Hello, my name is Natalene, I am a TEN parent leader and TEN Board member. I have been learning about parent leadership for the last three years with Ariel and Nicholas,
I have learned to uplift my own voice and advocate for systems to change for my children. We want to be included in conversations about our district and our schools.
I am here today because I want to see the new superintendent rise to the occasion and spend time listening to parents like me. Our stories are all different, our choices are all different, but our motivation is all the same- we want our babies to enter the world ready to take it on. This year, DPS is facing a decision about whether or not they want a new vision for our district. This new vision does not need to be a deviation from what we are doing- it could be an evolution.
Right now, 37% of our high schoolers in Denver Public Schools are meeting college ready benchmarks. The school that my daughter goes to has 67% of their students meeting college ready benchmarks- even if that is something to celebrate- not all children in this district are in schools where they are being prepared for college, in fact, most students in DPS are going to a High School that will not get them a college ready score on the SAT. We have to evolve, we have to do better.
There are 9,000 students in the FNE that are not attending a blue or green school. Call that whatever you want, but if you don’t believe that we need to be doing better than that, you need to question why you got into this work. There is no such thing as being done improving schools.
This is an opportunity for a new vision, but if we don’t admit that we haven’t reached all our goals, it is hard to come together to envision what could be.
We can never be satisfied with what is- until every child in Denver Public Schools is walking into a building where they are going to be excited, where they will become critical thinkers, where they will learn and appreciate diversity- until we are there, we have to keep evolving.
This moment, this moment in our superintendent search is a moment we need in Denver Public Schools right now.
We need to think about places where we are just not meeting the mark, not because we have fight each other about it, but because when communities come together, when they admit that ALL our children are not succeeding like they need to, that is when we can come together around envisioning solutions.
This is why you include community in this work, we feel the problems everyday- in a way that you just never will- unless you have ever been homeless and driving your child hours a day to get them to a high quality school. Community can’t be an afterthought if we are really doing an honest evaluation of where we are and what is possible in Denver Public Schools.