photo of Denver skyline with words this month at the DPS Board

Welcome to the October edition of “This Month at the DPS Board”, a monthly newsletter sharing information about the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education.    

Our goal is simple: to share what is happening at school board meetings so you can engage with the board and the district even if you cannot attend hours of meetings every month. 

Work Session – October 6, 2022 

Executive Session 

The board held an executive session, which is not open to the public, to discuss the evaluation of Superintendent, Dr. Alex Marrero, then resumed agenda items for the work session.  

Montbello Career Technical High School Recommendation for Closure 

DPS is recommending closure of Montbello Career Technical High School (MCT) by the end of 2022-2023 due to three main reasons: 

  • Legacy and Vista High Schools have the space to enroll students from MCT, as Montbello High School is opening,  
  • They will be adding a credit recovery and support program, and  
  • DPS is unable to continue offering a shared space for MCT and Smith STEAM due to a growth in student population at Smith STEAM with 78 in 2021-2022 to 135 in 2022-2023.   

In the presentation DPS staff also shared their plans for 13 staff members at MCT to receive transitional support such as retention stipends, HR support to help get hired elsewhere, and hiring preferences.  Board members felt concerned about the lack of student, staff, and family engagement that was presented in the recommendation. Board members also voiced their concerns about student well-being for both MCT and Smith STEAM students after a possible closure.  

Superintendent Evaluation 

The board voted on whether they would accept the Superintendent’s self-evaluation as a benchmark of the progress of ends statements. Vice-President Anderson was the only board member to vote against because he felt the process should have involved stakeholder feedback but didn’t. 

Finance and Audit Committee – October 10, 2022 

Financial Updates 

The committee heard an update of the district’s internal audit, purchasing report, and enrollment status. 

Budget and Contract Approvals  

The committee approved a variety of proposals, including a purchase order for early education and therapeutic supports for young children, additional funds to for temp agency contracts to fill staffing vacancies, a contract for an after-school program to operate at ten district schools, and funds for employee immigration counsel, and budgets related to construction projects.

Internal Audit 

The purpose of the audit is to determine that financial information that district is presenting to the public is “materially correct.” 

Temp Agency Contracts  

DPS is facing ongoing staffing challenges and while the district is working to recruit and hire staff to fill vacancies, in the meantime it is contracting with temp agencies to find qualified, licensed individuals to fill current vacancies to meet student needs. The district contracts with multiple agencies to meet the high need to fill vacant positions such as nurses, behavioral interventionists, special education teachers, etc.  

After-School Program, Right At School 

Right At School provides comprehensive after-school programming to schools that do not have any after-school programs or clubs and have a high percentage of students who qualify for free-and-reduced lunch. The program operates in three schools in the Southwest, four schools in the East, and three schools in the Far Northeast. 

Employee Visa Sponsorship Program  

The Visa Sponsorship Program, which provides the legal services of immigration attorneys to DPS staff, has been used for the last 10 years to alleviate some of the difficulties encountered with internal teacher shortages in the United States and Colorado specifically. Currently, there are about 250 DPS employees who participate in the visa sponsorship program. According to staff, employees in the program primarily serve in hard-to fill positions such as ELA-S and special education teachers and any position to fit bilingual needs.  

You can view the full agenda of proposals here

Progress Monitoring and Public Comment – October 17, 2022 

Climate Action Plan 

The policy (ENDS 1.6) reads as follows: “DPS should be a national leader in establishing an organizational culture anchored in sustainability, climate action and environmental justice both in the conservation in natural resources and minimizing the carbon footprint of DPS’ practices.” Staff presented a 5-year goal plan to ensure this policy is being implemented. 

Public Comment 

Community expressed their opinions on variety of topics through public testimony. You can sign up here for public comment and speak directly to the board about what matters to you. 

DPS Board Meeting – October 20, 2022 

Resolution Supporting Proposition FF 

The board shared a resolution in support of Proposition FF, which creates the Healthy School Meals for All program in Colorado. There are currently 68,000 kids in Colorado who cannot afford or qualify for free-and-reduced lunch. Meal programs improve attendance, result in better grades, and health for students. Proposition FF would destigmatize students from low income by giving access to healthy meals for every child. 

Disability and Dyslexia Awareness 

Staff from Exceptional Student Services shared data and information about dyslexia screening in the district. In spring of 2022, four schools participated in dyslexia screening. Out of 485 student 25% were identified as being delayed in phonological awareness. This school year five more schools are participating in screening students. School psychologists and social workers are being trained this month in the screening process and prepping for interventions. 

Career and College Success Month 

Staff presented the intent and impact of concurrent enrollment programming. Concurrent Enrollment programming ensures that over half of seniors graduate with college credits; 95% of these students earn a college degree. These programs focus on career development while learning about and learning through work experiences, such as internships. In DPS, the program serves diverse populations, multilingual students, students in special education, and gifted students. 

DPS Leadership Recommendation on Montbello Career and Technical High School (MCT) 

Superintendent Dr. Marrero made a recommendation not to close MCT after visiting the school and hearing stories from staff, students and community. Each board member accepted the recommendation and voted to postpone the motion indefinitely. 

Ends Policy 1.4 (Safety and Health) Discussion 

The board adopted policy governance model in November 2021. Under policy governance, the board is responsible for reviewing and updating board policies. The board reviewed and discussed updates in policy 1.4 regarding safety and health. It was adopted in November 2021 and specifically addresses COVID related challenges. Board members discussed gun violence and discipline, calling attention to being mindful of policy language to specifically address the impact on children of color. District staff called attention to executive limitation 10 which is around school discipline and school policing. Mental health and other illnesses were also considered during the discussion. The board discussed the possibility of combining 1.4 and 1.3, which is about wellbeing. Finally, the board discussed its partnership with the Denver Police Department (DPD), health agencies and non-profits to collaborate with and inform families of available services. 

