These posts are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of A+ Colorado.

May Newsletter: New board members, New scores, New schools, and No New Plan

It’s time to tie up some loose ends here at A+ Denver and fill you in on what we’ve been up to the past month.

First, we would like to welcome and introduce our newest staff member, Kathryn Frazier, who is joining us for one year as a part of the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Kathryn will assist with our development work and manage our marketing and social media outreach. We are delighted to have her!
Next, we are excited to announce the addition of two fantastic members to our Board of Directors.

Landri Taylor

Landri is currently the President/CEO of the Urban League and is a passionate advocate for improving education in Colorado. He has worked in numerous organizations in a variety of development and community engagement capacities. He has been recognized a number of times for his commitment and service to the community.
Denise Maes
Denise recently returned to Denver from Washington, D.C. were she served as the White House Office of Administration General Counsel. She is now the Public Policy Director for the ACLU of Colorado and a fearless leader and advocate for hispanic, LGBT and women’s rights.

We are thrilled to have you both join A+ Denver!
You can find their full bios on our website.

1st Annual Spring Survey
We preach evaluation here at A+ Denver and in that spirit we invite all of our friends and members to participate in our Spring Survey.

We have been hard at work adding staff, producing reports and rekindling the A+ brand and now we want to know if we are headed in the right direction! The survey is short and sweet, it should only take about 5-10 minutes to complete depending on how thorough you want to be.

A+ Denver Spring Survey

Thank you in advance for your participation!

3rd Grade TCAP (slightly improved CSAP) scores…good signs but need all the scores
3rd grade TCAP scores improved in 2012 by 3% in Denver compared to 2011. We will have more analysis later when the other scores are available in August but this is a good sign given previous scores. The breakdown in scores by income and ethnicity are not yet available. These will be critical to understand what’s working in DPS. There were also many schools including Sandoval, Whittier, Howell, Odyssey and others that continued to improve the number of students reading at 3rd grade and deserve to be called out (and read the EdNews article to find out how your school did). We are hoping that Colorado can make all TCAP scores available before the end of the school year. It is ridiculous to have to wait for the scores to come out in August when students will have new teachers and five months have passed from when they were tested.

Denver Plan revision…it’s time for the district and board to get to work
We have heard that the Denver Board of Education may take up this topic in late May while we have also heard the administration is currently working on a revision.

It has been 83 days since we sent them a letter about an urgent need to narrow DPS priorities with a clear set of metrics. We will continue to push for the board and district to have a strategic plan that we can all support.

DPS Bond and Mill Levy Update… positive movement
The Community Planning and Advisory Committee (CPAC) has been meeting for several months reviewing recent bond and mill projects while constructing a proposal to be presented to the DPS Board sometime in June. Van Schoales along with several other A+ members have been actively participating in a number of committees.

While we are still a few weeks from the final proposal, this process and the draft proposals make a great deal of sense given the needs of the district on the facilities and programs front. It has been one of the better bond/mill processes so far: working backwards from needs rather than starting with the politics. Our main concern at this point is what the oversight process and metrics for impact will be on the program (mill) side if Denver voters pass a new mill this fall. We are working with the district to make sure this is well defined before the November ballot.

New Schools approval and the political season
In the coming month, the DPS board will be voting on 11 new innovation and charter school applications while also considering where these new schools will be located if approved. This unfortunately is the time where all sorts of folks get motivated to exert their political power for or against a particular school. A+ Denver is committed to make sure that the district uses data on school quality and also proven demand for a particular school to drive decisions about school approval and location.

We want great traditional district, innovation, and charter schools with different school programs throughout the city so that every family has quality choices.

Next week, DPS is hosting a community meeting to discuss North’s development and the possible placement of new high performing school in the building. North recently went through a $38 million bond to update the building and create a more flexible space so that if North is under enrolled, other high performing schools might be placed there (of course dependent upon student/family interest). We would like to see North improve while we would also like to see a great high school in NW Denver (there are none now).

We would love for any A+ Members to go to this meeting and lend your involvement.

Wednesday, May 16th – 5:30pm
Smedley Elementary School
4250 Shoshone Street
As always, we love to hear your thoughts or ideas so please don’t hesitate to get in touch!


A+ Denver