“Teachers visiting our families at home typically start the conversation with this question, and the excited responses of our families build and deepen the bond between home and school.”
Dear DPS Community,
Tomorrow, we kick off the spring round of one of our most important efforts to improve student achievement, and it will take place anywhere but the classroom — our Parent Teacher Home Visit Program.
More than 130 schools are participating this year and, after our fall round of visits, we are more than halfway to our goal of a record-high 13,000 home visits. Last year, we set a district record at 11,120 visits, and we believe we can do even better this year!
I have the honor of accompanying Johnson Elementary teachers Roberta Turja and David Shindoll on Tuesday, when we are set to visit first-grader Isiah and his family. I have participated in home visits for several years now, and I am always struck by how joyful and meaningful these meetings at a family’s home or preferred place, such as a favorite park, can be.
“What are your hopes and dreams for your child?” is how our teachers typically start the conversation, and the excited responses of our families build and deepen the bond between home and school.
We know our students’ learning and growing doesn’t stop when they leave the classroom, and parents are our most important partners in our kids’ success. By building personal relationships with families, teachers and parents can partner to help our students grow as learners and as people.
DPS has the second-largest home visit program in the nation, behind only D.C. public schools. We are also one of only four home visit programs participating in a national study to determine whether these programs can strengthen teachers’ cultural competency, or understanding of their students’ lives outside of the classroom.
“In our nation’s public schools today, most teachers are white, middle class and female while most of their students’ families are people of color living in low-income neighborhoods,” said Jennifer Laird with RTI International, which is conducting the study.
“Even well-meaning educators can have unconscious assumptions about their students’ home lives, which become barriers to forming effective collaborations with parents.”
In fact, our African-American Equity Task Force specifically recommends home and community visits, and encourages training for all schools and teachers in the program.
Pictured above: Cheltenham Elementary teachers Holly Charles, Laura Luscinski and Elisabeth Watkins met with their third- and fourth-grade students during last year’s Spring Home Visit Week.
In celebration of National Nutrition Month, we visited the lunchroom at the West Campus to learn about the importance of serving nutritious lunches to our kids every day. Learn more about this week’s event in 60 seconds!
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.
In our homes, workplaces and schools, there is a universal desire to belong. Yet for some students in DPS, that belonging has felt absent at school — the result of racial bias, slights, insults and indignities they have faced there.
This motivated a courageous group of DPS high school students to meet with educators across the district and share their stories, forming their group YAALL, Young African-American and Latinx Leaders.
At Culture Equity and Leadership Team (CELT) professional development classes, in workshops and at a recent ED Talk, the students have shared detailed instances of bias. They have a simple mission: to ensure no student faces the same hurt again.
Watch this DPS Features video here.
We are proud of the many schools that earned state and national acclaim this week. The Colorado Department of Education celebrated 2017 school and district award winners in a March 1 ceremony. Across all categories, DPS earned more than 60 awards, including the following:
Congratulations, Team DPS! View the list of all awarded DPS schools here.
March 2-11: Spring Home Visit Week
March 9: Get discounted tickets to DPS Night with the Denver Nuggets
April 18: DPS Foundation 16th Annual Achieve Gala