Board of Education Update – February 21, 2019 Board Meeting

Board Passes Black Excellence Resolution

The Denver Board of Education voted to pass the Black Excellence Resolution, officially embracing the excellence of black and African-American students and prioritizing and targeting their academic achievement.

“I want to recognize the beauty, diversity, strength and passion for black and African-American students of the organizations and people who worked with us not only on the resolution, but also on language and ideas to guide the leadership through this,” said Board Member Jennifer Bacon.

The board also directed Superintendent Susana Cordova to create a plan that will utilize the tools, systems, resources and talent that exist within our district and community — and increase the investment of students and their families in their own successes — by focusing on three main areas of work over the next three years:

  • School-level: Prioritize black student success
  • Districtwide: Be a district that is community driven and expertly supported
  • Central Office: Be equitable by design

Board Member Happy Haynes noted, “We stand on the shoulders of a lot of people in our community, who have each taken their turn to push this very heavy boulder up the hill. And tonight, we have a lot of people joining us. It’s still an uphill journey, and it’s not going to be easy. But I feel the weight lifted from the fact that so many others have joined us.”

Superintendent Cordova will present her plan to the board by May 31, 2019. The board also indicated that the plan must be ready to implement by the start of the 2019-20 school year.

Bond Oversight Committee Recommendations on Funding School Improvement Projects Approved

The board also voted to approve a resolution allocating $45.8 million in 2016 bond premium funds for capital improvement projects across the district.

The Bond Oversight Committee developed a rubric to make its recommendations, including evaluating each potential project against an equity index to identify schools that serve more disadvantaged populations.

Please view the full presentation to learn more.

Support and Accountability Plans Approved for Precipitous Drop Schools

The seven schools that experienced a precipitous drop in their 2018 SPF ratings — from either yellow or green in 2017 to red in 2018 — presented improvement plans to the board in January and at the board’s work session on Tuesday, February 19.

After hearing all seven school presentations and reviewing the body of evidence and staff recommendations, the board voted to improve the learning environment in these schools through two-year performance review cycles with one-year monitoring, which will take place in the fall of 2019:

Innovation School Renewals Approved

Established under the Innovation Schools Act of 2008, innovation schools are DPS schools that — through the votes of teachers, school leaders and community members — elect to waive certain requirements of state education laws, collective bargaining agreements and/or district policies. The board approved innovation renewals for the following schools: