Issues

Promises made, promises kept

In the past four years, I’ve worked hard to keep the promises I made when I first ran for the school board in 2013 (for more information click on the titles below):

I promised to promote high quality neighborhood schools and educational options so that all students would have access to the program that fits them best. I am happy to report that our neighborhood schools in East Denver are the best in the city, our students have access to one of the widest varieties educational programs anywhere and more and more students are returning to DPS from private schools and the suburbs.

In the next four years I will continue to build upon our successes, both in our community, and across the city.

I promised to reduce the size of the central office and shift resources and decision-making to the teachers and principals who are on the ground working with students every day. As your representative on the School Board I led the fight to reduce the central office staff by 157 positions, to increase school-controlled budgets by $1,000 per student and to give schools the right to opt in or opt out of district curriculum, interim assessments and professional development.

In the next four years I promise to continue to reduce the size of the central office and shift more resources and decision-making to schools until we transform the central office into the “school support office.”

I brought transparency to DPS’s finances by publishing detailed school-by-school budgets so you can see how your tax dollars are spent in each school.

In the next four years, I promise we will continue to refine the school-by-school budgets and publish them every year.

To view the school-by-school budgets click here.

I’ve attended hundreds of meetings with you and your neighbors to keep you up to date, to listen to your concerns and to answer your questions about our schools. For a copy of the information I hand out at these meeting and more than 130 pages of answers to your questions click here.

In the next four years, I promise to continue to listen to you and answer your questions one-on-one and wherever you and your neighbors assemble.

The rate at which DPS students are growing in learning is the highest of all the state’s large school districts, and continues to improve; more than 6,500 DPS high school students earned college credit while still in high school through AP and IB classes and courses at local colleges last year; and the number of students who graduate from DPS ready for college or career has increased by more than 80% since 2013.

In the next four years, I promise to push DPS to continue to focus on learning and academic rigor and to do the work needed to make sure that every student graduates ready for college or career.

Give teachers a bigger role in managing our schools, increase opportunities for teachers to collaborate and work as teams and better teacher training- With funding from the mill levy approved by Denver voters last fall, all DPS-managed schools now participate in our nationally renowned teacher leadership collaborative (TLC) through which: our best teachers coach, mentor and supervise less experienced teachers while still remaining in the classroom; teachers organize in teams to design and deliver school-based professional development that meets the specific needs of each school, replacing one size fits all PD provided from outside; teachers are responsible for evaluating other teachers, replacing evaluators from outside the school with true peer evaluations; and the effectiveness of principals is increased by freeing up more of their time to focus on the educational mission of the school.

In the next four years, I promise to work with teachers and principals to continuously improve TLC and develop more and more opportunities for teachers to be involved in school management and in working together in teams to improve student learning.

Early childhood education for all Denver kids – With the funding from a mill levy developed by the committee that I co-chaired, all Denver four-year olds now have access to early childhood education.

In the next four years, I promise to fight to expand early childhood education even more so that all three-year olds as well as four-year olds have access to early childhood education.

More arts, music, PE and enrichment – With the funding from the mill levy developed by the committee that I co-chaired, we expanded arts, music and PE by hiring additional teachers and we funded a significant expansion of the arts, music and enrichment instruction provided by our community partners.

In the next four years, I promise to continue to advocate for more arts, music, PE and enrichment for all Denver kids.

Goals for the next four years

In the next four years, I will continue to build on the progress we’ve made. I will also fight to:

  • Reduce the size of the central office even more and shift even more resources and decision-making to schools until we can change the name of the central office to be the “school support office”
  • Get all students to grade level in reading by third grade based on research that shows they are four times more likely they will succeed in school and in life
  • Attract and retain the best teachers by making teaching in DPS a rewarding and sustainable career
  • Increase counseling, mental health and social-emotional supports for all students
  • Expand career and technical education to provide options for students who are not interested in a traditional four-year college
  • Increase racial and income diversity in our schools
  • Reduce the “achievement gap” between lower and higher income students and between white and Asian students and students of color
  • Delay the start time for high school to no earlier than 8:30 a.m. as advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics