Denver Public Schools cuts some preschool classrooms due to enrollment, space concerns

Parents who want to send their kids to preschool in Denver Public Schools may need to take a second look at their options, as eight schools cut classrooms and two eliminated programs for 3-year-olds.

Next school year, Stedman Elementary and Joe Shoemaker School will no longer offer preschool classes for 3-year-olds. In Stedman’s case, the school decided to use the space for its popular Spanish immersion program for older students, while Shoemaker will use the classrooms for four-year-olds.

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Eight other schools said they would cut one early childhood education classroom, though DPS data didn’t specify if each would be a class for 3- or 4-year-olds. Most cited low enrollment in preschool, though two said they needed more space for their older grades.

Schools cutting a classroom are:

Beach Court Elementary
Centennial School
Cheltenham Elementary
Colfax Elementary
Denver Green School Southeast
Place Bridge Academy
Trevista at Horace Mann
William Roberts ECE-8 School

Half of those schools rarely place children on waiting lists for preschool programs, according to a Denver Post analysis of DPS school choice data.

Centennial, Denver Green School and William Roberts placed at least one-third of children who tried to get some of their preschool programs on a waiting list, however, and one popular program at Trevista waitlisted half of children who applied. Denver Green School and William Roberts both said they needed the space for older grades.

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Some schools are planning to expand their preschool offerings, however. McMeen Elementary and Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment each will add one classroom next year. Bryant Webster Dual Language ECE-8 plans to go even further, by expanding its preschool classes from half-day to full-day.

DPS schools offer more classrooms for 4-year-olds than for younger children. Schools vary in offering full-day or half-day programs, and some offer both.

Tuition is free for low-income families, and ranges from $32 a month to $950 for others, depending on the family’s income, whether they live in Denver and whether they choose a full- or half-day program.