Denver Green School Northfield


Denver Green School Northfield is a DPS middle school, opening the fall of 2019-20, with our inaugural class of 6th graders. This school, the 2nd Denver Green School, is located at The Park Street Campus, 5677 N Galena. DGS Northfield provides students with an engaging learning experience, that is focused on real-world issues. Through our excursion program and with a broad lens of sustainability, we leverage meaningful learning opportunities that bring the most out of our students. As demonstrated in our first campus, The Green School Model achieves high academic levels of success (distinguished on our School Performance Framework) for learners of all races and backgrounds.


Updates For Year 0 

When a new school opens, the year before a school starts is called “year 0”. This is a pivotal time to make sure all the pieces are properly set in motion to launch a great school. With transparency and community in mind, below are some updates for year 0. This update is accurate as of 3/22/19.

  • Recruitment: We are ecstatic to have 98 families choice us #1 in the choice process and an additional 26 families that choices us lower in the process slated to come to our school. These numbers are in-line with the 125 the district projected and will allow us to have all the hires we hoped to launch the school. This is a great foundation and speaks to how this model has resonated with the community.

  • Hiring: Erin Miller, one of our two Lead Partners, has led a very successful hiring process. We already have 12 13 of our 15 full-time positions hired! We are still looking for the perfect social studies teacher, music instructor and autism center teacher. Check our staff page for more info!

  • Fundraising: As the first school to replicate within an Innovation Zone, there is a lot of interest from foundations that want to push education. We have commitments in the neighborhood of 150k and feel confident that another 50-150k is on the way.

  • Shared Campus: Our relationship with Inspire Elementary and their leader, Dr. Marisol Enriquez is off to a great start! We already have a co-gardening program launched and identified several shared positions between our two schools.

  • Bell Times: We are excited that our requested daily schedule, Monday-Thursday 8:15-3:45 and Friday, 8:15-12:15 was approved by DPS Transportation. We are beginning our work to identify after school options for Friday, in addition to opportunities Monday-Thursday. We imagine bus schedules will take a considerable time for transportation to develop.

  • Building: While the current space could fit our school next year and the 2020-2021 school year, we are excited that the district will begin work on our addition in the fall, ready in time for the 2020-2021 school year. We have been actively involved in guiding this addition of three science labs, a culinary class, a revamped office, a new music room and a multi-purpose space.

  • Purchasing: From ordering a soccer ball, to installing 75-inch NewLine Interactive displays, one-t0-one computing, furniture for the library loft, a $3,000 baritone saxophone, and a spatula for our culinary class, there is a lot of work to navigate district systems to leverage the money set aside to help new schools open.


Welcome BBQ.gif
  • Saturday, April 20th: Welcome BBQ
    11:30-2:00pm at DGS Northfield (Inspire Elementary).

  • Monday, August 12th: Back to School Night
    5:30-6:45pm at DGS Northfield

  • Thursday, August 15th: First day of school!

 What Do Families Do Next?

  • Welcome BBQ: During our April 20th welcome BBQ, we will give each student a DGS T-shirt, ask for student input on possible elective offerings and share what we know about the school. We will reach out to families that do not attend this event to make sure they can get their shirt too and provide input on our elective offerings.

  • Volunteering: If you are interested in joining the Big House, which is our staff, student and family advisory committee, that meets once a month, please email If you are interested in having an active presence beyond attending the occasional school event and excursion, please email Kartal.

  • Family Handbook: Many little details like drop-off procedures, student dress code (we have no uniforms and are pretty relaxed), sport schedules, discipline policy, cell phone policy and the like will come in a family handbook which will be sent out before summer break.

  • Questions: If you have a burning question, do not hesitate to ask. You can email or Kartal will be more focused on family engagement, but Erin is just as helpful.


What is DGS?

Green school to the core Basic Facts

  1. Shared Leadership: The Green School model utilizes a team of administrators (licensed principal) and teachers that use consensus to make key school decisions around budget, professional development and strategy.

  2. Education for Sustainability: Much like an International Baccalaureate school (IB) uses interdisciplinary units to teach skills that leverage interesting units of study and character development, our focus on sustainability helps drive teachers to develop relevant and engaging units. Our EfS standards target the knowledge, skills and values to live a sustainable life, which for us, focus on environmental sustainability, social justice issues, personal health/nutrition and fiscal sustainability.

  3. Empowered Community: Each stakeholder in education, from administrator to teacher and student to family is best engaged when they have an authentic voice in the process. With this guiding philosophy in mind, we don't force curriculum on teachers, we don't do uniforms, we include students in our CSC (collaborative school community), and we prioritize transparency.

