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One-stop DPS board election info center

1votecheckpencilTen candidates are vying for four open seats on the Denver Board of Education in an election that could be pivotal to the district’s future at a time of churn and change.

Incumbent Jeanne Kaplan is running unopposed in her central Denver district. The three open seats are more competitive: Five candidates are vying for the northeast Denver seat being vacated by Kevin Patterson; two are running for Michelle Moss’s vacant southwest Denver seat; and two candidates are competing for a citywide, at-large seat that has belonged to Jill Conrad for the past four years.

 Upcoming community forums, debates

Tues., Oct. 27, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Scott United Methodist Church, 2880 Garfield St. For all contested races, sponsored by the North City Park Civic Association.

The North City Park Civic Association forum was the last scheduled for this election. Time to vote!

Other stories, information:

Click here to see the Ed News story about the latest campaign finance filings on Oct. 30.

Click here to see the Ed News story about Stand for Children’s role in the DPS elections.

Click here to see Denver Post story about two DPS candidates’ prior financial problems.

Click here to see Denver TV Ch. 8 coverage of the election, including full-length videos of an Oct. 10 forum, the Oct. 13 forum where students asked the questions and short clips of each DPS candidate.

Click here to read the Ed News story about the first DPS candidate financial filings.

Click here to read the Denver Post story about an Oct. 10 forum for all candidates. 

Click here to read the Ed News story about a Sept. 23 debate at Bruce Randolph School and download a podcast of the debate.

Click here to read the Ed News story about why one at-large candidate, Christopher Scott, chose not to attend the Sept. 23 forum.

Other related stories:

Denver Classroom Teachers Association names endorsements

Denver Post candidate profiles

Hickenlooper weighs in on DPS board races

Denver Post endorsements for DPS board

Info for voters:

Oct. 13 – 16. Ballots are mailed out to voters. This year’s election is an all-mail ballot.

Click here to see a map of the different school board districts. And here for info on how to vote.

 In their own words: Candidate questionnaires

Education News Colorado sent all candidates a nine-question questionnaire to help voters ascertain where the candidates stand on key issues facing the city’s public school system. Six of the 10 candidates responded. Two decided not to respond and two failed to respond.

Readers can read the full, unedited answers by following the links below. Underneath the links is a full list of the questions candidates received.


 AT-LARGE candidates represent the entire district:

 Seawell_DSC4611-Email-200x300At-large candidate Mary Seawell.

Read her questionnaire answers here. And visit her website here.

Seawell video clip from Sept. 23 forum:


christopher scottAt-large candidate Christopher Scott.

Read his questionnaire answers here. And visit his website here.  

Scott video clip from Oct. 7:



(At-large candidate Deborah Sims-Fard has withdrawn from the race.)


DISTRICT 2 candidates represent southwest Denver:

meridacampaign-photo3District 2 candidate Andrea Merida.

Read her questionnaire answers here. And visit her website here.


DSC_0167District 2 candidate Ismael Garcia.

Read his questionnaire answers here. And visit his website here.

DISTRICT 3 candidates represent central Denver:

District 3 candidate Jeanne Kaplan (incumbent, unopposed).

Kaplan declined to answer questionnaire. Read her explanation here. And visit her website here.

DISTRICT 4 candidates represent northeast Denver:

easleyDistrict 4 candidate Nate Easley.

Read his questionnaire answers here. And visit his website here.

Easley video clip from Sept. 23 forum:

PastorJonesDistrict 4 candidate Vernon Jones.

Read his questionnaire answers here. And visit his website here.

Jones’ video clip from Sept. 23 forum:

clarkDistrict 4 candidate Alton Clark.

Did not respond to questionnaire. Visit his website here.

Clark video clip from Sept. 23 forum:

mosbyDistrict 4 candidate Andrea Mosby.

Did not respond to questionnaire. Visit her website here.

Did not attend Sept. 23 forum.



jacqui shumwayDistrict 4 candidate Jacqueline Shumway.

Declined to respond to questionnaire. Visit her website here.

Shumway’s video clip from Sept. 23 forum:

Questions sent to DPS board candidates:

Effective teaching

1. Nearly 100 percent of teachers in Colorado’s largest school districts received satisfactory ratings in each of the past three years, according to an analysis by Education News Colorado. Because the current evaluation system appears to be broken, please provide specific examples of measurement tools you believe should be used to gauge teacher effectiveness and explain why. Examples might include linking CSAP growth data to a teacher or school, classroom observations by peer teachers, growth on district assessments, etc.

2.  Most forcibly assigned teachers are placed in higher-poverty schools, at least partly because those schools tend to have more openings, according to an analysis by the Denver Post. This suggests the district’s “market incentive” – or $2,345 in 2008-09 – component of ProComp is not working to attract teachers to these schools. What should the district do to, first, end the predominance of direct placement in the poorest schools and, second, better attract teachers to these schools?

Pace of reform

3. Denver Public Schools has set 3.5 percent as its annual academic growth target on most CSAP indicators, a figure that some board members initially considered to be too low. Yet the district failed to meet even those goals on the 2009 CSAP administration. How do you feel about the pace of reform in DPS – are the district’s goals too high or too low?

