Denver Public Schools’ Class of 2016 made history.
Five hundred more students graduated with a DPS high school diploma than last year, making it the largest graduating class the district has ever had, said Superintendent Tom Boasberg. In 2016 there were 4,314 graduates. In 2015 there were 3,813.
“It’s a testament to the extraordinary hard work of our educators,” Boasberg said at a press conference Monday at Martin Luther King Jr. Early College in the city’s far northeast corner.
The state’s largest school district has been graduating more students each year since 2006 when its graduation rate was an all-time low of 39 percent.
Many of the gains have come from schools in the far northeast.
Under Boasberg’s tenure, schools in the far northeast underwent dramatic overhauls that sparked controversy.
“Those changes weren’t easy,” he said. “In many cases, they were very painful.”
But six years after the reforms were put in place, the results are clear, Boasberg said.
One recent MLK Early College graduate, Jordan Grant, said an effort to get students thinking about college earlier worked.
“At the time, the idea of going to college was very foreign to me,” said Grant, who will attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins this fall. “As a young African-American male, I never got the impression I should go to college. In my mind, I thought I was going to play professional basketball for the Denver Nuggets.”