Spring | Issue 33 | Date: March 24, 2023
Funding Great Schools. Rooted in Community. 
Like many of you, we are wrestling with our hurt, our fear, and our anger.

Wednesday's shooting at East High School is the second senseless act of gun violence to fracture the Denver East school community in the last six weeks. The heart-wrenching truth is that gun, youth and community violence are far too prevalent in Denver.

No family should be afraid to send their children to school, and no student—no child—or educator should bear the responsibility of fighting for their right to be safe in our classrooms or communities.

As we assess short- and long-term solutions, we recognize an immediate need to support families, youth and educators with mental health and social-emotional resources. Please find more information about available resources here.
In partnership,
The RootED Denver Team
STRIVE Prep - Rise's Speech and Debate Teacher Anna Steed Leads Team to National Stage
STRIVE Prep - RISE's speech and debate coach and teacher Anna Steed is having a tremendous impact on students in Northeast Denver, and Colorado Public Radio's Jenny Brundin has taken notice. The CPR reporter followed Anna and RISE's speech and debate team to a tournament where students competed to qualify for nationals. The result is a fun, energetic and heartfelt story (in print and audio) that captures Anna's passion for coaching and teaching, and the team's journey to glory.

The school's speech and debate team is nationally ranked, but it didn't get there overnight. It's successful because of the intentional design and hard work that goes into the program. At STRIVE Prep - RISE, speech and debate was created to be an elective class that pushed students creatively without them having to sit quietly.

What started as a single elective has grown into a full slate of classes that includes advanced courses. The small school's ability to compete with much bigger programssome that have existed for more than 50 yearsspeaks to Anna's desire to impact students, and her passion for the subject. The team at STRIVE Prep - RISE is also comprised mostly of students of color—a stark contrast to many of the teams that they compete against. 

Anna was one of the founding teachers at STRIVE Prep - RISE and was instrumental in creating the speech and debate program from the ground up. She was raised in Denver, and as a former speech and debate student, she wanted to share her love for the skill with students and pay it forward. She continues to give her students opportunities to excel that they may otherwise not have. 

We are proud to support and partner with passionate teachers like Anna who give so much to students and are excited to cheer on STRIVE Prep - RISE’s speech and debate team! Find the link to the CPR story below.
Photos: Colorado Public Radio
"This is a class where you can see learning makes sense for you. There are so many questions that start to materialize in a student's head about their own learning, what learning is, what they can bring to it when they have speech and debate. It's a magic class."

Anna Steed
STRIVE Prep - RISE Speech and Debate Coach and Teacher
'GALS on the Rise' Celebrates Local Inspirational Women
Girls Athletic Leadership Schools of Denver (GALS) hosted its 13th Annual GALS Denver Luncheon “GALS on the Rise” last month. The event celebrates the accomplishments of the school’s students and recognizes incredible women who inspire and create change in their communities. 

This year’s event honored Lily Griego, regional director of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Cleo Parker Robinson, the founder and artistic director of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. 

GALS is the first and only tuition-free, public, all-girls college preparatory school in the state. It empowers students to succeed academically, lead confidently, live boldly and thrive physically. See more highlights from the event and follow GALS on social media to learn more about the incredible work it does for its students.
Thank you, Kimberlee Sia!
We’re saying a sincere farewell and thank you to Kimberlee Sia, who announced she is stepping down in June as president and chief executive officer of Colorado “I Have a Dream” Foundation. Kim and the organization—which provides academic, social, and emotional support for students in the Denver metro area—have been wonderful partners. 

Kim joined the foundation in 2019 and has helped the organization serve an increased number of youth through programs at two sites that opened in 2021. The organization also implemented a robust behavioral health therapy program that is building a strong reputation in the community. 

We recognize that supporting families and students during a child's education goes beyond what happens inside a classroom. Colorado “I Have a Dream Foundation” is a champion in its mission to partner with youth and their families as they successfully navigate school, college and career. 

Thank you, Kim, for being a valued partner dedicated to youth and families in our communities. We wish you well on your next endeavor! 

The Colorado “I Have a Dream” Foundation will be searching for its next president and chief executive office over the coming months. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the role, email [email protected] or apply through the link below.
Election Day is Tuesday, April 4
Tuesday, April 4 is Election Day, and Denver voters will decide on several important races and ballot measures. RootED Denver has compiled information and resources to help you prepare to cast your ballot. Learn more below. 

On the Ballot

  • The mayor’s race has generated quite a bit of interest. EDUCATE Denver asked the candidates to answer six questions about education; see their responses. Chalkbeat Colorado also published a guide on the candidates’ views on education

  • Watch a 9News debate with 11 of the 17 candidates for mayor. 

  • The Denver ballot also consists of several local ballot measures and races in various local offices, including city council, clerk and recorder, and auditor. Learn more about the municipal ballot. 

Voter Registration and Other Resources

  • Find Denver drop-off locations for mail-in ballots. Your mail-in ballot must be received by your county clerk’s office by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4.

CMAS Assessments Begin in April
Many third through eighth-grade students throughout the state will participate next month in the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) assessments. 

The assessments measure a student’s grade-level proficiency in English language arts and math, with students in select grades also participating in science and social studies assessments. 

The assessments can help school districts and families understand how schools are helping students meet grade-level expectations, and how schools are serving English language learners, Black and Hispanic students, and students who receive special education services. 

Assessment data can be an important indicator of how schools are preparing every student for success in later grades and in their postsecondary journeys. Data from the assessments is most valuable when it is comprehensive and when the majority of students participate, though families in Colorado can opt their students out of the assessments. 

  • Learn more about how Denver Public Schools administers CMAS assessments. 

  • Watch a video we co-created with an independent data analyst about the 2022 Academic Proficiency and Growth Data for Denver Public Schools.
Upcoming Events
Mark your calendars with these important dates:
March 28
A Day of Hope event with FaithBridge (A Church in the City, 1580 N. Gaylord, Denver 80206)
April 1
Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism Black Mental Health & Wellness Summit
April 3
Colorado League of Charter Schools Spring Equity Convening
April 4
Colorado League of Charter Schools Charter School Advocacy Day

April 5
Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism Advocacy Day at the State Capitol

April 10
Denver Public Schools Board of Education - Finance and Audit Committee Meeting

April 17
Denver Public Schools Board of Education - Public Comment Session and Progress Monitoring Session

April 20
Denver Public Schools Board of Education - Board Meeting

1390 Lawrence Street, Suite #200
Denver, CO 80204