DPS strives to meet each student and staff members’ individual needs. The Equity and Engagement Division brings together five departments and our DPS Senior Advisor on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to support our Shared Core Value of Equity and to ensure that we do all we can to help Every Child Succeed.
Equity is a Shared Core Value
The work of eliminating opportunity gaps belongs to everyone in DPS. From educational opportunities to hiring practices to discipline policies, we must focus on how our actions further our Shared Core Value of equity. To live that value of equity, we must provide opportunity, access and inclusion to all, while providing the necessary resources and supports to raise the achievement of all students while narrowing the gaps between the highest and lowest performing students.
Culture, Equity and Leadership Team
The Culture, Equity and Leadership Team (CELT) educates and empowers in order to disrupt and dismantle current and historical inequities in our Denver Public Schools community that have disproportionately impacted Black, African American and LGBTQ+ students, families and educators. We lead and model transformational change, driving the district’s mission and vision by leveraging our Shared Core Values so that Every Child Succeeds. We have supported over 3,800 Denver Public Schools team members through professional development and training that helps to:
- Improve our organization’s effectiveness by building a culture where team members can show up as their authentic and best selves.
- Provide tools in the form of values-based leadership opportunities for people to champion a culture of equity and expand the conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Infuse an explicit and consistent focus on equity, inclusion and behavioral change.
- Build district capacity toward equity and inclusion of LGBTQ+ students, team members, and families.
- Include students, families and communities as partners in our efforts.
Our team supports the implementation of the Black Excellence Resolution and African American Equity Task Force recommendations, which were a direct result of inequities in DPS found in the Dr. Bailey Report published in 2016. This work not only impacts the over 12,800 African American students and teachers in the district, but everyone in our DPS community. Follow our progress on the African American Equity Task Force website or sign up to be an Equity Ambassador and receive progress updates.
Extended Learning and Community Schools
Extended Learning and Community Schools (ELCs) creates opportunities for school communities to engage and inspire Denver youth and families. We oversee many of the after-school programs in the district, serving around 8,000 students every year and increasing equity for our families in the district by ensuring students can be supported outside of the school day. Our programs include:
- Discovery Link: This is a licensed before and after-school care program for school-age children at 43 elementary schools in DPS.
- Extended Learning: We provide schools with grant funding opportunities to support before and after school programs in partnership with the DPS Foundation. Extended Learning provides schools with data and quality supports in after-school programs as partners of the Denver Afterschool Alliance.
- Community Partnerships: We work with partners who are committed to providing programs and services to support the diverse needs of our students. There are currently almost 500 community partners who serve DPS students through programs during and outside of school.
- Professional Development: We provide free weekly professional development opportunities to support the greater out-of-school time field across the Denver Metro Area in collaboration with the Denver Quality Afterschool Connection (DQUAC) Leadership Team. DQUAC offers 65 free Professional Development sessions a year for diverse audiences from site staff to executive directors reaching over 400 unique participants.
All of our programs provide DPS students a safe, enriching place to continue their studies, explore new skills and make friends during out-of-school time. Our vision is to provide high quality programming every day at every site. We support social, emotional and academic learning, increase family participation and community engagement, and expand middle school programming, helping Every Child Succeed.
Family and Community Engagement
We are the FACE of Denver Public Schools. Family and Community Engagement (FACE) provides access to resources, information, education and support for everyone in the DPS community at any point in their life's journey, supporting our district’s 93,000 students and their families. Our programs and services include:
- Family and Youth Services: We use innovative strategies to support students, families and schools, leveraging a multi-generational approach and partnering with community organizations to provide whole child and wrap-around services to obtain critical life skills that increase their economic self-sufficiency and the academic achievement of their students.
- Family Empowerment Team: Our team is dedicated to developing educated, engaged, and empowered parents and staff who are academic partners in student success. The three components of work the Family Empowerment team provides consist of: FACE professional development, Parent Empowerment & Leadership Training, and School-Based Family Engagement Programs.
- Family Constituency Services: We provide high quality services using culturally competent practices to families, schools, and community members who need assistance accessing school and District resources, addressing concerns, and building skills to be strong partners in their students’ education.
- Community Engagement Strategy and Advocacy: Our team creates culturally relevant, transparent and authentic engagement strategies through consultation, strategic planning and advocacy across the district and in collaboration with our community leaders, partners and organizations. We help to create capacity within the district because we believe community engagement is everyone’s responsibility.
- Multicultural Outreach: We strive to serve immigrants, refugees and multicultural communities through outreach platforms in 6-10 languages including podcasts, TV, newspaper, social media and internet. We support DPS educators, students and parents with community engagement and information, and partner on district-wide initiatives. We are dedicated to building trust, equity, teamwork, and collaboration.
We’re here for families when they need us, offering support in partnership with over 525 community organizations and more than 6,000 volunteers. Together, we can all drive positive change in our homes, schools and communities so that Every Child Succeeds.
Native American Culture and Education
Native American students in Denver Public Schools deserve culturally responsive approaches and practices to support academic success and overall well-being. Native American Culture and Education (NACE) supports around 1000 Native American/Alaska Native students in Denver Public Schools, many of whom experience two worlds in their day-to-day lives as they navigate the Denver community but still have a strong cultural identity with their tribal Nations. Our team helps native students to succeed through services such as:
- Collaborating with teachers, administrators, support staff, and families to develop and implement opportunities and interventions
- Facilitating the development and implementation of culturally responsive approaches in schools
- Coordinating and supplement educational, and social emotional services for students and families
- Engaging parents in their child’s educational program
- Implementing experiential learning activities
- Providing support to promote responsible decision making
Our goal is to partner with schools and families to eliminate the disparity in graduation and dropout rates for Native American and Alaska Native students and to prepare them for post-secondary education or careers. We ensure our students have access to an equitable education by providing support while respecting culture and traditions, helping Every Child Succeed.
Student Equity and Opportunity
Student Equity and Opportunity holds the key to student success in school and success in life. Our team supports all 93,000 students in DPS in different ways in order to meet their individual needs so that they have equitable opportunities to learn and grow in Denver Public Schools. Our services include:
- Social-Emotional Supports
- School Nursing
- Special Education
- Psychological and Social Work Services
- Gifted and Talented
- 504 Accommodations
- Federal Title Programming
- Medicaid enrollment
- School Health Programs
We help keep our students healthy. We help our students feel safe. We help our students excel academically. Everything we do puts our Students First and supports our district mission that Every Child Succeeds.