Principal hugging student

Principal’s Corner

August 3, 2017

Dear Students and Families,

A major theme that has emerged out of our summer planning is the power of one-to-one.  One-to-one, we need to know each student individually.  One-to-one, we know the power of great education rooted in a deep and personalized relationship can enhance and open up the opportunities that await our scholars.  One-to-one, we will personalize each student’s Student Learning Plan, so they are on track to meet and exceed the new Colorado state graduation requirements.  Through excelling in a rigorous and competitive application process, our school was one of the only schools in Denver awarded the new DPS MyTech program, where each student attending Manual will receive their own one-to-one computer device.  Thank you Denver voters!  through our focus on personalized and one-to-one individualized educational strategies, we have seen tremendous academic growth for our incoming students for the past consecutive years!  At Manual, we care about each and every student and family we serve, one-to-one, one by one on the way to 100% graduation and college and career success.  I know our dynamic and talented faculty and staff share my excitement in welcoming our students back for an individualized an momentous school year at Manual High School.  We have a lot of fun things planned for the first day of school, so be sure to have your young scholars ready to go on Monday, Aug. 21 at 8:45 a.m.  Freshman (ninth graders) and all new students report on Tuesday, Aug. 15th at 8:45 a.m.  We will be customizing each student’s course schedule (Student Learning Plan), so you may hear from us prior to the first day of school. 

We are excited to meet and exceed the expectations placed on us by the rich tradition of achievement that Manual High School Thunderbolts personify.  Like the civic, community, and world-leading Manual alumni that have graduated before them, we know that graduating from Manual can be a powerful catalyst in launching our students towards their lifelong goals and dreams.

I often reflect back to our common grounds experience that launched our school leadership team into leading at Manual a couple of years ago.  The voices of over 50 stakeholders have now joined the voices, cares, memories, triumphs, challenges and hopes that we take in from our Manual family each day we lead.  While the community I grew up in here in northeast Denver is rapidly changing like the world does, what has never changed in me is the love and admiration I hold for the families and kids that make up our unique tapestry so authentically unforgettable.  This year we DREAM BIG!  Our innovative supports to develop the whole child are paired with our relentless focus on academics.  Harvard University, MSU Denver.  Youth on Record and Denver Health are still here with us as critical partners, just to name a few.  We have added a few new great additions to our highly stable and largely returning faculty staff to accomplish our mission of guiding students to step into their greatness, and we are all focused on making sure our stents grow as well-rounded student leaders and citizens that excel in their immediate communities and global workforce in which they will soon enter.

When our students walk through the doors on Aug. 21, they will enter into a Manual where we have upgraded every classroom in the past two years.  A new library, a Med School Stem lab, a Film Studio, Advanced Placement courses, SAT Prep and Honors courses at each grade level await our students.  They will return to a school that was designated with Early College status by the state of Colorado over the summer!  This holds so much promise for our students as many of them will be eligible to earn tuition-free credits long before they graduate from our halls!  We have a lot of fun and surprises planned for this year.  It will be epic!

With so many exciting plans at hand we want to remind you that registration occurs Aug. 8 from 8 a.m. -4 p.m., Aug. 9 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Aug. 10 and 11 walk-in registration.  Students and families who are not able to make it to registration can still come into our offices to register and enroll from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. As your returning Principal, an open-door policy for parents, guardians and community remain an important focus for me.  Please mark your calendars for our Thunderbolt Community Nights hosted quarterly.  Our first night will be hosted for back-to-school on Aug. 34 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

We are continuing our push to go paperless this coming school year, so please make sure all of your contact information in our main office is up-to-date and that you are signed up and registered for the Parent Portal at

I hope this summer season has provided each of you an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones and enjoy our beautiful world.  Hopefully, you were able to read a bit or to watch a sunset and just catch your breath.  It certainly has been an eventful summer and I am eager to watch our students begin to write and construct the next chapter in your life’s journey.  The opportunity to obtain excellence is well within reach for every proud T-Bolt! It is our honor and pleasure to serve.

From all of us at Manual High School, welcome to the new year!


Nick Dawkins