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See the Strengthening Neighborhoods Proposal | Denver Public Schools
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See the Strengthening Neighborhoods Proposal

Dec. 19, 2017
 
Learn what the Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative has recommended to increasing integration and inclusion in all of our schools.

On March 16, the board passed a resolution that established the citywide Strengthening Neighborhoods committee, charged with the task of developing recommendations to increase integration and inclusion in all our schools, and to effectively address issues associated with the declining number of school-aged children in gentrifying areas of the city.

After nearly six months of work, which included conversations with over 300 community members and educators, the committee Monday night presented its recommendations to the Board of Education and proposed ways to implement those ideas.

Co-chairs Diana Romero Campbell, president of local literacy nonprofit Scholars Unlimited; Antwan Jefferson, clinical assistant professor, Human Development and Family Relations, University of Colorado-Denver School of Education and Human Development; and Janice Sinden, CEO of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts presented the recommendations. Board members are expected to delve more deeply into the recommendations at their Jan. 11 Focus on Achievement session.

Below are the four overarching recommendations and additional recommendations in three specific focus areas. Learn more about the committee and read a summary of the recommendations here, or read the full recommendations report here.

Recommendations

  1. Goal Setting and Progress Monitoring: Set clear targets for increasing socioeconomic integration within our schools, and regularly monitor each school’s progress toward those goals.
  2. Resources, Incentives and Supports: Find resources, incentives and supports to help schools create more inclusive and integrated environments.
  3. City Coordination and Advocacy: Coordinate closely with city agencies and community partners, knowing that DPS cannot tackle an issue of this scale alone.
  4. Community Engagement: Expand existing engagement efforts to ensure that students, families and communities are partners in implementation.
  • School choice: Give underrepresented students priority in the enrollment system so they can attend the school that is the best fit for their family.
  • Boundaries and zones: Use enrollment zones to increase integration and opportunity for students across larger geographic areas.
  • Transportation: Use transportation to increase access to schools for both more- and less-affluent families.
  • Enrollment: In order to equitably serve highly-mobile students, require schools to make seats available for new students, all year and in all grades.
  • Expanded metrics: Develop measures of school culture and climate that can be used by each school to identify and assess equitable teaching practices.
  • Equity in budget: Create greater transparency about how DPS gives funding to schools with the goal of increasing success for all students. Regularly evaluate funding strategies to see if they are creating more equitable outcomes for students.
  • Role of the community: Expand the role of communities and families by increasing support structures that build trust, increase engagement and provide authentic feedback between schools and community.
  • Declining school-aged population: Proactively evaluate and respond to the impact of actual and forecasted declines in school-aged population throughout the city.
  • New school design: Strive to foster schools that are diverse and that provide inclusive excellence for all students.
  • School planning: DPS should reward individual school leaders and teachers for making progress toward shorter-term goals related to diversity and inclusive excellence in schools, and hold them accountable when such progress is not made.