2017 Annual Report

Jennifer Landrum Headshot

President and CEO

Dear friends of the Denver Preschool Program,

In 2017 we strengthened Denver’s stake in early education.

Not only did we celebrate 10 years of making preschool possible for every child in Denver, we also invested more than $12 million in tuition support, distributed tuition credit dollars to 4,709 preschool students, reviewed and revised our tuition credit scale to strengthen it in ways that provide a greater impact for local families, and welcomed our 50,000th student—Wilson Silvernale—to his first day in a Denver Preschool Program provider’s classroom.

But despite our many achievements, there are persistent barriers to early education in our community that must be addressed.

One such issue is child care deserts. In 2017, the Center for American Progress released a report analyzing 150,000 child care providers in 22 states, including Colorado. It found that 11.5 percent of neighborhoods in Denver severely lack quality affordable care.

This is why the Denver Preschool Program exists. We work diligently to ensure every Denver 4‐year‐old has an equal opportunity to succeed in life, starting with high quality early education. Thus far, we’ve helped more than 50,000 local families send their 4‐year‐olds to the preschool that best meets their needs, no matter the cost.

As our organization matures, we are expanding our efforts in order to become even more effective at fulfilling our promise to the citizens of Denver who have entrusted us with preparing their children for the future.


Jennifer Landrum Signature


Coming together to celebrate two major milestones

Last September, 10 children stood side-by-side on stage at the Denver Preschool Program’s 10th Birthday Celebration to share how they are all succeeding in school. From 14‐year‐old Jaylah to 4‐year‐old Wilson, each child in the Denver Preschool Program Kids Council represents the nearly 5,000 preschool students the Denver Preschool Program has served each year, beginning 10 years ago with the preschool class of 2007–2008.

The event, presented by Gary Community Investments, also marked Denver Preschool Program’s 50,000‐student milestone. Community members took the opportunity to applaud this achievement and offer a warm welcome to Wilson who joined the 2017-2018 preschool class.

Finding Support For
Our Families

A Denver mom finds meaningful support for her two sons

When Kimberly Silvernale first approached Treasureland Preschool, she was simply looking for child care near her home in Washington Park. But what she found was a warm, community-focused environment where her oldest son could improve his social-emotional skills through play.

Thrilled with her oldest son’s developmental gains, Silvernale also enrolled her youngest son Wilson in Treasureland-where this time she was extended an even bigger helping hand.

Wilson is the 50,000th student to participate in the Denver Preschool Program. The honor came with an invitation to join the Denver Preschool Program Kids Council at a special breakfast with Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.

Now that his last preschool year is coming to a close, Silvernale is noticing the same positive behavioral changes in Wilson that she saw in her older son.


Our refreshed tuition credit scale makes real our values of access for all and intentional inclusivity. We want Denver families of all socioeconomic backgrounds to have the resources they need to enroll their children in a high quality preschool, no matter what challenges they face.

-Jennifer Landrum, DPP President and CEO

How the tuition credit task force helped meet Denver families where they are

Denver’s demographics are changing, and for some families, that means more challenges to affording preschool. So in 2017 we decided to look into how could we use our resources to help families keep up with Denver’s rising cost of living, without sacrificing quality early education opportunities.

That process involved creating the Tuition Credit Task Force: a group of nine community-minded leaders who worked diligently to restructure the current Tuition Credit Scale in a way that frees up more funds for vulnerable families.

The Tuition Credit Scale is a tool the Denver Preschool Program has used from the start to determine the amount of financial support each family receives based on:

Their income
The quality rating of the chosen preschool
How many hours the child attends each day
Infographic - 10.7% Increase In Funding

The scale is designed so that the families with the greatest financial need who have a child attending a preschool of the highest quality will receive the most tuition support, giving more families the opportunity to enroll their 4‐year‐old in a quality‐rated preschool program of their choice. It also guides how funds are channeled into participating programs to help them improve their quality ratings.

Thus far, the Tuition Credit Scale has seen minor increases to keep up with changing economic conditions. But thanks to the work of the Tuition Credit Task Force, Denver families and preschool programs will now receive 10.7 percent more funds starting with the 2018–2019 school year.

This change marks the greatest one‐time increase to the Tuition Credit Scale, and better reflects the costs associated with creating and taking advantage of high quality early education opportunities.

Infographic - Children Served by Ethnicity
Infographic - 2016–2017 Income Tier Distribution
Infographic - Where Students Attended Preschool in Denver County


Proof that preschool makes a difference

Our mission is built on a foundation of research that asserts high quality preschool prepares children for success in kindergarten and beyond. We have evaluated short- and long-term outcomes of children in our program every school year since 2007-2008 to ensure the children we serve are learning the skills they need to thrive.

In 2017 we published a brief outlining the results from the annual Kindergarten Readiness study for the first time. The brief summarizes a study conducted by Clayton Early Learning that examined how a representative sample of 200 participating students progressed from the fall to the spring of the 2015–2016 preschool school year in five key areas: receptive vocabulary, literacy, math, social-emotional development and executive function (sustained attention).

The results for 2015–2016 found that, on average, children made progress in all key areas during their preschool year in a Denver Preschool Program classroom. Furthermore, children made gains above and beyond what is expected with typical development in three of the five key areas; vocabulary, literacy, and social-emotional development.

Overall, results from the 2016–2017 Kindergarten Readiness Study concluded the following:

  • The majority of children entered Kindergarten at acceptable readiness levels.
  • Children stayed on track with typical development in vocabulary, literacy and math during their Denver Preschool Program preschool year.
  • Children made gains in math above and beyond typical developmental expectations during their Denver Preschool Program preschool year.

View the full Kindergarten Readiness report.


Going the distance for denver’s future

Teaching small children is no small task. It takes patience, creativity and sometimes a second language. Just ask Mary, a bilingual preschool teacher at Pascual LeDoux Academy in southwest Denver. Mary has spent the past five years of her 23–year career in early education, putting her own acquired Spanish skills to use in Pascual LeDoux’s language acquisition room. It was there, surrounded by color and crafts, that she recently helped take three English Language Learners (two of Mexican descent and one of Vietnamese descent) from very little proficiency to knowing all of their letters and their numbers up to 25.

“Every year, we have a lot of students come in who haven’t been exposed to books at all. We also have a lot of kids who have experienced trauma and need to be loved all day long, so it’s tricky figuring out what each child needs every minute of the day.”

Thankfully, she is not alone. Mary is one of hundreds of early learning professionals who receive support from partner organizations like the Denver Preschool Program. For example, both Mary and her colleague Craig have received Denver Preschool Program achievement awards for their excellent Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®) ratings. CLASS® is an independent observation instrument the Denver Preschool Program uses to assess the quality of teacher-child interactions.


2017 calendar year audited financials

As a steward of public funds, we hold ourselves to the highest standard of accountability.

This is how we used your tax dollars during the 2017 calendar year toward expanding access to high quality preschool in Denver.

Infographic - 2017 Audited Financials