A hallmark of all of our equity and inclusion efforts is our ability to meet unique needs, embrace families and communities, encourage conversations, and generate and inspire advocates.

Where We Started

LIFT: Leadership Investment Framework for Talent

LIFT is a tool that supports employees in their own development as leaders, while narrowing the scope of leadership to what is meaningful for DPS.

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Equity Boot Camp

Through Equity Boot Camp, school leaders collaborate cross-functionally with DPS equity teams, school-support staff, students and parents to build deeper relationships and identify improvement opportunities in culturally responsive teaching practices, thus improving student achievement and eliminating discipline disproportionality. Learn More.

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Equity and Implicit Bias Foundational Training

Our foundational training on equity starts with a workshop focused on the behavioral and emotional impacts of implicit and explicit bias in relationships. This approach is foundational because self-awareness about bias allows participants to leave empowered to treat everyone as the unique individuals they are and to take ownership for how personal bias affects our interactions with colleagues, students and families.

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Values-Based Professional Development

Three DPS values-based professional development programs instill specific skills needed to live the district's vision of equity and inclusion. These programs help leaders increase self-awareness about biases and begin to challenge assumptions, teach them how to lead through the lens of cultural responsiveness and equity, and help them understand and identify cross-cultural implications.

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Restorative Approaches

Student behavioral issues can arise in any classroom. Giving teachers and school leaders new tools to address these issues can have a big impact on school culture.

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Culturally Responsive Education

Ensuring culturally responsive practices is an ongoing challenge, especially in a large urban school district like DPS. A culture gap can develop in classrooms where teachers have a majority of students of different economic and ethnic backgrounds.

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DPS Summer Academy

DPS Summer Academy provides additional supports for our English language learners, sharpening English skills through English, math and advisory classes. At the same time, it provides an opportunity for new teachers, serving as apprentices to more experienced educators, to receive hands-on experience with linguistically diverse students.

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Student Perception Survey

The Student Perception Survey asks students to share their voices, and includes questions about high expectations and student supports. Students respond to prompts such as: "I like the way my teacher treats me." "My teacher listens to me."

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Video: Diverse Educators with Diverse Backgrounds

It's a question each of us heard throughout our childhood: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" For Shakira Abney-Wisdom, a teacher in Far Northeast Denver, the answer always came without hesitation. "At the end of the day, I was going to ... work with children. That was the plan through middle school, high school and college. I just knew," she said.

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LEAP: DPS’ Framework for Effective Teaching

DPS' teacher growth and performance system, LEAP or Leading Effective Academic Practice, includes the expectation of a positive classroom culture and climate. One indicator of this is that the educator demonstrates knowledge of, interest in and respect for diverse students’ communities and cultures in a manner that increases equity.

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Viral Video: I Wish My Teacher Knew

When Kyle Schwartz, a third-grade teacher at Doull Elementary, came up with a simple yet meaningful assignment for her students, she didn't know that the results would go viral and start a national conversation around child poverty. The assignment was to complete the sentence "I wish my teacher knew" on a notecard.

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Home Visit Program

The goal of the Parent Teacher Home Visit Program is to build a strong, positive relationship between the family and the school. The visits begin with the teacher asking about the family’s hopes and dreams for their child. By involving the parents and families, we create a better chance of success for students.

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Superintendent Parent Forum

Every year, Superintendent Tom Boasberg hosts the Superintendent Parent Forums as a way to communicate and connect with parents districtwide. These monthly forums offer an opportunity for parents, school staff and the superintendent to engage in interactive discussions about key district initiatives selected by parents.

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Additional Pathways to Teaching

DPS offers multiple alternative routes to teaching and principal licensure to attract diverse candidates. Traditional routes include earning an undergraduate degree in education but through our alternative programs, candidates can also become a teacher if they have previously earned a bachelor's degree in other areas.

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Office of Equity and Inclusion

The Office of Equity and Inclusion was created to make Denver Public Schools’ commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity a reality. To support our vision, Every Child Succeeds, the Office of Equity and Inclusion works to ensure five broad goals, including transforming our culture, behaviors and practices to empower all students to learn, achieve and succeed in our global society.

