Board Celebrates Sustained Growth on State Tests: DPS Students Outpace State for Seventh Year in a Row
The Denver Board of Education heard highlights from the release of state test data, which showed that students in DPS are outpacing their classmates across Colorado in academic growth in English language arts and math. This year’s results are the highest gains ever in literacy skills.
The results reflect sustained progress in the state’s largest school district, with DPS students growing faster academically than their Colorado classmates for the seventh straight year. This means that Denver students, who once lagged their state peers by more than 20 percentage points, have virtually closed achievement gaps with their peers.
“First and foremost, I want to say thank you, Denver teachers, for the very hard work you do every day,” said Superintendent Tom Boasberg. “It is because of you and your incredible dedication to Denver’s kids that we are celebrating these extraordinary gains.”
Early literacy gains
DPS growth in English language arts was especially strong, exceeding the state average and every other large district across Colorado. More Denver students are meeting or exceeding expectations in English language arts in every grade.
The district’s greatest increase in reading proficiency was in grade 3, on both English and Spanish assessments. Research shows if kids are reading on grade level by the end of grade 3, they are four times more likely to graduate high school.
Boasberg said early literacy has been a key focus for DPS, including a 2016 weeklong summer training institute for all ECE-3 teachers, monthly professional development and new curricular resources. He also thanked Denver voters, who approved a bond and mill ballot proposal in November that included a $6.8 million investment in early literacy.
“The literacy work we did last summer is a strategy that really has reaped benefits for our kids and I just want to thank everyone who was involved in that entire summer of work,” said Board Member Rosemary Rodriguez.
Closing the opportunity gap
DPS also is celebrating gains made by students of color, students in poverty, English language learners and students with disabilities. All of these student groups outpaced their classmates in academic progress in English language arts and math.
In addition, students of color, English language learners and low-income students this year moved to proficiency or above in literacy at a higher rate than their classmates did. Among our large student groups, by ethnicity, African-American students showed the most progress.
“While I am pleased to see the significant increases in growth among our highest-needs students, we still have much work in front of us to close our opportunity gaps and make sure we are truly fulfilling the potential of each and every child,” Boasberg said.
To watch a video of the press event, including remarks from school leaders, please visit the Denver Public Schools Facebook page.
Safe and Welcoming School District
As part of the board’s ongoing commitment to being a safe and welcoming school district, Board Member Rachele Espiritu applauded the City of Denver for proposing a city ordinance that protects the valuable contributions of immigrants and refugees in our community.
The DPS board adopted a resolution in February declaring, “…the district shall do everything in its lawful power to protect our students’ confidential information and ensure that our students’ learning environments are not disrupted by immigration enforcement actions…”
Espiritu said, “Since that time, the district has done some very important work with partners in the community to ensure we are living that promise to our students. I am very glad to see our community standing up to ensure that Denver families can live free from worry that they will put themselves at risk for deportation.”
The new Denver Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act is designed “to reduce fear within the immigrant community and clarify for everyone that Denver is not engaging in immigration enforcement,” according to a press release issued by the City. Mayor Michael Hancock said in a Facebook post that the ordinance will “send a clear message that every person, no matter their immigration status, can feel safe when interacting with the city and law enforcement, and know that our No. 1 priority is the safety and health of everyone in Denver.”
Board Affirms Commitment to Wellness, the Whole Educator
The Denver Board of Education tonight adopted a resolution focused on the district’s support of the Whole Educator, which was proposed during Wednesday’s sixth annual OurDPS Day. The annual values-based event brings together members from across DPS to connect on the district’s Shared Core Values and our vision, Every Child Suceeds. This year, the theme “A better me, a better we” highlighted the importance of taking care of ourselves in order to best be able to take care of our teammates and students.
Board Chair Anne Rowe and Board Member Rachele Espiritu participated in the live-streaming event, which brought together teams viewing from dozens of locations all over the city. In supporting the well-being of TeamDPS, the resolution, adopted tonight, identifies wellness behaviors tied to our Shared Core Values that are designed to support the Whole Educator. Support for the Whole Educator is intended to help us foster a district culture that retains and grows our educators throughout their professional careers.