The Downtown Denver Expeditionary School Opens Its Doors

Anticipation for the grand opening of the Downtown Denver Expeditionary School comes to a head on Monday, August 26 when the 2013-2014 school year commences for the 180 enrolled students. The Downtown Denver Expeditionary School (DDES) is the realization of a long-time goal to establish a school in the heart of the city. The Downtown Denver Partnership has worked closely with the DDES team over the past two years to help make the school a reality. The Partnership served as a fiscal agent, assisted with fundraising efforts and funded a demographic study that was a key part of their charter application.

“For decades, Downtown Denver leaders have worked to bring an elementary school to the center city,” says Tami Door, President and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “An elementary school was identified in the Downtown Area Plan as supporting one of the five vision elements: A diverse city, which supports the goal to attract children and their parents to visit, go to school, recreate, explore and live Downtown.”

DDES is committed to utilizing the rich resources of the Denver urban community to enable all students to achieve academic and personal excellence as citizen scholars. Through the use of experts, partnerships, internships and community service, DDES students will have ample opportunities to become an agent of change through learning to impact the community.

Scott Mengel, Founding Executive Director of the Downtown Denver Expeditionary School, has served as a principal in a variety of school environments in surrounding Denver neighborhoods, including Cherry Creek Schools’ diverse north end and Douglas County. As a teacher, Scott deeply embraced project-based, interdisciplinary learning in a school that served as an early exemplar to the founders of the Expeditionary Learning model. Scott’s leadership has also included management of high-performing teams and new market development in the non-profit sector. Most recently, Scott was appointed Chief Growth Officer at Expeditionary Learning (EL), where he is developing the tools and resources to support the launch of high-quality EL charter schools throughout the country.

“EL offers students, parents, communities and teachers opportunities to engage in rigorous learning with joy and purpose,” says Scott. “As an EL network school, our DDES students will grow academically, develop strong character and habits of scholarship, and understand their role as leaders – as they actively engage in learning and service to the Downtown Denver community.”

DDES will open as a K-3 school and add a grade level annually until it is K-5. For the first semester the school will operate out of Smedley Elementary and then move into their permanent facility in January 2014 at 1860 Lincoln in Downtown Denver. You can learn more about the school at