Aligning our Support to Move the Needle for our Students

Aug. 18, 2023

Dear Team DPS,

As we wrap up this week of planning and development and look forward to welcoming our students back next week, I am honored, as your Chief of Schools, to share in the collective dedication that propels us toward another year of transformative education and growth.

In the spirit of this upcoming academic journey, it is with great enthusiasm that I welcome back all of our Collaborative Directors for this school year, as well as introduce Ann Cobb as Director of our second Pathways Collaborative and Wayman White as an Operational Service Director. These leaders share a wealth of experience and a commitment to supporting their schools in service of all our students.

We’ve already accomplished so much in the first year of our Strategic Roadmap, and word is starting to get around! Several elementary schools participated in the Breakthrough Pilot focused on fifth-grade math and saw improvement in student achievement on weekly assessments. I am also proud to share that 18 of our elementary and K-8 schools were honored in 2022-23 with the Colorado Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award. A $500,000 grant was awarded through CDE to pilot building MTSS systems in the middle school Collaborative, and Tier I systems building began during June Leadership Week. Our Pathways schools established a more solid focus on capstones to maintain rigor in Grade-Level Texts/Tasks, resulting in overall math capstone, competency and MAP growth for students.

Students are at the center of all we do, and next week we welcome each and every one of them into a safe, welcoming and engaging learning environment. We look forward to visiting in the coming weeks as you build strong routines and instructional systems. Collaborative Directors will be working closely with school leaders to review culture plans and strategize for their successful implementation so that 100% of our schools offer a Safe and Welcoming learning environment.

Our Wednesday visits to schools have evolved from last year thanks to your continued partnership as we develop a system of instructional rounds that support our collective improvement. I cannot wait to visit our school communities in action and look forward to using these visits to ensure principals receive leadership feedback from peers and content specialists, continue to develop our individual and collective instructional capacity, and better calibrate on effective instructional practices — all acting as a catalyst to better align and target supports that we provide schools.  

Through a combination of equitable resource allocation, adaptability, and functional integration of specialists’ expertise, our School Support Structure will improve student outcomes across schools, accelerating trajectories for our historically underserved students and closing the achievement gap.

Educational equity is our collective responsibility. The last few years have been the most challenging many of us have seen in our careers, and while we recover from the disruptions to our instructional systems caused by the pandemic, we know that we are not looking to revert, but to re-envision: under new illumination, access and success must be made available to every student in DPS.

To that end, we’ve seen great resilience and persistence. As we partner to explore new ways of learning and working together, we are getting better at getting better. For us and for our students, this means centering continuous improvement in our structures and routines with data as our compass, where evidence-based decisions refine our educational practices to meet our School Targets for 2023-24.

As we gear up for the new school year, I want to close with my gratitude for your unwavering dedication to our mission and vision. Together, we are creating the conditions and partnerships where students, families and team members belong and thrive. 

In partnership,


Cesar Cedillo
Chief of Schools