Jefferson County Public Schools (Colorado)

Jefferson County School District R-1 (a.k.a. Jefferson County Public Schools or Jeffco Public Schools) is a school district in Jefferson County, Colorado. The district is headquartered at the Jeffco Public Schools Education Center in West Pleasant View, an unincorporated area of the county near Golden in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area.[2][3] Jeffco Public Schools serves more than 86,000 students in 155 schools, including nine option schools and eighteen charter schools. It is the second-largest school district in Colorado, having been surpassed in 2013 by Denver Public Schools, which has an enrollment of approximately 87,000.

Jefferson County Public Schools
Jefferson County Public Schools (Colorado) logo.png
Jeffco Public Schools sign.JPG
The sign at district headquarters in West Pleasant View.
Coordinates39°44′20″N 105°09′53″W / 39.73876°N 105.16473°W / 39.73876; -105.16473Coordinates: 39°44′20″N 105°09′53″W / 39.73876°N 105.16473°W / 39.73876; -105.16473
School boardSchool Board Info (web site)
NCES District ID0804800
SuperintendentJason Glass
School numberR-1
GradesPre-K to 12th Grade
Enrollment84,623[1] (October 2018)
AreaJefferson County and portions of the City and County of Broomfield


The South School, Golden, Colorado, when it originally served all of Golden School District #1. Photo taken around 1874.


The first school in Jefferson County and the second school in Colorado opened in Golden on January 9, 1860. It stood at around today's 1304 Washington Avenue and was a rented log cabin, with school taught by Thomas Daughterty, with 18 students, financed through tuition and subscription. Its second term was taught by Miss M. F. Manly. When Jefferson County was organized by the Territorial government in 1861, the capability of organizing public schools became reality, and George West became the first superintendent of Jefferson County schools. After a mill levy was created in 1862, the first two school districts, Golden and Vasquez (roughly today's Wheat Ridge/Arvada area), were organized in 1863. That September the first public school in the county opened in Golden.[4]

Original school districtsEdit

Over time, as the population grew and spread across the county, more and more school districts were organized, each with its own elected board to govern them. They were a diverse variety of schools, from the stately brick edifices of urban Golden which operated through the traditional school year, to the rural one-room wooden schoolhouses that operated during the summer months because winter in the mountains made it difficult for students to attend. Some school districts only rented buildings for class; others shared into neighboring counties. The first building constructed as a Jefferson County public school, around the area of 14th and Arapahoe Streets in Golden, was never completed and eventually sold in 1866 to Colorado Territorial Governor Alexander Cummings for $2,700 for use as the Territorial Executive Building. Its replacement, the first completed public school building in Jefferson County, still stands today at 1420 Washington Avenue in Golden. After the completion of its successor at today's 1314 Cheyenne Street in 1873, later known as the South School, Jefferson County's first senior high school, Golden High School, was organized. The first public school graduations in Jefferson County were held in the 1880s.

By 1894 Jefferson County school enrollment was around 1,500 students, with 54 high school students. By 1939 Jeffco had blossomed to 3,883 students with 1,426 high schoolers. In the early 20th century, however, population shifts and other factors began to spur consolidation. The Lorraine School District of Jefferson County merged with the Mandalay School District of Boulder County (Broomfield) in 1917. In 1920 the Montana, Lakeview, Midway and Mt. Carbon districts merged to become Bear Creek District C-1. In 1923 several mountain districts merged into Evergreen District C-2, while in 1945 Washington Heights and Bancroft merged to form School District 52. However, some school districts went by the wayside including South Platte in 1944, Pleasant Park in 1946, and Pine Grove. By 1950 only 39 of the 54 individually organized school districts remained.

List of historic school districtsEdit

Note: several districts have different identities over time.

