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Police Executive Research Forum;
The Denver Police Department (DPD), Denver Public Schools (DPS), and community organizations in the Denver area have built a collaborative approach to school safety and positive youth development designed to combat the school-toprison pipeline. Together, these organizations advocate a comprehensive approach to safety in which schools' disciplinary policies avoid removing students from the classroom, social service providers are substantively included in ongoing safety efforts, and students within the juvenile justice system are included in youth engagement efforts. The goals are to establish positive relationships between students, faculty, school staff members, and school resource officers; prioritize student wellbeing; and involve police only as a last resort following efforts to de-escalate conflict.Early indicators show that Denver's approach is working: In the last five years, rates of student suspension, expulsion, and referral to law enforcement have declined despite a 6 percent increase in total student enrollment over the same period. From the 2012–2013 school year to the 2014–2015 school year, district-wide in-school suspensions declined by 35 percent, out-of-school suspensions by 15 percent, expulsions by 32 percent, and referrals to law enforcement by 30 percent. What's more, the total number of behavioral incidents reported to DPS declined by 9 percent over the same period, indicating that the number of potential safety risks to students has decreased following changes in policy and practice.Viewing these efforts holistically, this report identifies a number of promising practices and lessons learned thatpractitioners, policymakers, and researchers may consider when engaging with students around the country
This past summer, you received an Impact Report on our work in the areas of Education and Economic Opportunity which highlighted The Denver Foundation's Common Sense Discipline and Impact Investment programs. Now we're sharing an Impact Report on progress in The Denver Foundation's Basic Human Needs and Leadership & Equity objective areas. The Community Navigator and Nonpro fi t Internship programs are innovative approaches that wouldn't be happening without the support of The Denver Foundation.
Rose Community Foundation;
Presents findings from a mixed-method assessment of Denver area Baby Boomers' interests, needs, and opportunities to remain engaged in community life. Analyzes data by gender, race/ethnicity, income level, and other factors, and proposes new initiatives.
Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE);
CRPE commissioned Dr. Marcus Winters to analyze the factors driving the special education gap between Denver's charter and traditional public elementary and middle schools.Using student-level data, Winters shows that Denver's special education enrollment gap starts at roughly 2 percentage points in kindergarten and is more than triple that in eighth grade. However, it doesn't appear to be caused by charter schools pushing students out. Instead, the gap is mostly due to student preferences for different types of schools, how schools classify and declassify students, and the movement of students without disabilities across sectors.
Denver Classroom Teachers Association;
The Design Team for Compensation and Career Pathways is a group of teachers, and school and central office leaders selected by the Denver Public Schools (DPS) and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA). They were charged with engaging in a learning process to determine if there were ways to strengthen the compensation, career pathways and related structures to support recruitment and retention of strong teachers and increase career satisfaction and success within DPS. They undertook this process in anticipation of the need to renew the agreement that governs the district's nationally renowned Professional Compensation System for Teachers (ProComp) as well as upcoming contract negotiations between DPS and DCTA.Over four months the Team met nine times. Its work involved reviewing research studies, examining compensation and career progression examples from other school districts and selected non-education industries, reviewing teacher and principal focus group and survey results, and engaging in deep discussion around design principles and possible frameworks that could be used to strengthen ProComp and career opportunities for teachers. This report is the product of their work.
During March 2015, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) and Denver Public School District Senior Administration (Admin) engaged third party consultant Mission Spark, LLC, to engage teachers and special service providers around their perspectives on and experiences with the District's compensation system, commonly known as ProComp. Senior representatives from each organization worked collaboratively to identify critical topics to explore based on past engagement efforts, to select schools for participation, and to group teachers and special service providers (SSPs) for focus groups. In addition, the Mission Spark team conducted 11 interviews with primary stakeholders involved in the design and evaluation of the ProComp system to promote continuity between evaluative and engagement efforts.This final report, geared at an internal (not public) audience, provides more detailed insight into participant perspectives, implications of those insights, shares teacher-generated ideas for improving ProComp, and finishes with recommendations for both further exploration and considerations for the renegotiation of ProComp 3.0.
Rose Community Foundation;
Describes the foundation's Next Generation Initiative, which set out to change the culture of Jewish life of people in their 20s and 30s in Denver and Boulder, CO. Provides an overview of modern Jewish life in America, gives a picture of its target demographic, and shows how the initiative set out to create and sustain a vibrant Jewish community. With bibliographical references.
As charter schools continue their rapid expansion in America's cities, questions related to equitable access to these schools of choice have jumped to the forefront of the policy conversation. Indeed, the proportion of students in charters with classifications that suggest that they are difficult to educate -- such as students with disabilities, those who are not proficient in English, and those who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch -- is often substantially below their respective proportions in traditional ("district") public schools. This paper uses longitudinal data from Denver to measure whether adoption of common enrollment increased the proportion of disadvantaged students enrolled in that city's charter elementary schools. It finds that Denver's adoption of common enrollment substantially increased the proportion of students enrolling in charter kindergartens who are minority, eligible for free/reduced-priced lunch, or speak English as a second language. Importantly, this paper considers only one specific effect of common enrollment on the charter-school sector. While policymakers should take a more expansive measure of the merits of common enrollment before adopting it, this paper suggests that an effective way to boost disadvantaged students' enrollment in charters is to make applying to them easier.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado;
The increased risk for suicidal ideation and attempts among sexual minority youth has been documented in studies using both convenience samples and representative community samples. However, as most youth do not access social services, these studies do not necessarily represent the sexual minority youth that community-based social workers may encounter in their day-today practice. As such, the present study on risk and protective factors related to suicidality surveyed 182 sexual minority youth (ages 14-21) who sought assistance at a community-based social service agency in Denver, CO. Similar to existing literature, the findings suggest that risk factors related to suicidality include hopelessness, methamphetamine use, homelessness, and inschool victimization. However, unlike studies of the general youth population, this study found that African American and male sexual minority youth were not at lower risk of suicidality than sexual minority youth who were, respectively, white or female. Additionally, our findings suggest that the presence of gay-straight alliances in schools may function as a protective resource for sexual minority youth. Implications for social work practice are discussed.
Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest);
This report presents information on the clients and agencies served by the Food Bank of the Rockies. The information is drawn from a national study, Hunger in America 2006, conducted for America's Second Harvest (A2H), the nation's largest organization of emergency food providers. The national study is based on completed in-person interviews with more than 52,000 clients served by the A2H food bank network, as well as on completed questionnaires from more than 30,000 A2H agencies. The study summarized below focuses mainly on emergency food providers and their clients who are supplied with food by food banks in the A2H network.Key Findings: The A2H system served by the Food Bank of the Rockies provides food for an estimated 312,400 different people annually. 43% of the members of households served by the Food Bank of the Rockies are children under 18 years old (Table 5.3.2).50% of client households include at least one employed adult (Table 5.7.1). Among client households with children, 77% are food insecure and 43% are experiencing hunger (Table 6.1.1). 45% of clients served by the Food Bank of the Rockies report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel (Table 6.5.1). 38% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care (Table 6.5.1). 23% of households served by the Food Bank of the Rockies report having at least one household member in poor health (Table 8.1.1)The Food Bank of the Rockies included approximately 710 agencies at the administration of this survey, of which 461 have responded to the agency survey. Of the responding agencies, 345 had at least one food pantry, soup kitchen, or shelter. 74% of pantries, 76% of kitchens, and 43% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations (Table 10.6.1).54% of pantries, 58% of kitchens, and 52% of shelters of the Food Bank of the Rockies reported that there had been an increase since 2001 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites (Table 10.8.1). Food banks are by far the single most important source of food for the agencies, accounting for 77% of the food used by pantries, 47% of kitchens' food, and 29% of shelters' food (Table 13.1.1). For the Food Bank of the Rockies, 86% of pantries, 83% of kitchens, and 60% of shelters use volunteers (Table 13.2.1).
Presents findings from a 2002 Urban Institute survey of Denver residents' perceptions of and attitudes toward the performing arts.
The Initiative leaders invested in evaluation from the start of the work together in order to learn along the way about what works and what needs adjustment, and to document the impact of the Initiative overall. Informing Change was invited to evaluate the first three years of the Initiative, beginning with facilitating the development of the Initiative's Theory of Change. We then designed a mixed-methods evaluation that includes surveys of teens and parents involved with Initiative programs; interviews with Jewish youth professionals; interviews with grantees, funders and other community stakeholders; and a review of grantee reports and other materials.During the Initiative's first year, teen participants from the three grantee programs that were operational—JSC, Moving Traditions and BJTI—were invited to participate in a survey about their experiences in these programs and their involvement in Jewish life in their communities more broadly. JSC used a survey that it administers to all teens in its groups nationally. Informing Change designed surveys for Moving Traditions and BJTI with items from the Cross-Community Evaluation as well as those specifically for Denver-Boulder and their unique programs. These surveys were launched very close to the end of the school year, and later than originally intended, largely due to the coordination with the Cross-Community Evaluation. Due to low survey response rates, the data collected from each program is limited. Only 2 teens from BJTI, 16 teens from Moving Traditions and 44 teens from JSC programs completed surveys. Note that these counts only include respondents who completed a survey and indicated that either they are Jewish or someone in their family is Jewish.Similarly, our parent surveys included items from the Cross-Community Evaluation and customized items for Denver-Bounder and also had low rates of completion. This is an important limitation to consider when interpreting the parent data in this report. Also, it only includes parents of teens in Moving Traditions and BJTI; 21 parents representing 22 teens from Moving Traditions and 5 parents representing 6 teens from BJTI completed surveys.The survey data provides insight into the teens' experiences from two self-reported perspectives: teens and parents. However, due to the low response rates, these baseline survey data should be viewed as illustrative rather than as representative in nature.Informing Change also conducted 34 interviews with a range of informants who were both directly and indirectly involved with Initiative programs. These interviews typically lasted about 45 minutes and were conducted by telephone or in person. They included 2 interviews with local and national funders of the Initiative, 7 interviews with staff of Initiative grantees' staff, 4 interviews with national staff of local grantees, 21 interviews with youth professionals in jHub, 4 interviews with local program advisors or volunteers, and 2 interviews with local stakeholders not directly involved with the Initiative. Please note that there was some overlap among these categories (i.e., grantee staff who were also jHub participants), which is why the total appears greater than the number of interviews conducted.Informing Change also reviewed mid-term and end-of-year grant reports from each of the five Initiative grantees. Mid-year grant reports were submitted and reviewed in February 2015, and final Year 1 grant reports were submitted and reviewed in August 2015. These reports provided information on grantee progress that was outside the scope of the evaluation's interviews and helped provide a complete picture of grantees' Year 1 accomplishments and challenges.