Board of Education Meeting Update – May 18, 2017

Categories: News

Assistant Superintendent Greta Martinez Recognized 

Assistant Superintendent for Postsecondary Readiness Greta Martinez was recognized by the DPS Board of Education, as she has announced she will retire at the end of this school year following four decades in service to children and families in Colorado. Martinez has been with DPS in various leadership roles since 2003. Superintendent Tom Boasberg acknowledged Martinez for her integrity and strength of character she brings to every interaction, whether “at the tops of mountains of achievements or in the foxholes of conflict.” Read the resolution here

New School Applicants Approved

Board members approved multiple new school applicants — both charter and district-run — that applied through the Call for New Quality Schools (the Call) this year.

DPS uses the Call to announce the need for new schools to serve changing enrollment and capacity needs, and to replace persistently low-performing schools. Within the Call process, the board is asked to first evaluate the quality of the proposed school and later, in a separate vote, determine whether it will be placed in a district facility.

The board approved 17 new schools that met the quality bar:

5280 High School (charter) 
Colorado High School Charter GES Campus (charter)
Center for Talent Development at Greenlee (district-sponsored applicant)
The Cube (charter)
Denver Elementary Community School (district-sponsored applicant)
KIPP Sunshine Peak Elementary School (charter)
Montbello Children’s Network: McGlone Academy & John Amesse School Partnership (district-sponsored applicant)
Rocky Mountain Prep 4, 5 and 6 (charter)
STRIVE Prep Elementary 4, 5 and 6 (charter)
University Prep III (charter)
University Prep IV, V and VI (charter)

Applications Denied

The board voted to deny the new school applications of PODER Academy Denver and SLAM (Sports Leadership and Management) Colorado, finding the applications did not meet the quality standard set in state law.

“The review of new school applications goes through a very rigorous process,” said Board Vice President Barbara O’Brien. “The recommendation to approve or decline is based on a preponderance of evidence. I know it requires a great deal of time to develop an application, but in these cases, we’ve found they failed to meet quality requirements in numerous areas.”

Board Member Lisa Flores noted that the independent District Accountability Committee, which includes parents and community members, reached a recommendation consistent with the staff recommendation to deny these applications.

“We tremendously appreciate and respect all of those who submitted new school applications. There is a tremendous amount of passion and care evident in those applications,” said Superintendent Tom Boasberg. “Our focus here is on quality. We have one of the, if not the, strongest authorizing processes in the country, and we think that the clear and transparent standards we have for quality are essential. In these cases, the applicants did not meet the quality standards required under the law.”

New School Applicants: Restart Providers

Amesse and Greenlee elementary schools were identified in the Call as priority district needs for which restart providers are needed. The following schools that were approved met the school-specific conditions to be considered as a potential restart provider. In each school’s case, a key school-specific condition was providing a Transitional Native Language Instruction (TNLI) model.

Amesse Elementary School

  • Montbello Children’s Network: McGlone Academy & John Amesse School Partnership (district-sponsored applicant)
  • STRIVE Prep Elementary (charter)

Greenlee Elementary School

  • Center for Talent Development at Greenlee (district-sponsored applicant)

Next Steps: Community Review Board, Placement 

May 22-June 6: Community Review Board

Next, the restart applicants for Amesse and Greenlee will meet with each school’s Community Review Board (CRB), which includes parents and community members from each school community, as well as professional reviewers. Each CRB is responsible for developing an evidence-based recommendation for the superintendent that defines which of the available high-quality providers it believes is the “best available option” for its specific school community.

Because CRBs are focused exclusively on recommending which approved, high-quality restart provider will be the best match for their community, their work will be guided in part by the Facility Allocation Policy’s three criteria for placement:

  • Academic growth and student achievement.
  • Alignment to priority district needs.
  • Enrollment demand and community support (defined by each school’s Community Priorities document).

June 12: CRB Recommendations

School applicants will present to the board and Superintendent Boasberg will make facility placement recommendations based on the CRB’s reports.

June 15: Public Comment

The board will hear public comment on recommended school placements.

June 19: Board Votes on Facility Placements

The board will vote on placement of the approved schools.

Full applications and budgets for all applicants in the 2017 Call can be found here. The full Call document and other detailed information about the process can be found here.

Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative Kicks Off 

In DPS, we believe that students and families thrive when they have high-quality education choices. The top goal in the Denver Plan is to have great schools in every neighborhood.

DPS is committed to operating and sustaining high-quality, socio-economically integrated schools in our communities. We believe these schools not only offer the best educational outcomes for our kids, but also serve a vital function in sustaining vibrant neighborhoods.

Yet, as Denver continues to grow and housing prices increase, our diverse neighborhoods are struggling to balance the challenges of gentrification with their rich cultural histories. Many parts of Denver are undergoing major shifts in demographics, resulting in changes in housing patterns and a reduction in many neighborhoods of school-aged children.

To address these concerns, DPS created the Strengthening Neighborhoods initiative to engage a broad coalition of partners in the creation of a blueprint to increase racial and socio-economic diversity in our schools.

Chief of Staff Eddie Koen updated the board on the creation of the committee charged with helping DPS improve integration in our schools and address issues of school consolidation in neighborhoods that are losing the highest number of school-aged children.

The committee is comprised of more than 40 members, more than half of whom are parents and students, and more than 60% people of color. The committee co-chairs are:

  • Rick Garcia
  • Antwan Jefferson
  • Diana Romero-Campbell
  • Janice Sinden

The committee will meet eight to 10 times between June and December, with ongoing community engagement touch points and a mid-point progress report to the board. You can learn more and download a one-pager here. Read the board report here.

Office of Business Diversity Program Update

Office of Business Diversity Director Murugan Palani presented an update on the progress of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise program. The update covered goal setting, restructuring of the goals committee, data management, establishment of a small business enterprise program and an on-call services request for proposals, updated program branding and a new website: businessdiversity.dpsk12.org.

The board also heard recommendations from independent consultant MGT America. Read both presentations here.

Other Items of Note

The board also heard updates or took actions on the following items at the meeting:

You can view board meeting agendas and watch meetings online (live or recorded) at board.dpsk12.org.