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Supporting Our New American Neighbors

“New American Neighbors,” a radio show for refugee and immigrant families, recently made its online debut in seven languages and is now airing each week.

“Our immigrant and refugee students add such strength and vibrancy to our schools and community, and we know how important it is that we welcome and support them.”

Supt. Tom Boasberg

Supt. Tom Boasberg

Dear Team DPS,

This week, we officially launched a new streaming radio and TV show to support our refugee and immigrant students and their families as they settle into our community and begin their lives anew. Our immigrant and refugee students add such strength and vibrancy to our schools and community, and we know how important it is that we welcome and support them.

Live broadcasts of “New American Neighbors” will air weekly in seven additional languages — Kunama, Sudanese Arabic, Syrian Arabic, Nepali, Karen, French and Somali — adding to programming we already provide on EDUCAradio.org in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

For those far from home, it’s a way to provide critical information about navigating a new education system and other Colorado programs and services in a familiar language.

“When they hear their music or hear their language or their dialect through the radio or TV, it will make them feel safe and more at home,” said Mohamed Juma, who came to the United States in 2013 and hosts the weekly “New American Neighbors” show in Sudanese Arabic. “It’s very difficult for a new family to come here and start all over from the beginning.”

For DPS, it supports our Shared Core Value of Equity, helping to eliminate barriers to success for these students and their families. Our district is home to six newcomer centers, which serve kids who are new to our country, who have a history of limited or interrupted education and who have minimal literacy skills in both their native language and English.

“New American Neighbors” is designed to support those for whom English is not their first or even second language. For many, because of interrupted education, hearing information via radio or TV is more accessible than reading printed materials.

Watch DPS News Now to go inside "New American Neighbors." And watch it Spanish here.

Watch DPS News Now to go inside “New American Neighbors.” Watch in Spanish here.

“The structure is completely new to them, the K-12 system — our expectations of education, college, universities, higher learning,” said Salvador Carrera, executive director of multicultural outreach on our Family and Community Engagement (FACE) team. “They’re all things that we as citizens shoot for, what we aspire to do.

“For our refugee communities, ‘New American Neighbors’ is something that will allow them to learn the different structures and opportunities that exist for them.”

Our close partner in this work is the Colorado African Organization, which works with immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers during resettlement. They employ former refugees, like Mohamed Juma, who serve as community navigators to support families in transition.

Mohamed believes newcomers have much to offer Coloradans as well: “Go visit them, see what they got; their behavior, it’s … really awesome and really helpful I think to the American culture.”

Best,
Tom

Tune In! “New American Neighbors” talk shows will air weekly on www.educaradio.org, simultaneously broadcast on DPStv Facebook and, at a later date, air on public access channel 22.

Pictured above: Many of the Educa Radio hosts for “New American Neighbors” pose for a photo. From left, Georgette Mabi, Asbi Mizer, Mohamed Juma, Kapaw Htoo and Abir Al-Kabbani. Hosts not pictured are Lydia Dumam, Farduus Ahmed and Abdul Jemil.


Supporting the Broward Community, and How DPS is Protecting Our Kids

In the wake of another horrific shooting in public schools, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, our hearts and our thoughts go out to the victims and their families. DPS stands united with the Broward County Public Schools community and with school districts across the country in offering them our support. Read this letter from Superintendent Tom Boasberg to learn more and for information on how you can talk to your students about this tragedy.

We understand this may raise questions about what safety protocols DPS has in place to protect our kids. 9News and many other Denver media outlets met with DPS Safety Chief Mike Eaton to go behind the scenes to see the multiple layers of security we have in place to keep students safe.

Watch the 9News story here.


DPS Board Resolution: Protect the Dream for All Kids

Denver Board of Education members unanimously approved a resolution Thursday urging Congress to take prompt bipartisan action to save DACA and protect the DREAMers, providing them with the lasting solution they deserve and an end to the uncertainty they face.

“The Board stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the DREAMers and their families, as well as all undocumented students,” said school board member Lisa Flores, “and we join their call for respect and appreciation for the contributions they make to our community.”

Board member Angela Cobian talked about five DPS educators facing possible deportation if the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program expires, saying that they wished to be public about who they are and the risks they are now facing.

Read the resolution in English and Spanish here.


An Essential Dance: Cleo Parker Robinson in DPS

DPS Features - Cleo Parker RobinsonFor 47 seasons, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance has left an undeniable impact on the lives of our students through arts education in our schools. Over the years, thousands of students have learned about African-American culture and history through dance from professional dancers traveling to Denver from around the world.

That service is expanding in DPS, as the dance company is partnering with DPS’ Culture, Equity and Leadership Team to teach educators at an upcoming Equity Boot Camp in May. Watch our DPS Features video highlighting this outstanding organization’s service to our district!

Watch this DPS Features video here.


Free College Credits Help Students Get Ahead

A growing number of DPS students are getting a head start on earning a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree while saving money though the ASCENT (Accelerating Students via Concurrent Enrollment) program.

ASCENT is a program passed through Colorado legislation that allows DPS to pay the college tuition, fees and cost of textbooks for one full year of college for participating students. While a number of ASCENT students are the first in their families to go to college, more students are seeing it as an option for their future regardless of their personal financial situation.

One of the 90 students currently participating in the program is 18-year-old Ibrahem Safieddine from George Washington High School. Ibrahem worked hard to research ways to cut back on his higher education costs and was able to graduate early. At only 18 years old, he is already a junior in college!

Learn more about ASCENT here.


COMING UP…

Feb. 18: Get discounted tickets to DPS Values Night with the Avalanche
Feb. 19: Presidents Day — DPS schools and offices closed
Feb. 20: Non-student contact day — most DPS schools closed