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Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative

In DPS, we are committed to operating and sustaining high-quality, socio-economically integrated schools in our communities. We believe that high-quality integrated schools not only offer the best educational outcomes for our children but also serve a vital function in promoting and sustaining vibrant neighborhoods.

But as Denver continues to grow and housing prices increase, our diverse neighborhoods are struggling to balance the challenges of gentrification with their rich cultural histories. Many parts of Denver are undergoing major shifts in demographics, which is resulting in significant changes in housing patterns and a major reduction in many neighborhoods of school-aged children.

To address these concerns, DPS has created the Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative. We have established a committed group of partners to help us address racial and socio-economic diversity in our schools and issues of school consolidation in neighborhoods that are losing the highest number of school-aged children.

We invite you to join us in this important work!

Charge from DPS Board

The Denver Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution establishing a citywide committee to do the following:

* Review changing demographics and housing patterns in our city and the effect on our schools.

* Make recommendations on our policies around boundaries, choice, enrollment and academic programs to drive greater socio-economic integration in our schools.

* Consider how to think about school choice and school consolidation to ensure that our schools offer high-quality, sustainable programs for our kids in the face of sharp declines in the number of school-aged children in gentrifying neighborhoods.

How To Stay Involved

The DPS Citywide Committee on Strengthening Neighborhoods held its kick-off meeting Monday, June 5. All meetings are open to the public, and we invite you to join. Meeting times and locations will be posted here when they are confirmed.

Additionally, this is a citywide effort. If you are interested in participating in a regional conversation on this topic, please email dustin_kress@dpsk12.org and we’ll put your name on our email distribution list.

Committee Meetings

Monday, June 5 – North High School Library – 5pm-8pm

Objective: Why are we here?

  • Begin building sense of committee.
  • Discuss committee mission and the timeline of work.
  • Begin discussion on school integration including draft committee definitions.

Monday, June 19 – Emily Griffith Campus, 14th Floor – 5:30pm-8pm

Objective: Where are we as a city, how did we get here and where are we going?

Meeting Agenda

DPS Presentation

Blueprint Denver Presentation

Monday, July 17 – *OPTIONAL* Film Screening of Rebels Remembered: Our Neighborhood Schools – 5:00pm – 8:00pm – Emily Griffith Campus

Tuesday, Aug. 15 – 5:00pm-8:00pm – Location Emily Griffith Campus 14th Floor

Objective: Understand and discuss the practices, systems and levers within DPS control that can impact school integration

Primary Presentation

Meeting Posters

Approved Mission and Scope Statement

Monday, Aug. 28 -5:00pm-8:00pm – Location Emily Griffith Campus 14th Floor

Objective: Learn from how other districts and how they have taken steps to promote integration

Meeting Presentation

Additional Slides on Dallas Socioeconomic Diversity Pilot

Monday, Sept. 11 -5:00pm-8:00pm – Location Emily Griffith Campus 14th Floor

Objective: Reflect on discussions to date and discuss working groups for structuring work going forward

Meeting Presentation

Monday, Oct. 2 – Details 5:00p,-8:00pm – Location Emily Griffith Campus 14th Floor

Monday, Oct. 23 –Details 5:00p,-8:00pm – Location Emily Griffith Campus 14th Floor

Wednesday, Nov. 15 (date change) –Details 5:00p,-8:00pm – Location Emily Griffith Campus 14th Floor

Tuesday, Nov. 28 –Details 5:00p,-8:00pm – Location Emily Griffith Campus 14th Floor

Monday, Dec. 11 – Details 5:00p,-8:00pm – Location Emily Griffith Campus 14th Floor

Committee Co-Chairs

Janice Sinden

CEO – Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Former Chief of Staff to Mayor Michael Hancock

Learn more about Janice

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) welcomed Janice Sinden as President & CEO in September 2016. She leads the 300 artisans and administrators who have made the 40-year-old cultural gem the largest non-profit theatre organization in the nation. Janice is committed to building upon the DCPA’s rich history of inspiring audiences, as well as supporting all six lines of programming to engage our community at large.
Previously, she served as Chief of Staff for Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock for five years where she managed 60 appointees, 26 departments and the day-to-day complexities that come with running a major metropolitan city. During this time, the Hancock Administration and the Department of Arts and Venues developed Denver’s first cultural plan since 1989 titled IMAGINE 2020, as well as “The Next Stage” process to re imagine the future of the 12-acre Denver Performing Arts Complex as a vibrant epicenter of entertainment, education and commerce.
Prior to joining the Hancock Administration, Janice served as the Executive Director of Colorado Concern, an alliance of top executives from across the state who care about the wellbeing of Colorado’s business climate. She pushed politics into action by overseeing the organization’s comprehensive legislative agenda, getting involved with numerous ballot campaigns and supporting statewide candidate elections.
The diversity of Janice’s career path has allowed her to support her personal passions of rich cultural experiences, access to education, and giving back to her community through her interest in politics. She co-founded Pinnacle Public Affairs, a Denver-based political and non-profit consulting firm, and served as the Manager of Community Relations for Sharp HealthCare in San Diego. She is no stranger to working in a fast-paced environment, and has coordinated dozens of large public events, facilitated two constitutional challenges to the Colorado Supreme Court, co-founded EPIC (Executives Partnering to Invest in Children) and co-led the effort to establish the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline.
Her love for community building and public service sparked after her graduation from the University of Northern Colorado when she moved to Washington, D.C. to work for then U.S. Senator Wayne Allard. In this role, she managed the Senate Renewable and Energy Efficiency Caucus and served as the Senator’s state lead for the introduction of federal legislation to designate Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site as a National Wildlife Refuge. This legislation passed by Congress and was signed by the President in 2002.
Janice has been recognized by 5280 magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in Denver, by the Colorado Women’s Foundation as one of the 25 most influential women in Colorado, by the Girl Scouts of Colorado as a Woman of Distinction, and by the University of Northern Colorado Department of Political Science and International Affairs as Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. She currently serves on the boards of Citizens for Arts to Zoo, the University of Northern Colorado, VISIT Denver, the American Transplant Foundation, the Denver Preschool Program, EPIC and Mental Health Colorado, and is a member of the national Performing Arts Centers Consortium and Colorado Concern. Previously, she was appointed by Governors Owens and Ritter to serve on the Colorado Creative Industries Council which invests in Colorado’s artistic workforce so creative entrepreneurs and enterprises will flourish.
She was born and raised in Fort Collins and enjoys skiing, hiking, traveling the world and experiencing local shows, exhibits and events with her friends and family.

