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DPS Foundation Awarded $10M Gates Foundation Grant for College Ready On Track Program

Oct. 2, 2019
Superintendent Cordova and district leaders stand at podium
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Watch our video report on the Gates Foundation $10M grant on the Denver Public Schools Vimeo Channel

Networks for School Improvement grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation enables district to better serve African-American, Latinx and low-income learners

 Denver – The Denver Public Schools (DPS) Foundation was recently awarded a $10 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to address persistent challenges facing the school district’s most vulnerable students. The Networks for School Improvement (NSI) grant will allow the school district to continue to build and support teacher-led instructional improvements that will elevate classroom practice and student achievement by strengthening the individualized supports for African-American, Latinx and low-income learners.

 “Our school leaders and teachers are always working on new ways to help their students be more successful,” said Superintendent Susana Cordova. “Through the Networks for School Improvement initiative, our educators will work as part of a cohort focused on shared goals, developing, testing and refining new ideas for improving how we support and instruct our students so that they stay on-track to college and career success.”

For the DPS Class of 2018, college-enrollment rates for black and Latinx students were 15 and 21 percentage points lower than that of their white peers, respectively.  This funding will strengthen efforts to maximize student achievement and bring the district closer to achieving its vision of being an equity-focused district designed to lift every student to thrive.

The five-year grant will support DPS’ College Ready On Track Network for School Improvement. Efforts will be aimed at ensuring that students reach grade-level competency in math and literacy in grades nine through 11. The work will encourage students to push beyond simply passing grades and course credit to demonstrating what they know and can do. The schools that are part of the NSI team will develop, test and refine new approaches to instruction and individualized student supports.

The NSI strategy is core to both DPS’ and the Gates Foundation’s commitment to address persistent challenges facing our most vulnerable students. This funding will strengthen efforts to maximize student achievement, break historical patterns of inequity and bring the district closer to achieving its vision that every student succeeds by design. 

 “This grant gives educators the space and support to intentionally collaborate with their peers to drive continuous improvement,” said Verónica Figoli, President and CEO of the DPS Foundation. “It also targets the inequities in learning for students of color and low-income students so our schools catalyze progress for all. And for this, we are grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”