The African American Equity Task Force was asked to develop and present a set of prioritized recommendations to help close the Opportunity Gap for our African American students and educators. The task force was made up of more than 100 parents, educators and community leaders who received guidance from an executive council made up of leaders in Denver’s African American community. The work was a significant time investment for community members. From surveys to community meetings — sometimes twice a week — the team dedicated themselves to finding ways to improve outcomes for African American students and educators.
Denver Public Schools and the Board of Education adopted a set of recommendations developed by the African American Equity Task Force (AAETF) in June 2017, followed by the Black Excellence Resolution in February, 2019.
While there is still work to do, the initial partnership effort marks a tremendous start toward providing culturally responsive instruction for students, improving engagement with families and ensuring equity for all.
Current projects in progress:
The Equity Experience: The Equity Experience is the result of what is outlined in the Black Excellence Resolution driven by the Board of Education, which calls for “training all members of Team DPS in implicit bias and culturally responsive education on an ongoing basis.”
School-level Expectations: During the 21-22 school year, Instructional Leadership Teams will continue into year 2 of the Equity Experience and expand upon what they learned in year 1. School-based staff will also be able to participate in their first year of the Equity Experience.
Black Excellence Plans: Black Excellence Plans are required of DPS schools as of the 2020-21 school year. Each school has created a plan that is tailored to their student population and involves a deep dive into student outcome data to address disproportionalities across student populations, primarily in special education, Gifted and Talented and discipline.
Progress during the 20-21 school year:
100% of schools have submitted the first phase of their plans, and while they vary based on circumstances and needs of a given school, we are working to bring increased coherence at a district level.
Looking forward, DPS is working to increase awareness of Black Excellence Plans among school-based staff and community members
There will be an explicit focus on Black Family Engagement during the 21-22 school year
School-based team members had the opportunity to reflect on Black Excellence Plan implementation in a March 2021 survey:
82% of school team members are aware of the components of their school’s Black Excellence Plans.
77% of school team members are aware of their role in their school’s Black Excellence Plans.
Since the adoption of the recommendations by the Board of Education in June of 2017, five implementation teams have been created with the task of driving results toward each of the recommendations. Currently, these teams are collaborating with multiple departments and organizations to develop and prioritize actions that will lead to results. As of November 2020, the goals for this school year include: