• July 13th, 2024
  • Saturday, 01:10:49 AM

DPS Superintendent Search is Flawed and Must Be Redesigned


Virginia Castro and Milo Marquez

 

Dear Chicano, Mexicano, Mexican American, Hispano, Mestizo, Indigenous and Latino Community [Denver, Colorado]: WE HAVE SOME CRITICAL INFORMATION TO SHARE WITH YOU. We have discovered some serious problems which will impact our student population.

As you all know, Denver Public Schools (DPS) is searching for a new superintendent to replace Susana Cordova. The deadline for hiring for the position is June 1, 2021. 56.7% of the student population in the district identifies as Hispanic or Latino (DPS terms) and over 36% of these students are Spanish Speaking and English Language Learners according to the Denver Public School Foundation. It is our opinion that the most important need for our students and families is hiring a bilingual and biliterate superintendent who is familiar with our cultures and the Denver community, ie, how gentrification is changing the demographics in our schools and impacting our students.

Most importantly, the superintendent needs to fully understand the Consent Decree of the U.S. District Court, Denver Public Schools, English Language Acquisition Program, which states, “The English Language Acquisition (ELA) Program serves students who are English language Learners (ELL’s). The Program is transitional in that its goal is to use efficient and effective techniques to provide students with the English language skills they need to meaningfully and equally participate in the District’s Mainstream English Language Instructional Program…” See Consent Decree of the U.S. District Court, (2012) here.

We believe that the Denver School Board and the Alma Advisory Group has conducted a flawed and inadequate superintendent selection process. We believe our community was completely left out, by not only posting the job in Michigan instead of Colorado, but also by the lack of participation by the School Board in the community engagement interviews.

On February 5, 2021, the Denver Public School Board announced the hiring of the Alma Advisory Group, a head hunting firm from Chicago, Illinois. On March 15, 2021 a hiring process, beginning with Community Engagement Interviews, was created and was to include the DPS School Board and Alma Advisory Group members. Our group, Auraria Historical Advocacy Council, was first on the list to be interviewed. Our interview consisted of only one DPS school board member and one Alma Advisory Group member. All groups participating would be asked the same five questions as part of the process. In answering the five questions, we had the opportunity to have a discussion about the needs of our students. We strongly recommended that Alma contact the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) and create a national job-posting for the superintendent position. Alma was not familiar with the

organization, and thanked us for the recommendation. At least two other

groups, from within our community also participated in the community

engagement meetings and have communicated to us, that there were no

DPS school board members present in their meetings.

On March 29, 2021, (fourteen days after our recommendation to the Alma Advisory group) ALAS posted the position for superintendent of Denver Public Schools in Denver, Michigan, a township of 1,900 people! In addition, 21 applicants were interviewed during that time period.

An article on April 8, 2021 by Melanie Asmar of Chalkbeat Colorado, reported that Monica Santana Rosen, CEO of the Alma Advisory Group stated, “From 10-12 candidates for the Denver superintendent job are expected to participate in a second round of interviews starting next week. A total of 32 applicants applied to lead Denver Public Schools, Colorado’s largest school district. Of those, 21 candidates did a first-round interview with the search firm”. This means that all 21 applicants that were interviewed by the Alma Advisory Group during the 14-day period were done through the incorrect job posting, which still remains on the ALAS website.

We believe that the Denver School Board and the Alma Advisory Group has conducted a flawed and inadequate superintendent selection process. We believe our community was completely left out, by not only posting the job in Michigan instead of Colorado, but also by the lack of participation by the School Board in the community engagement interviews.

Therefore, we will be protesting this process and demanding that the current hiring process be terminated and redesigned to be truly inclusive of our community. We need and are asking for your support of this effort. Please contact the DPS Board in protest of the flawed superintendent hiring process they have conducted which has been less than equitable to our community. The following is the DPS Board contact information: Dr. Carrie Olson, Board President: Carrie_olson@dpsk12.org.

 

Virginia Castro is the President of the Auraria Historical Advisory Council and Milo Marquez is the Vice President of the Auraria Historical Advisory Council.

 

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