The answer to that question truly depends on who you ask.
But one thing’s for sure, it’s one of the most contentious areas of discussion for just about anyone connected to the Denver Public Schools (DPS). So if you haven’t yet checked out Education Post’s Voices4Ed podcast, it’s time to tune in! On this week’s episode, co-hosts Ikhlas Saleem and Lane Wright have a candid discussion with DPS Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova about the current state of education in Denver and her personal and professional commitment to making sure every child has access to a high quality school.
You’ll hear Susana talk about why she got into education [16:08] and how her experiences as a child influence her work as deputy superintendent, [18:50] particularly as it pertains to current education policy battles, [20:21] navigating community concerns around the effectiveness of different school models, [22:37] and what it’s like for her personally to advocate for various school reforms in the district where she attended school as a student and later taught as a teacher [24:23].
“In every case when I’ve stood in front of communities to talk about a proposed approach to providing better quality to kids, people are almost always generally bought into the idea that we need to do better for students. They’re not always in agreement in how you get there. The more that I think we can work on what it is that we share in common, the easier it is then to either come up with new or different ways to get at that common goal, or if we’re at a place where we’re just gonna agree to disagree—to understand at least that we’re motivated by the same values.” – Susana Cordova
She also talks about the expansion of Denver’s school choice options, the unprecedented academic growth of students, as well as the much needed efforts to increase the performance of students from underprivileged backgrounds.
Note: During this episode of Voices4Ed, Ikhlas and Lane reflect on their visit to Denver where they toured STRIVE Prep – RISE and KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy. The podcast above notes that STRIVE Prep is the number one school in the district. STRIVE Prep is a charter network comprised of 11 schools within Denver Public Schools. STRIVE Prep – RISE is the #1 rated high school in the district, whereas KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy is the #2 rated high school.
Photo courtesy of Denver Public Schools.