From Bill Kurtz, the Principal of Denver School of Science and Technology in Denver:
I am thrilled to share with you that DSST has been selected by the White House as one of six finalists in a national competition to have President Obama speak at our high school graduation ceremony in May. You can read more about this in the press release that was issued by the White House this afternoon (please see below).
1,000 high schools applied for this honor. The application was 3 parts: Academic results, Student essays, and a Video. You can watch the video and read application materials here:
Later this month, DSST along with the other 5 finalist schools will be featured on the White House website for voting by the public to determine the top 3 schools. Then President Obama himself will choose the winner from the top 3. We will have more information about this process in the weeks ahead.
We are very proud of our students, parents, teachers, and staff for their achievements! Our continued academic success is what has made this great honor possible. We are very grateful for the support of our board and you, our community and friends, for your continued belief in our mission and model. Thank you and we will continue to update you as the story unfolds.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2010
President Obama, Department of Education Announce Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge Finalists Six Public High Schools Selected to Compete for Presidential Commencement Address
WASHINGTON – The White House and the Department of Education announced today the six high schools selected as finalists for the first annual Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge. The Commencement Challenge, launched in late February, invited the nation’s public high schools to submit applications showing their dedication to providing students with an excellent education that will prepare them to graduate ready for college and career choices. Applications were judged based on the schools performance, four essay questions and supplemental data. The six finalists were selected for their dedication to academic excellence and for showing how they are helping prepare students to graduate college and career ready, and prepared to meet the President’s goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.
· Blue Valley Northwest High School (Overland Park, Kansas)
· Clark Montessori Junior High and High School (Cincinnati, Ohio)
· Denver School of Science and Technology (Denver, Colorado)
· Environmental Charter High School (Lawndale, California)
· Kalamazoo Central High School (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
· MAST Academy (Miami, Florida)
“I thank all of the schools that submitted applications for the first Commencement Challenge and I congratulate the six finalists for demonstrating effective approaches to teaching, learning and preparing students to graduate ready for college and a career,” said President Obama. “The quality of the applications we received is a testament to the exciting work happening in schools throughout the country, and I look forward to visiting and speaking at the winning school later this spring.”
“These six schools represent just a few of the stories of success that are happening all across the country,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We won’t accomplish the President’s national goal of leading the world in college completion by 2020 without the hard work and dedication of the school leaders, teachers and students exemplified by our six final high schools.”
Over the next few weeks, each school’s students will work with The Get Schooled Foundation, which includes Viacom and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation among its founding partners, to create a short video highlighting how the school best fulfills the Challenge’s criteria. The six videos, along with portions of each school’s written application, will be featured on the White House website in the coming weeks and the public will have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet the President’s goal. The President will select a national winner from these three finalists and will visit the winning high school to deliver the commencement later this spring.
Watch a video of the schools being notified of their selection on Thursday, April 8, 2010.
Update: Denver Post article