“I look forward to achieving my dream and earning my degree while teaching our most special students here in DPS.” — Chavonne Henry
Dear DPS Community,
Chavonne Henry is a hard-working teacher’s aide with a heart for our kids with special needs at Bruce Randolph School in Near Northeast Denver. Her passion has always been teaching, she said, but a daughter with her own critical medical needs meant college had to wait.
At least, until now. Chavonne is one of the inaugural members of the Paraprofessional-to-Teacher Pipeline, a program funded through the generosity of community partners and Denver voters that is designed to help our teacher’s aides become teachers themselves.
“I became a mother in high school,” Chavonne explained Thursday at a celebration launching the program at Bruce Randolph, where she has been an aide or “para” in special needs classrooms for nearly four years. “I graduated on time and went off to college. But due to my daughter’s critical health condition, I was not able to complete college.”
The passion she felt even then to teach sharpened in focus as she experienced her daughter’s special needs. Becoming a special education teacher became her dream.
Like Chavonne, most of the more than 2,000 paras in our schools have some college credit. Most are DPS graduates, parents and community members who know our kids and are eager to work in our classrooms. And, like the majority of our kids, the majority of our paras are educators of color.
“I am a mother of four, I work full-time and although I have always wanted to earn my degree, my time and resources have been limited,” Chavonne said. “When I heard about the para-to-teacher training program, I was ecstatic.”
The pipeline builds a bridge to college graduation, covering all or nearly all costs of college for paras who qualify. Chavonne is among the inaugural class of 20 in the program, funded in its first year by Gary Community Investments. We’re recruiting now for our second class of 20. (Click here to apply by March 10).
Our partners in this work include Guild Education, which supports working adults in college attainment, along with Western Governors University, the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Northern Colorado.
And, we would not be able to do this work without Denver voters, who supported expanding this effort as part of the 2016 mill levy ballot measure. Chavonne is just one example of your investment making dreams come true in DPS.
“My passion has always been to be a teacher,” she said. “I look forward to achieving my dream and earning my degree while teaching our most special students here in DPS.”
Students at Cory Elementary, which received the Colorado Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award, the John Irwin Schools of Excellence Award and the National Blue Ribbon School Award.
The Colorado Department of Education celebrated 2016 district and school performance results in an awards ceremony in Denver this week, and we want to congratulate all the winners! That list includes 50 Denver schools across seven categories. Among the highlights:
Colorado Centers of Excellence — This award celebrates schools with an at-risk population of at least 75% that also demonstrate the highest rates of student growth. Of the total 33 winners, 21 are Denver schools.
National Blue Ribbon – – This award recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Of the total five winners, two are Denver schools.
ELPA Excellence — This award honors 10 districts and 10 charter schools that achieved the highest growth among English learners. DPS is one of the 10 districts honored while eight of the 10 charter winners statewide are Denver schools.
High School Academic Growth — This award recognizes high schools that demonstrate the highest levels of student academic growth in reading, writing and math, within each classification used by the statewide association for high school activities for the sport of football. Of the seven total winners, three are Denver schools.
Before you know it, our high school seniors will be crossing the graduation stage as they take that next step toward pursuing their college and career dreams. Ahead of that, seniors are busy navigating the often confusing — and stressful — world of college acceptance, scholarships and financial aid. Through it all, these students are finding incredible support within Future Centers.
Denver Scholarship Foundation employs college advisors — who work full-time in DPS schools — to work alongside DPS educators in helping students prepare for the financial and emotional challenges that can emerge both at college and in the workplace.
Watch this DPS Features video to learn more about how Future Centers are helping students become College and Career Ready.
The DPS community is invited to join ED Talk: Support for the Whole Child & Whole Adult from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 9, at Manual High School, 1700 E. 28th Ave., 80205.
DPS ED Talks are designed to bring educators and community members together to discuss issues affecting DPS schools and to help create an open environment to learn from each other in pursuit of the our shared vision, Every Child Succeeds. The ED Talk series was created following a recent report documenting race and equity issues in schools.
March 4: DPS Community Night with the Nuggets
March 4: DPS Garden and Greenhouse Forum
March 4-March 12: Parent Teacher Home Visit Week