School Choice, is it Heaven or is it Hell?

School Choice, is it Heaven or is it Hell?

Are you looking for a college or just a preschool for your little one?  With so many choices, it may seem like you are making a career choice for your 4-year old rather than just a safe, nurturing environment for him/her to be a child for another year. 

In most of Denver, the elementary school in your neighborhood is the one in which you have an automatic spot, with the exception of Central Park (formerly Stapleton).  This urban sprawled neighborhood has made a name for itself in many accounts, starting with some of the top Denver schools at their fingertips, and the fact that it is its own enrollment zone for elementary schools.  But we’ll get back to Central Park (formerly Stapleton) a little further down the road. 

Now, if you are not keen on the school in your ‘hood, then you will have to do your research, attend open houses, fill out the school Choice Forms (due this year on January 29th) and hope for the best.  On a positive note, Denver has some great picks for public schools with a variety of focuses so you can TRY and choose the one that best suits your child’s learning style or interests.  To go down this path, if you haven’t already, you can get more information on Denver Public Schools website at, but remember, the deadline is next week!

If you have a child going into middle or high school, then you find the school in your enrollment zone by going to and entering your home address.   Again, if you or child would like to try your luck at a different school, the Choice process is the same. 

Are you unsure of your options?  Check out for in-depth information on test scores, student-teacher ratio, special class/program offerings and even reviews left from parents, students and/or teachers.

Back to Central Park (formerly Stapleton)….Central Park (formerly Stapleton) is the only neighborhood in Denver (and maybe the world) with a shared boundary enrollment zone.  A WHAT? Exactly.  It is a ‘geographic area where the students living within it are guaranteed a seat at one of several schools, not just one particular school.’  The great news is, that your child is guaranteed access to a high performing school, the downside is that it may not be the school across the street from you. 

If you live in Central Park (formerly Stapleton), you have to follow the School Choice process for elementary and middle school due to the shared boundary enrollment zone otherwise your child will be left in School Choice purgatory until DPS figures out where they can ‘fit’ your child and you will have less chance of getting your top choice.

Currently, there are 5 elementary schools in Central Park (formerly Stapleton):

  • Westerly Creek (28th Avenue & Akron Street) ECE-5
  • Bill Roberts (Montview & Central Park) ECE-8
  • Swigert (Syracuse Street & 35th Avenue) ECE-5
  • Isabella Byrd (Kingston Street & 26th Avenue) ECE-5
  • Hi Tech Elementary (Stoll Place & Verbena Street & 50th)  ECE-5

***Early Childhood Education:  ECE (Preschool)

Please note that ECE is tuition based at all Denver public schools, and Kindergarten is free for the first half of the day (the second half is optional and tuition based as well).

As for Central Park (formerly Stapleton) Middle Schools, a boundary is shared with Park Hill and the school options in the area are:

  • Bill Roberts
  • Denver Discovery Middle School
  • DSST Conservatory Green
  • DSST Central Park (formerly Stapleton)
  • McAuliffe Middle School

Once your child is ready for High School, it gets a little easier.  For Central Park (formerly Stapleton), Northfield High School is the assigned school for 9th and 10th grades next year and George Washington High School is the assigned school for 11th and 12th grades, but again, the School Choice process is still an option if you decide that these schools aren’t for you. 


The other high schools around the hood are:

  • DSST (Denver School of Science & Technology) Central Park (formerly Stapleton)
  • East High School

There you have it, the School Choice hell that is our wonderful privilege in Denver (and more so in Central Park (formerly Stapleton)). 


Remember, the deadline for 1st round enrollment is January 29th.  If you are new to Denver Public Schools, you also have to Pre-Enroll your child which shares the same deadline of January  29th.


Happy choicing!

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