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A typical Bear Valley vista in Southwest Denver

I had a fabulous meeting with education advocates in Southwest Denver last week, that work under the mantle of the Southwest Denver Education Coalition (SWDEC).  This is a very diverse group of people from all over District 2, from parents and teachers to principals and business owners…plus concerned community members, whose focus is:

  • improved education for all students
  • ensuring adequate resources for all SW DPS schools
  • enhancing family and community involvement
  • improving the public awareness of the success and challenges of SW DPS schools and communities.

These are my kind of folks! They were the group that was so instrumental in advocating for an IB feeder system in deep Southwest, from Sabin Elementary to Henry Middle to Kennedy High.

We discussed several issues of importance to District 2, like:

  • Voc-Tech programs at Kennedy. I support the idea of having a “CEC satellite” at Kennedy.  The community raised the idea of bringing down the programs that are bursting at the seams at the NW Denver campus, so as to give some wiggle room.  Principal Peppel at JFK would love to be able to re-open the wood shop.  We all agreed that not all kids are college bound today, but that we should be getting them ready to make that step whenever they become ready.
  • Marketing the high-quality, neighborhood-based programs already in existence in Southwest Denver. I reminded the group that the Superintendent has no current plans to spread the word via any marketing campaign, so we talked about ways to get the word out.  I told that group that I was especially proud of the two young Kennedy ladies that are members of the student board of education, who were working on just such a marketing campaign as part of their student board projects.  Principal Peppel, her buttons bursting with pride, is getting me copies of the project.  I spoke to Amy Friedman, DPS Chief of Staff, yesterday, about this project, and she’s requesting a copy too.  We may see some movement on this, and I’ll keep you posted, but we should take the lead of the Lake IB community and get this ball rolling ourselves.
  • Linking Lake IB with Kennedy’s IB Diploma programme in a feeder chain. We all agree that the Lake IB 7th and 8th graders will soon need a place to go, and we all think Kennedy is just the place.  Principals Peppel and Lanier from Henry stated that permanent bus service for the entire year would only cost $30,000…or the funds that come with just 10 students.  I did bring this up with Amy Friedman, and she’s looking into the possibility of  doing this as a way to shore up enrollment at Kennedy.

SWDEC has a couple of great events lined up, the Southwest Denver School of Choice Expo and the Celebration of Excellence, both on Wednesday, January 20.  Check the list of events to the right of this post for more information.

To find out more about SWDEC’s mission, visit http://sweducation.org, or email info@sweducation.org.  Get involved with this great group that already has a great track record of getting things done in our community!