Denver Public Schools' Board of Education voted to close their longest-running charter school next year. P.S. 1 opened in 1995 under the leadership of Rex Brown.
The school has suffered low academic performance its entire history. The school serves at-risk youth in downtown Denver at 10th and Delaware. The facility is a beautiful brick, historic building.
At the time P.S. 1's charter school application was being considered by DPS, the district had already denied an application for Thurgood Marshall Middle School. Cordia Booth, an African-American teacher, wanted to open a middle school for troubled youth in northwest Denver. The case ultimately went to the Colorado Supreme Court and a final opinion was released in 1999.
Under pressure from community members and policy makers, the DPS board appeared to respond to a need to approve at least one charter school. After P.S. 1 was approved, it took several more years before another charter school was approved in Denver. During that time, Denver became known as the "last frontier" for charter schools as the board gained a reputation for being anti-charter. It was also during this time period that the DPS board was continuing litigation against the Thurgood Marshall school.
P.S. 1 is one of the three charter schools DPS has targeted for closure or turnaround. Skyland Community is slated to close at the end of the current school year. Northeast Academy has been instructed to use a management company for turnaround.