Frequently Asked Questions
What are Innovation Zones?
Innovation Zones are a partnership with the Denver Public School district that provide schools that select to collaborate with the autonomy and strong accountability they need to better serve students, teachers, staff, and school leaders. Innovation Zone schools appear the same as other schools, however they operate under a different structure that emphasizes school-level autonomy over budget, staffing, curriculum, and an inclusive culture. Innovation Zones exist to empower educators with the opportunity to design and sustain a shared learning community specifically tailored to the needs of their students, communities, and the adults who serve them.
How do NDIZ schools benefit students?
NDIZ advocates for students and their families to make sure their voice is heard, they feel valued and empowered, and their educational needs are met. We provide integral learning opportunities on how to support your child through any academic or social-emotional challenges they may encounter such as through School Transitions and working groups on Diversity & Equity, to help students and parents feel empowered, prepared, and confident.
How do NDIZ schools benefit teachers and staff?
NDIZ facilitates connections between teachers, staff, and schools within the Zone to provide access to the resources, tools, and professional development they need to create a consistent educational experience for students. Our Teachers Council is coming soon!
How do NDIZ schools benefit the community?
NDIZ actively works to ensure all students receive the opportunity to an equal educational experience to better their futures and the future of our community. To engage and facilitate connections within the community, we provide unique opportunities such as the Learning Communities Speaker Series, a Cross-School Zone Equity Council, and a Student Voice and Leadership Council. Additionally, all Zone schools are committed to engaging students in service through action by engaging strategically in community service to better the communities around them.
What makes NDIZ schools unique?
All NDIZ schools are located in the Northeast Denver area. NDIZ sees schools as the unit of change and believes that those closest to students and communities should be directly involved in the decisions affecting each school and school community. As such, NDIZ is governed by its own Board, with representatives with direct working knowledge of what the students at NDIZ schools and in Northeast Denver need. All NDIZ Community Representatives live within the communities the schools serve and several are parents with students in one or more of our Zone schools. Additionally, each Zone school has a staff member serving as their School Representative on the NDIZ Board.
Are NDIZ schools still part of Denver Public Schools?
Yes, NDIZ schools remain within the Denver Public Schools district and are accountable to the DPS board.
Are NDIZ schools charter schools?
No, Innovation Zone schools are not charter schools. Zone schools are DPS schools in Northeast Denver with innovation status that have intentionally selected to work together as a network of schools with a common vision and common practices on how best to support students.
Why should a school join an Innovation Zone?
NDIZ advocates for the flexibility and autonomy of resources, funding, and human capital to provide schools with the resources they need to adapt to and best support the needs of their students, families, teachers, staff, and leaders. We are dedicated to closing the academic and opportunity gaps in Northeast Denver schools to give students the opportunity for an excellent education through collaboration across our community of schools, aligned curriculum and instructional practices ECE – 12th grade, and most importantly shifting and sharing power with students, families, and staff to ensure an excellent and equitable education is a reality for all students.