Empowering students requires teamwork between parents and teachers. Parents support learning at home, while teachers guide in the classroom. This collaboration customizes education, fosters critical thinking, and encourages students to explore passions, setting them on a path to lifelong success.
As the representative for district 5 I have visited many schools in and outside of my district. Many principals and teachers shared concern about students returning from the Pandemic lacking the basic skills as they were online for so long. While our students and their teachers are doing phenomenal work in catching up, I know they need a Director who will make this a priority. I plan on doing just that by identifying areas where resources are most needed by visiting schools, talking with teachers, families, and students to hear what more they need from DPS to experience a quality education. I strongly believe that we can close the achievement and opportunity gap but we have to work together.
When I am elected, I will ensure that DPS remains focused on directing resources for after-school programs, both from DPS and non-profit organizations. I have heard from families and educators that we need tutoring programs to help students who were left behind due to the pandemic, especially for our students who have been traditionally underserved in Denver Public Schools.
Safety is more than implementing SROs and that is part of what we needed to do in the spring. I was initially the only board member who supported allowing School Resource Officers (SROs) to return to Denver Public Schools. The board voted 4-3 to return SROs to the schools but only with safeguards in place that focused on ensuring that our students of color were not negatively impacted. . These safeguards include quarterly monitoring of all students ticketed by officers to make sure that the SROs are only in the building to address personal safety. It is the goal of all involved to keep children out of the criminal justice system for normal adolescent behaviors. As a child advocate attorney, I know firsthand the dangers of this so I was careful to ensure these safeguards were in place. The monitoring review will include oversight over whether a disproportionate number of students of color are targeted for tickets. I am aware that having these officers back in the schools will not solve all of the safety issues we have. Revising policy to allow for revisions to the discipline matrix with an emphasis on restorative justice and equity but allowing for more protections afforded to educators and staff for students that exhibit threats and violence remains one of my top priorities.
We need to hire and retain Black, Indigenous, People Of Color educators and staff. Racial and socioeconomic disparity are worsened when there is a lack of representation of a diverse body of educators. This can lead to cultural miscommunication and weak student-teacher relationships that can have a long-term negative effect on BIPOC students. Teacher diversity benefits all students, not just students of color. Research has shown that diverse teachers increase graduation rates and decrease discipline referrals for students of color. We also need to strengthen our retention efforts so that we keep the educators and leaders
Declining enrollment is one of Denver Public Schools’ biggest challenges for the upcoming years.. As we consider policy around this, I am committed to working with the community to find creative solutions. I know that some of the decisions the DPS Board will make will be hard but I will communicate with families and schools to make sure they are heard in the process. As we face the loss of ESSR funds and declining enrollment in a system that is already under funded, we need to work together to find solutions to ensure our students are well cared for and ready to learn. In addition, as a DPS Board Director, I will continue to advocate for our children and our families at both the state and city level of government.
As a mom and a grandparent of multiracial children, I have seen the disparate treatment of BIPOC students and their families. I will work to ensure that DPS continues to address these gaps by working toward the goal that all students have teachers and staff they trust, that DPS increases its screening for gifted and talented services, mental health services (such as the BESS screener), dyslexia, etc to ensure all students are seen for who they are.
My Mission has always been and always will be to strengthen our local education system by improving connections within the community.
I believe that every student is unique and deserves a customized approach to their education. That's why we have to work closely with each student to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and learning style to develop a personalized plan for success.