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Vista Equity Funds Denver Public Schools’ Newest STEM SmartLab

Denver Public Schools celebrated its newest SmartLab at Montbello Campus with a ribbon cutting ceremony this week. Attending the ceremony were Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova, amongst other dignitaries.

The Montbello SmartLab was made possible with a generous grant from Vista Equity Partners, founded by billionaire Robert F. Smith, a Denver high school alumni. Smith made news this spring when, during his commencement address at Morehouse College, he pledged to pay off all graduating student loans. Funding the Montbello SmartLab continues his commitment to educational equity for minority students and underserved communities. 

Students at Montbello’s three schools, Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS), STRIVE Prep, and NOEL Community Arts School are already excited. SmartLab Facilitator Brent Laracuete said, “As soon as the kids come in their eyes light up … and they’re interacting and collaborating. There’s no time for anything except learning.” The Montbello SmartLab is the fifteenth Creative Learning Systems SmartLab in DPS. 

Matt Dickstein

Matthew Dickstein, CEO of Creative Learning Systems, has been a successful entrepreneur in the field of education for over 25 years. Prior to joining CLS in 2004, he played key management roles in building National Technological University, a pioneer in the field of higher education distance learning, and ELS Language Centers, the largest teacher of intensive English language programs in the U.S. Matthew received a B.S. in business from the University of Colorado and holds an M.B.A from Harvard Business School.

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