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D’Evelyn & Dennison sixth-grade transition

D’Evelyn, Dennison tackling sixth-grade transition
Posted on 01/22/2019
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By Deborah Swearingen

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at 2:42 pm (Updated: January 22, 2:42 pm)

Following the sixth-grade transition in Jeffco Public Schools, a task force is recommending D’Evelyn Jr./Sr. High School also begin serving sixth-grade students.

The task force, comprised of faculty and parent representatives from both D’Evelyn and its feeder school Dennison Elementary as well as district representatives, began tackling the issue as a response to the district-wide transition.

Because of this transition, students who don’t attend Dennison but are interested in D’Evelyn would have to switch to a middle school for sixth grade and then transition again a year later to attend D’Evelyn. As of now, Dennison serves kindergarten through sixth grade, and D’Evelyn serves seventh through 12th grade.

“Communications between Dennison and D’Evelyn indicated a strong level of interest in analyzing this issue to investigate the impact that this would have on the overall environment in which Dennison and D’Evelyn exist and operate,” said Scott Spendlove, a D’Evelyn parent and member of the school’s steering committee.

If approved by the Jeffco Public Schools board, the transition would begin during the 2020-21 school year. Both Dennison and D’Evelyn would have sixth-graders during that time. Dennison would have 90 students in its sixth-grade program, while D’Evelyn would begin its program with 100 sixth-grade students. The following year, Dennison would become a K-5 program and D’Evelyn would remain a 6-12 program. After that, D’Evelyn would have approximately 200 sixth-grade students a year.

“We believe very strongly that D’Evelyn, which is a strong school with a rich history and a great track record of academic success, can and will build and develop a strong sixth-grade program. We also know that we need time to do that because that’s not something that we have done in the past. We have some lessons to learn and a lot of programming to develop,” said D’Evelyn principal Josh Griffin.

The proposal will likely come before the Jeffco Public Schools board for approval during its February meeting, and its chances for approval seem favorable.

“I think it’s a really reasonable and elegant solution to a really difficult problem,” Superintendent Jason Glass said.

However, between now and March, Glass said the district must examine what the change will look like, particularly as it relates to space constraints. Griffin noted the change would require D’Evelyn to accommodate 200 extra students.