St. Elizabeth’s School has been serving Denver for 15 years as an intentionally inclusive school with a dedication to equity, belonging, and educational opportunity for all students. Our community represents the beautiful mix of races, ethnicities, faiths, and family cultures that make up Denver, Colorado. It is our fundamental belief that every family should have affordable and sustainable access to a great education for their children. An individualized tuition plan allows the school to enroll families from a broad socio-economic spectrum that is truly representative of the neighborhoods it serves.
Last summer, St. Elizabeth’s moved from our former location on Gaylord Street to a historic and stately building on the former Johnson & Wales Campus in Park Hill. The building originally housed Colorado Women’s College from 1909 until it merged with the University of Denver in 1982. The building has a historic designation, but the inside of the structure was completely renovated to a modern and immaculate educational environment in 2015. We worked for months with a group of like-minded non-profit entities, including the Urban Land Conservancy, Denver Housing Authority, and Denver Public Schools as they engaged in the due diligence phase of acquiring the campus. Several other organizations, including the Kitchen Network and Archway Communities, will have a presence on the campus as well. It is our unified intention to see the greater campus and green space continue to be a wonderful community asset for all.
Once the building was acquired, we entered a renovation phase that we were fortunate to have completed by the start of this school year. As the building had been recently renovated, the work was minimal and mostly consisted of removing or adding walls to create classroom and office spaces. We were able to finalize all interior work by mid-August, and were also able to add a playground, which was completed in mid-October. The expanded space has been transformative for the school day at St. Elizabeth’s. The students love being able to move to different classrooms throughout the day, and having quiet, designated spaces for library, chapel, learning support, and counseling support has been a very positive change for many of our students. The middle schoolers love having their own floor of the building, and many of them have said that the feeling of being on a college campus has made them feel more prepared not only for high school, but for the potential to attend college after that. Our Great Hall has also been a great place to have all-school meetings in a setting that fits everyone comfortably, and it was wonderful to be able to host our Annual Holiday Concert this past December in a space that fit our entire community so easily.
St. Elizabeth’s mission is critical, today more than ever. It takes all of us working together and challenging one another, to affect great change. This is not accomplished by simply respecting differences. This is achieved by uplifting all students to realize a truly transformative education, actively leaning into important conversations that broaden mindsets, and holding ourselves accountable by dismantling systemic inequality.
The new campus is just three miles east of our former location, and it offers a permanent home with greatly expanded opportunities to serve our diverse community. We are now able to offer enriched after-school and year-round programming for families and expanded on-site support for students, including a summer partnership with Steve and Kate’s Camp and various athletic programs throughout the year. We are continuing to explore expanded partnerships with other schools in the area as well. The move will also allow us to grow enrollment while maintaining our commitment to inclusion, which is the cornerstone of our mission.