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Community Hubs

Denver Public Schools is working with the City of Denver and community partners to open community hubs. These hubs are a key part of our strategy. We understand that some students find it hard to learn because they are hungry, tired, hurt, sad, or have other basic needs. The hubs will provide services to address these needs. We know that families and communities work hard to care for their kids, so the hubs will also support family and community members. We will use research to guide how we provide services. With these supports, all students will have an equal chance to learn and thrive.

Starting in Fall 2022, we plan to run six hubs. Every hub will open with people ready to listen to the needs of youth and their adults. Based on what hub staff learn, they will be able to connect youth and their adults to the best services. During the next year, and in future years, each hub will offer more services at its location. Local community members will help us choose which services to offer. If it is helpful for some services to be offered at school locations, we will do this as well. We will also move hub locations, if desired, based on community feedback.

Hub Locations

We understand that some of the services we will offer are very needed and want to share them as soon as we can. We chose hub locations near communities that we believe need the services most. Our conclusions are based on our conversations with the community as well as formal research from the City of Denver. We plan to learn if our judgment is correct by Winter 2023. If we are wrong, we will move the hub locations. We want to support and build on existing community work. If a service is already being offered in a community, we will work to connect families with that service. If a service is not already being offered in a community, then we will work to find money to pay for that service so that we can bring it to the community through a hub, or through one of the schools in the community.

Current Community Hub Locations

  • Place Bridge Academy (Southeast Region)
  • Colfax Elementary (Northwest Region)
  • Smith Elementary (Near Northeast Region)
  • Focus Points (Central Region)
  • John H. Amesse (Far Northeast Region)
  • Johnson Elementary (Southwest Region)

Interested in helping to inform the design of each of these hubs? Sign up to be invited to feedback sessions.

Community hubs map of locations

Potential Services Offered

The services that will be offered at each hub will be based on the needs of the local community and may include the following. We want community members to suggest new services that are not listed if needed.

For adults:

  • Case management
  • Workforce development
    Job placement, interview preparation, resume building, workforce training
  • Basic needs assistance
    Food, housing, clothing, energy outreach
  • Social emotional supports and mental health services
  • ESL classes for adults
  • Language services
  • Financial literacy
  • GED classes
  • Citizenship classes
  • Early literacy classes
  • Hiring pipeline
  • Computer classes
  • Parenting classes
  • Free childcare
    During classes

For youth:

  • Academic tutoring
  • Enrichment activities
    Art, music, athletics, programming
  • Social emotional supports and mental health services
  • Workforce development
    Job readiness training, career exploration, internships with local organizations
  • Gang outreach, intervention, violence interruption, systems navigation and restorative justice
  • Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) and LGBTQ+ supports
  • Financial wellness and postsecondary planning
  • Individual and group therapeutic services
    Includes substance misuse intervention

For immigrant and refugee families:

  • Newcomer identification and placement
    School enrollment
    In conjunction with Choice & Enrollment and schools
  • Newcomer and immigrant family specific workshops
  • Free childcare
    During workshops
  • Access to supports in home language
  • Basic needs support for students
    School supplies, backpacks, uniforms
  • Support in navigating DPS and the US school system

Frequently Asked Questions

What are community hubs?

Community hubs are a partnership between Denver Public Schools, the City of Denver, and local community organizations. Hubs provide services that support the social, emotional, physical and academic needs of youth and their adults so that all students will have an equal chance to learn and thrive.

When will the community hubs first open their doors?

Fall 2022

Who will the community hubs serve?

All youth and their adults. You do not need to know a DPS student to access services.

Why is DPS planning on offering so many services that benefit adults?

Research shows that you can improve outcomes more if you support both youth and their adults. Some of the problems youth face cannot be fixed without working with adults, and those problems make it hard for youth to learn. DPS is focused on youth, but we are partnering with the city of Denver and other organizations to strengthen families and community because strong families and communities are good for kids.

What impact does DPS hope to achieve with the launch of these community hubs?

All students will have an equal chance to learn and thrive. For example, students who are hungry can gain access to food. Students who are tired because they did not have a safe place to sleep the night before can gain access to stable housing. Students who are distracted or sad because of violence in their neighborhood can talk to someone and address their feelings. With these supports, these students can come to school and learn with the same focus as other students.

Will DPS seek to close schools to find buildings for community hubs?

No. Community hub locations are selected based on where communities need services. We have community hub locations and will only seek to move them if there is a good reason.

What prompted DPS’ decision to launch these community hubs?

Feedback from the community during our superintendent’s listening tour, feedback from school leaders and teachers about how our kids need extra support, and feedback from our youth.

How will families from non-hub locations access community hub services?

We are working with school leaders to rotate many hub services into all of our schools, so that each community has access to services. We have also selected sites near major RTD lines, will plan to provide transportation, and will have virtual options.

What will be the hours of operation for the community hubs?

We intend to operate from 9AM-7PM, Monday-Friday when we first open, and then modify hours based on feedback and need. We may also open on weekends for specific classes.

Why is DPS opening community hubs when other organizations have existing hubs already in place?

Hubs are most valuable to those near the hub. In order to ensure everyone can access services equally, the city thus benefits from as many hubs as possible. We are actively coordinating with existing hubs to ensure we are collectively serving youth and their adults well. We also believe that DPS can play a role in supporting all Denver community hubs by helping to identify those who would want services and telling them where to find the services.

Why is DPS expending resources on opening community hubs instead of focusing on improving the quality of schools in each neighborhood?

Our caring educators cannot ignore a hungry child. We are working closely with the city and community to meet the child’s basic needs, so that our educators can stay focused on supporting teaching and learning, improving the quality of schools in each neighborhood. District resources are focused on making connections between those in need and those who provide related services. The district is not paying for all services. Instead, we are working with partners, including the City of Denver.

How will DPS ensure that there is ongoing funding to sustain these community hubs for years to come?

The City of Denver already funds these services. Our community hubs are designed to connect youth and their adults to these existing resources. The district has also recently looked at how to organize people best to support students. We have cut some positions in order to add new positions that can support community hubs on an ongoing basis.

How can I provide feedback on the types of services I would like to see offered?

Join the planning team for your local community hub by filling out this form.

Are there other cities and/or school districts that have implemented similar initiatives?

Yes. The work we are doing in Denver is similar to work being done at Valley Settlement in Glenwood Springs, CO, Hispanic Unity of Florida, Sparkpoint Centers in Northern California and the Our Center in Longmont, CO. Overall, Community Hubs are aligned with the national research and best practices of the Aspen Institute for the two-generation approach.

What does this initiative mean for the city’s efforts to open Youth Empowerment Centers?

These are Youth Empowerment Centers. Through collaboration, Denver Public Schools and the City of Denver are able to roll out this important work more thoughtfully and more quickly.

Who can I contact with questions?

Community Engagement

We have recruited several community organizations to join our advisory panel, including:

  • Montbello Organizing Committee
  • Denver Housing Authority
  • African Chamber of Commerce
  • Westwood Unidos
  • SW Denver Coalition
  • Spring Institute
  • Focus Points
  • African Leadership Group
  • Faithbridge
  • RootED
  • Movimiento Poder

We are also working with several city agencies to support this work, including:

  • Human Services
  • Public Safety
  • Public Health and Environment
  • Economic Opportunity & Development
  • Housing Authority
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Financial Empowerment & Protection
  • Children’s Affairs

We also continue to meet with others and expect our partnerships to grow in the future.