Cecilia Soto DSST: STP '10, University of Denver '14 writes about her life after DSST and why she decided to come back.
Carly Olson DSST: STP '13, Eckerd College '17 reflects on her DSST experience, moving 2,000 miles away from home, and starting her next adventure- college. Olson shares 'must know' tips for starting your college journey.
Kiran Nair, a 9th grader at DSST: Stapleton High School knows exactly what he wants—an education at a top-tier engineering school and a programming job at Google. He stated this matter-of-factly and with a genuine certainty.
“The programming world is fun in general,” said Kiran, “I’ve always been interested in the ability to control your own little world.”
His certainty is founded in years of experience. Kiran has been coding since he was in 5th grade and is currently creating a calculator application, using C++, for Google Glass. This independently-fueled project started when his father, an engineer himself, gave Kiran his Google Glass to explore.
The first thing Kiran noticed was the complete lack of any standard calculator on Google Glass. He quickly began creating a voice-controlled calculator that provides all basic mathematical functions. He is currently in the phases of making the app more scientific, allowing for graphs and more complex functionality. He plans on giving the app to Google upon completion.
He is most intrigued by the voice-control feature of the Google Glass. After using standard graphing calculators in his math classes at Stapleton Middle School, he determined that the product was limiting and could be greatly enhanced by the integration of voice recognition technology.
Just six weeks into high school and Kiran has already found his passions in Jeff Hollenbach’s physics class and Kendall Christakos’ math class. When asked which of the DSST core values resonates most with him, he quickly said “Doing Your Best.”
“My parents have always stressed that you have to work hard to be successful. DYB just drives home all the other core values—if you do your best, you won’t lie and you’ll always be curious.”
Speaking with Kiran about this extraordinary accomplishment it quickly became obvious that he wholly embodies all six of our core values. He spoke with humility, honesty, integrity, and respect. We know that we speak for everyone at DSST: Stapleton High School and across the network when we say that we truly cannot wait to see where Kiran’s passion, enthusiasm, and drive take him next!
DSST Schools Ranked Top Three Public Schools in Denver
Denver –Denver Public Schools (DPS) announced today that the top three public schools in Denver are DSST Public Schools. Of more than 180 schools in Denver, DSST: Byers Middle School is the #1 ranked school, DSST: Stapleton Middle School is #2 and DSST: Green Valley Ranch High School is #3 according to the Denver Public School’s School Performance Framework (SPF). Two other DSST schools are ranked #5 and #6; DSST: Stapleton High School and DSST: College View Middle School.
In all, DSST Public Schools operates the top 5 secondary schools in Denver, according to DPS rankings and charter schools compromised 9 out of the top 10 secondary schools in Denver.
Only 25 of all elementary, middle and high schools in Denver were named “Distinguished,” the highest ranking on the SPF—and six of these were DSST schools and comprise half of all “Distinguished” secondary schools in Denver.
The SPF is a comprehensive measurement of school performance that includes a variety of measures that contribute to the overall health of a school, including student academic proficiency, academic growth, college readiness, student engagement, parent satisfaction and enrollment rates.
“These results celebrate the passionate commitment of our students, families, teachers and staff to learning, living our values, and achieving at the very highest levels. We believe in the unique potential of every student and I am excited to see our students shine. I am grateful for the hard work of the entire DSST family to work towards getting all of our students four-year college ready,” Bill Kurtz, CEO of DSST Public Schools.
About DSST Public Schools
DSST Public Schools (DSST), authorized by Denver Public Schools (DPS), operates a network of open-enrollment, STEM charter schools. Students are admitted to DSST by lottery through the DPS School Choice Process; there are no admissions criteria. This fall, DSST Public Schools will enroll more than 3,500 students at nine schools on six campuses. Over 70% of students are minority and more than 60% qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
By 2022, DSST Public Schools will operate 14 schools on seven campuses, serving over 6,500 students and nearly doubling the number of four-year college-ready graduates in Denver Public Schools.
Additional information about DSST Public Schools is available at www.dsstpublicschools.org.