  • 1 - Golden
  • 2 - Everett/Vasquez/Arvada
  • 3 - Mt. Vernon/Kittredge
  • 4 - Bergen/Creswell
  • 5 - Bear Creek/Mt. Carbon
  • 6 - Ralston/Fremont
  • 7 - Upper Ralston/Leyden
  • 8 - Vasquez/Wheat Ridge
  • 9 - Mt. Vernon/Bradford Junction/Conifer
  • 10 - Guy Hill
  • 11 - Platte/Spruce Park & Sprucedale
  • 12 - Ralston
  • 13 - Mountain/Rockland
  • 14 - Clear Creek/Maple Grove
  • 15 - Platte Canyon/Deer Creek
  • 16 - Bear Creek/Montana
  • 17 - Turkey Creek/Brownville/Medlen
  • 18 - Pine & Estabrook
  • 19 - Pleasant Park
  • 20 - Fairmount
  • 21 - Lakewood/Edgewater
  • 22 - Mt. Morrison
  • 23 - Lothrop
  • 24 - South Platte
  • 25 - Lorraine & Mandalay
  • 26 - Turkey Creek/Hodgson
  • 27 - Coal Creek Canyon/Columbine
  • 28 - Pine Grove
  • 29 - Belcher Hill
  • 30 - Buffalo Creek/Evergreen
  • 31 - Soda Creek
  • 32 - Fruitdale
  • 33 - Jefferson City/Plainview
  • 34 - Kassler
  • 35 - Urmston
  • 36 - Lamb
  • 37 - Lakeview
  • 38 - Parmelee Gulch
  • 39 - Semper
  • 40 - Buffalo Creek
  • 41 - Bancroft
  • 42 - Idledale
  • 43 - Wagner
  • 44 - Prospect Valley
  • 45 - Midway
  • 46 - Sampson
  • 47 - Lakewood - Stober Elementary
  • 48 - Daniels
  • 49 - Denver View
  • 50 - Washington Heights
  • 51 - Mountair
  • 52 - Washington Heights & Bancroft
  • C-1 - Bear Creek Consolidated
  • C-2 - Evergreen Consolidated

Unification and modern eraEdit

In 1950, the 39 school districts in Jefferson County were consolidated and reorganized into a single district, Jefferson County R-1 Schools.[5] It was so named as the Reorganized School District 1, and ushered in a modern age in a county where some still sent to school in the original one-room rural schoolhouses. Through the course of time several landmark school buildings had been built across Jefferson County, including Golden's North, South, Central and High schools; the stone Morrison school; and Lakewood's 3-school campus. With renewed energy a new generation would be built, and state-of-the-art schools sprouted across Jefferson County as old schools were phased out. By 1999 Jefferson County had an enrollment of 88,793 students.

Today the next wave of school buildings is being created, as Jefferson County schools move forward into the 21st century. However, a good collection of schools from throughout Jeffco's educational history remain. They serve many uses from private homes to museums, and several are designated Jefferson County, Colorado and National Historic Register landmarks.[6]

Through Jeffco schools' history, there have been several tragic events which have not been forgotten. In 1887 the original Lamb School, which had just been built the year before, burned down and had to be replaced. (The rebuilt school was later destroyed by the Lower North Fork Fire in 2012.)[7] In 1905 Golden's South School, including Golden High School, was saved from explosion by janitor Oscar Nolin when its overheating boiler was minutes away from claiming possibly over 100 lives.[8] In 1916 the original Fruitdale School burned as its students marched to safety. In 1919 an attempt to burn down the South School was made by a parent who was frantic to keep the school from reopening in the wake of the Great Flu Epidemic, but the fire smothered itself out. In 1938 the recently built Buffalo Creek School burned while school was in session from an overheated furnace, and teacher Wilma Barnes successfully got all 15 students to safety.[9] On April 7, 1982, Scott Darwin Michael was shot and killed by classmate, Jason Rocha at Deer Creek Middle School.[10]

Best known is the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, when two students killed 12 students and a teacher. However, that teacher, Dave Sanders, proved another hero, having helped many students to safety before losing his own life.

On February 23, 2010, eighth-graders Reagan Webber and Matt Thieu were shot and wounded at Deer Creek Middle School.[11] The incident ended when math teacher David Benke tackled the perpetrator, Bruco Strong Eagle Eastwood, who was armed with a .30-06 Winchester Model 70 [12][13]

In September 2014, students and teachers in schools around the district protested the conservative ideology of the school board, which had proposed reviewing the APUSH curriculum set by the College Board, to focus history education on citizenship and patriotism, while condemning civil disobedience and strike actions.[14][15]

Environmental considerationEdit

Many Jefferson County schools make use of constructed wetlands for managing stormwater and contributing to the health of local watersheds. The wetland project at Oberon Middle School has been lauded by the National Resources Defense Council for setting "an example for local governments seeking new ways to manage stormwater on municipal grounds with some value added.[16]

Literary mentionsEdit

Oberon Middle School is the setting for the novel Define "Normal" by Julie Anne Peters.[17]


There are currently 88 elementary schools, three K-8 schools, 17 middle schools, and 17 high schools in the Jeffco Public Schools district.

