Reinventing America’s Schools: Lessons from the Denver Experience

03 May


03 May 12:00 am - 04 May 12:00 am


UC Denver School of Public Affairs

1380 Lawrence Street , Denver

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) and A+ Colorado are excited to formally invite you to attend the Reinventing America’s Schools event on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 3-4 in Denver, Colorado. This special event will highlight lessons learned from Denver’s portfolio strategy with an elected school board.

Over the past several years, Denver has actively pursued a portfolio strategy—expanding public school choice, embracing charter schools, creating charter-like “innovation schools,” and improving traditional public schools. Since 2005, the board has closed or replaced 48 schools and opened more than 70, the majority of them charters. A decade ago, Denver had the lowest rates of academic growth among Colorado’s medium and large districts; for the last three years it has ranked at the top. With outstanding results and careful recruitment of strong candidates, the board has moved from a 4-3 majority in favor of these reforms to a 7-0 majority. Despite these important strides, Denver continues to face challenges that Denver must address and that other school districts can learn from. The event will also feature the release of a new report on Denver’s reforms and portfolio strategy by David Osborne, Director of PPI’s Reinventing America’s Schools Project.

Download David Osborne’s PowerPoint presentation.

May 3

1:00 – 3:30 pm
Optional School Visit Opportunity

5:30 – 6:30 pm
Welcome Reception

May 4

8:00 – 9:00 am

9:00 – 9:15 am
Welcome & Introductions
Will Marshall, Van Schoales

9:15 – 10:00 am
Opening Plenary – Denver as a Model for Education Reform
David Osborne

10:00 – 11:10 am
Panel – Putting the Pieces Together: Who are the actors and organizations that made reform possible?
Van Schoales (facilitating), Federico Pena, Mary Seawell, Susana Cordova, Christine Campbell

11:10 – 11:30 am
Networking break

11:30 am – 12:45 pm
Breakout Session 1

Option A – Role of state policy: How can state policy help and hinder district reform?
David Osborne (facilitating), Terrance Carroll, Jennifer Walmer, Peter Groff

Option B – Role of advocacy/community/political organizations: How have local civic and nonprofit organizations supported education improvement in Denver?
Alan Gottlieb (facilitating), Mike Kromrey, Erin Brown, Jesus Salazar

12:45 – 1:45 pm
Lunch – Problems of Practice

1:45 – 3:00 pm
Breakout Session 2

Option A – School board portfolio policies: What are the types of policies that an elected school board need to enact in order to effectively manage a portfolio district?
Parker Baxter (facilitating), Bruce Hoyt, Paul Hill, Lisa Flores

Option B – Creating great schools: How can the district and community better support the development of great schools?
Mike Miles (facilitating), Kimberlee Sia, Zach Rahn, Alyssa Whitehead-Bust

3:00 – 4:15 pm
Panel – Continuing the Path Forward: A reimagined innovation zone and comprehensive portfolio model
Alyssa Whitehead-Bust (facilitating), Van Schoales, Brett Allessi, Paul Hill

4:15 – 5:00 pm
Closing Plenary – Winning the Political Battle: How does Denver ensure a long-term portfolio strategy under an elected school board?

Colorado Commissioner of Education Richard Crandall (4:00-4:20)
Barbara O’Brien (4:20-4:45)

Online registration is not available for this event.