Spring | Issue 8 | Date: March 24, 2021
Funding Great Schools. Rooted in Community. 
Rocky Mountain Prep Welcomes New CEO Tricia Noyola
Longtime educator Tricia Noyola is joining Rocky Mountain Prep as its new chief executive officer. 

More than 500 members of the Rocky Mountain Prep community provided feedback that guided the network’s board of directors’ selection of Noyola, Charlotte M. Brantley, the board chair, wrote in a letter announcing the new chief. 

Brantley also noted Noyola’s extensive experience. For nearly 15 years, Noyola has been an educator, principal and administrative leader with IDEA (Individuals Dedicated to Excellence and Achievement) Public Schools, a Texas-based charter network. 

According to IDEA’s website, Noyola has an impressive track record of developing successful school leaders and of making needed improvement in struggling schools. 

She has been the executive director of IDEA Austin since 2017, and has overseen the network’s regional expansion more than doubling the number of schools, with 88% percent of those schools earning top ratings. 

In a letter to the Rocky Mountain Prep community, Noyola wrote that she is eager to start connecting with educators and families to write the network’s next chapter. 

“[Rocky Mountain Prep] lives its culture of Rigor and Love because it’s so clear that while academic success is key, our kids need more than just strong academic skills to live choice-filled, liberated lives,” Noyola wrote in a letter to the charter's educators and families. “I’m so humbled by the opportunity to lead RMP and ensure that we continue to create opportunities for every child we serve to shine and unlock their fullest potential.”
Superintendent Search: Community Engagement is Underway
The Denver Board of Education and Alma Advisory Group have kicked off community engagement efforts for the district's superintendent search

Alma Advisory Group, a Chicago-based woman- and minority-owned business tasked with leading the search, has posted the description of the superintendent role, which the district plans to revise and improve based on ongoing community feedback. 

Alma and the board have launched a survey for community members and have planned eight regional gatherings, including a Spanish-language meeting and a session for the Native American community. 

In a March 4 working session, the board indicated the search process is involving outreach to more than 50 community groups to schedule discussions. The board also encouraged stakeholders to share feedback through a written comment form

The board will begin screening superintendent candidates this month and hopes to identify finalists in April, with final interviews scheduled in May and a selection planned for June.
Writing "Herstory" : Victoria Scott-Haynes
RootED Partner of Community Relations and Administration, Victoria Scott-Haynes draws daily inspiration from the memory of her mother, Joan Canada Scott. Victoria’s mom would often say “If your feet hit the ground and you can stand up and walk, you are blessed.”

A native of Denver, Victoria grew up in Denver’s Skyland neighborhood, north of City Park. A proud East Angel for life, Victoria loves her work at RootED, as she supports its efforts to promote high quality education and community-driven change. A longtime volunteer with the Daddy Bruce Food Basket Giveaway, Victoria also enjoys giving back to the community.
She got involved in politics after her second daughter was born premature, weighing just a pound and fourteen ounces at birth. There was no playbook on how to get her daughter the best possible health care and education - so Victoria went about writing it a day at a time. “Trying to find the right education is not easy, and as a Black woman trying to secure a high quality education for a Black child on an Individualized Education Program (IEP), I had to fight for her,” Victoria said. Fight - she did, and although her daughter was on an IEP at East High, she was able to enroll and succeed in Advanced Placement coursework.

As a political strategist, Victoria played pivotal roles in the elections of Mayor Michael Hancock, DPS Board President Nate Easley, Governor Bill Ritter, and President Barack Obama.
Other passions of Victoria include her commitment to Jack and Jill and The Links, Inc. Jack and Jill nurtures future African American leaders, strengthening children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving and civic duty. Through Jack and Jill, Victoria’s daughters, “…met young people who looked like them from all over the country. We established activities for them that promoted who they are, that they were not getting in school.” 

The Links is a group of distinguished women of African descent who are individual achievers and have made a difference in their local communities, with 290 chapters totaling 16,000 members around the world. This month, in recognition of Women’s History month, the Denver chapter of The Links made a $100,000 gift to The Center for African American Health’s capital campaign.
DPS Board Renews Charter Contracts
RootED was pleased to see the robust turnout of DPS families and community partners in passionate support of their schools, as 13 charters sought and received contract renewals with the school district this month. We’re proud to support autonomous non profit public schools because of their flexibility to respond and adapt quickly to meet community needs.
They can be an effective strategy to address equity and opportunity gaps and improve the quality of public K-12 education. Charter schools provide families with diverse learning opportunities/options in and beyond their neighborhoods, allowing families to decide which schools best meet their kids’ academic and social-emotional needs.

African Leadership Group Founder, Papa Dia was among those who addressed the Board of Education during the special public comment on the charter renewals March 16, saying, "No one school model can accommodate the needs of all children.” The Covid-19 pandemic brought that to light. “Large systems often struggle to adapt quickly when conditions on the ground change,” he added.

In voting to support the charter renewals, board member Tay Anderson tweeted, “Those 20,000+ students deserve the same treatment” as students in district run schools. Scott Baldermann was the only member to oppose the charter renewals. 

“It concerns me that some members of the school board appear to be a little bit hostile about the very idea of charter schools. While this is presented as a politically progressive position, it is in fact reactionary and defends an unacceptable status quo for low income families and families of color,” Dia said. He also expressed that focusing on expanding choice and transportation options to all DPS families would be a better route than some of the current efforts to undermine charter schools.

We at RootED agree that DPS should provide the resources and flexibility and empower all schools – traditional, charter, and innovation – to develop strategies that give students and families the tools they need for success.
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