In honor of September being National Literacy Month, we asked members of our team what books have impacted them most. Below are summaries from individuals across the network and in our alumni community, about the books that have proven most influential in their lives. As autumn officially begins next week, head to your nearest library or bookstore and check out one of these books--all pre-approved and highly recommended by fellow DSST members!
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.
This is a story of a man who overcomes so much adversity and follows his story of unbelievable trials and tribulations. I’m someone who enjoys a good survival story. Reading about people who battle through situations that I can’t even imagine, inspires me to push on when things get difficult in my own life.
~Lauren Berger, DSST: Byers Middle School
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
This book’s great message about faith and belief really resonated with me when I had to read it sophomore year at DSST while I was going through some really tough family issues.
~Djack San Andres, DSST: Stapleton High School ’14, Brandeis University ‘18
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
Angle of Reposemakes the geography, dreams, and disappointments of the American West come alive. Reading the story is like being drenched with love, fear, and sense of place all mixed into one very full bucket.
~Whitney Smith, DSST: Stapleton High School
The Castle by Franz Kafka
I like the theme of absurdity that Kafka returns to. In The Castle, K is trying to get in touch with someone at ‘the castle’ in charge of his employ but finds no such luck. The book takes many twists and turns sending K in all directions and meeting countless individuals that seem at first helpful but eventually turn out to be of no help at all and send him further away from the castle. I am reminded of my experiences at the DMV, the grocery store, doctor’s office, etc… in which I feel this impulse towards the absurd at every turn. It is both comedic and tragic and I find something new to like about it every time I read it.
~David Dolata, DSST: Green Valley Ranch High School
The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne
It is the story of Union soldiers who escape from a prisoner of war camp during the Civil War by hot air balloon. They are marooned on an island, and spend the next several months using the knowledge of one engineer in their crew and what seems like a whole lot of luck to survive and establish themselves. They are ultimately rescued by (without giving too much away) what I would call a higher scientific power, bringing in a character from a more famous Verne text. I think it always appealed to me for the adventuresome spirit and the themes of self-sufficiency and scientific endeavor that run throughout the story. Jules Verne is a little antiquated in some respects, but I would say this is one worth reading. Books like it definitely directed my interests and career toward the sciences.
~Colin Haverkamp, DSST: Stapleton High School
Desert Solitaire and Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
These books really inspired me because he [Abbey] figured out a way to fight for the environment through writing. It has inspired a multitude of people to work for the environment in their own way.
~Cory Hofschild, DSST: Stapleton High School
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
A Prayer for Owen Meanyis one of my all-time favorite books and one that has impacted the way that I approach friendships. The character, Owen Meany, is a very eccentric character that has a friend that is willing to humor Owen throughout the duration of the book. After many seemingly silly requests Owen’s friend gets irritated and often frustrated but continues to run through silly exercises with him. At the end of the book the friend finds out that all of the silly requests actually served a much greater purpose. Sometimes friends and family can do things or ask things of me that seem silly in the moment. Often I don’t want to do these silly things or scoff at them, but then I remember Owen. People often do things for a greater purpose, even if their outcomes don’t match my own.
~T.J. Harris, DSST: Cole Middle School
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The book that had the greatest impact on my life is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. I was in high school when I read it, and it was the first time I read a book that completely connected to who I was as a person. It was the first time I could read a book and fully understand each of the characters as though they were friends. This book taught me about struggle, loss, and relationships. Basically, it taught me about life.
~Nate Reaven, DSST: Conservatory Green Middle School
A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer
I read this book when I myself was in 7th grade and it really resonated with me because it showed me that no matter what imagined injustice I was suffering through, there was always someone far worse off than I. I think of that book in my professional career as I connect with each of my students. I look at them through the lens of a teacher who knows their family situation, who knows their dreams and fears. I hope that through my relationships, I never let “a child called it” slip past me without my knowledge. This book holds me accountable to each student, and reminds me the reason I became a teacher—to serve and protect my students the best I can.
~Samantha Hampton, DSST: College View Middle School