I must admit to having a great deal of anxiety as I performed my due diligence on High Schools for my children to attend. I even investigated private school options and expanded my search to encompass most of the Denver Metro area. I have relatives in the southern suburbs and heard a great deal from them as to why I would be crazy to enroll my kids in a DPS High School, so I even contemplated moving in order to ensure my kids benefited from the best education I could provide them. Between such strongly worded counsel and the less than glowing appraisals of South at places like this site, I was on the verge of making a huge leap. Then I remembered what brought me to the Washington Park neighborhood in the first place. Traditional neighborhoods and tree lined streets, active parks and big porches that draw economically diverse people out into the open where community can take form. Its streets are narrow and sidewalks are old but there is a sort of genius visible to those willing to see beyond its surface. So, I made the effort to look again at our neighborhood school and see if there was something deeper than raw test scores and economic struggles of many students and their families. It was there all along, I just hadn't taken note as I maintained my focus on the caution lights being flashed in my face. If you spend time speaking with the people who work there and the students they serve, it rises like smoke from a concealed flame. There is an opportunity here for the kind of education that goes well beyond IB programs, AP classes, and athletic programs. Give it some time and I think you'll see it, too. The truth is that my children have been high performers their whole lives, the beneficiaries of attentive parents with economic resources to spare. There are many good schools with caring faculty and competent administration, and my children were likely to thrive in any safe environment with opportunities to learn. This is bigger than that, though. South High School is an opportunity for them to experience life in all its diversity and attendant challenges and beauties, to understand struggles they have never known, and to see beyond societal veneers and broad labels which plague so many in the world today. I can't guarantee that South High School is for you or your children, but I challenge you to find greater opportunity than what is found here.
There is a culture of inclusiveness and positivity permeating the halls of Denver South. My daughter is just completing her freshman year and South has far surpassed our expectations. She is already earning college credit and could potentially earn more credit if she did well on her AP exams. We love the international students and have realized that the roughly 25-25-25-25 attendance breakdown by race/ethnicity creates a very compelling dynamic. You won't experience any of this in any other Colorado high school.
Our daughter is a freshman at Denver South this year. She grew up in the neighborhood and had other high schools she could have chosen to attend but wanted to go to South and has never regretted it. She takes regular, in AP and honors classes, utilizes tutoring and has a good relationship with her supportive teachers. She is involved in sports and in a leadership building elective. She, and we, enjoy the diverse student body which helps her understand different points of view and she has found friends and kindred spirits. We are so glad she is a part of Denver South and so is she!
Denver South High school is a hidden gem in the DPS system! The diversity at South is a treasure that is unparalleled and creates a rich learning environment, an opportunity for the students to not only study other cultures in textbooks, but from their fellow students. The teachers at South embrace their unique opportunity, and are led by Dr. Kristin Waters, who is in no uncertain terms, a rock star, charismatic leader, and Principal who is willing to think outside the box and not afraid to implement new ideas.
Denver South High School My son is a freshman at Denver South High School. We absolutely love the diversity of Denver South. Everyone is from somewhere else so there are no clicks or majority/minority. Students seem to focus more on what can bring them together than what separates them. I have been so impressed by the quality of students that I have interacted with and my son is truly happy to go to school each day! As a parent I also love the communication between the teachers and home as well as the accessibility of the school administration. I know we made a great choice in choosing Denver South! A bonus is that they have great athletics programs and many of the athletes are honors or AP students. Student athletes are held to a higher standard than at other schools we looked at and this was important to me as a parent. At South my son is treated as a young man, a student then an athlete (in that order).
I teach French and Spanish at Denver South High School. I love working at South because it is by far the best high school in Denver Public Schools. The student body is very diverse, and our principal, Dr. Kristin Waters is doing an outstanding job. It takes great leadership to run a school as diverse as South. Too bad, my youngest graduated high school last year, or else he would be attending South!
I have found South HS to be very open to assisting my daughter and willing to work with me to understand her needs and learning challenges. I really appreciate the teachers being willing to contact me and inform me about what they are working on, what tasks my daughter needs to do, and how I can support her at home. This is very important to me as her parent!