Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017
Students at Munroe Elementary in West Denver celebrated snow prior to Winter Break.
Wintry Weather: Should We Open or Should We Close?
Winter storms always bring questions about how we make decisions on whether to close our schools. While today's storm is a little different, with nearly all kids still on Winter Break and few buses in service, we wanted to share resources on how we determine closures and delays:
  • The Denver Public Schools' school closure and delay process is outlined at, including parent-friendly FAQs in multiple languages and a video featuring Nicole Portee, DPS executive director of transportation. This page also includes information about the weather delay schedule for schools starting at 8:30 a.m. or later.
  • For today's storm, which impacts a very limited number of students, DPS decided to follow the lead of our partners at the City and County of Denver and allow a two-hour delay in starting times. Leaders at the few schools and programs with students -- such as McAuliffe schools and Discovery Link day camps -- made decisions for their families in consultation with the district. The Emily Griffith Campus opened at 8 a.m. for those school-support employees who did not wish to take advantage of the delay.
  • Our goal is to make decisions about closures or delays by 5 a.m., and earlier when possible. Last night, our communications team emailed staff at 6:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. with weather-related updates. We also updated the DPS homepage and DPS social media (Facebook and Twitter) at those times.
Questions about today's decision or weather decisions in general? Email us at
CollaboRATE Results Are Coming Soon
Jennifer Harris' Cory Elementary team was among those with 100% participation in CollaboRATE.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our annual CollaboRATE survey! We are excited to share that 73% of our full- and part-time team members -- more than 9,200 of us -- completed this important survey.
All of the feedback received through CollaboRATE helps DPS' leaders, teams and the entire district continue to learn and grow, and helps drive real changes so we can all best support our kids. Leaders will be sharing their engagement and leader results with their teams in the coming weeks, and we'll provide district engagement results in next week's edition of Team DPS Weekly.
All 219 teams that reached 100% participation were entered to win a bagel breakfast. Congratulations to our winners:
  • David Daves' Emily Griffith High School team
  • Jorge Robles' English Language Acquisition team
  • Jennifer Harris' Cory Elementary team
  • Donna Cash's Office of Social Emotional Learning team
Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Teammate: Esmeralda Chavira
Esmeralda Chavira
Esmeralda Chavira, a Ritchie principal intern at Skinner Middle School, died on Jan. 1 in a tragic accident in Mexico. 
Chavira was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and came to the United States with her parents when she was six years old. She lived in Chicago before moving to Denver with her family when she was a teenager. She graduated from Montbello High School, and received her bachelor's degree in business management from Metro State University.

After working in the business industry for four years, Chavira became a bilingual elementary teacher. She received her teaching license and master's degree from the University of Colorado at Denver and began teaching at Castro Elementary in 2009. At Castro, she taught fourth grade, then became the student advisor and administrative assistant. 

"Esmeralda's perseverance and dedication to students was clearly evident in her support of students' academic and social emotional needs," said Cheri Wrench, DPS executive director and former Castro principal. "She was a gifted bilingual leader in DPS with great talent."   

Chavira enjoyed traveling, reading and dancing. Most recently, she attended the University of Denver to receive her principal's license through the Ritchie program, and became a Ritchie principal intern at Skinner.  In a short time, she made a positive impact with students, teachers and families in the Southwest and Northwest Denver communities at Castro Elementary and at Skinner Middle School, respectively. 

"She will be greatly missed by many, and the DPS community is a better place because Esmeralda was part of our family," Wrench said. 

Chavira is survived by her parents, three younger brothers, her husband and young daughter.
Top 5 Callout: Share Your New Year's Resolution
Happy 2017! It's a new year and that means new resolutions. Are you planning to put your FitBit to work? Are you taking a class or certification course? Have you set new goals for kids in your classrooms, or thought about ways to live our Shared Core Values? We want to hear all about your New Year's Resolutions. Email us your resolution and we'll select the top 5 to feature in next week's newsletter. One person will be selected to win a giveaway!
Nominate a Teammate for Living Our DPS
If you've seen a colleague or small team living one of our Shared Core Values (or all 
the values),  nominate them for Living Our DPS and they may be featured on The Commons and here in Team DPS Weekly. Nominate them today and check back weekly to see who we're recognizing each week
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