Students Community Transformation
Scott's perspective on policies are inspired by his work in classrooms and with communities.
First and foremost, Scott will prioritize student needs. He firmly believes student well-being tied to improved learning outcomes is rooted in the Community School Model, which emphasizes collaboration and healing.
The Community School Model is designed to serve our students and their families better.
Scott is ready to lead with the community to transform the system that exists now and create one that will ensure every student will have the needed tools to be successful.
Empowering every student to pursue their path to success
Scott’s work and advocacy are about empowering all children to explore their strengths in a healthy environment. Every child’s path to success is different, and it all starts with access to a high-quality education. We have witnessed our public education system fail to adjust to our children’s needs for far too long. Putting students first means looking at the science behind how we support our kids. For example, studies strongly support later start times for high school and middle-school students. Scott is ready to have these conversations and create a system that meets our student’s needs first. As a concerned parent, Scott is willing to work in a co-governance model with our educational leaders including students, parents, educators, and our elected officials to establish accountability at every level to ensure we are meeting every child's needs.
Emphasizing education for the whole child
Community Schools are the cornerstone of Scott's platform. Through his experience assisting Denver Discovery School faculty and families reimagining what had been labeled a failing school into a Community School, Scott gained new, unique and invaluable knowledge of the benefits and challenges of implementing the Community School model. Communities in Denver have unique needs as we have heard listening to parents and students. The Community School design is one of the most effective models of education for the whole child. The National Education Association guides the six pillars of a community school:
Strong and proven culturally relevant curriculum
High-quality teaching and learning
Restorative, positive behavior practices
Family and community partnerships
Coordinate and integrate wraparound supports
FULFILLING THE DPS PROMISE
Ensuring student preparation for college, career and life
DPS has promised its students, their families, and the city of Denver that every student will have access to high-quality education, graduate, and be prepared for life. Scott believes it is imperative to move substantially closer to that promise. Life after DPS for our students can include college, military, and/or technical careers. It is critical to identify that preparation also requires critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, information literacy, media literacy, technology literacy, and flexibility. Additionally, Scott believes (as he has heard from alumni) in creating comprehensive financial literacy programs. To meet this promise, there are some simple but not easy steps to take.
We need to ensure that educators have access to culturally relevant and scientifically proven effective curricula, with structures and supports for success for every child. We need those curricula delivered with outstanding culturally relevant instruction. All students must have access to Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate/Early College or other proven opportunities to learn at the most advanced levels. We need a proportional representation of students in Gifted/Talented programs and Special Education services.
We can't ensure success without focusing on social and emotional growth. We need to work on expanding trauma-informed and social/emotional supports for our students and educators. We must work across governmental lines to ensure that our student’s most basic needs are being met by securing access to wrap-around services for our families that have to be available all day, year-round.
Engaging students with educators who reflect their lived experiences
Historically, we have witnessed far too many Black and Brown educators and leaders leave DPS. While the promise to increase the recruitment and retention of Black and Brown educators in order to cultivate a new generation of leadership has remained a stated goal of DPS, the results over the past four years have remained, at best, uneven. Scott has listened to educators of color who have left DPS talk about not being supported as a primary reason to leave. Studies are clear on students’ emotional and learning benefits when they see themselves in their teachers and school leaders. Furthermore, studies show that diverse and reflective staff benefits every child in their classroom.
We see a lot of lip service to equity, but see little policy change to support it. It is time for DPS to prioritize diversifying staff and leadership. We know this is essential in our work of dismantling structures of bias and racism. Scott will work closely with the Black Teacher Caucus, the DPS Senior Leadership Team, and our state legislature to ensure we cultivate an inclusive environment that will foster a robust program of educators, principals, and leaders of varying races, cultural backgrounds, and sexual identities.
Supporting students with the resources that they deserve
Nationally and in Colorado, funding for education is a continued embarrassment. We are too often told to do more with less, which leads to districts and advocates fighting with each other over financial crumbs. As a result, we have to make good with the resources we currently have. In order to achieve that, we must increase budgetary transparency and reconsider and adjust the DPS per-pupil funding model that fails our students and is designed to cultivate a competitive education model. We have to boldly transform any system that doesn't best serve students and create a system that ensures that monies are distributed based on student needs. This will allow us to provide a balance between school autonomy and central office supports.
In Colorado, we land in the bottom five states nationally for per-pupil funding and teacher pay. The many restrictions of TABOR exacerbate these struggles. Scott is committed to advocating for increased funding at the state level. He will unite groups who are too often pitted against each other to fight for money.
SUPPORTING OUR EDUCATORS
Serving students best by valuing teachers
Scott has been an educator for over 20 years. He knows our educators’ joys and frustrations in the classroom. It is time to create reasonable and meaningful evaluations for our educators that will foster growth. DPS has lost many senior educators to neighboring districts due to their not being valued. This status is even more alarming for our educators and leaders of color. Scott plans to foster more support for our educators by advocating for their interests. During unprecedented times we see our educators heroically utilizing the resources available. Scott is committing to a listening tour with faculty and staff in order to determine how to ensure that we are best serving students.
Utilizing assessments that improve insight into student progress
After decades of testing, our public education systems continue to fail Black and Brown students predictably. These systems are getting the results that they were designed to get. In-fact the only extractable information from our standardized tests is the socio-economic status of a student. As demonstrated through decades of testing, we cannot test our way to academic success. This is why Scott plans to work with law-makers in Colorado to change the current testing requirements and no longer tie educators’ job performance and pay to tests that do not enhance students’ learning. Scott will move DPS beyond test scores to measure learning with ongoing assessments proven to benefit our educators and students.