  4. Excursion Program: In order for DGS to live the value of relevance, we must leave the campus to engage in the real world. In practice, this would be around ten excursions a year.

  1. Location: Denver Green School Northfield is located at the Park Street Campus. In 2019-20 we will share our building with Inspire Elementary. In 2020-21, we will move into a new addition being built on-site.

  2. Size: We expect to open with approximately 125 6th graders in year 1. As we grow, we expect to reach 180 students per grade, for a total of 540 middle school students.

  3. Enrollment Zone: We are part of the Greater Park Hill Stapleton Enrollment Zone. Families within the zone that choice us number 1, will be near certain to get into DGS Northfield. Any family in the zone that lives more than 2.5 miles from the school will get district provided bussing. In some instances, families within the 2.5 miles can get a waiver for DPS provided transportation.

  4. Innovation Zone: Just like McAuliffe, we are part of an innovation zone. This means we are not a charter school, but we have more autonomy than traditional schools and use this to opt out of district systems with the resulting funds going to more staffing and resources for students.

  5. Schedule: Our school day begins each day at 8:15. On Monday-Thursday, we dismiss at 3:45. On Friday, we dismiss at 12:15 so that teachers can collaborate and plan. We have after school opportunities each day, including Friday. Here is a link for our 2019-20 calendar.

DGS Northfield Staff

Jasmine Abele-Park: Math

Jasmine Abele-Park: Math

Jasmine Abele-Park: Math

  • Experience: I have taught for 6 years

  • College: Mills College

  • Why DGS?: Project based learning - I started using illustrative math this past year. I am excited to craft some engaging activities that deepen students’ understanding of mathematics as well as develop independent learning skills. I also look forward to collaborating to support all students, as well as developing fun and memorable experiences.

  • How Do Students Describe You?: Funny, nice, strict, caring, and intelligent.

  • What do you do in your free time?: Hike, yoga, hang out with family and my pets! I have 2 dogs and 1 cat.

Jill Dreier: Mild Moderate Special Education

Jill Dreier: Mild Moderate Special Education

Jill Dreier: Mild Moderate Special Education

  • Experience: I have taught for 20 years

  • College: University of Wisconsin-Whitewhater

  • Why DGS?: I am so excited to join DGSN because every detail feels like the right fit for both me AND my son. I want us to be a part of a joyful community that is authentically invested in students and staff and gives all stakeholders a voice.

  • How Do Students Describe You?: My students have described me as funny, honest, determined, helpful, patient and open-minded.

  • What do you do in your free time?: Cooking is my passion and I love to tinker in our tiny yard. I also enjoy reading whenever I can and, of course, spending time with family and friends.

  • What is a book you recommend?: The Power of One- Bryce Courtenay

Erin Miller: Lead Partner

Erin Miller: Lead Partner

Erin Miller: Lead Partner

  • Experience: I’ve taught 8 years

  • College: Metro State University

  • Why DGS?: Having been a teacher at the original DGS campus for the past seven years, I can testify that DGS is truly a special place for students and staff alike. We have done so many amazing things at our original campus and I can't wait to bring these same celebrations and opportunities to a new campus and a new group of students.

  • How Do Students Describe You?: I just asked them, they said, "you have high expectations, are really loving, and like to joke around with us."

  • What do you do in your free time?: I'm an avid reader, and love to spend time with my husband and my dog; outdoors when possible! I also love to cook and bake for friends and family and enjoy an active lifestyle; especially hiking, running, and spin classes.

Phaedra Chaney: Office Staff

Phaedra Chaney: Office Staff

Phaedra chaney: Office Staff

  • Experience: I’ve worked in schools for 2 years

  • College: Langston University

  • Why DGS?: As a Denver native I’m excited about working in my community. The landscape of Denver has changed before my eyes abs it’s been rewarding to watch. As a Montbello High School alum I’m excited to be a part of a school leading our community in partnership and relevance. I look forward to being of service to you, Denver Green School Northfield.

  • How Do Students Describe You?: Students would describe me as fun, energetic, and encouraging.

  • What do you do in your free time?: In my free time I enjoy spending time with my husband and four year old son.

Chris Occhiuto: Literacy

Chris Occhiuto: Literacy

Chris Occhiuto: Literacy

  • Experience: I’ve taught for 18 years

  • College: Beloit College

  • Why DGS?: I am thrilled to be part of a new school with the intentionality and direction of the Denver Green School. From the leadership model to the unique focus on students, and the emphasis to getting outside of the classroom walls while allowing teacher autonomy, there are many things to get excited about.

  • How Do Students Describe You?: “Always willing to help them while believing that they can achieve and learn. I think students feel safe and seen which gives them the ability to take risks when they normally would not.

