The windows in the classroom where Graciela Gonzales teaches third grade at Greenlee Elementary looks out onto Lipan Street on Denver’s west side. In the mornings, she can see her students walking up to the brick-front school, most of them from the public housing a block to the north—the same projects where her own mother was born.
Gonzales’s grandparents moved there with no money or English between them after leaving Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Today, the neighborhood’s newcomers are primarily recent immigrants from Somalia, whose children walk in groups to after-school programs when Greenlee lets out. Read more here about Gonzales journey to become a teacher, and why she chose to work at Greenlee.