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When we build schools for our kids

Families in Adams 14,

My name is Mamie Howard, I am a mom, an educator and the hopeful principal of the proposed University Prep here in Commerce City. Over the past seven months, I had the honor and privilege of working alongside a group of families in Adams 14 to co-design a new school - a school that their kids and my own kids can go to starting in fall 2022 here in our community, Commerce City. I have spent the last year getting to know families here in Adams 14, along with their hopes and dreams for their kids and I can say with confidence, we are building a proposed, new school that is ready to help all kids (including my own) be the brightest versions of themselves.

New school leader, Mamie Howard, with her kids, who she hopes will attend the proposed University Prep in Commerce City next fall.

First and foremost, I want to say how grateful I am for the families and community leaders within Adams 14 who embraced me as we've started the process of building meaningful, long-term relationships. I believe deeply in the success of our district and the brilliance of every child. I am excited about Dr. Karla Loria’s leadership and the Board’s commitment to positive change for the entire school district as the promise for a high-quality education that does right by each child comes to light. I believe the proposed new school, co-designed by incredible Parent Leaders who reside in Commerce City and want an additional, high-quality choice for their children and the greater community, can help contribute to that positive change.

The incredible school community that we are building, which is only in the early stages, has been enthusiastic and highly engaged, signing our petition at a rapid rate with more than 700 signatures to date in support of us opening the proposed new school We hosted community meetings, engaged in one-on-one conversations over coffee and spent months with a community design team, who co-authored the charter application we are presenting to the Board - this school proposal, which we are so proud of, is truly homegrown.

The Co-Design Team, composed of Parent Leaders from Adams 14 and working alongside University Prep leaders, has spent significant time learning about the strongest components of U Prep’s programming, while also sharing their voice on a wide range of school design elements that need to be true in the proposed new campus. As an example, families made it loud and clear that they want more high-quality, full-day, Preschool programming in Adams 14 and because of that, I am proud to say, as part of the school’s design, U prep is fully intending to offer free, full-day Preschool programming for three year-olds and four-year-olds. In addition to offering quality early childhood programming to set our youngest learners up for success, we also heard the voices of our families who explicitly named the need to see bilingualism promoted as an asset. As such, the school design is fully committed to Spanish language instruction that will support our bilingual and emerging bilingual learners. Spanish will be treated as a core content within the new school’s design, ensuring all children benefit from the power of being multilingual.

This proposed new school was designed by moms, aunties, dads and grandparents here in Commerce City. All of us, together, are committed to building this new opportunity for all of our children (including my own). Next fall (2022), when we officially open our doors in Adams 14 (should the school be approved), we are confident that we can not only deliver an excellent education to every child that puts them on the path to a genuine life of opportunity, but that we can ensure a public school in which relationships between families, educators and the community sit at the center.

Would you like to support our work? Click here to learn more about enrolling your child or supporting our community-driven goals.


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