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Our DPS Weekly: Growing Great Teachers from Within

Mar. 9, 2018

“Our paraprofessionals — many of whom are DPS graduates, parents and community members — bring a depth of experience and knowledge because they have worked alongside teachers and understand who our students are and what they need to be successful.”

Supt. Tom Boasberg

Supt. Tom Boasberg

Dear DPS Community,

Nearly a year and a half ago, Sarah Luckey had a goal: to become a teacher. At the time, she was a paraprofessional, or classroom assistant, supporting teachers at Fairview Elementary in Northwest Denver. Now, just 17 months later, Sarah leads a class of her own as a teacher at Fairview — a dream made possible through the DPS Paraprofessional-to-Teacher Pipeline.

The program, funded through the generosity of community partners and Denver voters, is designed to help our teachers’ aides become teachers themselves, attaining their teaching degrees at little to no cost with opportunities for full scholarships, all while working in the classroom.

Sarah is the first graduate of the inaugural Paraprofessional-to-Teacher Pipeline cohort, and Tuesday, her first-grade class threw her a graduation party, complete with balloons, party hats and handmade cards.

“Congratulations, Ms. Luckey,” first-grader Elijah read aloud from his crayon-illustrated card. “Thank you for teaching me reading and writing.”

For Sarah, it’s a dream come true.

Watch this DPS Features Video highlighting DPS’ Paraprofessional-to-Teacher Pipeline. Watch it in Spanish here.

“I think it’s a very important job,” Ms. Luckey said of her role as a teacher. “I hope I’m doing a good job in giving them all the skills they need academically, socially and emotionally to get them ready for the world, because it’s a pretty tough world out there.”

Our paraprofessionals — many of whom are DPS graduates, parents and community members — bring a depth of experience and knowledge because they have worked alongside teachers and understand who our students are and what they need to be successful. The program is also an important way to increase the diversity of DPS’ teacher workforce. Our current pool of paraprofessionals is made up of 65% educators of color, compared to less than 30% of the current teacher workforce.

“I am a mother of four, I work full-time and although I have always wanted to earn my degree, my time and resources have been limited,” said Chavonne Henry, a teacher’s aide at Bruce Randolph School in Far Northeast Denver and soon-to-be-graduate of the inaugural pipeline cohort. “When I heard about the para-to-teacher training program, I was ecstatic.”

Currently there are over 120 paraprofessionals enrolled in the program, and active recruiting for the next cohort is underway.

If you are a paraprofessional interested in joining the Paraprofessional-to-Teacher Pipeline program — or know a great paraprofessional at your school — I encourage you to visit DPS’ partner websites Guild EducationUNC’s Center for Urban Education or the NxtGEN Paraeducator program from the University of Colorado Denver or to email for information on how to apply.

In order to reach our vision of Every Child Succeeds, our kids need great teachers — and we can’t wait to grow and develop more outstanding educators from right here in DPS.


Pictured above: Principal Antoinette Hudson, Sarah Luckey (in birthday hat) and her first-grade class at Fairview Elementary celebrate Ms. Luckey’s graduation from DPS’ Paraprofessional-to-Teacher Pipeline program. 

DPS News Now: What ‘Black Panther’ is Teaching DPS Students

Thanks to the Denver community, hundreds of students at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College were given the opportunity to attend two private screenings of “Black Panther.”

The trip wasn’t simply to catch the popular movie for free, but it was an opportunity for our diverse student body to see themselves represented on the big screen — and within superheroes, nonetheless.

“When you can see the things that are passed down to you — the values, the culture, the tradition — and you can see that on screen, it validates your existence,” says Rachel Jacobs, an English teacher at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College.

Watch this DPS Features Video to learn more about how DPS educators are continuing important conversations about cultural representation in pop culture.

Didn’t see last week’s DPS News Now video? Not to worry! DPS News Now videos are posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Vimeo every Friday. All DPS News Now videos are also available in Spanish as Lo último en DPS.

Families and Educators Connect at DPS’ Third Annual Spring Home Visit Week

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s third annual Spring Home Visit Week!

Superintendent Tom Boasberg and educators from Johnson Elementary visit Isaiah Alberts-McFadden and his family.

During the home visits, families had the opportunity to connect with their kids’ teachers outside of the classroom to discuss their hopes and dreams for their child.

While visits were being held across Denver, Superintendent Tom Boasberg and Johnson Elementary educators Roberta Turja and David Shindoll had the opportunity to visit with first-grader Isaiah Alberts-McFadden and his family.

We believe these home visits are essential in creating stronger relationships between a child’s home and school, and are proven to improve student achievement, attendance and behavior as a result. Thank you to everyone who made Spring Home Visit Week a success!

Terrance Carroll Joins Denver Public Schools

Superintendent Tom Boasberg announced this week that Terrance Carroll will join Team DPS as Chief Legal and External Affairs Officer, overseeing the district’s legal, communications and public affairs teams.

Terrance Carroll

Terrance Carroll

Terrance Carroll is Colorado’s first African-American Speaker of the House and a longtime advocate for improving Denver’s schools. He represented northeast Denver’s House District 7 from 2003 to 2011, when he left the General Assembly due to term limits. A graduate of Morehouse College and the University of Denver law school, he has been serving as an attorney with the law firm Butler Snow.

Terrance has been listed by 5280 Magazine as one of the “50 Most Influential People in Denver,” and he serves on the boards of the Metropolitan State University of Denver, the National Western Stock Show and the Downtown Denver Partnership. His work in education includes co-sponsoring the Innovation Schools Act in 2008, with Colorado State Senate President Peter Groff, and serving as co-chair of A+ Denver, now called A+ Colorado. Welcome to Team DPS, Terrance!



March 9: Get discounted tickets to DPS Night with the Denver Nuggets
March 15: Board of Education Meeting – Public Comment
April 18: DPS Foundation 16th Annual Achieve Gala