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Denver Center for International Studies

574 W. 6th Avenue
Denver, CO 80204
Phone:  720-423-9000

Principal: Stephen Parce,
Assistant Principal:  Michelle Abitia,
Site Coordinator:  Heidi Hursh,
Site Professor: Marjorie Larner,​ 

The Denver Center for International Studies is a magnet school in Denver Public Schools with a commitment to the city’s diverse population of students. The mission of the school is to prepare each student for college and beyond by developing multilingual, inter-culturally competent citizens who are actively involved in a complex world.

DCIS began as a program within West High School in 1985. In 2005, the decision was made to move to our own building on 6th Avenue (near Denver Health Center) as a 6th-12th grade small school.  In recent years, responding to community demand, the school has grown to include over 700 students. Through membership in the International Studies Schools Network of the Asia Society, we work with other schools across the country on school reform initiatives including Proficiency-Based Assessments, Anyplace/Anytime Learning, and Student Graduation Portfolios. We are a pilot school for implementing a graduation performance system aligned with global competencies and 21st century skills.

DCIS offers classes and activities that focus on the world around us including world geography, international politics, six world languages and global issues. In 2011, DCIS became an Indian Focus Center for students who would like to study the Lakota language and culture as well as other indigenous cultures.  A critical component of DCIS is the notion of taking an active role in the community wherever that community is. DCIS students participate in service activities at the school, local, national and international levels. Students take leadership roles in many aspects of school operations and initiate and lead a great number of clubs and special events.

Travel is an important element of the DCIS program.  This year we have six juniors studying in other countries through Rotary Exchange Scholarships.  There will be school-sponsored trips to Peru, Italy, France, Costa Rica, Washington, DC, Mongolia, Japan and China.  The DCIS Foundation offers scholarships for travel and study abroad as well as supporting special events at the school featuring speakers and performers from various cultures. 

Students compile portfolios of their work and prepare a senior presentation reflecting on their personal and academic growth through their school years.  Community and school service are requirements for graduation and are closely linked with our clubs and some of the school’s travel programs.  Another unique part of the program is the self-directed learning project called a Passage.  Students complete at least three Passages to qualify for graduation, including one college level research paper.  We are piloting a process to offer academic credit for Anyplace/Anytime Learning in the arts, service learning, physical education, as well as in core content areas. 

Many of our students have been the first in their families to attend college, and our alumni often keep in touch through mentoring younger students. Ninety-five percent of DCIS graduates go on to study in colleges and universities. We partner with CU Denver Pre-Collegiate Program and a special link with the University of Denver through the VIP Program, which help our high school students prepare for college by assisting them in completing applications, preparing for interviews, etc.  DCIS students have earned numerous scholarships, including Boettcher, Gates and Daniels Scholarships, which provide full funding for college.  

As an intern at DCIS you will work hard, learn from the students as well as teachers and administrators, and become part of a close-knit community.  You will have the opportunity to co-teach with experienced teachers who also bring a wealth of international experience to the classroom.  Most faculty members teach both middle school and high school students with responsibility for two or three different courses. To accommodate student needs, many academic classes include students from different grade levels. Faculty members also teach an advisement class with the option of staying with the same students as they move from one grade to the next. These multiple responsibilities make it necessary for everyone to be flexible and collaborative.  They also contribute to strong relationships between students and faculty.

CU Denver interns have become an integral part of the DCIS program, enriching our community with new ideas, skills and enthusiasm. We look forward to working with you.

CU Denver School of Education &
Human Development

1380 Lawrence St., Denver, CO 80204 | Map It

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