Welcome to the December 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.
The Finance and Audit Committee – December 1, 2022
The meeting recording was not posted, but you can look at the minutes here. The Committee approved a variety of consent agenda items and all items moved forward for consideration by the Board of Education.
Highlights on Student Athletics
Superintendent Marrero introduced schools that became conference champions in the Fall of 2022. Northfield High School was back-to-back state champions in their Boys Soccer league. They also highlighted Denver East High School’s Boys Soccer team which gained a state championship title for the 4th time in their school’s history.
Superintendent Update: Denver Online School
Superintendent Marrero and DPS staff gave a brief update on the online school “Denver Online” that was created when families preferred the remote option due to COVID-19. The school opened in the fall of 2021 and in November of 2021, DPS decided to continue the programming for one more year as spread of the virus was still ongoing. DPS has now revisited the future of Denver Online this month and made the decision to end the elementary portion of the programming and only offer grades 6-12. The elementary students who were enrolled in the online school will receive supports to join the school choice process for the school year 2022-2023.
Certification of Mill Levies
DPS Staff presented the 2022 Mill Levy Certification which must be certified by the Board each year prior to December 15th. “The City and County of Denver collects property taxes on behalf of DPS The Mill Levy Certification directs the City and County of Denver (specifically the county treasurer) the level at which to tax property in Denver on behalf of DPS students.” The taxes that make up the Mill levy Certification are School Finance Act, Mill Levy Overrides, Special Revenue Mill Levy Override, and Bond Redemption. Legislation that passed during the 2020 session, changed how districts levy mills for the School Finance Act, so DPS is required to mill at 27 for the tax rate.
You can see more details here. The certification for the 2022 Mill Levy was approved by the DPS Board.
EL-17 Monitoring: Asset Protection
DPS staff explained executive limitation (EL) 17 which focuses on the protection of DPS assets. This EL encompasses a policy that will ensure that schools, the Board and DPS obtain insurance, make sure that the handling of funds is being done under accepted accounting procedures. The 11 points under this EL can be found here. Several Board members raised questions on how this EL would impact students’ intellectual property after the lawsuit against the girls who trademarked “Know Justice Know Peace.” A DPS attorney clarified that if a student or student group receives funds and resources such as educators and space from DPS, “legally speaking,” it is intellectual property that is owned by the district. The Board all agreed to make sure this is being conveyed as best as possible to students and families.
Proclamation Regarding Gun Violence Prevention
Vice-President Anderson introduced a proclamation regarding gun violence prevention after hearing public comment from Denver East High School students. These students urged board members to work harder through also pushing for legislation that will protect students and DPS staff from gun violence. Each board member read a part of the proclamation.
School Year Calendars Development: 2023-24 and 2024-25
DPS staff and representatives from the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) and Denver School Leaders Association (DSLA) presented updates on the progress to develop school calendars for years 2023-2024 and 2024-2025. They expressed that they have considered multiple factors such as family work schedules, professional development days, religious holidays and more. Feedback was received from teachers on when the school year should start and end. According to the surveys conducted, “about 50% of responses via paper survey (13/23) from MLE DAC prefer a start date the week of August 14 and nearly 70% of responses via paper survey (16/23) from MLE DAC prefer an end date the week of June 3”. The drafts for the school calendars in 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 would have the school year start in August 21 and end on June 5 and for SY 2023-2024 the start date would be August 19, end in June 3 for SY 2024-2025.
District Accountability Committee Update
Every district is required to have a District Accountability Committee, which is a group of parents and community members that recommend, review, and support the district with key decisions. Several representatives from the committee presented some recommendations to be a partner in the process of collaboration of the Unified Improvement Plan. “Unified Improvement Planning was introduced in 2009 to streamline improvement planning components of state and federal accountability requirements”.
Unified Improvement Plan Update
As the parents from the District Accountability Committee (DAC) finished their presentation on their recommendations, the Board decided to transition to an update on the Unified Improvement Plan (UIP). DPS staff’s update correlated with the recommendations from DAC because it was to make sure the creation of the UIP is streamlined through the different progress monitoring steps and committees such as DAC.
Parent Teacher Home Visits
DPS staff presented Parent Teacher Home Visits which is a program within DPS that encourages teachers to conduct home visits. They explained their model as starting with a phone call, which then moves into the first home visit. After the first home visit, there is follow-up and fostering relationship to the second visit. In the school year of 2022, 82 schools and 737 educators are participating in the program. So far, there have been 3,387 home visits with a goal of 9,000 for the school year. Furthermore, the National program adopted the DPS model and DPS was nationally recognized for most visits across US.
First Reads- Board Policies – EL12 Employee Treatment and EL15 Budgeting
The Board was presented with a first read on EL 12 which focuses on employee treatment and EL 15 which focuses on budgeting. Community is encouraged to provide feedback on these policies (EL 12 and EL 15).
Before the Board voted on the items listed on the consent agenda, Vice President Anderson raised the recommendation of Robert F Smith Steam Academy relocating. The recommendation is to relocate to Robert F Smith Steam Academy to Barrett Elementary. In the end, all board members voted to pass all items on the consent agenda.