ENGAGE WITH THE BOARD 

Do you want to let the board know your thoughts on any of these topics? You can sign up for public comment and speak directly to the board about what matters to you. You can sign up here

SPECIAL ALERT 

This week, DPS announced its proposal to unify 10 elementary and middle schools due to declining enrollment in the district. DPS has been experiencing a decline in enrollment for years due to lower birth rates and other factors. In Colorado, schools are funded based on student enrollment so smaller schools receive less funding which impacts students and educators in a variety of ways. In 2022, the district convened a committee to create criteria to close and consolidate schools.   

According to information released by the district, ten schools are being recommended for consolidation based on the criteria. This plan will be presented to the DPS Board of Education on November 3 and they will vote on it on Thursday, November 17. You can watch board meetings here. A public comment session is scheduled for Monday, November 14. 

For Impacted Families 

If your school is on this list, we know this information is incredibly difficult to hear. The district has provided this family toolkit with more information about the process and timeline and your school leader will be a resource for you. Our team will share additional information and resources as we receive them. If we can support you please email me here. 

EN ESPAÑOL

Bienvenidos a la edición de octubre de “Este mes en la junta directiva de DPS”, un boletín informativo mensual que comparte información acerca de la junta directiva de educación de las escuelas públicas de Denver (DPS, por sus siglas en inglés).

Nuestra meta es simple: compartir lo que está sucediendo en las reuniones de las juntas directivas escolares para que usted pueda participar con la junta y el distrito aun si usted no puede asistir a horas de reuniones cada mes.

Sesión de trabajo – 6 de octubre de 2022

Sesión ejecutiva

la junta directiva sostuvo una sesión ejecutiva, el cual no está abierta al público, para discutir la evaluación del superintendente, Dr. Alex Marrero, y luego resumió los temas de la agenda para la sesión del trabajo.

Recomendación de clausura de la preparatoria de carreras técnicas de Montbello

El DPS está recomendando la clausura de la preparatoria de carreras técnicas de Montbello (MCT) para finales del año 2022-2023 debido a tres razones principales:

  • Las preparatorias Legacy y Vista tienen el espacio para enrolar a los alumnos provenientes del MCT, ya que la preparatoria de Montbello está abriendo,
  • Ellos van a estar agregando un programa recuperación de créditos y apoyo y
  • DPS no puede continuar ofreciendo un espacio compartido para la MCT y el Smith STEAM debido al crecimiento en la población de alumnos en el Smith STEAM de 78 en el 2021-2022 a 135 en el 2022-2023.

En la presentación, el personal del DPS también compartió sus planes para 13 miembros del personal del MCT para recibir un apoyo transicional tales como suelos de retención, apoyo de recursos humanos para ayudarles a que sean contratados en otros lugares y el tener preferencia para ser contratados. Los miembros de la junta directiva se sintieron preocupados acerca de la falta de alumnos, personal y participación familiar que fue presentada en la recomendación. Los miembros de la junta directiva también mostraron su preocupación acerca del bienestar de los alumnos de ambos, el MCT y Smith STEAM, después de la posible clausura.

Evaluación del superintendente

La junta directiva votó si iban a aceptar la autoevaluación del superintendente como una referencia de progreso en los resultados. El vicepresidente Anderson fue el único miembro de la junta directiva que votó en contra porque él sintió que el proceso debió haber involucrado las aportaciones de las partes interesadas, sin embargo, no fue así.

Comité de finanzas y auditoría – 10 de octubre de 2022

Auditoría interna

El propósito de la auditoría es para determinar que la información financiera que el distrito está presentando al público sea “materialmente correcta.”

Contratos con agencias temporales

DPS está enfrentando retos continuos en cuanto al personal y mientras que el distrito está trabajando para reclutar y contratar al personal para llenar las vacantes, por el momento está contratando agencias temporales para encontrar a individuos calificados y con licencia para llenar las vacantes actuales y así poder llenar las necesidades de los alumnos. El distrito contrata a múltiples agencias para llenar las grandes necesidades de llenar las posiciones vacantes tales como enfermeras, intervencionistas del comportamiento, maestros para educación especial, etc.

Programas para después de la escuela, Right At School

Right At School provee una programación comprensiva para después de la escuela para escuelas que no tienen ningún programa o clubes para después de la escuela y que tengan un alto porcentaje de alumnos que califican para almuerzos gratis o a precio reducido. El programa opera en tres escuelas en el suroeste, cuatro escuelas en el este y tres escuelas en el noreste.

Programa de patrocinio para visas de empleado

El programa de patrocinio para visas, el cual provee los servicios legales de abogados de inmigración para el personal de DPS, ha sido utilizado por los últimos 10 años para aliviar algunas de las dificultades que se está enfrentando debido a la escasez de maestros internos en los Estados Unidos y en Colorado específicamente. Actualmente, hay alrededor de 250 empleados del DPS que participan en el programa de patrocinio de visas. De acuerdo al personal, los empleados en el programa sirven principalmente en posiciones que son difíciles de llenar tales como maestros de educación especial y ELA-S y cualquier posición para llenar necesidades bilingües.

Usted puede ver la agenda completa de propuestas aquí.

Monitoreo del progreso y comentarios públicos -17 de octubre de 2022

Plan de acción climática

La política (ENDS 1.6) dice lo siguiente: “DPS deberá de ser un líder nacional en establecer una cultura organizacional que esté anclada en la sustentabilidad, acción climática y justicia ambiental ambos en la conservación de recursos naturales y en la minimización en la huella de carbono de las prácticas de DPS.” El personal presentó un plan con una meta de cinco años para garantizar que esta política este siendo implementada.

Comentario público

La comunidad expresó sus opiniones en una variedad de temas durante el testimonio público. Usted se puede apuntar aquí para poder participar de comentarios públicos y hablar directamente con la junta directiva acerca de lo que le importa a usted.

Reunión de la junta directiva de DPS – 20 de octubre de 2022

Actualmente, hay 68,000 niños en Colorado quienes no pueden comparar o calificar para alimentos gratis o a precio reducido. Los programas de alimentos mejoran la asistencia, resultando mejores calificaciones y salud para los alumnos. La proposición FF quita el estigma de los alumnos de bajos recursos por medio de darles acceso a alimentos saludables para cada niño.

