Dear Team DPS,
Dear Team DPS, To an uproar of cheers from her students, DPS' Margaret "Meg" Cypress was announced as the 2019 Colorado Teacher of the Year this week.
The prestigious award, named by the Colorado Department of Education, is given to only one educator in Colorado each year. Now, the fifth-grade teacher from Bradley International School will represent the entire profession in Colorado and be the face of our state's teachers for the year to come, including through a visit with the President at the White House as well as a trip to NASA Space Camp over the summer.
"Meg Cypress' love for teaching and helping children grow makes her the perfect ambassador for Colorado teachers," said Colorado Commissioner Katy Anthes, who presented the award at a surprise ceremony at Bradley. "As Colorado continues to look for ways to recruit and retain more teachers, Meg is exactly the type of spark we need to inspire and motivate bright people to enter the profession."
Learn more about Meg's honor here, and see news coverage about the announcement in Chalkbeat Colorado and the Denver Post.
We know teachers are at the frontline of our students' education, and it's critical that we support our educators in continuous growth and development in their craft and as people. And that should start day one of their career -- which DPS is supporting through our innovative Teaching Academies. The academies -- set at seven of our high-poverty schools -- immerse future teachers enrolled in teacher preparation programs in the profession alongside seasoned educators. We look forward to sharing more about these academies soon.
Our teachers are offered continued supports throughout their career with DPS, including through a comprehensive growth and performance feedback system, our Teacher Leadership and Collaboration model to distribute leadership among educators in our schools, personal and professional development opportunities, and employee groups like DPS Belong that connect educators to others with similar backgrounds, beliefs and experiences.
These supports seem to be paying off, and we're excited to share that recent data shows more teachers are choosing to stay with DPS year over year. Our teacher retention has climbed over the past three years to 86% and, for our teachers of color and top-performing teachers, retention was even greater. Eighty-seven percent of our teachers of color and 91% of our top-performing teachers returned to DPS this year! Learn more about these promising findings here.
I want to share a big thank you to all of our DPS teachers. We know every one of our students comes to us with talent, potential and dreams -- and developing, growing and encouraging them starts with our inspired educators. Thank you for the gift you give our students every day through your instruction, high expectations and your unwavering support and belief in them.
As Meg shared during her acceptance: "To my colleagues, I love you all. To me, you are all teachers of the year every day too."