The Achieving Excellence Academy (AEA) is a yearlong cultural immersion program for diverse DPS current 8th and 9th graders that culminates every summer in June. The AEA uses a gradual expansion model and will continue adding one cultural affinity group and one grade level each year of the program. Year Two of the AEA program is especially for, but not exclusive to, our Black/African-American, Latino/Latinx, and Asian American/Pacific Islander identifying students. Our culturally diverse students will journey into their own cultural identities, ancestral wisdoms, and histories of resilience by participating in rich classroom discussions, experiential learning activities, and cultural excursions (field trips) alongside peers and staff that share similar backgrounds or lived experiences. AEA student participants who graduate will commence in-person at the University of Denver surrounded by their peers, family members, and loved ones.
The AEA envisions a future where students of marginalized identities and resilience are regularly celebrated and experience JOY! The AEA serves as one district initiative to interrupt and co-create improved Student, Adult, and System Experiences that promote student voice, belonging, connection, and change-making. AEA students are encouraged to learn who they are (self-identity and the excellence that resides within), what they are passionate about (and the power in community and coalition-building), and who they want to be (for themselves and in-service of others). It is our greatest hope for students to return each summer of the AEA program through their high school graduation year.