Portfolio Member Spotlight

Answering the call for great secondary schools in Denver.

DSST Public Schools

“DSST has shown me that there is nothing that I can’t do.”

– Angela, DSST graduate, student at Colorado State University

“I don’t want to be another number; I want to be successful in college. I don’t want to be just prepared for college; I want to be successful. DSST helped me get here.”

– Dimitrius, DSST graduate, student at the University of Denver

“DSST is a unified community of students who embody our core values and a support system to offer opportunities to be successful every day.”

– Geovani, DSST graduate, student at the University of Colorado at Boulder

“When I think about where my life has gone and how people who grew up in my same community are in such different places, I know the difference is because of my DSST teachers.”

– Kamaria, DSST graduate, 2012 Howard University alumna

Walk into any DSST school and their values are immediately evident: Respect. Responsibility. Integrity. Doing Your Best. Courage. Curiosity.

You’ll see these words hung from the walls and hear these six values shared in school-wide community “morning meetings.” Guest speakers share stories about them, students develop them, and teachers encourage them.

Founded in 2004 by a board of civic and business leaders, DSST Public Schools believes that educating students is about more than just teaching students to read and write—it’s about teaching good character. “Our values permeate everything we do,” DSST Stapleton teacher Tracey Neubrand explains. “We believe if we live our values to the best of our abilities, great achievement will follow.”

DSST has become a destination of inspiration across the district DSST has a consistent track record of high achievement. With five of the six best public schools in Denver, 100% college acceptance since its founding, and the city’s highest average ACT scores, DSST is leading the movement for high-quality public education in Colorado.

“DSST has forced a new conversation in education and shown what can be done,” U.S. Senator Michael Bennett comments. “DSST has become a destination of inspiration across the district.”

What originally began as one small school in the northeast Stapleton neighborhood is now a network of 12 diverse DSST city public schools. With five new schools launching within the next few years and a plan to open 22 schools by 2024, DSST will be educating nearly a quarter of all secondary students in Denver within the next ten years.

DSST utilizes a rigorous STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curriculum. Students complete seven years of secondary math through pre-calculus and eight years of laboratory science, regardless of achievement levels when they begin with DSST in sixth grade. Integrated classroom technology, wireless one-to-one teaching environments, and personal advisors for each student ensure that students graduate prepared to succeed in college.

Nearly half of all DSST graduates are now pursuing STEM fields of study. “We believe that we are preparing our students with the highest-paid, highest-need opportunities that will provide for our country’s economic growth,” CEO Bill Kurtz shares.

Visit DSST's Website


Year Founded


CSGF Portfolio Member Since



Denver, Colorado

Number of Schools

2016: 12
End of CSGF Growth Plan: 14


69% Low Income
83% Minority

CSGF’s Financial Support of DSST Public Schools

CSGF has made two multi-year commitments to DSST to help the organization add 12 new middle and high schools and enroll 6,000 more students in Denver, Colorado.

“CSGF has been an invaluable partner. They have provided on-going counsel, support, and resources to help us scale while getting better and better results each year…We would not be who we are today without this partnership.”

–Bill Kurtz, CEO