Antwan Jefferson, Ph.D

Assistant Professor of Urban Community Teacher Education – UC Denver

DPS Parent, Former DPS Teacher

Learn more about Antwan

It seems like a trick question to try to tell my own story. Not only is it still unfolding, but I struggle with the pressure to present my life’s story in a (chrono)logical way. History is neatest when revised.

My earliest memory is playing with a battery-powered triceratops with glowing red eyes with my brother Mike. The dinosaur could only walk in one direction and didn’t have a remote, and I remember us pointing it to the stairs to see if it could manage to walk down. It couldn’t, no doubt, but it was a pretty exciting endeavor nonetheless. With the help of family, my mother raised us (including my younger brother, Chris) on her own. To be honest, I think that this single-parent home environment speaks most to my research interests and professional interests.

I didn’t want to become a teacher until I was 19. Prior to that time, I only wanted to be a doctor. The first profession that I was able to name somehow became the only profession I’d considered for college. It wasn’t until I began volunteering at community centers and schools in Atlanta that I thought of education as a possible career field, and it was a simple comment from a student at Booker T. Washington High School that caused my mental gears to spin: “Antwan, man, you would make a good teacher.” Dallas Tilley sold me on the prospect of a career in education because he was getting what I was giving, and I believed him.

After six years in high school classrooms in Providence, Rhode Island; Norfolk Virginia; and here in Denver, I stepped away from the classroom to work in a local church as the youth pastor. I saw this as a chance to give myself a bit of a reprieve from the physical and emotional costs of working with five sets of 25-30 students per day. Since stepping away from the classroom, I’ve learned that schools are important to me, and that families are important to me as well.

I earned my PhD in Educational Leadership and Innovation from CU Denver and remained on the faculty following completion of my degree. This is a fairly unusual outcome for any doctoral student, and even is ill-advised. However, I pursued and completed my PhD for three reasons:

  1. I participate in communities throughout the city that experience several social and education challenges; they grant me the privilege of struggling with them.
  2. My great grandmother, Florence Caroline Washington, passed away in 2013 at age 100, after a life as a domestic in Virginia. My mother, Gail, raised 3 sons, often struggling to see that we had what we needed. Both of these women made sacrifices from which I benefit. They deserve to see a PhD among their lineage.
  3. My wife, son and daughter.

My students at University of Colorado Denver:

Keep me humble. I’ve learned, and continue to learn that there is no personal story that I can predict; and this is one of the most important things I can share with my students.

Courses I teach at CU Denver:

  • HDFR 1020: Black and Latino Children
  • HDFR 3002: Preparing to be a Helping Professional
  • HDFR 3260: Family Systems and Social Justice
  • HDFR 4010: Family and Cultural Diversity
  • HDFR 7260: Family Diversity and Social Justice
  • EDFN 7410: Power and Privilege: The Social Construction of Difference

My research interests:

  • Family-School Interaction
  • Liberatory Public Education
  • Thirdspaces in Public Education

My hobbies:

I am a fair-weather Denver outdoorsman. In the summer, I ride bikes on trails, roads and mountains. I hike. I raft. I run. In the winter, when it gets cold, I stay inside waiting on the warm weather to return. Maybe I’ll reread Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery or Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me or Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed or Bale and Knopp’s Education and Capitalism. These are the types of texts that influence my thinking.

Diana Romero Campbell

Director of Early Learning and Education – Mile High United Way

Learn more about Diana

Diana Romero Campbell is the Director of Early Learning and Education at Mile High United Way has spent her career working the nonprofit sector focused on children, youth, and families. As a member of the District Accountability Committee, the DPS bond and mill levy advisory committee and the Birth to Eight Roadmap, she advocates for parent engagement and equity for all students.  

 

Diana is a graduate of DPS and her children are third-generation DPS students; one son is in high school and a daughter graduated this year. Diana is a PhD candidate at DU College of Education and is looking forward to addressing root cause issues affecting systems and communities in Denver. She is excited to work alongside courageous people to address the future of our children, our communities and our school district.