Denver, Colorado…Home of the Mile-High stadium, a city with amazing scenery and a high altitude. It is one in which Denver Public Schools have set lofty goals for themselves. All school districts have mission statements, visions, and school improvement plans. Denver Schools break their goals down into three areas:
1. Set high expectations for all students.
2. Raise the overall achievement level.
3. Close the achievement gap.
How well are the Denver Schools going? Well, to meet these goals, the district is focusing on six strategies; enhancing literacy skills, enhancing math skills, offering more after-school help, strengthening middle and high schools, improving professional development for principals and teachers, and increasing parental involvement.
Let’s take a closer look at these strategies.
Enhancing literacy skills is one way that Denver Schools will reach the three goals mentioned above. Improving the literacy of all students, whether they are high achievers or students who struggle with reading is a necessity. Denver Schools realize this and are working to improve the literacy skills of their students.
Enhancing students’ mathematics skills is another strategy adopted by Denver Schools to reach their goals. Again, looking to the future of their students is the motivation here. One of the Denver Schools main purposes is to turn out well-rounded, productive members of society. In order for our future leaders to contribute their best they need to be well educated; and possessing excellent math skills is important.
Offering more after-school help is a wonderful way for students in need to meet the above goals. Giving support to Denver Schools students who are having a hard time will not only raise test scores (which this writer hopes isn’t their only motivation), but will also help raise the students’ confidence in themselves as well.
Strengthening Denver Schools, especially at the middle and high school levels is vitally important if they truly intend to meet their goals of improvement. Middle- and high school-age students are going through lots of changes. Not only are their bodies changing and their emotions are running wild. Members of the opposite sex have become extremely important and hormones are raging. Peer pressure has reached an all-time high, and the desire to fit in and be like everyone else is strong. Denver Schools must recognize these challenges their students are facing and work to be more supportive. Improving professional development for principals and teachers, the 5th strategy that will help Denver Schools meet their goals, will also help them strengthen their middle and high schools.
The importance of parental involvement may seem to be a no-brainer to some, but there are a surprisingly large number of parents of Denver Schools students who do not realize how much their involvement in their child’s school contributes to their success. It doesn’t matter if the parent volunteers at the school, attends school functions, or simply helps with homework – it all influences the success of their Denver Schools student.