Elementary schoolsEdit

Middle schoolsEdit

Senior high schoolsEdit

Option schoolsEdit

Special schools and programsEdit

  • Fletcher Miller School (web site)
  • Mt. Evans Outdoor Education Laboratory School (web site)
  • Mount View Youth Services Center
  • Sobesky Academy (web site)
  • Windy Peak Outdoor Education Laboratory School (web site)

Charter schoolsEdit

Former schoolsEdit

  • Columbia Heights Elementary School, Wheat Ridge (closed 1978)[18]
  • Community Involved Charter School / Center for Discovery Learning Charter School (closed 2005)
  • Fruitdale School, Wheat Ridge (closed 1978)[19]
  • Jefferson County Open High School (merged into Jefferson County Open School, 1989)
  • Martensen Elementary School (closed 2011)[20][21][22]
  • Mountain Open High School, Evergreen (renamed Jefferson County Open High School, 1978)
  • Open Living School, Edgewater (combined into Tanglewood Open Living School in 1978)
  • Open Living School, Evergreen (combined into Tanglewood Open Living School in 1978)
  • Pleasant View Elementary School, Golden (closed 2017)[23]
  • Russell Elementary School, Arvada (closed 2010)[24]
  • Tanglewood Elementary School, Golden (Closed 1978)Tanglewood Open Living School, Golden (merged into Jefferson County Open School, 1989)
  • Zerger Elementary School (closed 2011)[20][25]
  • Washington Heights Elementary (closed in the 1990s, now a Community Art Center)


  • American Indian 1%
  • Asian 3.25%
  • Black 1%
  • Hispanic 24%
  • White 67%
  • Multiple races 3.55%

2015-16 spending per pupil: $8,500

Graduation rate as of 2014-15: 82.9%
High school drop-out rate as of 2014-15: 1.8% [26]


  1. ^ "Jeffco Public Schools - District Profile". Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  2. ^ 2010 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: West Pleasant View CDP, CO (Archive). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on April 3, 2015.
  3. ^ Contact Us Jefferson County Public Schools. Retrieved on April 3, 2011. "1829 Denver West Drive #27 Golden, CO 80401"
  4. ^ The Golden Pioneer Museum 1955 - "Sophie Martin" from A Woman's Life In Golden 1902-1980, Lorraine Wagenbach, ed., 1980.
  5. ^ A Chronology of the History of Jefferson County, Colorado Compiled by Jefferson County Archives and Records Management.
  6. ^ "Jefferson County". History Colorado.
  7. ^ Roeder, Milly (2012). "Farewell to Lamb School" (PDF). Historically Jeffco. Jefferson County Historical Commission.
  8. ^ Skiba, Doug. "Golden's historic cemeteries". Golden History Museums.
  9. ^ Lawson, Pamela (2007). "Passing into history: Jack Green dies at 90". High Timber Times.
  10. ^ "Deer Creek also site of a shooting in 1982". The Denver Post. 24 February 2010.
  11. ^ Pankratz, Howard; Vaughan, Kevin; Bunch, Joey (23 Feb 2010). "2 students shot, 1 man arrested at Deer Creek Middle School". Denver Post.
  12. ^ "Teacher describes how he stopped shooting". CNN. 24 Feb 2010.
  13. ^ "David Benke And Matt Thieu On TODAY Show (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post Denver. 5 May 2010.
  14. ^ "Hundreds of Colorado students protest history curriculum changes that would promote patriotism". Fox News. Associated Press. September 24, 2014. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  15. ^ Wallace, Kelly (September 24, 2014). "Denver students accuse school board of censoring U.S. history". Retrieved September 25, 2014.
  16. ^ Implementing Pollution Prevention for Municipal Operations - Constructed Wetland Becomes Outdoor Classroom, Natural Resources Defense Council
  17. ^ Julie Anne Peters, Hachette Book Group, 2007
  18. ^ "Columbia Heights Elementary School". Place Names Directory. Jefferson County, Colorado.
  19. ^ "Fruitdale Elementary". Place Names Directory. Jefferson County, Colorado.
  20. ^ a b Jeffco Public Schools 2011-12 Budget Reductions - FAQ School Closures
  21. ^ "Martensen Elementary School Holds Open House Before It Closes". CBS Denver. 14 May 2011.
  22. ^ Garcia, Peyton (24 Apr 2017). "Martensen Elementary becomes first-responder training facility". Denver Post.
  23. ^ Klemaier, Josie (7 Mar 2017). "Preparing for closure, Pleasant View Elementary in Jeffco looks ahead". Denver Post.
  24. ^ Meyer, Jeremy P. (1 Jun 2010). "Jeffco's Russell Elementary packs up classrooms as school shuts doors". Denver Post.
  25. ^ Fortier, Shanna (28 Mar 2017). "Lease agreement approved for Zerger building in Westminster". Westminster Window. Zerger Elementary School closed in 2012 following budget cuts.
  26. ^ Jeffco Public Schools website

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit