Graduation Requirements for the Class of 2021 and Beyond

  • Denver Public Schools’ vision that Every Child Succeeds starts with the belief that all students, from the very first day they walk into a DPS school, can achieve at the highest levels and ultimately cross the graduation stage ready for college, careers and life. One of the five goals in the district’s strategic plan — the Denver Plan 2020 — is to ensure our students graduate career- and college-ready through rigorous coursework and high standards.

    DPS has adopted new, evidence-based graduation requirements that will go into effect this year for the graduating class of 2021. Our updated graduation standards hinge on three key components:

    New Graduation Requirements for the Class of 2021


Graduation Requirements

Purpose of the Graduation Requirements Toolkit

  • In an ongoing effort to support school leaders, counselors and teachers with implementing our new graduation requirements, a graduation toolkit is available for download. The purpose of this toolkit is to guide our school teams during this transition with FAQs, messaging points, one-pagers in all consent decree languages, competency menu information and other implementation resources. You can find the link to the School Toolkit here

    A Communications Checklist has also been created to guide you through a targeted communications campaign to educate students, families and staff on the 2021 graduation requirements and the new On Track to Graduate Tool. You may already be doing some of these things, and in that case this tool can help you track your progress against best practices. You can find the Communications Checklist here

    The DPS website also includes information on the new graduation requirements at As you communicate this shift within your school, we welcome your feedback on additional resources needed. For any questions, please contact the GRIT (Graduation Requirement Implementation Team) Project Lead, John Albright.

  • Implementation Timeline

    • The state’s graduation guidelines have been in development since 2007.
    • The graduation guidelines take effect with ninth-graders in fall 2017, and include a state menu of college and career-ready demonstrations.
    • The DPS Board of Education adopted the new graduation requirements in May 2016.
    • Students must demonstrate college and career readiness in English and math based on at least one measure in order to graduate – all graduates must be college and career ready.

    Fundamental shifts in Colorado’s high school graduation requirements—and local policies and practices— are intended to ensure that all students are prepared for success in a globally competitive workforce.