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Equity is a Shared Core Value

Equity in education is raising the achievement of all students while narrowing the gaps between the highest- and lowest-performing students, and eliminating the racial predictability and disproportionality in which student groups occupy the highest- and lowest-achievement categories. Equity as a Shared Core Value is about providing opportunity, access and inclusion to all.

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CollaboRATE Survey

Each member of Team DPS provides feedback about how effectively their school or department is demonstrating the district’s Shared Core Values including Equity. This includes to what extent district leaders honor cultures and diverse backgrounds and, at the school level, value and respect the students, and ensure that student and educator achievements are celebrated.

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Where We Are

HR Support in Hiring

Human Resource partners support DPS schools in eliminating bias in hiring and selection.

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Mentoring Opportunities

To create an environment where equity and inclusion remain top-of-mind in all we do, DPS provides mentoring opportunities to diverse, high-potential leaders. We have launched a mentoring program for leaders of color to encourage their interaction and to support their growth in DPS.

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Purposeful Conversations

DPS is committed to launching purposeful conversations on equity and inclusion, and providing the tools to support ongoing conversations and relationship-building. To launch a purposeful conversation requires asking questions such as: 1) Why are we meeting or talking? 2) What do we want to accomplish through the conversation? 3) How will we measure success?

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LIFT Competency: Equity

Denver Public Schools' LIFT (Leadership Investment Framework for Talent) program for employees instills the leadership qualities needed to drive the district's vision of Every Child Succeeds, and accompanying goals and initiatives. A key piece of that development going forward is competency in Community & Equity Leadership.

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Fostering Public Dialogue

The complicated issues surrounding equity in education have a long history, in Denver and across the country. A robust and ongoing public dialogue can start through informative and thought-provoking contributions from media. DPS alum Catherine Wigginton Greene certainly has done her part. Greene, who graduated from George Washington High School, directed the documentary "I'm Not a Racist...Am I?"

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Make Your Mark Denver

The Make Your Mark Denver campaign is a collaboration between the Denver Mayor’s office, Denver Public Schools and Denver-based charter management organizations to accelerate efforts around the recruitment and retention of teachers and leaders of color. An increasingly diverse teaching force is critical to closing the achievement gap.

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Where We're Going

CELT Training Opportunities

DPS' Culture Equity Leadership Team (CELT) offers a variety of training programs for educators.

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Online Tools

We must develop and provide online tools and resources on Culturally Responsive Education, equity and inclusion. The office of Equity and Inclusion is collaborating with DPS’ Family and Community Engagement team to create online bias training for parent liaisons. Stay tuned for online tools as they are developed.

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LIFT: Defining Expectations

The district's Leadership Investment Framework for Talent will have a role in defining performance expectations and developing and identifying successes when it comes to equity and inclusion in DPS.

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Student-to-Teacher Pathway

Colorado schools are facing a shortage of qualified teachers from diverse races and ethnicities, and that is felt at DPS as well. The district is continually looking at innovative ways to address this shortage, including creating pathways and opportunities that expose promising students to the personal and professional rewards of teaching.

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Aspirational Vision

Voices of African-American Educators

At DPS, we know we must do more than talk about our values, we must live them. We recently 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 DPS. Read the thought-provoking full report; an executive summary also is available.

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Inclusion/Inclusive Systems

Inclusion is the next level of equity, and we use an infusion model to look at the systems in DPS to identify barriers and successes to making people feel valued. Diversity is about counting people; Inclusion is about making people count.

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Get Involved

Our kids need all of us — educators, families, community partners and staff. Visit dpsk12.org to find out how to lend your support and your voice to our equity and inclusion efforts.

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Diversity is Our Strength

At Denver Public Schools, what makes each of us different, makes us stronger together. We invite diverse backgrounds, perspectives and approaches, and everyone in our community feels welcome to provide them.

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