“Thank you, Ms. Greenwood, for inspiring multiple generations of students to love learning, and to love teaching, as well.”
Dear DPS Community,
On Wednesday, I had the great honor of celebrating the birthday of an extraordinary educator, Marie L. Greenwood, namesake of our very own Marie L. Greenwood Academy, serving grades K-8 in Far Northeast Denver. Students hosted a luncheon for Ms. Greenwood, who is turning 105 (that’s right, 105!) — and on display was the great love of learning and teaching that Ms. Greenwood has instilled in generations of our students and teachers.
Ms. Greenwood began her teaching career at Whittier Elementary School in 1935 — 82 years ago — as one of the first African-American school teachers in Denver, and she is highly regarded for breaking down racial barriers throughout her storied career in our district. She shares her story in her autobiography, “By the Grace of God,” which Greenwood students read at school; many youngsters proudly shared with luncheon guests the personal inscriptions Ms. Greenwood wrote in their books.
A first-grade teacher for 30 years, Ms. Greenwood has guided educators throughout her career in the importance of early literacy programs. “Teaching first grade was the joy of my life,” she shared, “I believe it is there that one lays the beginning of a sound education foundation upon which a child can continue to learn successfully.”
The centenarian continues her passion by participating in Each One Teach One, created by Greenwood educator Mary Ann Bash, which aims to improve early literacy by building vocabulary through hands-on community projects. Students learn by doing, such as using architects’ tools to design their new school garden as a way to build topical vocabulary and ultimately improve their literacy. They then turn around and teach their new knowledge to younger classmates.
Several sixth-grade students described what it was like to teach their third-grade peers as part of Each One Teach One: “We spent 14 days learning how to teach, and then we had a daily plan that helped guide us,” explained Melanie Cruz, a sixth-grader at Greenwood Academy. “We put materials together, set up, read the book and taught students new vocabulary.”
The excitement students have for openly sharing their thoughts and feelings through the new words they have learned reflects the lasting impact Ms. Greenwood has had on these students — beyond having her name on the building, she has inspired a love of learning and of teaching.
As a birthday gift, the students serenaded Ms. Greenwood with a choreographed rendition of India Arie’s “Better People” before she chimed in to sing a verse of her own.
“This is an honor I never dreamed I would ever have,” said Greenwood, wearing a feather boa and birthday sunglasses gifted to her by the students. “Since I know my days are limited, this is going to be one of the biggest days that I have ever had. Thank you.”
Curiosity and the eagerness to share one’s knowledge are marks of truly great teachers. Thank you, Ms. Greenwood, for inspiring multiple generations of students to love learning, and to love teaching, as well.
Pictured above: Team members and students at Marie L. Greenwood Academy held a luncheon to celebrate Marie L. Greenwood’s 105th birthday on Wednesday.
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This week we celebrated Marie L. Greenwood’s 105th birthday and congratulated Place Bridge Academy and the Writing Center at Manual High School for embodying inclusion and diversity. Learn about this week’s events in 60 seconds!
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.
Mayor Michael B. Hancock and members of his community commissions honored 10 individuals and organizations with the 2017 Mayor’s Diversity and Inclusion Awards at an event hosted by the Denver Immigrant & Refugee Commission — and members of Team DPS were among the honorees!
The Denver Women’s Commission honored The Writing Center at Manual High School with Olivia Jones, in memory of student co-founder Mardale Jay. The Writing Center at Manual High School is the first student-led writing center in the nation and strives to be a place where students work together to develop the skills and confidence they need to reclaim the power of voice and become powerful agents of social change. The center empowers students to become authors of their own learning and to construct their own knowledge.
The Denver Immigrant and Refugee Commission honored Place Bridge Academy, where more than 60 languages and over 40 countries are represented at this ECE through eighth-grade newcomer magnet school.
Click here to learn more!
The change in graduation requirements means students must demonstrate their competency in courses that reflect Colorado Academic Standards and 21st-century skills in order to graduate from high school. This new approach is less about the time spent in a classroom, and more about students demonstrating they are truly prepared for the world after high school.
By completing these important components to earn their DPS diploma, our students will be empowered for success to make their plan for the future a reality!
Click here to learn more about current and new graduation requirements.