Our DPS Weekly: Our Cornerstones

Aug. 30, 2019
 
A student works on an assignment in a classroom as Superintendent Susana Cordova looks over the student's work
Supt. Susana Cordova talks with students at Hallett Academy

Dear Team DPS,

 

Since January, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to travel around the city and listen to more than 2,100 students, teachers, parents, community members, support staff and central office team members talk about what matters most to them about our schools. Today, I want to update you on what I have been hearing, seeing and learning — and what our next steps will look like. Check out my summary one-pager (English, Spanish) and read my entry plan report (English, Spanish).

 

In my entry plan, I established three cornerstones as the foundation for all that we will do in the unwavering pursuit of our vision that DPS lifts every child to thrive.
It was immediately clear to me that the most important thing we could do as a district is to focus our energy into a smaller number of high-impact priorities, with a focus on equity and closing our opportunity gaps. Based on the conversations we’ve had across the community throughout the past year, we’ve developed a plan, rooted in those cornerstones, and including these core strategies:

 

  • Equity: We’re focused on fostering the unwavering belief that each student comes to school with excellence in them and our work is to bring that excellence to life. All of Team DPS is working on learning how we can better serve and support our students and families in a culturally responsive way. We will engage educators and support staff districtwide in equity audits, book studies and professional learning and training so that we create an equitable organization by design.
  • Instructional Excellence: We’re focused on mobilizing our resources around early literacy and K-12 math, and ensuring that each student has the opportunity to engage in grade-level work. To prepare our students for career and college, we’re providing access to rigorous coursework for all students, including advanced coursework and CareerConnect professional opportunities. We’re also launching a family-friendly tool that will help monitor each high school student’s progress toward graduation.
  • Collaborative Teamwork: We’re focused on building collaborative relationships with families, schools and community partners in each region, so we can work within our communities to support our students every step of the way. We’re reimagining the School Performance Framework (SPF) — the scorecards we use to measure the performance of our schools — so that it better reflects what our families, communities and educators value most.
I’m incredibly inspired by and thankful for the willingness of people throughout the DPS community to build trust, share ideas and, above all, put our Students First. As we look ahead to the 2019-20 school year and the development of the next Denver Plan, I want to use the energy and momentum of this experience to build on the progress we’ve made over the past decade and drive additional improvements for our kids, our educators, and our city. I’m excited to work with the Denver Board of Education and our families and community members to turn what we’ve learned into action. And while there are many real challenges ahead of us, I’m optimistic that we can create an equitable system of high-quality schools designed to lift every student toward a brighter future.

 

Warm regards,
Susana