Author Topic: Denver vs Jefferson County schools: any experience?  (Read 293 times)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Denver vs Jefferson County schools: any experience?
« on: January 10, 2019, 05:35:35 PM »
I know there are a lot of Colorado Mustachians so I am hoping someone will have some insight. I am really wrestling with existential angst.

My husband and I want to buy a house. For less than $400K. We currently live in the near northeast because it's where I used to live with my first husband and where my kids have been in school, but it's a long way from our workplaces and I have concerns about where their school is going anyway.

So we want to relocate to west Denver (think Barnum/Athmar/West Colfax), which is where I work, or to Lakewood, where my husband works. One factor in which is schools, of course.

I don't care about test scores. My kids are reasonably bright and 3 of their 4 parents are teachers or librarians. They will be fine academically... unless the soft areas--classroom environment, discipline policies, etc.--are a mess. I like the diversity of Denver but I am worried about middle and high school, when the time comes. (My older child will be in third grade next year.)

Anyone have experience with JeffCo schools or with navigating Denver's system after early elementary? Specific school recommendations are welcome.


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Re: Denver vs Jefferson County schools: any experience?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2019, 04:28:09 AM »
A couple of friends had children in the Denver schools or went through them.  It was hardest on the black achiever, as the other black kids spat on him and called him an Uncle Tom.  The brilliant Jewish kid was beloved of his principal because he single-handedly helped out the school's standardized scores but did not have many of the generic high school friendships that are a support at the time and a pleasure to refresh in later life.

My kids went through Lakewood High, which has an IB program.  They had fine, supportive teachers who gave extra help (calculus for my daughter, for instance).  They had moral, humorous, supportive coaches for their jockery, a life aspect I could support but never furnish.  They formed friendships that continue to this day, with people I consider ancillary kids (and some of whom I successfully instructed in [what I did not then know to call] mustachian techniques).  They had jobs during school and summers, were accepted at state schools, did well, are firmly on the way to complying with the more important family financial rules: by 50 you must be able to retire, whether or not you choose to; and you must have at least one house that you would be willing to live in paid off.   


  • Bristles
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Re: Denver vs Jefferson County schools: any experience?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2019, 10:56:26 AM »
I used to live in Denver, near the border of Jeffco. We had custody of my teenage nephew for a while and considered trying to get him into a Jeffco school (which is what most families  in Denver did) but ended up deciding to enroll him in our  neighborhood school, which was Kennedy. We were happy with the school - he had a good counselor and good teachers for the most part, and the school is way more diverse than Jeffco schools, which is important to us.

As another anecdote, I have a friend who had kids in an elementary School in Littleton (in Jeffco) and was unhappy with it once her kids got to older elementary - mostly from lack of academic rigor and high teacher turnover. She ended up switching her kids to Addenbrooke, which is a public K-12 charter on the south end of Lakewood, and has been really happy with it.

There is definitely a perception of Jeffco schools as being better, and they do tend to have higher test scores, but in my (admittedly limited) experience that is more a reflection of demographics than actual improved quality.


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Re: Denver vs Jefferson County schools: any experience?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2019, 12:06:30 PM »
This is totally anecdotal info and quite subjective, but I have a good (internet) friend I met on another forum who worked for Denver schools for years (first as an elementary teacher, later as a before/after-school aid) who had a VERY negative experience with what I perceive as seriously dysfunctional management in the Denver school system.  She eventually had a breakdown and took a leave of absence, but was hired by JeffCo schools very quickly.  She is having a MUCH better experience in JeffCo.  Like, night and day. 

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Denver vs Jefferson County schools: any experience?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2019, 02:38:56 PM »
Wow, these are SUPER interesting points of anecdata--thank you to everyone who has shared! It really helps to build a picture. I'm seeing a lot more desirable houses on the Lakewood side FWIW.

Anyone else have experiences to share?