May 15, 2020
See below for updates about our "Return to School" Workgroup,
Budget Advisory Committee and more.
"We at some time are masters of our fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."
– from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
Hark! It Is the Shakespeare Festival … Gone Virtual!
Dear Team DPS,

One of DPS’ most spectacularly literary and theatrical events is our annual Shakespeare Festival, which we host each spring and is one of the biggest student-led Bard-fests in the country. This year’s festival needed to be canceled due to the health restrictions in place in our community. But our students let the Shakespearean words and spirit play on. Please enjoy a few of these student videos below, and watch the complete line up here , from DPS students who rose up to be masters of their fates and shared the brilliance of Shakespeare, and themselves, with us.

Warm regards, 

Pictured above: Aliza Houl from Merrill Middle School  plays both parts in this performance from "Romeo and Juliet" Act 2, Scene 5. See the video here.
Check out " ShakesCenter" from the DPS organizers of the Shakespeare Festival as they do their take on "SportsCenter" to hype up student performances.
"I’m not afraid!" says fifth-grader Henry Celaya, a student at Archuleta Elementary, who then goes on to sing an entire stanza while dressed as a donkey for "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Act 3, Scene 1.
Double, double, toil and trouble! This fan-favorite scene from Denison Montessori of "Macbeth" Act 4, Scene 1 depicts witches dancing and scheming up a sinister plot. Students took it as inspiration to try on some new costumes and special-effect bubbles!
Elsa Vossler, a seventh-grader at Skinner Middle School, could be the next Walt Disney based on this silent film of "Macbeth" Act 5, Scene 8 that she illustrated and produced!
What art thou to do when the festival is canceled? Denver School of the Arts junior, Sarah Scott, puts on a rousing rendition of "Richard III" during her monologue as Queen Margaret.
Ms. Jimenez's fourth-grade class shared this group performance from Teller Elementary "Romeo and Juliet" Act 1, Scene 5. Note: In early March, just ahead of schools closing due to the pandemic, Teller held "A Night of Shakespeare" when this particular performance was videotaped -- showing just how far in advance students prepared for the Shakespeare Festival!
Update from Our 'Return to School' Workgroup
Our principals and teachers this week began discussing priorities and plans for next school year, with a focus on setting the health and wellness standards that will be the foundation for all planning for in-school learning.
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, we've worked closely with health experts including Denver Health and the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. In consultation with them, our district leadership has drafted a guiding set of health standards that will serve as "guardrails" in planning for reopening schools. Those safety standards were shared with our Return to School Workgroup of educators this week. They address health precautions (temperature checks, masks, hand-washing), the need to craft policies that provide accommodations for medically high-risk students and staff, and capacity guidelines for how many students can safely be in classrooms and other school spaces together. It’s important to note that these health guardrails are a working draft and will continue to evolve as we learn more from health experts.
The Denver Board of Education received an update on the Workgroup's progress last night, and you can view the full presentation here . We will also be providing regular updates on that website through the next few weeks as we develop our plans for next school year. 
And we’re asking for our students and families to help us develop a plan that prioritizes safety while being responsive to their needs. Earlier this week, we sent out a survey to students and families, and we’re asking for responses to be sent back to us by May 22 . For families that haven’t already shared feedback, the survey is available here .
I want to thank our families and educators again for the spirit of teamwork and resilience in the move to remote learning and in making the adjustments needed along the way to prioritize the health and well-being of our students and staff. Please keep an eye for updates on our planning for next school year, and please take good care of yourselves and your loved ones.

Warm regards,
Budget Advisory Committee Calls for Public Comment 
The newly formed Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) -- made up of members of the Board of Education, teachers, parents, alumni and staff -- will meet on May 15 , 22 and 29 to review possible solutions for the  DPS budget challenges ahead . There are several opportunities for the entire DPS community to share suggestions and perspectives on the budget in the coming weeks:

  • Share your budget suggestion here for the BAC to consider.

  • Submit written public comment here for the BAC to review. 

  • Sign up to speak at the BAC’s meeting on May 29 -- more details coming soon.
View a list of BAC members, ideas received so far, and other details  on the BAC website
Resource Guide for Families
Contact Us
Connect with Us