The Denver Center for International Studies Foundation supports transformative opportunities for today's young people by taking education beyond the classroom and sparking curiosity about other people, places and cultures.
In 1985, Denver Public Schools opened the Center for International Studies, a global studies program housed at West High School. This special certificate program offered courses with a strong emphasis on world cultures, a variety of languages and encouraged travel. In 2006, Denver Center for International Studies opened as a DPS magnate school with grades 6-12 housing just 265 students. In a few short years, the school has grown to over 700 students. In 2011, two new schools, DCIS at Ford Elementary and new middle-high school, DCIS at Montbello High School. In 2013, the DCIS network of schools grew again with the addition of another elementary school, DCIS at Fairmont.
Over the years students have traveled to over 45 countries including Mexico, Poland, France, Cambodia, China, Italy, Czech Republic, Israel, Nambia, Sierra Leone, Argentina,and India. The language program includes Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Lakota.
Aside from gaining a global outlook on the world, students perform over 5,000 hours of community service locally each year. DCIS Baker and DCIS at Montbello have been recognized among the best highschools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. The DCIS network is part of the Asia Society's International Studies School Network (ISSN) that includes 29 schools across the United States. The DCIS network in Denver are the only ISSN schools in Colorado.
"I believe that while in Brazil, I had an inconceivable stroke of sonder. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, sonder can best be described as "the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own-populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness-an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you'll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.", the term was coined by John Koenig. I had a taste of this while looking out across the massive stretches of the Rocinha favela (Portuguese for the slums) from a bridge over the highway and when you see it you're just speechless- and the sheer number of people, activities, and daily occurrences taking place is just incomprehensible for the mind. These experiences and the exposure they entail align with this idea of global competency and the other domains of global leadership of Denver Center for International Studies." --Joseph Marrujo-Montoya, DCIS Montbello, Class of 2018
"I was really glad I had the opportunity and support to apply and be accepted to travel to France. Not only was this a really difficult journey to take because I was stepping out of my comfort zone, but it was the best experience I've ever had. I met so many great people that I will never forget and learned many lessons. I can't wait to have the opportunity to go back!"
"Without the DCIS Foundation's help, I would have most likely not been able to attend this trip because of money reasons. But apart from helping financially, they have also helped me grow to be a better, more globally challenged student by getting involved in globally diverse experiences." Celina Tovar, DCIS Montbello class of 2016
"Exchange is not just a year in a life, it's a life in a year." I have learned that every part of the world is beautiful if you look with the right eyes. I realize now how to value myself, the people, and the world around me. I have learned to speak Spanish almost fluently and I have been part of a culture in a place I'd never imagine myself being.
- Ca'la Connors, DCIS 2012, on her year in Arequipa, Peru.
"Something I loved at Global Youth Village (Washington D.C. trip) was that no one was there to judge you. It was the most accepting place I could ever go to. You can be heard there, and understood; there are no boundaries to expressing yourself. You meet people from all over the world, and get to learn more about how their cultures really are, which I think is amazing. You learn to trust there... everyone at GYV becomes like your brother or your sister, which is more than I could ask for." Anifa Musengimana, DCIS Montbello, Class of 2016
"What I really discovered is that even though we all inhabit the same planet, we live in monumentally different worlds and the way that we approach the worlds and that we build bridges between them is really what defines who we are and the future of our world." Eliza Cummings, Class of 2013