Conciencia sobre las discapacidades y dislexia

El personal de los servicios excepcionales para alumnos compartió datos e información acerca de las evaluaciones de dislexia en el distrito. En la primavera de 2022, cuatro escuelas participaron en las evaluaciones de dislexia. De 485 alumnos el 25% fueron identificados en tener un retraso en el reconocimiento fonológico. En este año escolar, cinco escuelas más están participando en la evaluación de alumnos. Los psicólogos escolares y trabajadores sociales están siendo entrenados este mes en el proceso de evaluación y se están preparando para intervenciones.

Mes de las carreras y éxito universitario

el personal presentó la intención y el impacto de la programación de enrolamiento concurrente. La programación de enrolamiento concurrente garantiza que más de la mitad de los graduandos lo hagan con créditos de la universidad; el 95% de estos alumnos obtienen un título universitario. Estos programas se enfocan en el desarrollo de sus carreras mientras aprenden acerca y por medio de las experiencias laborales, tales como las prácticas. En el DPS, el programa sirve a poblaciones diversas, alumnos plurilingües, alumnos en educación especial y alumnos superdotados.

La recomendación del liderazgo de DPS en cuanto a la preparatoria técnica y de carreras de Montbello (MCT)

El superintendente, Dr. Marrero, hizo recomendación de no cerrar el MCT después de haber visitado a la escuela y el escuchar historias por parte del personal, alumnos y comunidad. Cada miembro de la junta directiva aceptó la recomendación y votó en posponer la moción indefinidamente.

Discusión sobre la política de resultados 1.4 (seguridad y salud)

la junta directiva adoptó un modelo de gobernanza en noviembre de 2021. Bajo esta política de gobernanza, la junta directiva es responsable de revisar y actualizar las políticas de la junta directiva. La junta directiva revisó y discutió las actualizaciones en la política 1.4 con referencia a la seguridad y salud. Esto fue adoptado en noviembre del 2021 y específicamente se refiere a los retos relacionados con el COVID. Los miembros de la junta directiva discutieron la violencia con el uso de armas de fuego y disciplina, llamando la atención al tener conciencia en el lenguaje de la política para abordar específicamente el impacto en niños de color. El personal del distrito llamó la atención a la limitación ejecutiva 10 el cual se enfoca alrededor de la disciplina escolar y la vigilancia policial escolar. La salud mental y otras enfermedades también fueron consideradas durante la discusión. La junta directiva discutió la posibilidad de combinar 1.4 y 1.3, el cual se refiere al bienestar. Finalmente, la junta directiva discutió su sociedad con el departamento de policía de Denver (DPD, por sus siglas en inglés), agencias de salud y organizaciones sin fines de lucro para poder colaborar con ellos e informarles a las familias de los servicios disponibles.

PARTICIPE CON LA JUNTA DIRECTIVA

¿Quiere que la junta directiva sepa sus pensamientos en cualquiera de estos temas? Usted se puede apuntar para proveer comentarios públicos y hablar directamente con la junta directiva acerca de lo que le importa a usted. Usted se puede apuntar aquí.

ALERTA ESPECIAL

Esta semana, DPS anunció su propuesta de unificar a días escuelas primarias y secundarias debido al decline de enrolamientos en el distrito. DPS ha estado experimentando un decline en enrolamiento por años debido a rangos bajos de nacimientos y otros factores. En Colorado, las escuelas son financiadas basadas en el enrolamiento de alumnos así que las escuelas más pequeñas reciben menos financiamiento el cual impacta a los alumnos y maestros en una variedad de maneras. En el 2022, el distrito creo un comité para crear requisitos para cerrar y consolidar escuelas.

De acuerdo a la información provista por el distrito, 10 escuelas están siendo recomendadas para ser consolidadas basados en estos requisitos. El plan será presentado en la junta directiva de educación de DPS el 3 de noviembre y ellos votarán sobre el mismo el jueves 17 de noviembre. Usted puede ver las reuniones de la junta directiva aquí. Una sesión para comentarios públicos está calendarizada para el lunes 14 de noviembre.

Para familias impactadas

Si su escuela está en esta lista, nosotros reconocemos que esta información es increíblemente difícil de escuchar. El distrito ha provisto este kit de herramientas para la familia, con información acerca del proceso y cronograma y el líder de su escuela también puede ser un recurso para usted. Nuestro equipo compartirá información adicional y recursos conforme los estamos recibiendo. Si nosotros podemos apoyarle por favor mándenos un correo electrónico aquí.

photo of Denver skyline with words this month at the DPS Board

Tonight, Denver Public Schools (DPS) announced its proposal to unify 10 elementary and middle schools due to declining enrollment in the district. DPS has been experiencing a decline in enrollment for years due to lower birth rates and other factors. In Colorado, schools are funded based on student enrollment so smaller schools receive less funding which impacts students and educators in a variety of ways. In 2022, the district convened a committee to create criteria to close and consolidate schools. 

According to information released by the district the following schools are being recommended for consolidation based on the criteria:

  • Columbian Elementary will unify with Trevista at Trevista 
  • Palmer Elementary will unify with Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment K-5 grades at Montclair and ECE at Palmer
  • Math Science Leadership Academy (MSLA) will unify with Valverde Elementary at Valverde
  • Schmitt Elementary will unify with Godsman Elementary at Godsman 
  • Eagleton Elementary will unify with Cowell Elementary at Cowell
  • Fairview Elementary and Colfax Elementary will unify with K-5 grades at Cheltenham and ECE at Colfax
  • International Academy of Denver at Harrington will unify with Columbine Elementary  and Swansea Elementary in a new enrollment zone with Columbine and Swansea
  • Denver Discovery School will unify with schools in the Greater Park Hill – Central Park Enrollment zone
  • Whittier K-8 will unify with schools in the Greater Five Points Elementary Enrollment Zone and the Near Northeast Middle School Enrollment Zone

This plan will be presented to the DPS Board of Education November 3rd and they will vote on it Thursday, November 17th. You can watch board meetings here. A public comment session is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 14. 

