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College and Career While Still in High School

Oct. 6, 2017

How DPS is Redesigning the High School Experience from Denver Public Schools on Vimeo.

“Colorado’s workforce is changing, and to meet these changing demands, we know we need to adjust the way we prepare our students to be leaders tomorrow.”

Dear DPS Community,

Supt. Tom Boasberg

Supt. Tom Boasberg

Every day, DPS is opening the door of opportunity to higher education and career preparation for all of our students — and with that growth, we are redesigning the high school experience. Last year, in fact, over 8,000 of our high school students took nearly 20,000 college and Advanced Placement courses!

For many of our students, they will be the first in their families to go to college. The opportunity to take college courses for free — and succeed in them — not only gives them a running start in terms of acquiring college credits but also gives them the vital confidence and proof that they can and will succeed at the college level.

October is College and Career Readiness month — a time for the entire DPS community to talk to our kids about their plans after high school and get them excited for the future. As part of the celebration, I’ve had the opportunity to visit with schools to hear from students about how they’re planning for their futures.

On Wednesday, I stopped by West Early College and West Leadership Academy, where students led me through an interactive tour of the innovative programs available to them at school. From video game programming to graphic design, it was exciting to see their learning in action in classes that are designed to pair academic learning with opportunities to explore career areas that interest them.

A West Campus student shows Supt. Tom Boasberg how to reassemble hardware.

Jose, a student at West Early College, shows Supt. Tom Boasberg how he is rebuilding a hard drive in his Intro to Tech Apps class.

I heard about experiences from students like Juan, a sophomore at West Early College, enrolled in the Intro to Tech Apps class, and watched as he rebuilt a computer hard drive. “I like this class because it gives me experience in the technology pathway,” he said. “We took the motherboard apart last week and now we’re getting to rebuild it.”

Juan’s teacher Renee Talmich, an adjunct professor with Community College of Denver, added: “All of our classes are designed to prepare students for college and their careers; students earn college credit with a clear path forward to careers like cyber security. So not only can students earn an associate’s degree here, but with their certification, they can leave high school with the potential to earn $60,000 or more.”

Colorado’s workforce is changing, and to meet these changing demands, we know we need to adjust the way we prepare our students to be leaders tomorrow.

Thanks to Denver voters, who approved our 2016 bond and mill levy, we have five newly designated early college schools and an expansion of our concurrent enrollment program, which gives students free college and the ability to earn as many as 60 college credits while they’re still in high school. We also launched our CareerResidency Youth Apprenticeship Program, which combines traditional high school classroom learning with on-the-job experiences, giving students access to high-opportunity careers in top fields.

In DPS, our students have choices, and we are proud to be a national leader in the movement that provides access to all students — especially those most underrepresented in higher education.

As we continue our celebration of College and Career Readiness this month, I encourage you to talk with our students about the importance of college and career, and let them know we’re here to support them on their journey into a bright future.


Pictured above: Pictured above: Learn more about College and Career Readiness in this DPS Features video.

Want to get updates about the great things happening in DPS? Follow me on Twitter @SuptTomB.

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DPS News Now: Weekly Headlines from DPS in 60 Seconds

This week we kicked off College and Career Readiness Month with students at West Campus and celebrated with Valdez Elementary for being named a National Blue Ribbon School. Learn about this week’s events in 60 seconds!

DPS News Now -- Oct. 2-6, 2017 Lo último en DPS -- Sept. 25-29, 2017

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.

Learn About the Academic Gaps Rating on the 2017 School Performance Framework

academic-gaps-video-stillEnsuring our schools are serving all students well is an important area of focus on the 2017 School Performance Framework (SPF), which is why each school will receive an Academic Gaps rating that directly affects their overall SPF rating.

Academic Gaps ratings will help school leaders and teachers understand exactly where improvements are needed to help every student reach his or her full potential. Addressing academic gaps will take the hard work and dedication of outstanding educators and leaders who are committed to Equity, which is why DPS will provide additional support to schools as they seek to improve opportunities for all students.

By highlighting the academic growth and performance of specific student groups, our community will gain an even deeper understanding of the opportunities we have to help each student reach his or her full potential, and to ensure that Every Child Succeeds.

For more information, watch the Understanding the Academic Gaps Rating video in English and Spanish.

Valdez Elementary Honored as 2017 National Blue Ribbon School

Valdez Elementary Students

Valdez Elementary has demonstrated academic excellence and progress in closing the achievement gap.

Congratulations to Valdez Elementary for being selected as one of five Colorado schools named a National Blue Ribbon Schools this year! National Blue Ribbon Schools demonstrate that
all students can achieve at high levels. The award is based on a school’s overall academic excellence or marked progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Valdez’ performance category is “Exemplary High Performing.”

Located in Northwest Denver, Valdez is a DPS Dual Language school serving students in ECE through fifth grade. “We are so proud of the accomplishments we have made as Valdez students and educators,” said longtime second-grade Valdez teacher, Maureen Traylor. “The Blue Ribbon Award is an outward sign that the work we put in day-in and day-out is making a difference. We are on the right track and will continue the momentum toward success.”

Click here to learn more!


Oct. 6: EDUCA Radio — Affordable Internet at Home
Oct. 7: Denver Talks Kickoff Event
Oct. 17: ED Talk: Conversations on Identity and Belonging