Task Force Focuses on Closing Opportunity Gap

May. 25, 2017
DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg speaks at the African-American Equity Task Force meeting

For the past seven months, the African-American Equity Task Force has focused on ways to address concerns expressed by African-American students and educators. On May 24, the task force met to share their draft of recommendations with district leadership and the community.

The charge was two-fold for the task force. The first part included members conducting a thorough review of the current state of African-American students, educators and families to gain an understanding of contributing factors; and, generating proposals DPS can employ to improve the outcomes for the African-American community. The next phase in this continued partnership between the district and the African-American community will be to prioritize and lay out next steps. Once those measures are determined, the task force will share them with the Board of Education.

Led by Allen Smith, associate chief of the district’s Culture, Equity and Leadership Team, the task force is made up of more than 100 parents, educators and community leaders who receive guidance from an executive council made up of leaders in Denver’s African-American community. The work was a significant time investment for community members. From surveys to community meetings — sometimes twice a week — the team was dedicated to finding ways to improve outcomes for African-American students and educators.

“We are deeply appreciative of the work that has been done to research, discuss and draft the recommendations,” said Superintendent Tom Boasberg. “We look forward to continue working with task force members to put the recommendations into practice.”

While there is still work to do, the initial partnership effort marks a tremendous start toward providing culturally responsive instruction for students, improving engagement with families and ensuring equity for all.