DSST Public Schools (DSST) announced today that it has received a $1 million grant from Oprah’s Angel Network to support DSST’s expansion to serve more students in Denver. Bill Kurtz ’91, CEO of DSST Public Schools, is a proud Project 55 alumnus.
Oprah announced the gift to DSST on the September 20 episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The show features the documentary film Waiting for Superman, which focuses on the state of public education in the U.S. The documentary focuses on the staggering signs that American children are falling way behind their counterparts in other countries, even as school spending increases.
Kurtz ’91 says, “DSST Public Schools is thrilled by this national recognition of our work to help more than 1,000 Denver students get a college preparatory education. Waiting for Superman does an outstanding job of outlining our country’s crisis in public education and the urgency with which we need to act on behalf of students nationwide. DSST is very grateful for the support of Oprah’s Angel Network to help us expand in order to double the number of four year college-ready graduates from Denver Public Schools. “
DSST was one of six high-performing charter networks from around the country featured on the show as examples of public schools that are serving stude
nts well. The money received by each school network from Oprah’s Angel Network will be used to expand and open more schools to provide more students with a high-quality college preparatory education.
Kurtz describes his experience with Project 55 , saying “I spent four years working at Holy Cross School in the South Bronx as an Assistant Principal. In that job, I taught history, coached basketball, created a fundraising program, started an advisory council, served as the Assistant Principal for the middle school. It was an incredible experience that certainly built the foundation for the last 12 years I have spent in education. My experience as a PP55 fellow was life changing. It provided me the opportunity to transition from Wall Street to seeking educational solutions for underserved students first in the South Bronx, then Newark New Jersey and now Denver, Colorado. My fellow experience taught me a great deal about serving low-income students, educational leadership, and how to work on a team. The mentorship of Pete Milano and Chet Safian was instrumental in my growth and something I will always be grateful for.”
About DSST Public Schools
DSST Public Schools (DSST) operates open-enrollment STEM charter schools and is part of the Denver Public Schools (DPS) system. DSST Public Schools currently serves over 1,000 students on two campuses. DSST Public Schools has been approved to open three additional secondary school campuses (grades 6-12) in 2011, 2012 and 2013. At full enrollment, DSST Public Schools will serve over 4,200 students, and will double the number of four year college-ready DPS graduates by 2020.
DSST Public Schools was founded as the Denver School of Science and Technology in 2004 with the founding campus at Stapleton. DSST: Stapleton serves students from all parts of Denver with a student population of 65% minority and 45% low income. DSST: GVR’s student population is 83% minority and 55% low income.
DSST: Stapleton is widely considered to be one of the leading open enrollment STEM schools (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in the U.S. and has become a destination for educators nationwide. DSST: Stapleton has consistently been the highest performing secondary school in DPS and in Colorado, based on growth and absolute performance. DSST: Stapleton’s first three graduating classes earned 100% acceptances into four-year colleges. Fifty percent of DSST’s 2010 graduating class is first generation college-bound.
Additional information about DSST Public Schools and the admission process is available on the school’s web site at www.scienceandtech.org.