Board of Education Update – April 22, 2019 Work Session

Board Discusses Policies and Practices on Use of Restraint  

The Denver Board of Education heard an update from Superintendent Susana Cordova and Chief of Safety Michael Eaton regarding the district’s policies on the use of handcuffs with students, and a review of those policies.

DPS has both a board policy and a regulation that cover the use of restraints: Board Policy JKA and JKA-R. Under this policy and regulation, there are specific definitions and instances in which a restraint can be used with students. The strictest definition is around the use of what is called “mechanical restraint,” which covers the use of handcuffs with any of our students. Under current policies, handcuffs can only be used by DPS Safety personnel and only in extremely rare situations.

“First, we have to have strong data about how our policies are being implemented. Using that data, along with our experience, and listening to our families and community partners, we must always question whether our policies are sufficiently reflective of our values or whether we can do better,” said Cordova.

Chief Eaton emphasized that Campus Security Officers (CSOs) are trained to never use restraints as a punitive form of discipline or threat, and that restraints should only be used for the period of time necessary, with no more force than necessary, and with prioritization of the prevention of harm to the student. “The actions of our Department of Safety staff should not only meet the rules laid out in policy and regulation, but also reinforce and advance the vision of the district,” Eaton said.

Eaton committed to preparing a thorough review of the district’s use of handcuffs on students to determine the extent to which this measure is being used. He will also review security officer training, particularly for CSOs in K-8 schools, who have contact with elementary students. Eaton will work with the superintendent on the review of the data and training and return to the board with recommendations for any necessary changes.

Update on Minority- and Women-Owned Enterprise from the Office of Business Diversity

Murugan Palani, Director of the Business Diversity and Outreach Program, provided an update on the Minority- and Women-Owned Enterprise (MWBE) spend of 2016 bond funds. As of the end of March, for the 2016 bond, DPS spent $83 million with local, minority- and women-owned businesses. This equates to 142 individual, local, minority- and women-owned businesses receiving work as a result of the 2016 bond.

“Our Construction Services group has really stepped up to the plate, in terms of changing the culture. Whenever we have procurement opportunities, they’re looking to see if there’s local, minority- and women-owned businesses that can participate in our contract,” said Palani.

Palani also announced that the DPS Office of Business Diversity, in conjunction with the Red Cross, is establishing a Diverse Business Center, to promote collaboration between the diverse chambers of commerce to provide more opportunities for local small and diverse businesses. The following chambers of commerce will all be housed in the same facility, on the same floor:

  • Colorado Asian Chamber of Commerce
  • Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Colorado Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver
  • Rocky Mountain Indian Chamber of Commerce

The full presentation is available here.

Mill Levy Oversight Committee Presents Scorecards; Reports on Progress

The Mill Levy Oversight Committee, made of volunteer community members, serves to develop accountability systems to track expenditures from the voter-approved 2016 Mill Levy and their impact on student achievement, as well as to advise on continuous improvement efforts within mill levy programs to increase their impact.

Co-chairs Michelle Garrison and Laurence Bleicher presented scorecard content on the following Mill Levy programs:

  • Whole Child
  • Transportation
  • Technology
  • Teacher Leadership and Collaboration
  • Summer Academy
  • Principal Pipeline
  • Paraprofessional-to-Teacher Pipeline
  • Early Literacy
  • CareerConnect
  • Dual Enrollment

The full presentation is available here.