Today Stand, in partnership with 11 parents and students and 11 organizations, sent a letter calling on the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education to pause the work of the Quality Schools Task Force that is focused on “Reimagining the School Performance Framework (SPF).” The Quality Schools Taskforce started their work in August to outline what a new version of the SPF could look like. We have been following along and engaging with parents about their concerns with the current SPF and what their vision for a new tool would be. Stand hosted 8 community meetings with 52 parents attending since January. We also have been engaging with our community online through emails, blog posts, and surveys to understand more perspectives about what families and educators want and need in the SPF. In one of our very first blog posts on the topic, we called on DPS and the committee to “take time to hear from DPS families and create a local SPF system – made FOR Denver Schools BY Denver citizens.” We strongly support reimagining the SPF.
Despite the fact that efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 dramatically changed all of our lives starting in March, the Quality Schools Taskforce continued to hold meetings in March and April (both virtual) to move the work forward. With our community in crisis, we believe it is appropriate to pause the work of the Quality Schools Taskforce. We agree this work is incredibly important but it very simply is not the time. In fact, parent volunteers who had been following the work of this committee were stunned to learn that it was continuing amidst the crisis. Students are home, teachers are working hard to transition learning online, families are worried about jobs, feeding their family, getting internet access and students falling behind academically. There is too much at stake to make decisions about dramatic changes when our community is fighting every day to meet its most basic needs.
“I am asking that we put a hold on determining the future of the SPF at this point because I don’t think any of us know for sure what the next academic year is even going to look like. And right now I think that the priority is keeping everyone safe and healthy and engaged in learning,” said Leilani Siens Stand parent leader. You can read blog posts by Leilani here, here and here.
“I believe we need to pause the committee from taking further action during this crisis so we can help give families an students the time they deserve to process the difficulties they are facing before we go ahead and introduce more changes to the systems they are currently adjusting to.” Itchel Cardenas, student organizer with Our Turn.
“While CO’s COVID-19 mantra is ‘we are in this together.’ Please, don’t divide us by moving forward without us. I am a parent of a minority student whose future desperately depends on me holding you and this committee accountable.” Tina Carroll, Stand parent leader.