My name is Alexandra, I am a TEN parent leader, a former teacher and a trauma and wellness practitioner.
Everyday, our children enter school with some form of trauma from the world outside. I have watched repeatedly how my students struggled to remain on task or got excited about learning, because they were hurting. Our children are not well. Our world is hateful, it is cruel and it, for a third grader who is watching this all happen, our world is scary.
I wonder what our DPS schools are doing to actually think about how we support the whole child. I think we know that if our students feel safe, if they feel nurtured and calm in their schools, they are able to learn so much more. We know that the brain stops firing certain neurotransmitters when a person is under stress. Our children are under stress now more than ever before- threats of family separation, threats of violence from police, threats of inconsistency in their educational experiences. We have to figure out a way to better address trauma inside our schools. Part of addressing that trauma is training our teachers how to come to the space with compassion and understanding. We have been waiting for DPS to implement implicit bias training for a year now, instead of addressing potential trauma, many of our teachers may actually be adding to the trauma of our students by not being trained to identify and confront their own bias.
I think that this district needs to spend more time thinking about how we build systems and accountability around whether our schools are actually nurturing our children. As I understand it, in the Denver 2020 plan, the support of the whole child was the one component that was both unfunded and did not have a metric attached to it to measure success.
As we move into a new era, with a new superintendent, I would ask that the school board think about whether or not the new superintendent is equipped and ready to go into the community and to listen and learn from their pain. Selecting new leadership for this district, means we have an opportunity to redefine what we prioritize in Denver Public Schools.
Our children are not well, it is time we prioritize their wellness and the wellness of the communities our schools are a part of.