Matching Schools with Communities

great schools in every neighborhood

Although many people think of a school as a building where children go to learn, in DPS, we also use our facilities in a variety of innovative ways. In some cases, a single school is independently housed in a DPS facility. In others, two or more schools may share a campus.

Sometimes a school may be temporarily placed in a DPS facility until a more permanent location is available. And there may be circumstances in which the Denver Board of Education approves a school based on its quality, but votes not to place it in a district facility, because another quality school better meets the needs of the community that the school would serve.

In all cases, DPS uses the Facility Allocation Policy to guide our decision-making process, and to support our goal of ensuring great schools in every neighborhood.

What is the Facility Allocation Policy?

DPS makes sure that the placement process is open and fair by using the Facility Allocation Policy, which was adopted in 2015. This policy, which applies to both district-run and charter schools, sets clear criteria for the board to decide which schools best meet district priorities.

The four criteria under this policy are:

Academic growth and student achievement
Only board-approved quality schools will be considered for placement in DPS-supported facilities.

Alignment with priority district needs
District priority needs are identified each year in the Strategic Regional Analysis and the Call for New Quality Schools process.

Enrollment demand
Through engagement with the community, schools should be able to show strong demand and support through waitlists, petitions or other testimonials.

Supplemental criteria
Placement decisions also depend on the availability of funding, status of existing commitments made by the Board to specific schools or communities, and other considerations.

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What is campus sharing?

Campus sharing is a placement solution that lets DPS serve more students with the facilities we already have available. In a campus-sharing arrangement, two or more schools are co-located within the same district facility.

When school programs share one building, more money can be spent on students. This avoids the cost of building and maintaining a new building and saves the costs of maintaining classrooms that are not being used.

Shared campuses can include both district-run and charter schools, in order to equitably use district facilities for the greatest benefit of our students. DPS analyzes a range of important factors when considering campus sharing as an option. Some of the key issues we carefully consider include:

  • How much space is available in the building;
  • How many students are located in the neighborhood;
  • How many schools are nearby and how well they are performing;
  • How the school community feels about shared campuses;
  • Preferences of the new and existing schools;
  • How compatible the new and existing schools are;
  • Availability of school choices in each region;
  • What the current feeder patterns are in the area; and
  • Whether the programs can have their own, separate spaces in the building.

If the board votes to place schools on a shared campus, school leaders and district staff will create a contract that specifies how schools will communicate, share common spaces and resolve conflicts. The contract will also state which spaces and services will be exclusive to each individual school. Each school on the shared campus will participate in a Building Team that will collaborate on managing any issues that arise from the arrangement.