The inevitable and early progression into the Denver Public Schools board election season means that this year the political jousting began in advance of the release of the 2011 School Performance Framework (SPF)– DPSʼs the annual ranking of every public school in the city.
The election and the SPF were thus often juxtaposed in news reports – however they were rarely, if ever, connected. But they should be – it is school board policy that often determines specific practice, and those practices make real differences in the types of schools we have, where in the city they are located, and which students they serve.
In our role as an active group of Denver community leaders, A+ Denver decided that this comparison, particularly in an election year, should be more explicit. To do so, we added the five school board member districts to the SPF to track public school performance – in absolute numbers, academic performance, and student demographics. There are also two elected at-large members on the school board, whom this report does not address.
We discovered a number of surprising trends, at both the overall district and board member level, which shed additional light on our schools and students. We publish this report in the hope that it will provide voters (and even candidates) with additional information and context for both the upcoming election, and for guiding future DPS policy.