This week the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education is considering plans for future meetings after calls from Director Anderson to return to meetings in person with school buildings open again.
Since the pandemic began the DPS Board of Education has been meeting virtually. Parents have been able to participate in the board meeting online and testify without needing to find childcare or travel away from home or work. I cannot tell you how many parents have said, “This is SO much easier than when you have to go in person.” Parents want to be involved and virtual public comment has helped.
"The virtual public comment option is so valuable to enable me to engage in the board meeting. I can join from my own home, without having to deal with parking and go through the hassle of getting a sitter for my young children. It removes hurdles to participation and given the importance this board places on hearing from the community I think that it is critical to maintain no matter how the board meets," parent leader Stephanie Itelman said.
"The opportunity to make public comments has allowed me to share my comments with the board publicly for the first time and I know that I am not the only one. I think that DPS should be encouraging all parents and community members to share their voices when it comes to matters that are improbable to them and request that, for that reason, you continue to offerthem the option to share their public comments virtually. By doing so, you eliminate some of the barriers faced by some of us who would not otherwise be able to contribute (transportation, childcare, scheduling conflicts, distance, etc.)" parent leader Leilani Siens said.
"As a full time essential single working parent, having the virtual public comment has allowed me to stay engaged and informed without the day-to-day stressors of having to leave work early, pay for parking, find a sitter and arrange for food and homework help. Attending and participating virtually in the public comment portion of the board meetings has afforded me the opportunity to use my voice as parent and thrive as champion to advocate for the best educational experience for my scholar. COVID-19 may have muffled my sound with a mask, but it gave me a voice that I didn’t even know I had, because I had the option to attend and participate in the board meetings remotely," said parent leader Tina Carroll.
"Virtual comment is amazing, because it is a great way for parents to be able to keep thier voice heard despite having a busy schedule, or transportation issues," said parent leader Sarah Titus.
"Virtual public comment was great for me. Before COVID it was really hard for me to show up to the school board meetings because of work. I was able to hear what was going on in my district and use my voice to ask fo what we needed to be done and things that needed change. It was a way for me to stay active in my community without having to worry about making it on time to a school board meeting after long days of work," said parent leader Natalie Perez.
Let's make sure families can engage with the board and participate in important conversations about their children's education. Sign the petition today to ask the DPS board to continue to make meetings accessible to families by continuing to provide a virtual option for the meeting and public comment.