Board of Education President Ann Rowe, Executive Director of Whole Child Supports Katherine Plog-Martinez, Place Bridge Academy Principal Brenda Kazin, High Tech Elementary School Principal Amy Gile, Board of Education Vice President Barbara O’Brien, Superintendent Tom Boasberg, Board of Education member Rachele Espiritu, Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment Principal Ryan Kockler, McGlone Elementary Principal Sara Gips, High Tech Early College Principal Stacy Parrish
Voter-Approved Funding Provides $100,000 Each to Seven DPS Schools
Mill levy money supports Social Emotional Learning
Thanks to Denver voters last November, $100,000 is coming to seven DPS elementary, middle and high schools. The money will be used to support the social and emotional learning (SEL) of their students. The voter-approved mill levy is funding this initiative.
DPS celebrated the funding Thursday with remarks from Superintendent Tom Boasberg, as well as Board of Education members, school leaders and the Whole Child team.
“The single largest piece of the Mill Levy is investment in the Whole Child,” said Superintendent Tom Boasberg. “Social emotional learning is of critical importance in achieving equity and closing the opportunity gap by ensuring all students have the knowledge, attitude and skills necessary to succeed now and in the future.”
In DPS, SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions; set and achieve positive goals; feel and show empathy for others; establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions.
While all DPS schools will benefit from SEL funding for the 2017-18 school year, the district gave each school an opportunity to apply for additional awards. DPS officials reviewed each application three times and scored for vision, strategy, outcomes, evidence base, design process, novelty/innovation, track record and scope/timeline. The schools awarded the additional funding support are:
- Doull Elementary – Doull will provide innovative mindfulness training to its staff and parents so they can teach students self-regulation techniques and coping skills. Additionally, they plan to replace detention with yoga, expand school-based counseling services and enhance the Cool Down Room, a place where students can go when they are upset to calm down and reset in order to return quickly to learning in the classroom.
- High Tech Early College – This funding will allow for days of service in which students give back to their neighborhoods through service learning projects. Students will also have a greenhouse and chicken coop to advocate for ending the food desert in Montbello and will be able to engage with local elementary and middle schools in CareerConnect STEM programming through after school partnerships with students. School leaders will also be able to refer students to external mental and physical health providers to address any difficulties they’re having in their lives and they will continue their Restorative Approach program by training students on being Peer Mediators to assist their peers.
- High Tech Elementary School – They will focus on integrating additional staff to support students, revamping systems to incorporate a focus on zones of regulation, integrating mindfulness practices, expanding their use of restorative practices and continuing to deepen their teacher pedagogy around supporting the social-emotional needs of all students.
- Manual High School – The L.I.G.H.T. (Learners Inspired to Get Help Today) Program at Manual is a holistic approach to student behavior intervention. It is focused on supporting students to seek out the proper help they need to be strong, effective and confident learners. Through the SEL funding, training will be provided to all L.I.G.H.T. staff by the International Institute of Restorative Practices. Additionally, technology kiosks will be used for L.I.G.H.T. Program self-assessment, check-in and creation of student-driven individualized intervention plans and profiles.
- McGlone Elementary – The Center for Family Opportunity will be instituted to allow families, community members and students of Montbello access to wrap-around support services. This will create a central, comprehensive and integrated system of care to meet the specific needs of their community. Families will have access to programs including free English-language and GED classes, help with tax preparation, financial coaching, legal assistance, utility assistance, veteran services, immigration support and social-emotional resources for newcomer families. The center will also provide academic coaching so families are able to support their child’s academic growth in the home, resource navigation for basic needs, career readiness, mental health services, early childhood parenting education, health and nutrition education for families, pro-social community events and physical education.
- Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment – SEL funding will support the increase of psychologist intern time from three days per week to four and the hiring of a staff member to serve as a “Dreamer mentor” for direct certified students to monitor their progress, provide personalized touring and support, and make sure that each of those students never falls through the cracks, Funding will also support a partnership with Denver Family Institute to build out a series of Trauma informed trainings for staff to better serve students.
- Place Bridge Academy – Their ultimate goal is to ensure equitable access to academics and language development for all students by closing some of the existing gaps in their ability to provide consistent guidance and support for students. This funding will be used for personnel and curricular materials in order to support a strategic and systematic multi-tiered support system for all students.