For Impacted Families:

If your school is on this list, we know this information is incredibly difficult to hear. The district has provided this family toolkit with more information about the process and timeline and your school leader will be a resource for you. Our team will share additional information and resources as we receive them. If we can support you please email me here. 

photo of Denver skyline with words this month at the DPS Board

Welcome to the September edition of “This Month at the DPS Board”, a monthly newsletter sharing information about the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education.    

Our goal is simple: to share what is happening at school board meetings so you can engage with the board and the district even if you cannot attend hours of meetings every month. 

Work Session-September 1,2022 

Strategic Roadmap Update  

The Board work session began with an update on the Strategic Roadmap. Dr. Marrero shared an overview of the roadmap and talked about implementation. The goal is to accelerate growth for marginalized students. There are three ways in which this will be done: elevating student experience, adult experience, and system experience. By fall of 2022, they will build organizational functions, identify leaders for each strategy, work on how they will get from current state to future state, and create a timeline and change management.  

Overview of Redistricting Process 

District staff gave an update about the redistricting process. Colorado state statute requires Denver Public Schools (DPS) to redistrict after each federal census to ensure all districts are equal in population as much as possible. A division of districts will be presumed compliant with the equal protection clause if the maximum population deviation between the largest and smallest district is less than 10%. Currently there is a huge gap in population between District 2 and District 4. The guiding principles are to balance total population in schools, to maintain minimal impact on racial and ethnic concentrations, align with city precedents, to minimize the number of impacted families because of the process, and to incorporate natural boundaries. There is a timeline on to how this process will look and a final vote on February 25, 2023.  

Superintendent Evaluation Timeline  

The board gave a timeline for Superintendent Marrero’s evaluation. All board members will be part of this process. There will be opportunities for engagement leading up to the November 14 evaluation.  

Board Topics Forecast & Agenda Review 

Staff shared a forecast of topics for future meetings. 

Public Comment and Progress Monitoring – September 19, 2022 

Progress Monitoring Report 

Staff reported an overview of state assessment data including CMAS, PSAT, SAT, and READ Act assessment results. Staff shared aggregated data of students meeting grade level expectations, also referred to as “proficient by staff, as set by the state in Math and Literacy and results disaggregated by student group. Results will be used as a baseline for setting 2026 targets.  

Some key points from the presentation include:  

  • 59% of K-2 students are proficient in literacy 
  • Across all student groups, the percentage of K-2 students scoring at grade-level and above decreased and the percentage of students scoring significantly below grade-level increased compared to pre-pandemic rates 
  • Fewer than half of multi-lingual learners are reading at grade level and 1/3 are significantly below grade level  
  • Less than 1/3 of students are proficient in math; in middle school more than half of students are not even approaching expectations indicating a substantial need for additional Math instructional support  
  • Overall, there are tremendous gaps between white students and black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) students.  

Several board members shared their concerns about persisting performance gaps, including the accuracy and relevancy of assessment data, asked for data to represent intersectional student identities and called for staff to not “speak about learning in a deficit mindset”, calling it “highly problematic”.  

View the full data presentation here

Why Ethnic Names Matter 

Vice President Anderson shared a presentation on his decision to reclaim his given name, Auon’tai, sharing historical context and his personal story to ensure students in DPS do “not feel afraid or disappointed to use their given name if they so choose.” View his presentation here

Public Comment 

Community expressed their opinions on variety of topics through public testimony. You can sign up here for public comment and speak directly to the board about what matters to you. 

Board Meeting – September 22, 2022  

Hispanic Heritage Month 

John F Kennedy High School students shared a presentation they developed to help educate their school and during Hispanic Heritage Month.  

Minority Women Business Entrepreneurs (MWBE) Presentation 

DPS has had a program to track and support women and minority owned businesses in Denver for over 20 years and is the only district in Colorado with such a program. They offer monthly workshops, networking settings, and other opportunities to support local minority and women owned businesses. The presentation offered a look into the supports and investments they make by ethnicity. Board members raised concerns over the disparity shown in Black owned businesses. Staff shared those concerns and said they have been working to prioritize increasing those numbers. The board asked for regular reports.  

Consent Agenda 

The board voted to approve a variety of items on the consent agenda including funding for various school construction projects and the personnel transaction report.  

Teacher Dismissal Recommendation 

The board considered a teacher dismissal recommendation from the Superintendent. All information was kept confidential and only presented to board members.  

photo of Denver skyline with words this month at the DPS Board

Welcome to the August edition of “This Month at the DPS Board”, a monthly newsletter sharing information about the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education.    

Our goal is simple: to share what is happening at school board meetings so you can engage with the board and the district even if you cannot attend hours of meetings every month. You will find a brief overview of the topics discussed during each meeting and then expanded articles on those items below.

Work Session – August 11, 2022 

Meeting Summary: Students and leaders representing the Student Voice and Leadership program introduced their goals and plans for the 22-23 school year. The Denver Special Education Advisory Council (DSEAC) proposed a district-wide policy to facilitate targeted community education around the disability experience. The DPS Board engaged in a team building discussion. 

Student Voice and Leadership 

The first DPS Board Work Session began with Student Voice and Leadership (SVL) presentations. SVL programs are for DPS students that are interested in building youth leadership, civic engagement, dismantling systemic issues in DPS.   

The Denver Special Education Advisory Council 

The Denver Special Education Advisory Council (DSEAC) presented. The DSEAC is a district-level committee that provides recommendations to the Director of Special Education, the Superintendent and the Board of Education. They reported that students with disabilities express feeling misunderstood and undervalued as a part of their classrooms and school communities. The Council proposed a “district-wide policy to facilitate targeted community education and empowerment around the disability experience”. 

