Newcomer Magazine

Durham Public Schools

Posted June 6, 2007 2:44 p.m. EDT

Durham Public Schools is enjoying unprecedented success in every imaginable way. Student achievement is at its highest level in history, with more students performing at or above grade level than ever before.

“It is truly a fantastic time to be in Durham,” said Superintendent Ann T. Denlinger. “Our students are succeeding at phenomenal rates, and the support of our parents, community organizations, and business partners is off the charts.”

In addition to record-breaking gains in the system’s history on end-of- grade and end-of-course test scores, SAT scores continue to show an upward trend. The dropout rate has dropped by 40 percent since 2000, and surveys reveal that nine in 10 of the system’s graduates plan further studies.

Durham Public Schools boasts six Honor Schools of Excellence and 11 Schools of Distinction. Schools of Excellence are those that have reported at least 90 percent of students achieving at or above grade level, while Schools of Distinction are those reporting from 80 through 89 percent of students proficient.

Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted programs provide academically rigorous coursework and activities to challenge advanced students. DPS also offers numerous magnet programs, including two Montessori programs (one of only three school districts in North Carolina to do so), along with Career Pathways programs that offer specialized instruction at the high school level, year-round schools, and a highly successful International Baccalaureate program.

DPS’s learning environments are among the best in the state. The overwhelming approval of a 2003 bond referendum, in addition to one approved in 2001, means well more than $150 million committed to new and improved schools in just two years. A new elementary school, Creekside, opened in January 2005, and several more will be built over the next few years. These votes of confidence in DPS will support a $210 million, Long-Range Facilities plan. When the plan is completed by the end of this decade, it will leave Durham near the top of the heap when it comes to new or renovated square footage.

DPS is reinventing high schools to make them more relevant to students. Partnering with North Carolina Central University, DPS opened the Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School in fall 2004. The school serves as a national model. Durham is the first school system in the state to receive a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant, to provide funding for the school, which will offer college preparation and college course credit. The Middle College High School at Durham Technical Community College will open for the 2005-06 school year. It is a partnership with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange County school system. Durham Public Schools will also partner with the City of Medicine to open a high school in fall 2007 for students interested in pursuing careers in the medical field.

“Durham Public Schools is making greater strides than ever before at the high school instructional level,” says Superintendent Denlinger. “This is the direct result of the increased attention and effort put forth by our high schools, teachers, principals, parents and community supporters.”

How to Learn More
Find out more about Durham Public Schools, programs and services by
visiting, or by calling the Durham Public Schools
Office of Public Affairs, 919.560.3652