New direction for North Denver public schools
The future of North Denver public education took a u-turn in June, after the school board passed a resolution essentially prohibiting new charter schools in the area until a community-driven plan is created to unify the disparate streams of educational programs found across elementary, middle schools and North High. The action will also preserve improvements at Skinner Middle School being made by principal Nicole Veltze. Neighborhood activists had felt that pressure from charter schools (two new charters will open in North Denver this school year) would fatally undermine progress at Skinner, including the potential of co-locating a charter in the Skinner building. A new grant will allow Skinner to add language instruction and more honors courses in the coming years. The resolution was the product of hard work by North Denver’s School Board rep Arturo Jimenez and at-large member Mary Seawell. A last minute compromise on language guaranteed four votes, and later, a unanimous decision. Jimenez has been a strong advocate of neighborhood schools in North Denver, while Seawell has worked with a neighborhood group focused on Skinner.