Finance and Audit Committee – August 15, 2022 

Meeting Summary: DPS staff reported on changes to local property taxes and in the state legislature and how changes will impact the Mill Levy finances. The committee discussed a possible opportunity to refinance obligation bonds. The Denver Scholarship Foundation requested approval for their annual contract along with a 3% cost of living increase.  Schools and institutions presented proposals for projects for the Board to analyze and potentially approve under consent agenda items.  

Denver Property Taxes and Denver Public Schools 

The Finance and Audit Committee meeting began reporting on recent changes to local property taxes which will impact the mill levy certification by the Board of Education in December. 

During the past 4 months, there were some actions that will lead DPS to change its process in Mill Levy revenue. There was an error found in the Net Assessed Value (AV) for all property in Denver. AV is used by the Board of Education to set taxes for property owners in Denver through the Mill Levy Certification. The AV was overstated by $500 million due to double counting of properties by the Assessor’s Office in the City and County of Denver, which will result in $29.5M less in revenue collection from the Denver Loval Property Taxpayers in schools year 2021-22. DPS plans to recover by requesting the state legislature to supply the state funding from the School Finance Act and generate revenue through the abatement process for Mill Levy Overrides and Bond program in the next year. 

The taxes that make up the Mill Levy Certification are the School Finance Act, Mill Levy Overrides, Special Revenue Mill Levy Override, and Bond Redemption. DPS Staff discussed changes that occurred in the last 6 months on each of the different components.  

DPS Staff also explained how the property taxes in Denver are calculated and how they impact the Mill Levy funding for DPS.  

Bond Redemption Fund Update & Refinancing Opportunity  

DPS has an opportunity to refinance the 2012B issuance of bonds that will save taxpayers because DPS’ General Obligation Bonds will cost less. The Bonds are the general obligations of the district and are secured by the district’s full faith and credit. All taxable property within the boundaries of the district is subject to proportionate property taxation without limitation as to rate.  

Denver Scholarship Foundation Contract 

The Denver Scholarship Foundation is requesting approval of the annual Denver Scholarship Foundation contract including a 3% cost of living increase. The Denver Scholarship Foundation is a partner with DPS that supports students to receive the opportunities to attend post-secondary education and career. 

Other Proposals for the Consent Agenda 

There were multiple other proposals presented to the committee such as Denison Montessori School to initiate their cooling project, Stedman Elementary School to initiate their cooling and elevator project, and more.  

Public Comment and Progress Monitoring Session – August 22, 2022 

Meeting Summary: DPS staff discussed the continued guidance for Covid-19, several celebrations for the 2022-23 school year kick-off, and how the new strategic roadmap – DPS Thrives, will guide the school year. This progress monitoring session focused on the data derived from on-track monitoring and graduation requirements in the class of 2022. Community expressed their opinions on variety of topics through public testimony. You can sign up here for public comment and speak directly to the board about what matters to you. 

Return to School Presentation 

DPS staff discussed the continued guidance for COVID-19, several celebrations for the 2022-2023 school year kick-off, and how the new strategic roadmap – DPS Thrives, will guide the school year.  

DPS is aiming to sustain in-person learning by continuing regular meetings with local health officials and hosting two cost-free PCR testing sites. They also announced that they will no longer maintain a COVID-19 dashboard.  

DPS staff briefly spoke about the new strategic roadmap and the main areas of focus for improvement included in the plan. The work is divided into three focus areas; adult, student, and system experience. The actions outlined in the plan are grounded in the following priorities: equity, accelerating learning, and transformative social emotional and academic learning. Overall, they are focused on two key factors which are student experience and student and adult experience. Under the student experience focus the roadmap prioritizes strong and consistent teaching and learning cycle and under the student and adult experience the plan prioritizes a safe and welcoming district that will provide an equitable and humanizing experience for all DPS community. 

Focus on Class of 2022 

DPS staff discussed the context of graduation requirements and competency opportunities such as standardized testing as well as course options such as concurrent enrollment. The following are some of the data highlights shared: 

  • For the Class of 2022 at the end of last year, 67% of students, across all schools, were On Track to meet all graduation requirements 
  • For students in the Class of 2023 at the end of their junior year, 45% had Met or were On Track to meet credits and competency requirements 

Over 1,500 students earned the Seal of Biliteracy and DPS held a higher completion rate for FAFSA than the state overall.  

Board Meeting – August 25, 2022 

Meeting Summary:  DPS staff presented an overview of what the consent decree entails and why DPS adopted it.  

Modified Consent Decree Presentation 

DPS staff presented an overview of what the Consent Decree entails. DPS serves the largest number of multilingual learners in Colorado. Spanish is the most spoken language with one out of three students speaking Spanish at home. The Consent Decree was established to fight oppressive systems that do not allow for linguistic equity.  

They shared information about the events that led to the creation of the Consent Decree.  It started with the West High School walkouts and led to the US District Court finding that DPS violated the 1974 Equal Educational Opportunities Act in 1984. DPS went back to court in 1999 for contempt for failure to implement the 1984 court order.  

In summary, the Consent Decree ensures that 

  • Multilingual Learners are correctly identified, placed with trained teachers, and are receiving MLE/ELA program services in alignment with requirements and parent choice. 
  • The MLE/ELA program is designed to ensure that Multilingual Learners are acquiring both language and content, that their teachers, paraprofessionals, principals & their evaluators receive ongoing training. 
  • All families of multilingual learners are engaged in a language they understand and have access to interpretation and translation services.

DPS staff further explained the 10 chapters the consent decree requires DPS to fulfill. 

ENGAGE WITH THE BOARD 

Do you want to let the board know your thoughts on any of these topics? You can sign up for public comment and speak directly to the board about what matters to you. You can sign up here

Bienvenidos a la edición de agosto de “Este mes en la Junta de DPS”, un boletín mensual que comparte información sobre la Junta de Educación de las Escuelas Públicas de Denver (DPS).     

Nuestro objetivo es simple: compartir lo que está sucediendo en las reuniones de la junta escolar para que pueda participar con la junta y el distrito, incluso si no puede asistir a horas de reuniones cada mes. 

