African American Equity Task Force

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.

Hallett Academy Students

Black Excellence Resolution (BER)

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.

Ongoing Task Force Progress

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:

Stay Informed

Want to stay informed? Use the below resources to listen, read, watch and subscribe to learn about the latest information on the AAETF process and related equity work.


Watch episodes of the EDUCA radio show with Leslie L. Juniel.

  • WATCH: Volunteer Appreciation, with Brenda Vasquez, Manager, Volunteer Services (DPS) and Reverend Dr. Eugene Downing from New Hope Baptist Church

  • WATCH: Student Voice and Leadership, with Solicia Lopez, Director of Student Voice & Leadership and students Kevante H. and Avery W.

  • WATCH: New Graduation Requirements, with Antonio Esquibel, Executive Director of the Office of College and Career Readiness and Kimberly Grayson, Principal, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College.

  • WATCH: College Planning and Preparation, with Dr. Jeff Ederer, Founding Principal of College Route Map; Frank Lee (Morehouse College) and Ashley Clark (Hampton University) alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); and Mr. Obinna Onyeali, Denver Scholarship Foundation Future Center College Advisor.

  • WATCH: College Planning and Preparation, with Regional Executive Director of College Track, Vanecia Kerr and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Denver Alumnae Chapter Officer, Deon Estes.

  • WATCH: CareerConnect Apprenticeship Program, with Work-Based Learning Coordinator, Emily Takimoto, DPS student Seven B., and Senior Field Engineer with the University of Colorado Denver Campus, Scott Altman.

  • WATCH: Whole Child Supports, with members of the Student Equity & Opportunity team, Jay Grimm and Charmaine Keeton.

  • WATCH: Suicide Prevention, with Dr. Jane Lineman-Coffman, Student Safety Coordinator (DPS) and Dr. Tara Jae, Founder & Executive Director of Youth Seen.

  • WATCH: Bond Improvements in the Near and Far Northeast, with Michael O’Keeffe, Deputy Chief of Operations, Trena Deane, Executive Director of Facility Management and Instructional Superintendent, Tony Smith.


Opportunities to Engage

African-American Education Network

The purpose of the African-American Education Network is to provide African-American students, parents and families with a tool to help navigate PreK-20 education in Denver and beyond. Visit the website.

African-American Parent and Family Institute (coming this fall)

A series of workshops hosted by the task force dedicated to educating and informing families on how to navigate DPS’ systems and structures in order to best advocate for their student’s needs.

Black Family Advisory Council (BFAC)

The BFAC is being developed to promote opportunities that empower African-American families, If you are a parent or know parents and family members who would like to be involved in the BFAC, please reach out by emailing

Equity Boot Camp

Build skills and deepen your ability to infuse equity, inclusion and culturally responsive practices into your work during this one-day program. Open to DPS team members, families and the community.

The Dr. Bailey Report

Responding to concerns from our schools and the community, DPS commissioned Dr. Sharon Bailey to report in detail on the experiences of our African-American educators and to listen to their perspectives and concerns about how our African-American students are being cared for and educated. In response to this report, the DPS Board of Education and Superintendent commissioned the African-American Equity Task Force in the fall of 2016.

Past Updates

Stay Involved

Sign up as an Equity Ambassador to receive updates about the task force progress, invites to events in support of equity and inclusion, and opportunities to provide meaningful feedback.

Receive updates on equity initiatives within DPS