Following the mayhem of the holidays, students are returning to the classrooms to begin the second half of the school year. 2017 was a year of challenges and growth for Denver Public Schools (DPS). …
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Following the mayhem of the holidays, students are returning to the classrooms to begin the second half of the school year. 2017 was a year of challenges and growth for Denver Public Schools (DPS). The rescinding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in October drew sharp criticism from superintendent Tom Boasberg but has led to a renewed relationship with the Mexican Consulate. Denver voters saw a need for change to decision making at DPS and elected two former educators and one current teacher to the Board of Education.
The DPS Board of Education will be comprised of an all-woman board, a first since the district was established 114 years ago. In addition, voters elected Angela Cobián, who is the youngest member to serve on the seven-member policy making team.
From left to right: Barbara O’Brien, Lisa Flores, Jennifer Bacon, Happy Haynes, Carrie Olson, Angela Cobián, Anne Rowe. Courtesy photo.
Already seated members of the board of Colorado’s largest school district are President Anne Rowe representing District 1, Lisa Flores representing District 5 and Happy Haynes representing the city at-large. Returning to the board, Barbara O’Brien will continue to represent the city at-large. Joining the already seated board members are: Angela Cobián representing District 2, Carrie A. Olsen representing District 3 and Jennifer Bacon representing District 4.
28-year-old Angela Cobián, is Denver Public Schools’ youngest board member ever. “My goal is to ensure that all of our more than 92,000 children receive the best educational opportunities from start to finish.” Cobián previously taught second and third-grade literacy for English language learners at Cole Arts and Sciences Academy. In 2013, Cobián was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to consult on program development for student-led social change initiatives in Mexico City.
Consul General of Mexico Berenice Rendón Talavera and DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg officially signed an agreement to relaunch the Educational Orientation Kiosk (known in Spanish as Ventanilla de Orientación Educativa, or VOE) inside the Denver Mexican Consulate. The Mexican government granted $35,000 to DPS to serve the Spanish-speaking community by providing resources to help families navigate the educational systems of Colorado, the United States and Mexico.
Bromwell Elementary (2500 E. Fourth Ave.) recently welcomed new principal, Andrew Hodges, to the leadership team. Raised in Topeka, KS, Hodges attended Baker University where he studied Political Science. After a brief time working with local, state and national elections, Hodges went back to school to earn his teaching certificate and went to work in Memphis, TN as a middle school social studies teacher, and the Dean of Curriculum and Instruction. Hodges decided to set his sights on leadership and went on to earn his M.A. of School Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2014. From Cambridge, he moved to Chicago for a leadership position with Chicago Public Schools and eventually relocated to Denver where he worked as an assistant principal at Columbian Elementary School.
Hodges was hired last spring and began spending time meeting with staff and families. From those conversations they were able to set goals to increase student engagement, excitement and “building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning.” “We are doing this by integrating new social emotional programs as well as implementing blended learning with adaptive online programs,” Hodges says. Hodges claims the new programs allow teachers to gather information about student learning and behavior more quickly and target interventions to provide better learning paths for each student.
Cory Elementary (1550 S. Steele St.) is in the second phase of its principal selection process. The School Principal Search Advisory Committee (SPSAC) is a diverse set of parents that will be meeting in early January to craft interview questions for selected candidates in addition to conducting interviews. The questions created by the SPSAC will be based on the School Leader Hiring Community Input Form which gave school community members an opportunity to share their opinion on what traits they feel the principal of Cory should possess. Superintendent Tom Boasberg will determine the final candidate to be recommended for hire to the school board.
Keynote speaker Kim Bevill will visit Merrill Middle School (1551 S. Monroe St.) in February to provide thinking and planning strategies for parents, educators and children. Bevill taught High School History and Psychology for 14 years before leaving the classroom to train educators and parents on applicable neuroscience and instructional strategies. Parents, students and educators are invited to this free event. A donation of a $5 or $10 gift card per attendee is recommended to support the Merrill Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies program.
The Steele Elementary (320 S. Marion Pkwy.) community has raised $62,640 this school year. With generous donations, Steele is just past the halfway point to their goal of $200,000 and 1.4 percent ahead of last year’s mark. The PTA is calculating numbers received on Colorado Gives Day and is looking forward to a successful showing during the next major fundraiser, the Washington Park Home Tour, which happens May 12. The money raised will be used to fund additional educators, teacher stipends and classroom technology.
In visual arts news, Steele fourth and fifth graders will be showing their photography and landscape pieces at LEON Gallery (1112 E. 17th Ave.) Thursday, Jan. 25 from 6:00p.m. to 8:00p.m.
Helen Thorpe, author of Soldier Girls and Just Like Us has a new book on the shelves called Newcomers. While doing research for the book, Thorpe spent a year in Eddie William’s English Language Acquisition (ELA) classroom at South High School (1700 E. Louisiana Ave.). She observed as the students, immigrants from around the globe, learned English and American customs despite long commutes and harassment outside of school.
Former South student Phillip Lindsey recently finished a successful football career at University of Colorado-Boulder (CU) as the Buffs lost to the University of Utah. The running back holds the record for yards from the line of scrimmage and all-purpose yards and finished up fourth in total points. He was also the first running back at CU to catch at least 100 passes. Lindsey has said he would love to play in the NFL but eventually hopes to help others with a career in law enforcement.
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