Sesión de trabajo – 11 de agosto de 2022  

La voz y el liderazgo de los estudiantes  

La primera sesión de trabajo de la Junta de DPS comenzó con presentaciones de Voz y Liderazgo Estudiantil (SVL). Los programas SVL son para los estudiantes de DPS que están interesados en construir el liderazgo de los jóvenes, el compromiso cívico, el desmantelamiento de los problemas sistémicos en DPS.    

El Consejo Asesor de Educación Especial de Denver  

El Consejo Asesor de Educación Especial de Denver (DSEAC) presentó. El DSEAC es un comité del distrito que proporciona recomendaciones al Director de Educación Especial, al Superintendente y a la Junta de Educación. Reportaron que los estudiantes con discapacidades expresan sentirse incomprendidos e infravalorados en sus aulas y comunidades escolares. El Consejo propuso una “política de todo el distrito para facilitar la educación de la comunidad dirigida y el empoderamiento sobre la experiencia de la discapacidad“.  

Comité de Finanzas y Auditoría – 15 de agosto de 2022  

Impuestos sobre la propiedad de Denver y escuelas públicas de Denver  

La reunión del Comité de Finanzas y Auditoría comenzó informando sobre los recientes cambios en los impuestos locales sobre la propiedad que tendrán un impacto en la certificación de la recaudación de impuestos por parte del Consejo de Educación en diciembre.  

Durante los últimos 4 meses, hubo algunas acciones que llevarán a DPS a cambiar su proceso en los ingresos de Mill Levy. Se encontró un error en el Valor Neto Evaluado (AV) para todas las propiedades en Denver. El AV es utilizado por la Junta de Educación para fijar los impuestos de los propietarios en Denver a través de la Certificación Mill Levy. El AV fue sobrestimado en $500 millones debido al doble conteo de las propiedades por parte de la Oficina del Asesor en la Ciudad y el Condado de Denver, lo que resultará en $29.5M menos en la recaudación de ingresos de los contribuyentes de propiedades de Denver Loval en el año escolar 2021-22. DPS planea recuperarse solicitando a la legislatura estatal que suministre los fondos estatales de la Ley de Financiamiento Escolar y genere ingresos a través del proceso de reducción de Mill Levy Overrides y el programa de Bonos en el próximo año.  

Los impuestos que componen la certificación del Mill Levy son la Ley de Financiamiento Escolar, Mill Levy Overrides, Special Revenue Mill Levy Override y Bond Redemption. El personal de DPS discutio los cambios que ocurrieron en los ultimos 6 meses en cada uno de los diferentes componentes.   

El personal de DPS tambien explico como se calculan los impuestos a la propiedad en Denver y como impactan el financiamiento del Mill Levy para DPS.   

Actualización del Fondo de Redención de Bonos y Oportunidad de Refinanciamiento   

DPS tiene una oportunidad de refinanciar la emisión de bonos 2012B que ahorrará a los contribuyentes porque los Bonos de Obligación General de DPS costarán menos. Los bonos son las obligaciones generales del distrito y están garantizados por la plena fe y crédito del distrito. Toda la propiedad imponible dentro de los límites del distrito está sujeta a la imposición proporcional de la propiedad sin limitación en cuanto a la tasa.   

Contrato de la Denver Scholarship Foundation  

La Fundación de Becas de Denver solicita la aprobación del contrato anual de la Fundación de Becas de Denver, que incluye un aumento del 3% por el coste de la vida. La Denver Scholarship Foundation es un socio de DPS que apoya a los estudiantes para que reciban las oportunidades de asistir a la educación post-secundaria y a la carrera.  

Otras propuestas para la Agenda de Consentimiento  

Hubo muchas otras propuestas presentadas al comité, como la de la escuela Denison Montessori para iniciar su proyecto de refrigeración, la de la escuela primaria Stedman para iniciar su proyecto de refrigeración y ascensor, y más.   

Sesión de Comentarios Públicos y Seguimiento del Progreso – 22 de agosto de 2022  

Presentación de Regreso a la Escuela  

El personal de DPS discutió la orientación continua para COVID-19, varias celebraciones para el inicio del año escolar 2022-2023, y cómo la nueva hoja de ruta estratégica – DPS Prospera, guiará el año escolar.   

DPS tiene como objetivo mantener el aprendizaje en persona mediante la continuación de las reuniones periódicas con los funcionarios de salud locales y la organización de dos sitios de pruebas de PCR gratuitas. También anunciaron que ya no mantendrán un tablero de COVID-19.   

El personal del DPS habló brevemente de la nueva ruta estratégica y de las principales áreas de mejora incluidas en el plan. El trabajo se divide en tres áreas de enfoque: adultos, estudiantes y experiencia del sistema. Las acciones descritas en el plan se basan en las siguientes prioridades: la equidad, la aceleración del aprendizaje y el aprendizaje social, emocional y académico transformador. En general, se centran en dos factores clave que son la experiencia del estudiante y la experiencia del estudiante y del adulto. Bajo el enfoque de la experiencia del estudiante, la hoja de ruta prioriza un ciclo de enseñanza y aprendizaje fuerte y consistente y bajo la experiencia del estudiante y del adulto, el plan prioriza un distrito seguro y acogedor que proporcionará una experiencia equitativa y humanizadora para toda la comunidad de DPS.  

Enfoque en la Clase de 2022  

El personal de DPS discutió el contexto de los requisitos de graduación y las oportunidades de competencia, como las pruebas estandarizadas, así como las opciones de cursos como la inscripción concurrente. Los siguientes son algunos de los datos más destacados compartidos:  

  • Para la clase de 2022 al final del año pasado, el 67% de los estudiantes, en todas las escuelas, estaban en camino de cumplir con todos los requisitos de graduación  
  • Para los estudiantes de la Clase de 2023 al final de su tercer año, el 45% había cumplido o estaba en camino de cumplir con los requisitos de créditos y competencias  

Más de 1,500 estudiantes obtuvieron el Sello de Bialfabetismo y DPS tuvo una tasa de finalización de FAFSA más alta que el estado en general.   

