The African-American Equity Task Force (AAETF) implementation teams continue to learn and collaborate on existing efforts across the district to help improve the experiences of African- Americans in DPS. This update will focus on key areas of progress that have taken place since April 2018 and highlight the 2018-19 focus for each recommendation. All work continues to align to the recommendations and with the multi-phase journey set forth.
Establishment of an Oversight Committee– Wisdom Team
Formally known as the oversight committee, the Wisdom Team (WT) will support the Implementation Team Leads (ITL) with their work around the recommendations while elevating diverse voices throughout the community. The members of the Wisdom Team have been announced and the team has begun to meet. The team is comprised of community members and DPS team members, with additional roles for student voice to be filled during the upcoming school year. Similar to the implementation teams, the Wisdom Team’s commitment to the work will be ongoing.
District and School Structures to Promote Equity
- Under the leadership of the Professional Learning Team, the Opportunity Gap cohort completed its first year with 30 schools and will be continuing in the 2018-19 school year.
- The Culture, Equity and Leadership Team continues to offer values-based leadership programs to all employees to build knowledge, skills and abilities in communication, change management, building trust through relationships, bias-awareness and more.
- Developing a new Values-Based Leadership Program for DPS team members called DPS Leadership Equity, which will be offered three times during the 2018-19 school year.
- Working with the Student Equity and Opportunity team to infuse equity work into trauma-informed practices, increase student supports and interventions.
- Designing and developing a new skills training called Creating Equitable Outcomes Using Relational Leadership.
- Develop the Equity Indicator: Work with schools and academic teams to develop a tool that will provide internal leaders and the community a comprehensive demographic view of their school community. This will assist leaders in making more equitable decisions.
- Create the process for developing Equity Plans: Develop equity plans in pilot schools with red or orange SPF. Create a cross-collaborative pilot team of four to six schools and one to two departments to create an organizational equity plan.
Culturally Responsive Instruction, Engagement and Communication
- Collaborated with the Culturally Responsive Education (CRE) working team and steering committee to create a working definition for the 2018-19 school year of what culturally responsive education is in DPS, as well as the mindsets, practices and key actions.
- The CRE team is now fully staffed and consists of a Senior Manager, three CRE Professional Learning Specialists and a dedicated Project Manager.
- Approximately 45 schools and 100 educators have been nominated to join in a year-long professional learning cohort experience called the Culturally Responsive Fellowship. The fellowship kicked off in late July, with a two-day intensive learning experience
- Partnering with Zaretta Hammond on her work related to culturally responsive teaching and the brain in 2018-19.
- The District Management Group (DMG) has been working with the CRE team to develop strategic, communication and implementation plans, which will be available in August.
- Pilot the Culturally Responsive Teaching mindsets, practices and key actions with select teachers in 45 schools.
- Offer a culturally responsive leadership institute to develop the mindsets and practices in school leaders, so they are able to support their teachers engaged in the pilots.
Targeted Supports for Students
- Increased college course offerings for 18-19 in areas identified as interesting to students (social justice, criminology, ethnic studies, women’s studies) in order to engage students who would not normally access courses.
- Completed an analysis of 2018 PSAT/SAT results by race and gender. Identified gaps between student groups, schools beating the odds with students of color, and schools where stronger supports are needed for students of color. Results were presented to district leaders and work is underway to identify best practices and ways to replicate support strategies across schools.
- The Department of Secondary Education and the Office of College and Career Readiness continue to work on mitigating barriers to enrollment in Concurrent Enrollment courses for African-American students. Next steps include partnering with Denver Online and Schoology to deliver Concurrent Enrollment courses online, and implementing a district-wide Accuplacer testing strategy with the goal of identifying more students prepared to access courses and improving pass rates.
- Updated analyses using 2017-18 data on concurrent and AP access, with enrollment by race and gender underway, taking AAETF feedback on prior work into account.
- Collaborating with the Gifted and Talented Team to evaluate how recent district and state changes to Gifted and Talented eligibility policies further impact African-American student access.
- Identifying opportunities to engage district leaders in strategies for ensuring African-American students are prepared to graduate under the new graduation requirements for the class of 2021.
- Design and develop a draft equitable access plan for African-American students in high-value learning opportunities.
- Evaluate current state of program offerings by school.
- Provide teachers with additional support to accelerate low performing students.
Community and Family Resources
- The Center for Family Opportunity (CFO) provided services to 31% or 175 individuals who self-reported as African-Americans. This is from the total of 567 individual participants during the CFO’s first year in the Far Northeast (FNE) location at McGlone Academy.
- Core classes most utilized by participants include GED, ESL and Workforce Development.
- Free in-house childcare was provided during all CFO classes.
Held a community meeting at Manual High School with DPS Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent, focused on the status of African-American students in the district and state.
The City of Denver collaborated with the DPS Family and Community Engagement Team (FACE) to support high school aged youth with job opportunities this summer through the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).
Through SYEP, 54 Denver youth who self-reported as African-American, ages 16-24, were placed at local businesses and received summer work experiences. Additional youth are being enrolled through another portion of the program to support 9th grade Academy. Final participant demographic information will be available in September.
FACE has hired an additional African-American Community Engagement Regional Coordinator with teaching experience who will support the FNE community to provide ongoing case management and supportive services to youth in the community.
- Design ongoing assessments to measure the effectiveness of CFOs.
- Provide year-round academic opportunities and social supports for African-American students, families and community members.
- Create a school-level black family advisory council.
Equitable Employment Practices and Work Environments
- Transparency among pay structures in DPS has improved through the creation of tools available to employees that show the salary range and grade of all positions within DPS.
- HR Team met with the Mayor’s Office of Children’s Affairs to align next year’s recruitment and retention strategies and metrics where possible.
- HR Team is gathering data and anecdotal information from black educators who have applied to the district to capture their experience with application systems and interview processes for the 2018-19 school year.
- Talent Acquisition, Teacher Leader and Collaboration (TLC), and Teacher Pathways are meeting regularly to make sure that goals around pipelines of future educators are aligned in the best way possible (for example- the EdConnect and Para-to-Teacher programs).
- HR hosted an Employee Job Fair in the Far Northeast to support with school-based openings for the 18-19 school year.
- Members of the Talent Acquisition, Teacher Pathways, and EdConnect teams presented to the Generation Teach Cohort to encourage involvement in the education profession by joining DPS in the future.
- DPS hosted a New Educator of Color Welcome Event in early August to help new educators of color develop relationships and access supports like DPS Belong Groups, Reach One Mentoring, and other resources available to DPS employees of color.
- HR Team identifying current supports, challenges and potential solutions for each stage of the DPS employee life-cycle. Assessing the entire DPS career path (in addition to the employee life-cycle) to determine where barriers exist and what components need to be strengthened.
- Finalizing exit interview process.
- Finalizing the proposition for educators of color as a recruitment tool. As a part of this work, the team is designing an infographic to illustrate how potential candidates can connect with DPS.
- Expand the Grow Your Own pipeline opportunities for future DPS educators.
- Showcase the opportunities for career development within DPS to current employees.
- Increase enrollment of African-American students in the EDConnect program to equip and inspire them to enter the teaching profession.
As we look forward into the 2018-19 school year, we look forward to continuing the progress of these recommendations to ensure the improved experiences of our African-American students, families, staff and teachers.
Check back to learn more about how we will be changing the way we communicate these updates in 2018-19 to better serve our community.
To stay informed, visit celt.dpsk12.org for the latest news and events. Questions? Email: AAETF@dpsk12.org