What goes in the classrooms of the Denver School of Science and Technology will no longer be solely in Denver.
"We believe that DSST can work for all kids," said Heather Lamm. "We serve a wide variety of kids in Denver. We serve kids from various socio-economic backgrounds."
Lamm is the Director of Marketing for the network of public charter schools known as the Denver School of Science and Technology. DSST started on a sole campus in Stapleton. Now, it has expanded to 12 middle and high schools around the city. Most of these programs rank amongst the highest in Denver for academic achievement,
"Looking at the work of DSST, they've done a tremendous job over a significant period of time working with students who match our demographic getting to those students success and getting students to college," Rico Munn, Aurora Schools superintendent, said.
Munn has been working to get DSST involved Aurora Public Schools for two years. The current plan is to open four new schools on two different campuses.
"Fundamentally, I like their outcomes," Munn said.
Parts of the Aurora school district have struggled year after year. Lamm hopes the DSST model can help.
"Can we fix the entire problem? No. But, we do a very good job of bringing culture and bringing in high expectations and bringing in terrific teachers and bringing in a true community sense and focusing on the character of the kids," Lamm said.
The superintendent likes the idea of having a program focused on science and technology.
"The STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field is growing," Munn said. "It's exploding in particular. It's an emphasis in Aurora with the Anschutz Campus and all of the Buckley (Air Force Base) and aero tech industries we have here."
DSST will not use "Denver" in its name for the Aurora campuses. Despite having methods that have led to success, Lamm says the birth of every DSST school involves deep community engagement.
"This is not cookie cutter," Lamm said. "We don't just come out and plop down a school and say, you're good to go. So that has to be very, very well thought out."
The first schools in Aurora will open for the 2019-2020 school year.