Reunión de la Junta – 25 de agosto de 2022  

Presentación del Decreto de Consentimiento Modificado  

El personal de DPS presentó una visión general de lo que implica el Decreto de Consentimiento.  DPS sirve el mayor número de estudiantes multilingües en Colorado. El español es el idioma más hablado con uno de cada tres estudiantes que hablan español en casa. El Decreto de Consentimiento se estableció para luchar contra los sistemas opresivos que no permiten la equidad lingüística.   

Compartieron información sobre los eventos que llevaron a la creación del Decreto de Consentimiento.  Comenzó con los paros de la preparatoria West y llevó a que la Corte de Distrito de los Estados Unidos encontrara que DPS violó la Ley de Igualdad de Oportunidades Educativas de 1974 en 1984. DPS volvió a los tribunales en 1999 por desacato al no aplicar la orden judicial de 1984.   

En resumen, el Decreto de Consentimiento garantiza que  

  • Los estudiantes multilingües son identificados correctamente, colocados con maestros capacitados, y están recibiendo los servicios del programa MLE/ELA de acuerdo con los requisitos y la elección de los padres.  
  • El programa MLE/ELA está diseñado para garantizar que los alumnos multilingües adquieran tanto el idioma como el contenido, que sus maestros, paraprofesionales, directores y sus evaluadores reciban formación continua.  
  • Todas las familias de los alumnos multilingües participan en un idioma que entienden y tienen acceso a servicios de interpretación y traducción.   

El personal de DPS explicó además los 10 capítulos que el decreto de consentimiento requiere que DPS cumpla.  

COMPROMETERSE CON LA JUNTA  

¿Quiere hacer saber a la junta su opinión sobre cualquiera de estos temas? Puede inscribirse para hacer comentarios públicos y hablar directamente con la junta sobre lo que le importa. Puede inscribirse aquí.  

photo of Denver skyline with words this month at the DPS Board

Welcome to the April edition of “This Month at the DPS Board”, a monthly newsletter sharing information about the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education.   

Our goal is simple: to share what is happening at school board meetings so you can engage with the board and the district even if you cannot attend hours of meetings every month. 

Work Session – April 7 2022 

Sustainability Student Group 

Denver Public Schools high school students from the Sustainability Student group presented their work on climate action, that consequently moved the DPS board to put forth an ENDS statement around environmental sustainability within the district. The goal is to allow DPS become a “national leader in establishing an organizational culture anchored in sustainability, climate action, and environmental justice in both the conservation of natural resources and in minimizing the carbon footprint of DPS’ practices.”  

Declining Enrollment Updates 

Superintendent Marrero shared an update on declining enrollment in the district. He shared that the Declining Enrollment Committee is in the halfway point of their timeline. Superintendent Marrero mentioned that the rationale behind creating this committee is to make sure community engagement is in the forefront during this process when discussing how fewer students enrolling in DPS schools and projections indicating that there will be a continual decline will impact schools financially and how students are being served equitably.  

Superintendent Marrero addressed some concerns around about the process:  

  • No schools have been identified, and there is no current list of schools that is being considered. The committee will create the criteria that will identify schools. 
  • A significant reorganization is currently underway at the central office to address the reduction in funding available and continue to maximize the funding provided to schools. 

He then mentioned that the committee meetings are not open to the public because they are considered “work sessions” intended to be for committee members only.  Meeting recaps are posted in all consent decree languages on the webpage. Opportunities for public feedback will be shared after the committee drafts the guiding principles and criteria through surveys. 

The following timeline for the process was shared: 

  • By Spring 2022, the Declining Enrollment Advisory Committee creates criteria. 
  • By Fall-Winter 2022-2023, criteria will be applied to schools and schools will be identified for closure or consolidation. 
  • In the school year of 2023-2024, schools identified will begin to plan to close or consolidate, plans will be created to support staff and families impacted. 
  • By the end of the school year 23-24, closure and/or consolidations will move forward. For certain schools, there may be an accelerated timeline where closures and/or consolidations will move forward by the end of 2022-2023 school year. 

Discussion of Board Community Engagement 

The Board plans to distribute a survey to the community to gain input on what community engagement means so that the Board’s definition aligns with community under a policy.   

Discussion of Proposed GP15 

The Board discussed possible changes and/or reinforcements for public comment and board meetings. The draft with the policy they were revising can be found here. These changes will be discussed in the June School Board meeting.  

Discussion of the Vacancy Process 

The board then discussed the potential timeline to fill in the District 5 representative vacancy. To recap this topic, check out our newsletter on last month’s work session here.  The board went through possible timelines according to the amount of applicants. “Board members and the Superintendent shall not have any discussions, meetings, or electronic communication with applicants, potential applicants, or supporters of an applicant to uphold the integrity of the process.” The Board of Education will choose the candidate by a majority vote in a public meeting, not by an informal consensus process. The board discussed the background check process the appointee will have to go through. 

Finance and Audit Committee Meeting – April 11, 2022 

2020 Bond Update 

Staff provided an update on the 2020 bond passed by voters. Funds totaling $420 million were wired for the Capital Projects Fund to DPS fulfilling the 2020 Bond Authorization. 

IntegraReport Hotline Update 

A report was provided by auditors on the IntegraReport Hotline – an anonymous hotline for district employees and the public to report suspected fraud, waste or abuse of district assets, or fiscal misconduct. Reports are either investigated by internal audit or human resources. In fiscal year 2020-2021 there were 114 cases reported, 62 cases were valid and addressed, 25 were unsubstantiated, and 11 are still in process.  

Information Items for Board Meeting Consent Agenda: 

The following items were presented and approved to go on the consent agenda for the School Board meeting:  

Grants Report 

Staff shared information about grants that were received in February and March over $50,000. 

Purchasing Report 

Information related to contracts and projects that cost less than $1 million were shared with the committee.  

