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Promoting School Integration in New Ways

“We want our children to have a rich set of lived experiences of studying, being friends and exchanging ideas with people of different backgrounds, races and economic status.”

Supt. Tom Boasberg

Supt. Tom Boasberg

Dear Team DPS,

As Denver grows, the staggering changes in income levels and housing patterns throughout many parts of the city have impacted our schools. While DPS has been nationally recognized for our innovative approaches to promoting school integration, demographic changes in our city continue to accelerate, making it even more important for us to address these issues head-on and proactively drive for greater integration in our schools.

We hear often from our students and families about the importance of school integration — about how much they want to learn and grow with classmates who reflect the wonderful diversity of our community. A rich body of research is clear on the benefits of school integration for students of all income levels and all races. And, today’s climate of deepening political and social divisions cries out for more opportunities for our young people to have shared lived experiences in a diverse community to break down stereotypes and build bridges.

That’s why in March 2017, led by Board Member Lisa Flores, the Denver Board of Education passed a resolution (available here in Spanish) that established the Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative. Over the past nine months, the committee of several dozen community leaders grappled with how to promote greater school integration.

They wrestled with how to balance vital yet sometimes-conflicting values of promoting neighborhood schools, encouraging school integration and ensuring school choice in a city where housing patterns are often characterized by significant separation among neighborhoods based on class and race. The discussions were strengthened by dozens of meetings with parent and community organizations to hear community views.

After much discussion, the Strengthening Neighborhoods committee overwhelmingly approved a number of thoughtful and impactful recommendations on how to strengthen integration.

Chief among these include:

  1. Giving low-income students greater priority in the school choice system.
  2. Increasing the use of community enrollment zones in which multiple schools are part of one enrollment zone with greater socio-economic diversity.
  3. Expanding the role of communities and families by increasing support structures that build trust, increase engagement and provide authentic feedback between schools and community.

Last night, the Denver Board of Education discussed and voiced its support for the committee’s work.

It’s been heartening to witness our community come together around these issues. We have much work going forward with our community about how we can pilot a number of the recommendations in the coming months. We look forward to these discussions.

I deeply appreciate the leadership our community has demonstrated by advocating for integration — ensuring that our children do not grow up in isolation, but have a rich set of lived experiences of studying, being friends and exchanging ideas with people of different backgrounds, races and economic status.

Our diversity is a fundamental strength of the Denver Public Schools. We celebrate it and are working hard to protect it now and in the future.

Best,
Tom

To learn more about the Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative and how you might play a role, please visit dpsk12.org/neighborhoods.

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 introduced our #DPSDelicious video series, which gives instructions on how we prepare some of our nutritious lunches. We also joined Denver Broncos’ Brandon Marshall at Swansea Elementary as he rewarded classes with a pizza party for having perfect attendance since his first visit in the fall. Learn more about this week’s events in 60 seconds!

English: DPS News Now -- Jan. 8-12 Spanish: Lo último en DPS -- Jan. 8-12

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.


Denver Broncos’ Brandon Marshall Makes Good on Pizza Party Promise

Denver Broncos' Brandon Marshall returns to Swansea Elementary to reward students with perfect attendance with a pizza party.

Brandon Marshall rewards students with perfect attendance.

Last fall, Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall challenged more than 200 second-, third- and fourth-graders at Swansea Elementary to have perfect attendance. He promised that he would return and have a pizza party with students in the classes with the best attendance in each grade level.

This week, Marshall did just that. He signed autographs, took selfies and brought along Broncos players Corey Nelson and Juwan Thompson.

A special thank you to Brandon Marshall for reminding our kids to continue to have strong attendance at school!


A Look Inside DPS Lunch Meals

DPSDelicious - Chicken GumboIn DPS, we are working to modernize the school meal experience. Every day, our Food & Nutrition Services team prepares scratch-cooked, nutritious and delicious meals for all of our students. We use low-fat, low-sodium and minimally processed ingredients that never contain trans fats.

This year alone, we’ve added over a dozen new hot lunch items to our menu to ensure students are healthy and happy!

Watch this #DPSDelicious video to learn how DPS makes our chicken gumbo.

Stay tuned for more #DPSDelicious videos coming soon. Bon appétit!


2018-19 School Year Calendar is Now Available

The Denver Board of Education adopted the 2018-19 School Calendar proposed by the Calendar Advisory Committee. Key items include:

  • Classes for most DPS schools start Aug. 20.
  • Classes for most DPS schools end May 31.
  • Students and educators at most DPS schools are off for full weeks at Thanksgiving, Winter Break and Spring Break.
  • Parent-teacher conferences have been renamed family conferences to reflect the diversity of our students’ home situations.

While this calendar applies to most DPS schools, some schools — including district-run, innovation and charter — may vary their schedules. Please check with your individual schools to confirm days off.

Click here to access the 2018-19 school year calendar.


COMING UP…

Jan. 15: DPS schools and offices closed in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Jan. 18: Family Leadership Institute
Now-Jan. 21: Get discounted tickets to The National Western Stock Show