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Among the goals of the Denver Superintendent: the elimination of racist systems

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Pending the first assessment of the Denver headmaster in October, the school board approved the criteria for evaluating his first year of work.

The indicators are related to the observance of color educators, the adoption of a program of social and emotional learning, the frequency of deviations from classes outside school, and others.

Superintendent Alex Morera began major work in Denver public schools in July. His arrival coincided with the adoption by the school board of a new type of governance that required him to set common goals called “graduation statements”. In board five.

So they:

  • The district will be “free from repressive systems and structures rooted in racism.”
  • Students will receive a comprehensive and culturally relevant education. All students will receive scores on district tests, and students who score below have achieved “significant academic growth”. Students with disabilities will have the necessary resources.
  • Students and staff will be mentally and physically healthy.
  • The area will become a safe environment where the impact of COVID will be minimized.
  • Graduates will be independent lifelong learners who will be able to make informed decisions.

As the sole employee of the school board, the principal is responsible for ensuring that the district moves toward these common goals. To this end, Morera has developed a set of indicators called “reasonable interpretations” by which the board will measure its success.

Last week, council members unanimously approved figures related to four of the five goals. They postponed the vote on indicators related to the second goal because Marera said he needed council members to further determine what they meant by a good education.

Per Morere’s last contract, which was approved in December, five months after he took office, the board must evaluate his work by October 31 of each year. Documents prepared by Marera and approved by the council say it will be successful if it reaches 75% of its targets. Morera wrote that he expects to achieve some goals by the end of this school year, but to achieve others will take until the end of next school year.

Members of the metrics council will use Marera to evaluate and direct him to:

  • By the beginning of the next school year, open at least four “community centers”. The community centers will offer “programs and services that support the social, emotional, physical, and academic needs of students,” according to a paper written by the supervisor. Morera said he would pay for these knots with savings from job cuts in the central office.
  • Identify at least two “strong systems of oppression” in the area to be dismantled.
  • Keep color and multilingual teachers at the same rate as other teachers, according to preliminary teacher retention data available in September.
  • Establish an advisory group that includes a representation of at least 10 organizations serving historically marginalized communities.
  • Increase the percentage of students and colored families who report a sense of belonging to the district, according to the annual survey. Last year, 68% of black students and 69% of Hispanic students said they felt they belonged to their school, while 91% of black families and 93% of Hispanic families said they felt welcome in their school. the child.
  • Increase from 33% to at least 85% the number of schools that have a curriculum dedicated to social and emotional learning.
  • Increase from fall to spring the percentage of employees who quantify their well-being in a survey conducted twice a year as 7 or higher on a scale of 0 to 10.
  • Make sure the number of deviations from school attendance does not exceed the figure in 2018-19, the last school year before the pandemic. That year, 4.25% of students were rejected, although the rate was higher for black students who were disproportionately rejected.
  • Keep personal education at school “a priority if our current state of health allows”.
  • Make sure each district high school offers a financial literacy course. Currently, these courses are offered by 21 of the 23 high schools. A group of recent Denver public school graduates called Ednium pushed district priority financial literacy.
  • Restore benchmarks for release figures after pandemic-related disruptions. Graduation figures descended throughout the state in 2021, Denver’s graduate rate is 74%.

Next month, the council is scheduled to vote on indicators related to the last major goal, the provision of comprehensive education. According to the project, these indicators will include:

  • Restoration of baseline indicators for participation and achievement in state literacy and mathematics tests. In 2021, more than half of Denver students are in third through eighth grade refused Academic Success Measures in Colorado, or CMAS, tests. Estimates were also lower.
  • Ensuring that students who score lower than the grade on state tests experience high academic growth from year to year, measured as a percentage of student growth.
  • Reduce the number of students in kindergarten through reading in third grade below grade level. Last fall, only 46% students read at class level or above.
  • Ensure that 70% of district school students report in the annual survey that their lessons are culturally and linguistically relevant.
  • Ensure that 50% of students in district schools report having a “student agency”. This is measured by five questions, including “I can choose some things to study in school” and “I know my strengths and weaknesses”.
  • Ensure that all students learning English as a second language receive high quality instruction as determined by the program review.
  • Provide students with disabilities with the necessary support, as measured by indicators, including the timely completion of initial special education assessments. A Chalkbeat investigation revealed the number of initial estimates fell during a pandemic.

Melanie Asmar is a senior reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado that covers Denver public schools. Contact Melanie at masmar@chalkbeat.org.

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