In Denver Public Schools, our vision is clear: Every Child Succeeds. To reach this vision together, we know we must first create a culture of equity; develop great teachers, leaders and team members; and build trust within the communities we serve.
Research has shown the importance of schools having teachers who are racially diverse in order to close opportunity gaps. Specifically, students who share the same background as their teacher receive more effective role modeling, higher expectations for learning and their future, and have fewer cultural differences – allowing teachers to more effectively teach. In fact, students of color are 39% more likely to graduate if they have just one teacher of color during their education.
We aim to support all of our teachers of color to make DPS the best place to work. This includes:
• Building a culture where team members can show up as their authentic selves.
• Providing values-based leadership opportunities for team members to champion a culture of equity.
• Infusing an explicit and consistent focus on equity, inclusion and behavioral change.
• Including students, families and communities as partners in our efforts.
Our Focus on Equity
DPS supports over 92,000 students, and close to 75% of them are students of color. We know we need more educators who look like them in our classrooms.
To support our educators and students of color and the entire DPS community, we have created a variety of intentional partnerships and programs to support equity and inclusiveness across our district.
African-American Task Force: DPS commissioned Dr. Sharon Bailey to report on the expe-riences of our African-American educators and to listen to their perspectives and concerns about the education of our African-American stu¬dents. In response to this report, the DPS Board of Education and superintendent commissioned the African-American Equity Task Force in 2016, which developed and presented a set of recommendations to help close the opportunity gap for African-American students and educators.
Focus on Neighborhoods: The Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative is a citywide committee that was formed to review changing demographics and housing patterns in our city and the effect on our schools, and to make recommendations on our policies around boundaries, choice, enrollment and academic programs in order to drive greater socio-economic integration in our schools. [is this still active?]
Post-Secondary Opportunities: The EdConnect Program provides DPS high school students with opportunities to earn post-secondary credits and gain experience in the education field. Additionally, EdConnect inspires the students of today to become our teachers of tomorrow as a long-term strategy to diversify our teacher workforce in Denver.
Celebrating Biliteracy: The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given to DPS students who have attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. Additionally, our EDUCA program aims to connect Spanish- and English-speaking parents with information about school policies, events and issues in public education through radio, TV and newspapers.