DENVER – Denver Public Schools gathered educators, students, families, and community members on Wednesday, August 24th to officially dedicate a new campus for two of Denver’s public charter schools. The Regis F. Groff campus in Far Northeast Denver is home to KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy and STRIVE Prep – RISE, two schools that are expanding to meet the educational needs of the rapidly growing community.
Speakers at the ribbon cutting ceremony included Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg, Denver Board of Education members Rachele Espiritu and Happy Haynes, Peter Groff and Callie Groff, and leaders and students from the schools that occupy the campus.
“This new building has had a great impact on all of us,” said Francisco Arballo, a 10th grade student at KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy. “Knowing that this campus was made for us, we reach every day to achieve success and meet the high expectations our teachers have for us. With this building, my school, my community, and my city have shown that they believe in me and all the students here at KIPP.”
Built with funds from the bond and mill levy passed by Denver voters in 2012, the new campus honors the late Regis F. Groff, who taught at several Denver schools, including East High School and Smiley Junior High School. Elected to the Colorado State Senate in 1974, he was the second African-American State Senator in Colorado’s history, and was instrumental in creating the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. He also served as an instructor of African-American History at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, University of Denver, and Metropolitan State College.
Groff’s long record of leadership in the classroom and at the state Capitol serves as an ever-present inspiration for the students that study in the building of his namesake.
“KIPP students work each day to foster character strengths that are essential for their own success and well-being, so they can grow into the next generation of leaders in our community,” said KIPP Colorado Executive Director Kimberlee Sia. “As a man who not only broke barriers and personified achievement, but who also earned the nickname ‘the conscience of the Colorado Senate’ from his peers, Senator Groff is the perfect role model for our students.”
KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy currently educates 9th and 10th grade students, while STRIVE Prep – RISE currently educates 9th grade students. Both schools plan to continue adding a class each year to educate students in 9th through 12th grade. Operating independently, the two schools will participate in a combined sports program and share athletic facilities.