“Even with all of this positive change and momentum, I know that there is still more work ahead of us to ensure every child thrives by design”
Dear DPS Community
When all of the dry erase markers have been stored away and the library books have been returned; when the last piece of construction-paper has been taken down from the bulletin boards and every floor has been swept; when the last bus has safely delivered students back home and summer break has officially begun, there is a moment when every member of Team DPS breathes a long, slow sigh. We have reached the end of a roller coaster of a year, and on this last day of school, I am filled with gratitude to have come to this moment alongside each and every one of you.
We have experienced the first teacher strike in 25 years and come out on the other side with a contract agreement that increases teacher pay and rewards great teachers to work in our highest-poverty schools. We have reorganized the district and restructured the central office. We have seen students get magical prom makeovers and propose policy solutions to solve social justice issues in their schools. We’ve brought free, high quality SAT exam prep to high schoolers and are on track to offer more opportunities for our students to enroll in concurrent enrollment ethnic studies courses. We have celebrated the Manual Thunderbolts winning the state basketball championship, and the Class of 2019 graduates who earned the Seal of Biliteracy. We have heard DPS alumni talk about the Latinx student experience after graduation, the Special Education Task Force share recommendations to increase inclusion in our schools and the Denver Board of Education approve the Black Excellence Resolution and the Won’t Be Erased LGBTQ+ Resolution.
Even with all of this positive change and momentum, I know that there is still more work ahead of us to ensure every child thrives by design. But just for this moment, let’s all stop, take an extra deep breath and acknowledge the hard work, collaboration and relentless optimism that it took to reach this day.
I hope we all will get some well-deserved rest over the summer weeks, and will reconnect with what motivates us to serve Denver’s kids. For those with children at home, I hope you get the chance to to read, talk, play and explore our amazing city and state with them, so that the joy of learning continues all summer long.
I want to extend my appreciation to every teacher, specialized service provider, nurse, counselor, social worker, psychologist, paraprofessional, custodian and bus driver in our family of schools for all that they do for students day in and day out. I am grateful to our school leadership teams and our central office staff for their focus and dedication. I am hopeful about the partnership we are co-creating with parents, guardians and community members, and for the opportunity we have to build vibrant school cultures together.
Most of all, I want to thank our students, who inspire and challenge us to always do better. We see you, we believe in you and we are here to help you achieve your dreams. Happy summer!
Pictured above: Watch this ¡Somos DPS! Video to hear from students about their school year and their plans for the summer.
For decades, 94-year-old Anita Ramirez Cruz and her brother, 95-year-old George Ramirez — a World War II vet — watched children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren walk across many graduation stages. This week it was their turn as both received honorary diplomas from Manual High School.
Board of Education member Jennifer Bacon said, “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. defined the goal of true education as ‘Intelligence plus character’. George and Anita, you exemplify these qualities to a remarkable degree. We acknowledge you today, and your continuing legacy, with our deepest gratitude.”
This summer, the On MY Way! summer pilot program will provide transit fares to youth through RTD’s new Mobile Ticketing app June 1-Aug. 31. City agencies — including the Office of Children’s Affairs, Denver Parks and Recreation and the Department of Public Works — are working together to fund the mobile ticket fares.
To participate in the On MY Way! youth summer transportation program, youth must be between 12-18 years old, have a MY Denver Card and complete a short online survey. To take the survey and learn more, students can visit denvergov.org/mydenvercard and visit RTD Mobile Ticketing for additional details about the RTD Mobile Tickets app.
Click here to read the article published by Chalkbeat and learn more about the program.
June 11-14: Beegle Poverty Institutes
June 15-16: Join DPS at Denver PrideFest
July 13-14: Free Teen Driver Training