4. DPS recently celebrated an increase in the graduation rate at Abraham Lincoln High School. Yet state figures show an increasing number of Lincoln graduates require remediation when they attend a college or university in Colorado. How can the district both increase the rigor of instruction while also increasing the percentage of high school graduates who are prepared – i.e., do not need remediation – in college?


5. What steps should be taken – or are being taken now – to ensure an A in an academic core course at a historically struggling school such as North High School carries the same weight as an A in an academic core course at a traditionally high-performing school such as the Denver School of the Arts? How do you ensure the quality of education is consistent across the district?

6. Does DPS currently have an appropriate balance of school options – traditional, charter, innovation – for students and parents? Why or why not? And, specifically, does DPS currently have an appropriate balance of options for low-income families?

Struggling teachers, schools

7. What should be done with school staff members who are shown to be ineffective, based either on the current DPS evaluation system or using the measurement tools that you outlined in question no. 1? How long should a teacher or principal be given from the determination of ineffectiveness to consequence?

8. DPS’ School Performance Framework is intended to serve as a warning system for troubled schools yet its consequences are rather vaguely described. When the SPF data is released later this month, if it shows a school is failing to meet the needs of its students – less than one year’s growth in one year’s time – what actions should be taken to ensure students are given an opportunity to succeed? What actions should be taken if a school persistently failed to meet the needs of its students – for example, insufficient growth for three consecutive years?

Federal efforts

9. Are there any aspects of President Obama’s strategies for school reform that you oppose? Why?


¿Cuantos niños en su escuela son inmunizados?

Monserrat Cholico, 8, en la Crawford Kids Clinic en Aurora en 2015 (Denver Post).

Chalkbeat recolectó datos para ayudar a los padres a entender si las escuelas de sus hijos están protegidos de enfermedades. Busque su escuela en nuestra base de datos.

“Immunization rate” representa el porcentaje de estudiantes que están totalmente inmunizados.

“Exemption rate” representa el porcentaje de estudiantes cuyos padres optaron por no vacunar a sus hijos.

“Compliance rate” representa el porcentaje de estudiantes que están siguiendo la ley de Colorado. La ley dice que los estudiantes deben obtener vacunas o firmar formularios de exención.

Choosing college

State’s college attendance rate shows slight turnaround

PHOTO: Oliver Morrison

The percentage of Colorado high school students enrolling in college right after graduation increased slightly in 2014, according to a new report from the Department of Higher Education.

Of 2014’s 53,771 graduates, 55.8 percent went on to college immediately, up from the 2013 rate but three percentage points below the record in 2009, according to the Report on the Postsecondary Progress and Success of High School Graduates (full copy at bottom of this article).

In the recession year of 2009, when the state started compiling the report, 58.8 percent of high school grads went to college.

“The most recent, 2014, is the first cohort whose enrollment rate increased from the previous year,” the report noted. “Previously, all graduating classes included in this report had a lower enrollment rate than their previous year.”

The report “is good news because so many of the jobs in our technology and information based economy require post-secondary credentials,” said Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, who’s also executive director of the department. “However, the report also reveals that we have continuing and significant gaps in post-secondary outcomes and that students from certain demographic groups are doing much better than others. If we are to meet our education and workforce goals, we must do a better job of supporting low income, rural, and minority students so that they graduate with a credential that will lead to a living wage job.”

Overall college enrollment tends to rise when the economy is weak and drop when times improve. Fall enrollment in 2014 was 251,778, down from the recent high of 284,405 in 2011.

The report details continuing disparities between demographic groups in college attendance and success. Postsecondary enrollment for Latino students is nearly 20 percentage points below white students, and, after their first year of college, African-American students on average earn nearly 10 fewer credits than white students, it said.

“As Colorado’s demographics continue to change and labor markets increasingly demand quality postsecondary credentials, ensuring the state’s future economic prosperity requires that these educational gaps be highlighted and strategically addressed,” the report said.

The report also breaks out college-going rates for individual districts. The district with the highest college attendance rate was Limon, with 84.4 percent of its 32 2014 graduates going on to higher education.

Larger districts in the top 10 included Cheyenne Mountain, Douglas County, Lewis-Palmer and Littleton.

The Plateau Valley district in eastern Mesa County had the lowest rate, 16 percent. Metro-area districts in the bottom 10 included Adams 14, Englewood, Sheridan and Westminster.

Some 76 percent of 2014 grads attended Colorado colleges, and 74 percent of those students attended four-year schools. The most popular schools were Colorado State University and the University of Colorado Boulder. Front Range Community College attracted the largest number of students enrolling in two-year schools.

The annual study examines not only college-going rates but also grade point averages, credits earned, persistence and graduation rates going back to the class of 2009.

Members of the high school class of 2014 who attended Colorado colleges had an average grade point average of 2.78 during their freshman year. Those students completed an average of 30 credits by the end of 2014-15.

Search for your district’s college-going rates here:

And read the Department of Higher Education’s report here: