North High: DPS asks Colorado Department of Education to investigate credit recovery

Denver Public Schools has asked the Colorado Department of Education to investigate the credit recovery program at North High School, in light of concerns raised in the Westword cover story "Passing on Education," DPS spokesman Mike Vaughn confirms. That move pleased Jennifer Draper Carson, chairwoman of North's Collaborative School Committee, who requested that DPS conduct a third-party investigation.

Westword is seeking more information about the details of that investigation; we'll update this blog post when we hear more. In the meantime, Draper Carson had this to say:

Our students at North need to know that their diplomas have value, and that everyone in the system is treated equally, and fairly. Credit recovery is a valuable vehicle when used properly.

However, the process at North allowed abuses to occur, which led to an unrealistically high graduation rate. As chair of the North Collaborative School Committee, it didn't feel right to me, and that's why I demanded a professional, accountable, third party investigation.

This problem is likely occurring at other schools in DPS, which is why we need an independent audit. We absolutely must increase the graduation rate at North and other schools across DPS. But we can do it without decreasing the value of a diploma.

Further, we must ensure that as DPS graduation rates rise, remediation levels fall. A graduate from any DPS high school must be prepared to undertake college-level coursework.

DPS Board of Education vice president Arturo Jimenez has also called for an investigation into credit recovery. But instead of turning to the CDE, Jimenez, whose district includes North, is convening a committee made up of principals, teachers and community members. Stay tuned for more details on both investigations.

More from our Education archives: "North High: How many seniors graduated from school that used credit recovery courses?"

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar