Understanding District Priorities

Building Toward the Future

Over the years, DPS has focused on key priorities to guide the work of the entire district. The first Denver Plan, a long-term, districtwide strategic plan, was created in 2006, and was updated in 2010 and 2014. The Denver Board of Education developed a set of Crisis Priorities for the 2020-21 school year, in order to address the challenges of educating our students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we move beyond the crisis and start to recover from the challenges of the pandemic, the board identified Transition Priorities, which reflect a continued commitment to equity as the core of our district’s work, as well as a recognition of the ongoing challenges – and opportunities – presented by the pandemic, with regard to accelerating learning and addressing social emotional and mental health. Below is more information about the Transition Priorities for the 2021-22 school year. Alongside these priorities, we will keep the health and safety of all students and employees as our foundation throughout the year. 

2021-22 Transition Priorities

Circular Graphic of Transition Priorities 2021-22; Outermost ring is orange and labeled Equity; Second ring in is blue and labeled social-emotional and mental health; innermost circle is red, labeled Accelerate learning by re-envisioning education.

We will focus on our language learners, students with disabilities, students experiencing poverty, and students of color in our priorities.


What We Mean: Dismantle oppressive systems and structures rooted in racism and classism, and center students and team members with a focus on racial and educational equity.

Why This Focus: We believe that everything we do must be done within the context of promoting equity for students, educators and the community.

Key Strategies & Initiatives:

Universally Implemented in Schools in 21-22:

  • Black Excellence Plans with a focus on Black Family Engagement

Local Choices for Schools in 21-22:

  • Equity Experience (opt-in for schools)
  • Best Practices for Family & Community Engagement

Accelerating Learning by Re-envisioning Education

What We Mean: We are committed to accelerating learning by providing a culturally and linguistically sustaining education that enables us to re-envision rather than repeat the district’s historical inequities to provide an equitable education for ALL of our students.

Why This Focus: At our core, we are an organization focused on learning. As we move beyond the pandemic, we are identifying ways to build on what has worked well for students in remote learning. We are rethinking education and identifying ways to support students in order to accelerate their learning, with a particular focus on our language learners, students with disabilities, students experiencing poverty and students of color.

Key Strategies & Initiatives:

Universally Implemented in Schools in 21-22:

  • Instructional excellence through internalization 

 Local Choices for Schools in 21-22:

  • Professional learning coherence
  • Extended learning time in the summer and during the school year
  • Grade-level coaching and tutoring

Social-Emotional and Mental Health

What We Mean: Address the social-emotional and mental health needs of all students and employees.

Why This Focus: Social emotional and mental health is an essential foundation for student learning. Support for our students, as well as for our educators, is a necessary support to enable learning to occur.

Key Strategies & Initiatives:

Universally Implemented in Schools in 21-22

  • Transformative SEAL (Social-Emotional and Academic Learning) Practices with a focus on climate and culture

Local Choices for Schools in 21-22 

  • Supports for employee SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) practices
  • Infrastructure for tiered supports for students

Our Foundation: Ensuring the health and safety of all students and employees

In 2021-22, as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the health and safety of our students and employees will continue to be a major focus of the district. To learn more about some of our health and safety efforts, please click on the buttons below.