Friday, July 29, 2016
Our Milestone Class of 2016 + How Far We Have to Go
Supt. Tom Boasberg
Dear DPS Community:

It's been a full week in DPS as we celebrate a record graduating class and come together around a report about African-American experiences in our schools. Both of these are so important, we wanted to share them side-by-side in this special edition of Our DPS Weekly. Thanks for reading.


Pictured above: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College graduate Jordan Grant speaking about his journey as a college-bound graduate during a celebration Monday. 
"DPS' Class of 2016 is our largest graduating class in history, an increase of over 500 more students than we saw in the DPS Class of 2015!"
2016 graduates of Bruce Randolph School at their commencement ceremony last spring.
I am excited to share the news: Denver Public Schools' Class of 2016 is our largest graduating class in history, an increase of more than 500 students than we saw in the DPS Class of 201 5!
This means over 500 more young men and women crossed our commencement stages this past spring, ready for college, ready for career, ready to take that next step in their lives. In total, more than 4,300 seniors graduated as part of this historic class, compared to about 3,800 in spring 2015.
That is the largest one-year increase we have ever had in DPS, and it is a testament to the extraordinarily hard work of our educators -- our teachers, school leaders, social workers, nurses, coaches and everyone who comes into our schools to work together to support our young people.
We celebrated this important milestone Monday at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Early College in Far Northeast Denver, where MLK graduate Jordan Grant eloquently shared his journey. He called the school serving grades six through 12 his "home" since he was a sixth-grader.
"At the time, the idea of going to college was very foreign to me. As a young African-American/black male, I never got the impression that I should go to college," Jordan shared. "In my mind, I was going to play professional basketball for the Denver Nuggets."
Honoring African-American Educator Experiences in DPS
"We all come to DPS to make our world a more just place by providing an education for students where each and every one succeeds.
We also know we come to work every day as full people -- we cannot simply leave behind the emotions triggered by this report."
Five years ago, more than 1,000 team members from across the district came together to decide our Shared Core Values as an organization. I'm proud of the values chosen by our educators -- Students First, Integrity, Equity, Collaboration, Accountability and Fun -- to guide our work together for our kids. We continue to  come together each year as Team DPS.
Dr. Sharon Bailey
But we know we must do more than talk about our values, we must live them.
 So a few months ago, we asked Dr. Sharon Bailey, a scholar, community leader and former Denver Board of Education member, to meet with our African-American educators to learn about their experiences in Denver Public Schools. These team members also shared their concerns about the experiences of our African-American students.
Thursday morning, we shared the results of Dr. Bailey's work with the Superintendent's African-American Leaders Roundtable and asked members to work with us toward solutions. We had a rich discussion about the report findings, and agreed the most important next step would be to pull together a dedicated task force of community members, educators and students to carefully plan our next steps, with full community voice and ownership. 
I also made the same request of our own team members -- to read the report (executive summary and full report) and join us in moving forward together. And I encouraged them to attend one of several optional open-forum sessions to listen, share, express and simply come together. Dr. Bailey will be attending these sessions.
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