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2010 Denver Plan
Message From Superintendent Tom Boasberg
March 2010Dear DPS Community:
This is an absolutely critical time for our schools and our city. The 2005 Denver Plan started to change the conversation in our community about our schools, and it has been the blueprint for the progress we’ve seen over the past four years.
Despite our progress, however, we must face the sobering fact that we are failing the civil rights challenge of our generation: to ensure that all of our students, regardless of ethnicity or income status, graduate from our high schools prepared for college or career. Now is time to accelerate our reforms, to sharpen the focus on student achievement, and to get all of our children—in every neighborhood of Denver—on track to walk across the commencement stage armed with everything they need to forge a great future for themselves. The momentum is there, and we need to capitalize on it now.
This is a plan to do just that. It has an intense focus on the work in our classrooms. Teaching is our society’s noblest profession, requiring enormous skill, passion, creativity, and commitment. Nothing is more important to the future of our children than our teachers. Effective teaching is the one thing proven to truly move the achievement needle – to close our achievement gaps and give every one of our students a real chance to succeed. As President Obama has stressed:
From the moment students enter a school, the most important factor in their success is not the color of their skin or the income of their parents, it’s the person standing at the front of the classroom.
This plan also recognizes the three critical strategies we must pursue to enable our teachers’ work in the classroom: retaining, rewarding, and recruiting great people; strong family and community engagement; and strategic management of financial resources.
But those strategies—important as they are—will not fully succeed if we do not continue and deepen our conversations around fundamentally changing the culture and structure of public education. We need that dialogue to center on high expectations, excellent customer service, and systems of empowerment and responsibility.
We must acknowledge that our culture historically has not been one consistently defined by high expectations, service, empowerment, and responsibility. This is partly the result of the fact that our district, like school districts across the country, has operated for generations as a monopoly and has suffered from a monopoly’s resistance to fundamental change, a lack of urgency, and an inflexibility that often puts the interests of the system and its adults over and above the needs of our students. This must change. It is long past time to reorganize our system on new principles. We need to create a system and a culture that places our students’ interests unequivocally first, that presumes the best of our professionals, that empowers them, and that focuses above all else on our student performance.
We must move away from the conflicts of the past that pitted adults within our schools against one another and turn our attention to focus solely on the needs of our children. We must embrace our shared mission of dramatically improving student achievement and serving our families. For the sake of our children’s and our city’s future, together, we’re UP to the challenge.