Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Exceeding Enrollment

Posted 12/11/2020 by Chase Bellomo

As the school grows there will be necessary changes to accommodate the development of the school. photo of Mr. Sheehan's class last year, courtesy of the yearbook staff

Thomas Jefferson has grown more popular in recent years, helping the school expand programs and support more students.

Thomas Jefferson is a hidden gem in Southeast Denver with a strong Spartan community, which has contributed to the recent growth in students at the school. The amazing faculty, strong sports teams, and prime location are just three of many wonderful reasons why TJ is growing more popular. In the last decade, the school student number has grown from around 1,000 students to nearly 1,300 in the most recent school year.

With more students attending TJ, the school gets more funding from the state. For every student who attends, TJ receives approximately $7,500 in funding. The money then goes towards resources for students and other areas throughout the school. The Collaborative School Committee (CSC) partners with TJ to budget the money and help determine where the money should be funneled out for the school.

The growth of the school as a whole has been steady in recent years, and TJ is hopeful to keep adding in the future. There are a number of reasons for the growth in recent years, Paula Hammel, Principal Resident, explained, “Several contributors to school growth, all of which we can call ‘school culture’ are student scores, school ratings, athletics and clubs, staff and student retention. For the future, my hope is that school, in general, can come back to some sort of normalcy in a year. I would like to see TJ maintain its school culture and balance that with the growth that we are seeing.” All of those reasons come together to form TJ, which increasingly attracts incoming middle school students.

The constant growth has created a steady Spartan family, as when there is steady enrollment, the school is able to keep current teachers and avoid cutting staff or programs, allowing for a more united school. In addition, the school has branched out into the middle schools around the community; over the past few years, there has been a strong emphasis on raising more awareness about what TJ has to offer. The strong promotion of attracting students has allowed the school to use more money to create a better experience for students. 

In the future, Principal Michael Christoff estimates that the Spartan population will stay around 1,250 to 1,300 students. TJ is one of the few schools in the district that are still growing. TJ’s location is unlike other parts of the city where the student population is going down as families are moving and gentrification is becoming more frequent. “TJ is a great high school and we offer great programs, great teachers, great kids and parents, a lot of good traditions. It’s very appealing for most people and we have a really stable staff with one of the lowest turnover rates of teachers in the city,” explained Christoff. 

Thomas Jefferson is a high school that offers the best for students, families, and staff. The school has created a unique environment that has and will continue to attract prospective students in the future. TJ is not only a school, it is a family that will continue to prosper.