• How is a DPS Early College different?

    In our mission to create an inclusive environment in which every child succeeds, a select number of DPS high schools have received early college designation from the state of Colorado.  

    In Denver Public Schools “Early College high schools must be approved for state designation by the Colorado Department of Education and create pathways which allow students to earn associate degrees and/or certifications. Schools must support students with advising toward high school and college requirements resulting in an associate degree or other postsecondary credential or at least 60 credits toward the completion of a postsecondary credential within the four years of high school. In addition, schools will provide academic support to all students enrolled in college coursework.”

    Early College high schools are schools that provide all students enrolled the opportunity to earn transferable college credits while earning high school credit at the same time. This opportunity prepares students for college and career and reduces the time and cost involved in attaining a postsecondary degree.

    Traditionally, these schools serve historically underrepresented populations including at-risk populations, economically disadvantaged youth, students of color and first generation students. Early College high schools provide numerous wrap-around supports for these students and replace remediation with acceleration.


    Research and Results

    Early college is a proven strategy for preparing our students for success in college and career. Jobs For The Future reports early college students are more likely to:

    • Graduate from high school
    • Enroll in college
    • Complete a college degree

    Data shows that early college students matriculate, persist and graduate from college at higher rates as compared to the national rate.

    Using the federal definition of four-year graduation:

    • 90% of early college students graduate high school vs. the national rate of 78%.

    Plus, it costs them less time and money to earn a postsecondary credential.

    • 90% of early college graduates earn some college credit for free.

    The average graduate earns 36 college credits, saving:

    • 30% off a Bachelor’s degree; or
    • 60% off an associate degree.

    Nearly one-quarter of students actually earn degrees by the time they finish high school:

    • 30% of graduates at early colleges open 4+ years have earned an associate or college certificate along with their high school diploma!

    The next semester after graduating early college:

    • 76% of graduates enroll in college vs. the national rate of 68% (Jobs for the Future, 2013)


    Who are the college partners?

    DPS partners with several local colleges and universities to offer concurrent enrollment opportunities to students. DPS is proud to partner with both Community College of Aurora (CCA) and Community College of Denver (CCD) with our early college model:

    • Community College of Aurora: primary partner for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College and High Tech Early College
    • Community College of Denver: primary partner for CEC Early College, DSISD, Manual, West Early College and Southwest Early College (Charter)


    What is expected of DPS Early College students?

    This shift at our DPS Early College schools changes the school culture to more intensely focus on college-going behavior as students will learn what will be expected of them in college. Students are put in an environment with higher expectations and a higher level of accountability. It provides a gradual transition to college, as students are still within the supportive framework of their high school. With the exposure to rigorous and meaningful coursework in high school, are students are better prepared for success in college.


    Who should I contact about enrollment?

    Any DPS student can choose to attend an early college through the SchoolChoice process. For information, please visit SchoolChoice.



  • Early College
    1860 Lincoln Street 
    Denver, CO 80203

    Tara's Head Shot  

    Tara Schneider, M.A.
    Early College Program Manager