 1873 the first purpose built school building, the "Arapahoe School", is opened.[1]

In 1902, the 20th Amendment to the Constitution of the State of Colorado, known as the Rush Amendment, creates the City and County of Denver, separating it from Arapahoe County. In 1903, Denver Public Schools is born. All school districts in the County of Denver are consolidated into Denver Public Schools, and Aaron Gove becomes the first-ever DPS Superintendent.


DPS operates 183 schools, including traditional, magnet, charter and pathways schools, with a current total enrollment of 90,143 students. Of those, 57% of the school districts enrollment is Hispanic, 22% is Caucasian, 14% is African American, 3% is Asian, 3% is more than two races, and 1% is American Indian/other. 140 languages are spoken, and 39% are English language learners. 11% of students have special needs. The poverty rate is 70%.

Under the leadership of Superintendent Tom Boasberg and guided by the tenets of The Denver Plan, DPS has become the fastest-growing urban school district in the nation. Total DPS graduates have grown from 2,655 in 2006 to 3,608 in 2014. Drop-out rates have dropped from 11.1% in 2006 to 4.5% in 2014. DPS is committed to establishing Denver as a national leader in student achievement, high school graduation, and college and career readiness.

Student Population[edit]

In the 2014- 2015 school year, 90,143 students were enrolled in 183 Denver Public Schools consisting of three Early Childhood Education or K-12 schools, 89 elementary, 19 ECE-8 or K-8, 25 middle, 12 grades 6-12, and 35 traditional high schools.

2014 = 90,143

2013 = 87,398

2012 = 84,424

2011 = 81,870

2010 = 79,423

2009 = 78,352

DPS Student Profile

American Indian 1 %

Asian or Pacific Islander 3%

Black 14%

Latino 57%

Caucasian 22%

Two or More Ethnicities 3%

71.7 percent (62,977) of public school students qualified for free or reduced price lunch in 2013-2014 school year.[2]

Although Denver is about 40% non-Hispanic White, minority groups represent double the regular Denver population. The reason for this has been white flight over the past few decades and extremely strong Hispanic school-age growth due to relatively high birth rates. The predominant heritage in the Denver Public School system is Mexican American. Denver has a high Hispanic percentage of roughly 40% and they are a majority in the public school system. In addition, Denver's African-American percentage overall is half that of Denver Public Schools.[citation needed]

There are 13,991 employees of DPS; 5,561 of them are teachers.[3]


  1. ^ Smiley, Jerome C. (1901). History of Denver: With Outlines of the Earlier History of the Rocky Mountain Country. Times-Sun Pub. Co. pp. 735–760. 
  2. ^ Denver Children's Affairs, facts sheet
  3. ^ "Facts & Figures". Denver Public Schools. Retrieved 2015-06-25. 

External links[edit]