Aug. 16, 2019
This is the face that comes into my mind every time I think about welcoming our kids back to school. The beaming smile, the wide eyes, the boundless hope and promise. It’s the face that makes me so excited for Monday…the chance to be around our kids and families again, to be warmed and inspired by the bright and shining faces, and the chance to feed that hope and fulfill that promise.
I’m excited to see so many of those bright, shining faces — in different shades and shapes… some with a little nervous anticipation behind their light; others on full-blast confidence and charisma; every single one with big hopes and dreams behind beaming eyes.
I remember my first day working in the Denver Public Schools, 30 years ago this year — a rookie teacher at what was then Horace Mann Elementary School. I was beaming; I had big dreams for my students; I had as much anxiety as my new sixth graders — nervous anticipation. I so wanted to do right by my kids. And I couldn’t wait to get to work.
And I’m feeling very much the same mix of emotions in the days leading up to the start of schools all across DPS.
I’m filled with such excitement for this opportunity to lead the schools that have educated me and my children…the schools that have been my life’s work…and my life’s reward.
And I’m filled with a deep, unwavering belief in every single one of the children who will walk through our doors this year.
That’s what makes the Denver Public Schools so special to me: the belief we have across our schools in the promise and potential of all of our students. We have a lot of challenging work to do together, to erase the unacceptable opportunity and achievement gaps that still lie between so many of our kids and their dreams.
Attacking those gaps starts with making sure we have not a single belief gap, anywhere. If we have high expectations for every child, remove any barriers that stand in their way, lift them up with strong supports, and believe they will rise…those big dreams will be within their grasp when they leave us.
The fire that burns behind those bright eyes on the first day of school needs to be burning deeper and stronger on graduation day. That’s our mission — to feed the fire, to build a system designed to lift every one of our children, to get them ready to chase their dreams.
We start again on the path to that mission, full speed ahead, on Monday.
And I can’t wait to get to work.