History and Mission


Denver Center for International Studies prepares students for college by developing multilingual, interculturally competent citizens who are actively involved in our rapidly changing world.

Established in 1985 as a magnet program at Denver’s West High School, DCIS became a magnet middle and high school in its own building at 574 West 6th Avenue in 2006. The Denver Public School Board confirmed the school’s success by expanding to three other campuses: DCIS at Ford Elementary School, DCIS Fairmont, and DCIS at Montbello. The DCIS schools are the only Colorado members of the International Studies Schools Network, part of the Asia Society.

DCIS students are expected to practice and promulgate the school’s core values: Integrity, High Expectations, Diversity, Collaborative Culture, and Reflection. Among other pursuits, students successfully curate a portfolio of their best work, guided by the four domains of global leadership, in order to earn a CIS diploma.

DCIS graduates are Effective Users of Language, Information and Technology.  Upon leaving school, each DCIS student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the skills essential to communication and learning (reading, writing, analyzing, listening, and speaking) both in English and one or more languages other than English.
  • Develop and present information in an articulate, persuasive, and appropriate manner – orally, visually, in writing and through digital communication tools.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the links between culture and language.

DCIS graduates are Proficient in the Use of Technology to Support their Learning. Each student will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the presentation of information through various formats and technologies (media literacy).
  • Evaluate sources of information for bias, validity and scholarly integrity.
  • Proficiently use essential computer and communications technologies and demonstrate an understanding of appropriate applications thereof.
  • Proficiently use a multitude of technological tools for communication, presentation and data analysis.
  • Use technologies to communicate and work across national and regional boundaries.

DCIS graduates are Academically Prepared.  Each DCIS student:

  • Is intellectually curious, has a desire for life-long learning, thinks critically and effectively organizes his or her own efforts to learn.
  • Has earned a high school diploma with course credits required for entry into any state’s university system.
  • Is prepared to successfully engage in college-level coursework and complete a college degree or other post-secondary certification.

DCIS graduates are Proficient Thinkers and Problem Solvers.  They:

  • Demonstrate a capacity for mathematical analysis, scientific processing, and logical reasoning.
  • Hold themselves accountable for moral reasoning and ethical decision making.
  • Transfer their learning and problem-solving skills across domains, and articulate the interconnectedness of their learning.
  • Understand and use the arts and literature as lenses through which to view society and culture, as well as to express ideas and emotion.
  • Understand and engage in complex problems, collect, analyze and synthesize information from a range of sources, tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty, and produce potentially viable solutions.

DCIS graduates are Culturally Aware and Sensitive.  They:

  • Know world geography, including the locations of major world regions and cultures as well as human and environmental interaction, and how geography influences cultural development.
  • Understand the contributions of different world cultures to the ways of life in the United States.
  • Have in-depth knowledge and understanding of at least one culture very different from their own and recognize the role that language plays in shaping culture.
  • Understand the historical development and contemporary beliefs, values, and characteristics of major world cultures.
  • Comfortably culture-jump by choosing appropriate language, behaviors, and strategies of interaction.

DCIS graduates are Aware of World Events and Global Dynamics.  They:

  • Understand the multiple perspectives of current world events, international issues, and global debates.
  • Understand global dynamics – how world economic, political, technological, environmental and social systems work and are interdependent across nations and regions.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of at least one pressing international issue or problem.

DCIS graduates are Collaborative Team Members.  They:

  • Understand how individuals work together in a team and work as collaborative team members to achieve a goal and learn from people in other cultures.
  • Are aware of and able to reflect upon their role and contributions as a member of a team and demonstrate the value of doing so.
  • Appreciate and are respectful of the diversity of contributions, learning styles, and strengths of individual team members.
  • Welcome differences in interpretation and judgment, are receptive to others’ views, and revise and expand their own views.
  • Resolve conflicts peacefully and fairly.
  • Demonstrate respect in their communication, decision-making, and actions.
  • Actively listen to and carefully consider the perspectives and opinions of others.
  • Demonstrate ethical decision-making skills, self-control, and the ability to make responsible choices.

DCIS graduates make healthy lifestyle decisions including personal wellness, fitness, and relationships; they will pursue physical, mental and emotional health.