17 November 2005

Reforming the Denver Public Schools.

Michael Bennet, the new superintendent of the Denver Public Schools (formerly a senior member of Mayor Hickenlooper's administration) has unveiled an 83 page plan for significant reforms in the Denver Public Schools, which we will seek to have the Board of Education for the district approve after a couple of months of public comment. According to the Denver Post, the highlights include:

Strengthen principal and assistant-principal roles in the classroom. Principals will attend a principal leadership development program next summer to hone instructional skills.

Close high schools' campuses at lunch starting in the 2006- 07 school year. Schools that submit approved truancy-reduction plans may allow 11th- and 12th-graders out for lunch.

Conduct ninth-grade summer academies to ease the transition from middle to high school.

Have "extended-day offerings" for students who struggle with reading, writing or math.

Make Spanish the primary foreign language taught in middle and high schools; allow for other languages in some schools.

Reward principals financially for creative leadership methods and boosting student achievement.

It will take time to digest the entire report, but my first impression is that it is nice to have a superintendent who recognizes that there is a crisis in the Denver Public Schools and who is willing to use his honeymoon period to take some relatively bold steps to deal with it.

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