Focus on Achievement – April 18, 2022 

Executive Limitations 

The board first reviewed some language changes in the executive limitations currently adopted from the “superintendent should” to the “superintendent will not fail to”. Some of the Executive imitations that were pointed out were (EL 2) which talks about succession planning for the superintendent and making sure the decision is still up to the board, (El 3) engage community in the development of policy when appropriate and at his discretion, (EL 4) the board is responsible for their own compliance, (EL 10) Discipline and safety procedure to be revisited at board retreat.  

You can read all here.  

Reasonable Interpretations – Transition Priorities 

Superintendent Marrero shared his reasonable interpretations as linked to his transition priorities. There are five and discussed the first three. The first priority is around equity where they centered the conversation around BIPOC teacher retention. The second priority is around teaching and learning where they focused the conversation on learning disruptions because of COVID-19 and how to ensure the district takes steps to set students back on track. They also had a conversation about accountability and whether to use state assessments for this end. Superintendent Marrero closed  saying it is needed to create some sort of baseline and understand where students are at now. The third transition priority is around students and staff well-being.  

District Five Vacancy Interviews 

The Board set the dates for interviews when it comes to the District Five vacancy to June 2nd between 1-4 pm. They should be open to the public and will be listening to special public comment later that day. 

School Board Meeting – April 21, 2022 

Recognition of DPS Athletic Accomplishments  

Staff highlighted athletic achievements in DPS this school year. 7000 high school athletes participated in DPS athletics this year, which is more than have ever participated.  

Northfield Men’s Soccer was recognized for winning a 4A State Championship and East Men’s Ice Hockey was recognized for winning the 5A State Championship. Staff also highlighted women’s basketball and wrestling.  

Denver Scholarship Foundation Report 

Staff from the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) shared a presentation about their work. The Denver Scholarship Foundation “inspires and empowers Denver Public Schools’ students to enroll in and graduate from postsecondary institutions of higher education, by providing the tools, knowledge, and financial resources essential for success.” 

Annually, DSF serves about 7,500 students. This year, DSF has awarded 1,869 scholarships and operates 14 Future Centers in high school campuses across the district where DSF staff supports high school students in creating post-graduation plans. Additionally, DSF partners with 30 higher education institutions to support scholarship recipients. Demographics of scholarship recipients include 66% female, 60% Hispanic/Latinx, and 16.5% Black students. 82% of scholarship recipients are persisting or have graduated higher education and since DSF’s inception, college enrollment has increased over 100%. 

Welton Street Café Proclamation 

Welton Street Café was recognized with a proclamation acknowledging the impact that Welton Street Cafe has had in the DPS community. Currently, Welton Street Café is raising funds to open a new location after closing its original location of 22 years. Anyone who is interested in supporting can find more information and donate here. 

Superintendent’s Report 

Superintendent Marrero gave a presentation related to District Central Office reorganization plans. Superintendent Marrero cited declining enrollment and feedback from staff and community as rationale for reorganizing the Central Office.  

Intended outcomes of Central Office reorganization include strengthening and tightening central support to ensure resources align to highest priorities and central staff functions are more tightly linked to Board of Education goals and policies. 

Superintendent Marrero previewed an approach to collaborative school structure by highlighting planned collaboration of four DPS schools, called “Collaborative Quads” to engage in shared learning and best practices around facilitating dual-language programs in DPS. The stated goal of the Collaborative Quads is “building communities of learning to drive improvement across our family of schools.” 

Staff outlined 2022-2023 district priorities as follows:  

  • Equity and Excellence 
  • Student Experience & Achievement 
  • Operational Effectiveness 

Finally, staff outlined a plan for central office reorganization structure which will include shifts in senior leadership and departments.  

You can view the presentation here.  

Climate Action  

Students presented a climate action statement, sharing their passion for expanding sustainability and climate-conscious policies and efforts in DPS. The board voted unanimously in support of the proposed revisions to their ENDS statements related to climate action. You can learn more here.  

Consent Agenda 

The board unanimously voted to approve the consent agenda.  

Public Comment  

Educators, parents, and other members of the DPS community delivered public comments about a variety of topics including feedback surrounding Executive Limitation 11 & 12, declining enrollment, and concerns around academic performance.  

Board Retreat April 21, 2022 

Completion of Reasonable Interpretations 

Before embarking on reasonably interpreting several policies, Superintendent Marrero mentioned that he would like to include partnering with the City of Denver to dismantle and revise persistent and enduring systems of oppression outside of our school system to a transition priority which is a policy anchored in equity. He briefly mentioned that this partnership will include the creation of community hubs that will provide services like social-emotional support, GED, citizenship, early literacy, and computer classes, academic tutoring, and basic needs assistance. The Board revisited interpretations for policies transition priorities (TP): Student and Staff Well-Being, Health and Safety, and post-graduation and global citizenship. The Boad then shared the monitoring report cadence to vote on END statements for each monthly board meeting.  

Community Engagement Planning  

Some board directors shared they have been working on a community engagement governance policy that aims “to ensure the DPS Board of Directors has a sustainable connection to the community” they serve “in alignment with district board policies.” The desired outcome for this specific policy is to have it be community led, proactive, and ensure all seven board members work together to find the best path for community engagement. This board policy is meant to be more focused on the long-term vision of the end statements by leveraging the expertise of the Family and Community Engagement (FACE) team and still preserving the ability to gather information on the ENDS statements as a Board. 

 Their proposed timeline to get this policy established is: 

  • May 2022- informal presentation 
  • June 2022- formal presentation with public comment and first read 
  • August 2022- second read and vote 

12-Month Agenda Planning 

The board talked through their upcoming meeting calendar, important dates that will fall within this year and about the timelines around the new executive limitations and their implementation (Els). As they think about community engagement as a part of the reviewal process of Els and TPs they are also thinking what those timelines look like in the calendar. They are hoping to vote on the reasonable interpretations presented by the superintendents during the May 5th work session.