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DPS’ Top 12 Moments from 2016-17

Students at Traylor Elementary in Southwest Denver.

“It’s been an exciting year for DPS, full of one-of-a-kind celebrations and national recognitions, as well as key progress toward our goals and sometimes difficult, but important, conversations along the way.”

Dear DPS Community,

Supt. Tom Boasberg

Supt. Tom Boasberg

Today is the last day of the 2016-17 school year — and as our students (and educators) celebrate the well-deserved break ahead, I wanted to take a moment to look back on all that we accomplished together this past school year. I also want to encourage you to make this summer a time when you encourage your child to read, to spend time talking with you about their hopes and dreams, and to take advantage of the Denver Public Library and the other wonderful cultural opportunities our city offers.

It’s been an exciting year for DPS, full of one-of-a-kind celebrations and national recognitions, as well as key progress toward our goals and sometimes difficult, but important, conversations along the way.

It was hard to narrow down to just a few, but here are my top 12 favorite moments from the school year:

    1. Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 and later became the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize, made a surprise (and inspiring) visit to South High School.
    2. The Rockies helped prove what our DPS grads can do when Thomas Jefferson alum Kyle Freeland played (and won) as starting pitcher on Opening Day.
A student showcases her artwork at the new Sandra Todd-Williams ECE Center

A student showcases her artwork at the new Sandra Todd-Williams ECE Center, which opened this school year.

    1. Rallie Ginsberg, an hourly secretary and DPS’ oldest employee, turned 100 — and is still going strong.
    2. The Sandra Todd-Williams Early Childhood Education Center, our fifth early-childhood-education center to open in the last eight years, opened in Far Northeast Denver, named in honor of the lifelong educator who taught in DPS for 35 years.
    3. We aimed to dramatically reduce suspensions and eliminate expulsions of students in Early Childhood Education through third grade, thanks to a proposed change to the discipline policy.
    4. DPS was one of just eight school districts around the nation to earn the Great District for Great Teachers distinction, thanks in part to our innovative Teacher Leadership & Collaboration model, (which was also a focus at the South by Southwest Education Expo in Austin, Texas).
    5. For the second year, DPS was named the No. 1 Choice District in the nation by the Brookings Institution, thanks to the equity in enrollment rules and practices among all our public schools, both district-run and charter.
    6. Education Resource Strategies’ independent analysis found that, of the nearly 300 school districts in the United States serving at least 25,000 students, DPS has had the second-highest academic growth in the nation.
    7. To help close the opportunity gap, we requested and received this report from Dr. Sharon Bailey and created the African-American Equity Task Force, which shared their draft recommendations on how to make changes for our African-American students and educators.
Seniors celebrate at CEC Early College's graduation.

Seniors celebrate at CEC Early College’s graduation.

  1. Our DPS Board of Education unanimously declared our commitment to protecting the legal rights of all students, regardless of immigration status, national origin, religion or race, with the Safe and Welcoming School District resolution.
  2. The Denver community gave us their vote of confidence by overwhelmingly passing the 2016 Bond and Mill Levy, and dramatic renovation and improvement projects are already underway, including at the Montbello Campus.
  3. Our number of graduates continued to soar with our largest graduating class ever in 2016 — with 70% more graduating seniors than a decade ago! And, while commencement ceremonies continue for this year’s seniors, we’re anticipating the Class of 2017 will be even larger!

These accomplishments couldn’t have happened without the dedication and commitment by you — our families, our teachers, our students and the entire DPS community. Thank you for everything you do for DPS and, most importantly, for our kids.

Have a wonderful summer, and I look forward to coming back together in the fall to continue our work.

Best,
Tom

Pictured above: Students at Traylor Elementary in Southwest Denver.


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DPS Features Videos: Your Favorites from this Year

Malala Yousafzai speaks to DPS studentsEvery week, DPS Features videos share stories from our students, teachers, community and beyond. Here are your favorite stories, as told by the number of video views:

  1. East Angels and Proud Refugees — 38,000 views
  2. Learning Lakota to Preserve History — 53,000 views
  3. Malala Visits “Inspiring” Denver South High School — 57,000 views

*Bonus: Videographer Ben McKee is the force behind our great videos and he selected this video, Advice that Saved a Life: Raul’s Story — which features a student thanking a DPS principal for turning his life around — as a personal favorite.


Summer Resources for All Students

Now that school’s out, we want to make sure our students have a summer filled with fun, learning and wellness. Here are a few resources to help make the most of summer break:

Free summer lunches for all kids: DPS is participating in the 2017 Summer Food Service Program to offer free breakfast and lunch for all kids 18 and younger at participating schools. Adults may also participate in the program for only $3. Click here to learn more.

MY Denver Card access pass: Children ages five to 18 can have free access to recreation centers, pools and cultural facilities through the MY Denver Card program. Click here to learn more and to sign up to receive the “key to the city.”

Summer reading resources: Visit the Denver Public Library’s website for reading and learning resources for kids broken down by age group, and visit your local library for additional opportunities for summer learning.


COMING UP…

Today: Last day of school for most DPS schools

Have a great summer!


» Stay on top of DPS news by signing up to receive Our DPS Weekly e-newsletters like this one every Friday.