Board of Education Update – June 13, 2019 Board of Education Meeting

Board Approves Resolution in Support of Inclusive Practices 

At the June 13, 2019 Board of Education meeting, the Denver Board of Education voted to approve a resolution that commits DPS to demonstrating inclusive practices in serving students with disabilities. The resolution also states DPS’ commitment to an ongoing campaign demonstrating the benefits of including students with disabilities in all school activities.

Under this resolution, Superintendent Susana Cordova and the Division of Student Equity and Opportunity will implement a strategic plan designed to improve academic and social emotional outcomes for students with disabilities, eliminate racial disparities, and develop the skills of all school-based and district staff. This strategic plan will launch in August 2019 and will remain a living, breathing document that is aligned with other equity-based initiatives.

“I have been with DPS for 15 years, as a teacher of the deaf and hard-of-hearing, a professional developer and now with Special Education. As an individual with a disability myself, I’m very proud and excited – this is our opportunity to close the achievement gap for individuals with disabilities across the district,” said Robert Frantum-Allen, Director of Special Education.

The full resolution is available here.

Board Passes Resolution to Improve Handcuff Policy

The board passed a resolution limiting the use of handcuffs with students. The resolution commits DPS to amend its policies and procedures in order to eliminate the use of handcuffs by Safety Officers with any student in elementary school, and to significantly decrease the use of handcuffs with middle and high school students.

The resolution also calls for the Department of Safety to add five more days of annual and ongoing training for its Campus Safety Officers, beginning this summer.

In line with the district’s efforts to become a trauma-informed school district dedicated to equity and supporting the Whole Child, the board also heard presentations from members of the Student Board of Education’s Young African American and Latino Leaders (YAALL), who were closely involved in helping DPS to create the resolution itself.

“There is a bigger resolution that needs to take place. There needs to be room for kids to be able to make mistakes — specifically black and brown students need to be able to make mistakes — inside this education system. But most importantly, relationships need to be built within our police and education system with our community. Trust should not be given; it should be earned,” said Michael Fillmore, member of YAALL’s executive team.

“I want to acknowledge that we are students, but we are people. The trauma of being put in handcuffs is a real thing. There are a lot of trauma-informed policies that we still need to work on,” said Kevante Hobley ’19, member of YAALL’s executive team.

“This is the first time that YAALL has felt seen and heard in a district that belongs to us,” said Jhoni Palmer, YAALL executive team member. “But how are we ensuring representation for the voiceless? It shouldn’t take immense heat and pressure from community for this district to do what’s right and enact change,” she said. “Thank you to the board and your legal counsel, for all your help. It was a pleasure working with you.” she added.

The full resolution is available here.

Update on Districtwide Internet Improvement Project

Chief Information Officer Dave Landy presented an update on the infrastructure in place to support internet connectivity for schools and central office.

During the 2017-18 school year, DPS experienced internet bandwidth limitations and intermittent outages, including during critical testing windows. With the demand for internet service increasing across the district by approximately 20% annually, the department of technology implemented ‘dark fiber’ technology to increase bandwidth and practically eliminate downtime. After the investment, internet ‘uptime’ was 99.942% during the 2018-19 school year.

The full presentation is available here.

2019-20 Fiscal Year Budget Approved

As a follow-up to the 2019-20 fiscal year budget discussion led by Erik Johnson, DPS Chief Financial Officer, and Mark Ferrandino, Deputy Superintendent of Operations, the board heard a proposed amendment to the budget and unanimously approved the budget.

This consolidated budget plan is aligned with Superintendent Susana Cordova’s focus on instructional excellence and equity and invests in programs that support equitable academic results for all students.

View the 2019-20 adopted budget here.