Denver has unlimited potential. The people here, the ideas they have, the talents and skills they possess. There is no limit to what we can do in the future.
Unless we limit ourselves.
To avoid this, and to prepare our next generation so Denver’s spirit thrives into the future, we want to support Denver Public Schools as they continue to improve and to meet the changing needs of Denver’s residents. We want each and every one of our children to grow up with the idea that there is no limit to what they can be or achieve. And we want Denver’s schools to help them get there.
Denver’s schools play a central role in Denver’s future. As mayor, I will reach out to Denver Public Schools teachers, parents, the Board of Education, and to the Superintendent, and help use the mayor’s office to champion the long-term goals of education that is in all our interest. I will open lines of communication so that we are working in a true partnership.
There are so many advantages to developing a strong relationship between the city government and the city’s educators. We all feel a sense of responsibility for the success of our students, and want a Denver education to be the highest quality anywhere. And, in our fast-changing culture, this is an ongoing challenge. Education must be responsive to our diverse community and our changing needs. It must be equitable, and must develop individual talents and skills in individual students. It must work in partnership with the larger community. It must be inclusive, and celebrate the diversity of the student population--and be flexible enough to speak to individual learning styles, individual learning challenges, and individual talents. It must adapt to the changing economy and culture. It must be fun, and it must challenge each student to be the best they can be. As Mayor I will:
● Formalize an ongoing and productive relationship between the City of Denver and Denver Public Schools (DPS), as well as directly between the Mayor and the Denver School Board. This partnership is critical as we have an overlapping interest in successful schools. As Mayor I will be directly involved in DPS as an ally, advocate and assistant.
● Ensure we have high quality neighborhood schools with well maintained facilities that are stocked with much needed supplies. We must invest in bringing equity to our neighborhood public schools and provide them with the unique tools and resources they need to thrive. All schools, traditional and charter, must be held to the same standards. There is significant inequity in our school facilities throughout the city. Lack of appropriate heating and cooling in older schools make for challenging teaching and learning environments. Lack of up-to-date learning materials and tools puts kids in some neighborhoods at a disadvantage to others. The City of Denver needs to work with DPS and the State of Colorado to advocate for funds directed towards the things we know help our children succeed. This might mean re-looking at the allocation of cannabis tax dollars to meet gaps.
● Recognize, respect and retain our teachers. Our schools are only as good as our teachers and we want the very best, most talented teachers working with Denver’s children. This means we will:
○ Continue to advocate for increases in the pay scale as well as pay raises for ongoing training and education;
○ Identify funding to support ongoing teacher and administrator training;
○ Address affordable housing for teachers via creative partnerships between the City of Denver and DPS.
● Provide opportunities for apprenticeships and school-to-work job training programs. Not every child will be ready for college coming out of high school, but every child will be looking for opportunity. We can assist by working with Denver Public Schools, unions and our city’s business community to provide apprenticeship and job training programs. These alternative opportunities to college can address different learning styles and different interests, and together we can work to ensure opportunities for all children, including targeted programs to get women and children of color into the trades and support entrepreneurial opportunities.
● Provide opportunities for inter-generational mentoring programs for our elementary age children. Our older adults have so much to offer. Providing opportunities for tutoring and mentorship opportunities allow our children to tap into the wisdom and experience and to build inter-generational community.
● Support the implementation of all-day kindergarten for everyone. This effort will help to close achievement gaps and support working parents in Denver.
● Provide before and after school programming. The City of Denver can support DPS and our city’s families by providing free programs and care for children at recreation centers and at libraries including transportation. These programs could have an emphasis on arts, culture, and STEAM and other supportive services for children of all ages.
● Encourage restorative justice. Support DPS in moving towards a restorative justice system of discipline. We need to reduce the use of suspension, detention and in school tickets which keeps students out of class and reduces opportunities for success. The City can provide resources and support to help DPS as a whole as well as individual schools.
● Support the entire family. Creating a healthy environment for our kids starts with supporting the entire family, our neighborhoods and our communities. Kids learn best with they have a supportive environment outside of the classroom. Helping families address stress at home can improve outcomes for our children and help build community. I will commit to working neighborhood by neighborhood, and with our DPS schools, to analyze how the City can best fulfill basic needs - laundry facilities, meal services/healthy food, access to learning labs, child care, and other important amenities - to create the best environment for our families.