Call for New Quality Schools
Since its inception in 2007, the Call for New Quality Schools (The Call) has been a district-wide effort that transparently articulates district needs for new schools, defines the requirements for service and placement in a district facility to meet those needs, and, through its quality authorizing process, evaluates the quality of proposals for new district-run and charter schools.
As of June 2019, DPS has approved applications for 51 district-run or innovation schools and 75 charter schools. DPS has opened 41 district-run and innovation schools and 56 charter schools through the Call process.
Importantly, the Call relies on the expertise and collaboration of numerous DPS teams to help ensure that every school DPS approves or matches with a community is high quality and ready to serve students well on day one.
Find more information below about the Call and how you can participate.
What is the Call for New Quality Schools?
PMT begins a Call for New Quality Schools, annually and whenever DPS has a need for a new school. The Call is three things:
- A public document, which transparently articulates the needs DPS has for new or expanded school programs.
- A quality authorizing process, through which DPS evaluates the quality of proposals for new district and charter schools, engages with communities and supports the Denver Board of Education in making decisions about which schools to approve or deny in a public vote.
- A community matching process, through which approved schools seek to be matched with a community and placed in a district facility by the board in a public vote.
Do all school types have to apply through the Call for New Quality Schools?
Yes. In addition to its role as an operator of more than 150 schools, DPS is also the sole authorizer of new schools. This means we have the legal responsibility and right to review and deny or approve new school applications. DPS believes all schools, charter and district-run, should be held to the same high standards of operating. That’s why all new, replicating and expanding schools apply through our Call for New Quality Schools process.
What policies and laws guide DPS practice?
The Call is grounded in DPS Board Policies AF and FAP, Colorado State Statute through the Charter Schools Act, and State and National best practice (including Colorado State Board of Education and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers).
How does DPS review new school applications?
PMT receives applications each year, typically in the spring. We bring together a team of 8-12 experts from DPS, the community and outside organizations to form an ART (Application Review Team) for each application, which conducts the rigorous application process.
Are new school applicants expected to engage families and community members?
Yes. DPS wants to hear input and feedback directly from families and community members about schools being proposed in their neighborhoods. As defined in the application and standards of quality, community involvement in the development of each school’s plan is critical, as is producing sufficient evidence of student and family demand for the program. New school applicants are invited to present at community meetings hosted by DPS. Typically, applicants give a short presentation and answer questions from community members. Then community members complete a questionnaire to provide feedback to the DPS Board of Education regarding each applicant's proposal or application.
What is an "ART"?
We bring together a team of 8-12 experts from DPS, the community and outside organizations to form an ART (Application Review Team) for each application, to conduct the rigorous application process. ARTs generally include a family member from the region the proposed school aims to serve; an external consultant; and experts in English Language Acquisition, Special Education, curriculum and instruction, as well as other areas such as legal, finance, governance and human resources. To make assessments about an application’s quality, all members of ARTs use the standards of quality embedded in each section of the application materials.
Who makes the decision about an application’s approval?
The DPS Board of Education makes the decision through a public vote. To inform that decision, the Application Review Team provides its opinion about an application’s quality to the Superintendent and the senior leadership team. They consider the ART’s opinion, community input and other factors to create a public recommendation, with evidence, to the board. The District Accountability Committee (DAC) will also make an independent recommendation directly to the DPS Board of Education. The board can agree or disagree with the staff’s recommendation and/or the DAC's recomomendation in voting to approve or deny an application.
I've been asked to be on an ART. What can I expect?
As an Application Review Team (ART) member, you’ll be assigned to read and evaluate new school proposals using the new school rubric. You’ll attend two ART meetings to discuss your findings. In the first ART meeting you’ll collaborate with other team members to develop a consensus overall opinion about the application. In the second ART meeting you’ll come together to finalize an opinion and evidence to then share with the superintendent. Ultimately the evidence and opinion developed by the ART will be shared with the superintendent who then will make a recommendation to the DPS Board of Education to approve or deny the application. Everything in the ART is confidential and deliberative. If yu're interested in serving on an ART but haven't been invited, please contact PMT.