The Succeeds Prize high school award banner

The Succeeds Prize 2018 High School Award: Meet the Finalists

Meet the 2018 finalists for The Succeeds Prize for Transformational Impact in a High School, sponsored by the Western Union Foundation.

Denver Center for International Studies - Denver

The Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS) works to develop multilingual, interculturally competent citizens who will make an unforgettable mark on our world. DCIS encourages students to excel in their studies, think independently, and participate in community service projects. Graduates earn both a Denver Public Schools diploma and an International Studies diploma. Students develop and run more than 30 clubs in school, facilitate weekly all-school meetings, and track their own daily standards-based to take ownership of their education.

DCIS serves as a national model for pre-collegiate international education. All students take two social studies courses each year to develop a better understanding of the world in which we live. Curriculum is organized through Four Domains of Global Competency: Investigate the World, Recognize Perspectives, Communicate Ideas, and Take Action.

DCIS students have the opportunity to become fluent in one of six world languages. Highly-qualified teachers bring rich backgrounds in international teaching and international service from organizations such as the Peace Corps. Students also have the opportunity to hone their language skills through travel abroad.

Denver School of Science and Technology: Stapleton High School - Denver

Like all Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) schools, Stapleton High School is  focused on developing graduates who understand their identity, lead values-driven lives, are college or career-ready, and possess 21st century skills. The school’s entire culture and curriculum are created to lead toward this vision. Morning meetings, identity exploration, and relationships between students and teachers promote identity awareness and values development.

Despite systemic inequities in college access and success, DSST has achieved a 100 percent four-year college acceptance rate among all ten graduating classes. Students are DSST’s most important driver of success and they take responsibility for their own learning. Robust STEM programming and presentations from businesses highlight STEM career opportunities for students. Eleventh grade internships increase student awareness and preparedness for the world that awaits them.

Each DSST student is also required to complete a Senior Project. Students go through a brainstorming process and eventually submit a project proposal. Products in the past have included athletic camps for youth, cultural appreciation weeks and even a drone delivered to a National Park in Rwanda that monitors for poaching.

Union Colony Preparatory School - Greeley

Union Colony’s mission is to involve students in educational experiences that prepare them to excel in college or other post-secondary educational endeavors. The school affords each student the opportunity to reach their full potential intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically, while developing a love of and respect for learning.

From its inception 21 years ago, Union Colony has accelerated all students from eighth grade on so that by the end of their junior year, they have, in a sense, completed the school’s high school curriculum. This includes core subject areas of fine arts, international languages, mathematics, and social studies using a rigorous and challenging approach to thinking and learning. Through the use of methods such as Teaching with Love & Logic, Habits of Mind, and more, students are taught how to think, not what to think.

In senior year, each student participates in a capstone Senior Thesis class, during which they complete a written thesis and oral presentation. Additionally, each senior takes at least 12 tuition-free college credits.

Watch this video on 2017's High School Award Winner, DSST Green Valley Ranch High School in Denver.

Andy Burns -Chief Operations Officer, Durango School District

Deputy Superintendent, Durango School District 9-R and member of The Succeeds Prize Selection Commitee