After its first year, McAuliffe International School is charting a new path.
The Stapleton school is growing fast, and relocating to the former home of Smiley Middle School will put it at the intersection of space and opportunity next year.
“In terms of programming, it’s to our advantage to be a larger school because our funding is based on the number of students we serve,” said McAuliffe’s principal, Kurt Dennis. “Our International Baccalaureate programing also requires more electives, and at our current home on the Swigert-McAuliffe International Campus, we’re limited in terms of the number of classrooms we have.”
Dennis said the new location holds up to 1,200 students. While McAuliffe won’t fill all of that space, the extra room will allow the school to continue offering electives such as French, Spanish, band, orchestra and drama, while adding new ones such as Mandarin Chinese debate and lacrosse.
“We’re building a school we would have liked to attend as kids,” he said.
McAuliffe now has 400 sixth and seventh graders and will add another 210 eighth graders as well as another 200 students when it moves in August 2014. The school will also share the building with Venture Prep.
The former Smiley campus was built in Park Hill in 1928 and has two gyms, an auditorium, a cafeteria and 19 acres of playing fields.
“Specifically, the facility lends itself to supporting our programming in the sense that it’s built as a more traditional middle school,” Dennis said, adding that the school will also encourage a more inclusive community.
“I think we’re going to be able to draw kids from all over Northeast Denver,” Dennis said. “In my mind, it could help serve as a regional hub for uniting families and bringing kids from all over the area together, while forming a more diverse student population.”