On Nov. 2, more than 3,500 eighth-grade students had conversations with representatives from approximately 150 companies and colleges in the Rocky Mountain region at the annual DPS Eighth-Grade Career Fair. Ensuring students are ready for college and career is a DPS Denver Plan 2020 goal.

Friday, Nov. 4, 2016
 Preparing for Life After High School
"We not only want our kids prepared for life after high school... We want them to see a great future ahead for themselves and have the educational quality, support and resources to make those dreams come true."
Dear DPS Community,
Supt. Tom Boasberg
On Wednesday, more than 3,500 of our eighth-graders got to explore the world of opportunity that their education opens to them. Not in a textbook or on a lapto p or in a classroom -- they saw it up close, and had the chance to talk directly with the people who know most about it.
Since 2009, we've hosted a citywide  Eighth-Grade Career Fair  that includes a broad spectrum of fields and features professionals from hundreds of Colorado businesses and colleges who speak to students one-on-one about their future aspirations.
Eighth grade is an important transition time, and we've worked hard in DPS to help students actively explore their interests and make their high school choices more relevant to their desired future.
We want our kids to be excited about the transition to high school and feel a strong connection to everything that's possible through a good education. They hear how important an education is to their future all the time -- we want them to see and feel the connection.

"This event is important to me because I can figure out what interests me by talki ng to people," said Nya Woods, a student at Highline Academy. "I get to ask questions and businesses can prepare me for what to expect in my potential future career."
Watch our DPS Features video about the 8th Grade Career Fair on YouTube or Vimeo.
Watch our DPS Features video about the 8th Grade Career Fair on YouTube or Vimeo.

For many students, the fair is the first introduction to our extensive  Career Connect program.  We've invested heavily in giving our high school students a clear and compelling connection to the career paths in rapidly growing areas of our economy. That means getting them out of the classroom and into internships, job shadowing and college campuses for college-level courses. It drives up student engagement and enthusiasm, and we see the results of that investment every spring.

L ast May,  the DPS Class of 2016 was Denver's largest graduating class ever.  There's still a lot of work  to do, though, and that's why we made College and Career Readiness a priority in our  Denver Plan 2020 , and it's a reason we've raised the bar on our high school graduation requirements for the Class of 2021 - this year's eighth-graders. Jobs requiring training beyond high school are growing three times as fast as jobs requiring only a high school diploma. In 2020, 74% of all Colorado jobs -- three million of them -- will require education beyond high school.

That's also why our Denver  Community Planning and Advisory Committee  included in the 2016 proposal on Tuesday's ballot  funds for significantly increasing our career and technical education (CTE) offerings to provide career training and work experiences to our students.

We not only want our kids prepared for life after high school, we want to inspire them to dream big dreams. We want them to see a great future ahead for themselves and have the educational quality, support and resources to make those dreams come true.

Discover a World of Opportunity at the DPS Great Schools Expo Wednesday, Nov. 9
DPS Great Schools Expo 2016
Watch our DPS Features Video about the DPS Great Schools Expo above or on YouTube or Vimeo.
The DPS Great Schools Expo is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Students and families can meet  with representatives from all traditional, charter, magnet and pathway schools in DPS. Attendees can learn more about programs and resources available to DPS families and attend SchoolChoice information sessions.  Principals, teachers and students from every DPS school will be at Sports Authority Field -- home of the Broncos -- to connect with our families.  To learn more, visit dpsk12.org/expo .

It's Time: Mobile-Friendly DPS Website Launched

At long last, DPS has switched over to a new mobile-responsive website. The site,  www.dpsk12.org, launched yesterday, complete with new functionality and a focus on  information we believe our students, families and community members are seeking. We know there will be some kinks, delays and broken links as we make this important transition, so please share your questions ("Wait, where's that link?"), concerns and feedback with us at communications@dpsk12.org
Homeless, Migrant Seniors Connect with College Resources

Migrant students Pa Thee and Nasteho Abdi stand with their MEP coordinator at Senior Night.
DPS served 1,302 homeless students in the 2007-08 school year. That number more than doubled in the 2015-16 school year -- to 2,519 students -- the largest number to date. In alignment with the  Denver Plan 2020  goal of closing the opportunity gap, the  Homeless Education Network  (HEN) and  Migrant Education Program  (MEP) partnered with the Office of College and Career Readiness to expand resources for homeless and migrant students who will soon be graduating.

On Nov. 3, DPS students who are experiencing homelessness and students with migrant backgrounds met with representatives from colleges throughout Colorado. The purpose of this special "Senior Night" was to connect these high school seniors with colleges and universities across the state, to ensure they are aware of resources available to help them conquer barriers to enrollment and attendance, and to achieve their higher-education aspirations. Students received information about scholarships and a variety of resources and supports available to them, such as waived tuition and year-round housing.
An average day for Onesti Turner, senior at George Washington High School, starts around 5 a.m. and ends around 1 a.m. She attends school all day, then work, then back home to do homework before bed. With the support of HEN, she is determined to achieve her goal of attending the University of Northern Colorado to earn a degree in psychology.
"My drive keeps me going," said Oneisti. "I want to do something better for my future and in order for me to do that, I have to keep pushing. I can't let my situation stop me even though it's hard." The situation she is referring to is a non-traditional home life; Oneisti lives with her grandfather and her sister.
Johnnie Hamm has a similar lifestyle. He takes an hour-long bus ride to school from his shared home in Aurora where he sleeps on the couch of a generous friend.
"I know that my dreams and my hopes are just one more step closer," said Johnnie Hamm, a senior student who also receives support from HEN. "I don't live with family anymore; I don't have someone who provides for me. I have a different perspective on life since I have to take care of myself."
Students who experience homelessness are 87% more likely to drop out of school than their housed peers. With the support of HEN, students who are homeless have nearly doubled their graduation rates -- from 21.9% in 2006-07, to 41.8% in 2015-16. Their goal is to increase the graduation rate by 20% by year 2020.   

Nov. 21-25: Thanksgiving Break (No Classes)
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