  • What do you do in your free time?: I like to spend time with my family, go on hikes, ski/snowboard, attend sporting events, and read.

Justin Barney: Spanish

Justin Barney: Spanish

Justin Barney: World Language: Spanish

  • Experience: I’ve taught 13 years

  • College: Valparaiso University

  • Why DGS?: I'm eager to join a school community that values outdoor experiences, environmental conservation, and sustainability as a vital part of their educational package.

  • How Do Students Describe You?: Interpersonal, empathetic, authentic, fair

  • What do you do in your free time?: Hiking, yoga, soccer, traveling to Latin America.

  • What is a podcast you recommen?: The Story Pirates podcast for all families with children - it makes car rides so fun!

Matt Suprunowicz: Literacy

Matt Suprunowicz: Literacy

Matt Suprunowicz: Literacy

  • Experience: I have taught for 8 years

  • College: Loyola University Maryland

  • Why DGS?: What excites me most about DGS Northfield is the potential to transform Education for Sustainability (EfS) through the integration of student-centered gardening and farming. I am so excited to build literacy curriculum that is centered around relevant sustainability projects that support students thinking about the communities around them.

  • How Do Students Describe You?: My students describe me as strict and funny. I have high behavior and academic expectations and my ultimate goal is to teach students to love reading!

  • What do you do in your free time?: I love to go on hikes with my dog, play in the garden, and hunt for vintage projects at estate sales.

Kartal Jaquette: Lead Partner

Kartal Jaquette: Lead Partner

Kartal Jaquette: Lead Partner

  • Experience: I’ve taught for 9 years and been a school leader for 5.

  • College: University of Colorado at Boulder

  • Why DGS?: I helped found the first Green School school ten years ago and am still in awe for what this school can do for students and staff alike. The best version of myself is achieved by keeping the mission, vision and values of DGS as my guiding light, and I owe it to myself and others to keep pushing myself using DGS as my beacon.

  • How Do Students Describe You?: Students see me as being a source of energy and joy for the school but also as someone that cares about them and holds students accountable.

  • What do you do in your free time?: Ride my bike, cook with my kids, watch basketball, travel and well, with a 1-year old, a 3-year old and trying to launch a new school while still working at the existing school, I don’t have too much free time!

Trace Martin: Physical Education & Excursion Coordinator

Trace Martin: Physical Education & Excursion Coordinator

Trace Martin: Literacy

  • Experience: I’ve taught for 3 years

  • College: Sam Houston State University

  • Why DGS?: I am excited to join such an innovative program that prioritizes the community and takes learning outside of the classroom!

  • How Do Students Describe You?: Fun, energetic, supportive, and patient.

  • What do you do in your free time?: During my free time my wife and I enjoy hiking with our dogs and riding our bikes.

  • Movie Recommendation: Interstellar

Ashton Marshall: Math

Ashton Marshall: Math

Ashton Marshall: Math

  • Experience: I have taught for 2 years.

  • College: Christopher Newport University (Virginia)

  • Why DGS?: I started as a student teacher at the original DGS. This year I taught 7th grade math. This school does an amazing job of supporting students and staff in reaching their potential and I couldn’t imagine leaving to start my career anywhere else.

  • How Do Students Describe You?: My students would say that I care about them, that I build relationships. They would also say that I hold them to high expectations.

  • What do you do in your free time?: I played lacrosse in college, so I like to stay active. I also like art and to spend time with friends and family.

More staff bios coming soon!

Learn About Our Model

Got the time to geek out on education? If so, check out how our school's prioritization of teacher empowerment, shared leadership, a focus on equity and formative data have taken our educational game to the next level! These videos come from our consulting website,

A Joyful School

The Green School Model, with a focus on sustainability, engagement and relevance has many components built into our program that make school a joyful place. While that is true, we continue to prioritize  our time and resources to ensure students are developing their voice and enjoying their time here. For example, we do not have uniforms. We also have students perform regularly at our school to share their talents. If that isn't enough, our Friday Celebrations are a great time for our community to come together and celebrate a hard week of work. Check out some of our videos to see what is possible for the new Middle School in Northfield next year!

The Denver Green School middle school often incorporates fun contests into our Friday Celebrations. This one turned out to be epic!

Ma'Kye, Markee, Christian and Mr. Jaquette share their plans for success. Izaiah and Ma'Kye drop the beats.

On October 25th, the DGS Middle School devoted our Demonstration Night to our year long "Path to Success" project. We enjoyed a cookout thanks to a record setting warm fall evening, were treated to delightful speeches from our students and then broke into small groups, to hear each student share their Path to Success Essay.

This video was 2nd place in last year’s video competition. Seemed like a slam dunk win to us!