• Mission

    The Downtown Denver Expeditionary School (DDES) is an EL Education K-5 DPS public charter school. DDES seeks to richly implement the core principles, practices, and curriculum of El Education to offer a diverse, caring and collaborative learning environment while utilizing the city as our campus.


    The Downtown Denver Expeditionary School (DDES) is a Denver Public School K-5 charter that opened in 2013. Founded by parents, community members and business leaders seeking a high-performing EL Education school in downtown Denver, DDES serves a diverse range of families who live or work in the city center. EL’s approach to teaching and learning makes subjects come alive for students by connecting learning to real-world issues and needs. The EL model provides academically rigorous learning expeditions, case studies, projects, fieldwork, and service-learning projects to children of all backgrounds and ability levels. DDES is the first public elementary school in over 100 years in Downtown Denver, and has been in the Downtown Denver Area Plan for over 30 years. DDES currently serves a large cross section of Denver’s elementary students – 25 of 27 DPS zip codes and over 40 Denver Metro zip codes.  DDES received the Downtown Denver Annual Award in 2014 by the Downtown Denver Partnership for driving economic growth in the city core.

  • Character

    At DDES, character development is the backbone of our work. It informs our approach to academics, crew building, discipline, and collaborative work. We have identified and made actionable the following character commitments.  

    • Courage: I take action to do the right thing, even when it’s hard.  I admit my mistakes and ask for help when I need it. I stand up for others when it’s right, and I stand up for rules that help everyone succeed.  I do the right thing at any cost.
    • Compassion: I use kind and helpful words with my crewmates to make sure that every person can experience success.   I am mindful of others and care as much about them as I do myself.
    • Craftsmanship: I take pride in my work. My work shows that I am working towards the learning target. I use feedback to make my work better.   I take care of the environment around me.
    • Tenacity: I stick with things, even when they’re really challenging.  I overcome frustrations and setbacks quickly.  I finish what I start.  I believe that my efforts will improve my future.
    • Self-Discipline: I am able to quiet my mind and focus my attention on what I need to learn.  I pay attention and resist distractions.  I get to work right away.  I remain calm even when criticized or otherwise provoked.  I allow others to speak without disruption.
  • Commitment

    Our staff has identified and made actionable the following guides for our work together and with students.

    • Be agents of change
    • Create joy and adventure
    • Nurture a culture of quality
    • Celebrate the process
    • Honor perspectives and intentions
    • Aspire to understand every voice
    • Champion a growth mindset
    • BE CREW