FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, April 11, 2008
Sue Cobb or Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, Mayor’s Office, 720-865-9016
Alex Sanchez, Denver Public Schools, 720-423-3414
Mayor Hickenlooper And Superintendent Bennet Present Plan For Increased Collaboration
Long-Term Goal is Citywide, Neighborhood-Focused Integrated Youth Service Delivery System
(Denver) Building upon five years of unprecedented cooperation between the City and County of Denver and Denver Public Schools (DPS), Mayor John Hickenlooper and DPS Superintendent Michael Bennet presented an integrated youth service delivery system business plan on Friday at a joint meeting of the Denver City Council and DPS Board of Education.
Thirteen months of intensive work by City agencies and DPS created this strategic coordination plan, aligning the City’s and District’s goals, programs and resources to better support youth and community interests around academic achievement, strong neighborhoods, health, safety and economic self-sufficiency. Foreshadowed in the mayor’s 2007 State of the City Address, the long-term goal of the plan is to create a citywide, neighborhood-focused integrated youth service delivery system involving the City, DPS and community-based youth-serving organizations.
“In many ways, this represents a more ambitious way of thinking and working cooperatively that has the potential to deliver transformational results for our city,” said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. “Our entire community has a stake in the success of our children and our schools. This plan aims to transcend organizational silos to strategically coordinate City services, DPS programs and community resources around specific shared goals and outcomes.”
While the long-term objectives of the integrated youth service delivery system include citywide efforts to strengthen neighborhoods and increase parent/family engagement, student engagement and skill development, the short-term objectives will focus on supporting the schools and school communities impacted by the DPS school closures announced in 2007. The integrated youth service delivery model will built around four pilot sites (Horace Mann, Place, Cole and Smith/Stedman), focusing on the five themes of after-school programming and enrichment, workforce development and career exploration, mental health and social/emotional support, basic needs support (ie: employment, housing, safety, health and dental care) and general health.
“We want to create an environment where all of Denver’s children, families and schools can succeed, and this effort strategically maximizes the support structures to make that possible,” said DPS Superintendent Michael Bennet. “Our community’s success is aligned with the success of our children, so this groundbreaking multi-organizational alignment of goals, initiatives and resources is an exciting opportunity to deliver on the promises our community has long made to our youth and to ourselves.”
An executive summary of the integrated youth service delivery system business plan follows:
CITY/DPS BUSINESS PLAN
In 2007 the City and the Denver Public Schools began discussing how they might work collaboratively in even deeper ways to more efficiently address their shared challenges. Driven by the leadership of Mayor John Hickenlooper, Superintendent Michael Bennet, Denver City Council and the DPS Board of Education, this collaborative spirit reflects an ever-evolving understanding that the City and the community-at-large have a significant stake in the future of Denver’s children and schools and thus have a direct responsibility to help them succeed. As a direct outgrowth of this work, the Denver Public Schools/City Collaborative Partnership has been established for two specific purposes. First, to gain an informed understanding of how city government agencies/departments and community-based service providers are currently working to assist students and families attending the Denver Public Schools. Second, and more importantly, to begin building upon these existing efforts in the creation of more integrated and focused approaches that produce greater efficiencies and measurable results over the long term. In an effort to achieve these purposes, the City of Denver and DPS have committed themselves to building the support structures necessary to create an environment where all of Denver’s children and families can succeed. This joint business plan is the framework for how to move forward in this collaborative work.
The overarching goal is to improve academic achievement and strengthen neighborhoods. This initiative will demonstrate how the integration of institutional services (DPS and City Services) and broad-based community resources such as community-based organizations can significantly improve student and family outcomes in selected schools through a well-coordinated and comprehensive delivery system. The short-term objective is to provide support for DPS schools impacted by planned closures.
Based upon the lessons learned by Denver’s city agencies and other youth stakeholders during their initial months of work with the four school clusters, the City and DPS will find themselves in a position over the subsequent three years to strategically 1) incorporate and/or expand the work of community-based non-profit groups that focus on youth success, as well as other stakeholders such as those in the business, postsecondary, and foundation communities; 2) expand efforts to include all elementary and middle schools in the district; as well as 3) link those efforts with strategies created at the high school level, resulting in the development of a true neighborhood-focused ECE-12+ integrated youth service delivery system.
Goal One – Increased Parent and Family Engagement
Support Denver Public Schools efforts in improving parental and family engagement by identifying strategies for engagement, eliminating school/classroom barriers impeding engagement, coordinating existing efforts and implementing best practices.
- Increase the number of parents/guardians volunteering in the classroom and the school;
- Increase the number of parents/guardians actively engaged in supporting student attendance and academic activities – homework completion, attendance, and parent-teacher conferences.
- Increase the number of parent/guardian education classes and attendance in these classes at school and in the community;
- Increase parent/guardian awareness, access and training for use of the district’s attendance and academic information systems.
Goal Two – Strengthened Neighborhoods
Strengthen Denver neighborhoods by decreasing negative at risk behaviors and providing support structures before, during, and after school.
- Decrease in youth crime in pilot neighborhoods;
- Increase in youth participation in recreation programs and other neighborhood-based programs;
- Increase in number of mentors paired with DPS students.
Goal Three – Increased Student Engagement
Increase student engagement and attendance by creating a network of support structures and extracurricular activities.
- Increase daily average attendance;
- Increase quality and comprehensiveness of after-school programs;
- Increase in the number of students served by after-school programs.
- Decrease in the drop-out rate.
Goal Four – Increased Skill Development
Support students in developing the necessary skills to succeed in school including academic support such as tutoring, credit recovery and career exploration programs.
- Increased credit-recovery strategies;
- Increased participation and access to tutoring;
- Increased opportunities for middle-school students to explore career interests.
Supporting Schools Impacted by Closure
DPS and the City identified four pilot sites throughout the district to focus on building an integrated delivery service model which included schools most impacted by school closures.
||New Program/Receiving Schools
||Horace Mann ECE 8
||Place ECE 8
||Wash. Virginia Vale/Virginia Vale
||Smith/Stedman Elem. Schools
||NE Park Hill/North Park Hill
Existing Infrastructure - Theme Teams
In December 2007, City representatives and DPS staff met with principals from closing schools and newly formed programs/receiving schools to identify needs for transitioning students and families.
Five general theme areas were identified as common needs by schools. These themes informed the strategies and action steps. The following themes address the needs identified:
1. After-school programming and enrichment programs
2. Mental Health and Social/Emotional Support
3. Basic Needs Support such as employment, housing, and safety
4. General Health
5. Workforce Development/Career Exploration
A key component required to build the foundation for an Integrated Service Delivery Model is the immediate development of a governance/management model that supports the advancement of both short-term and long-term goals and outcomes. Key staff will be identified by the Mayor and Superintendent from both the City and DPS, respectively, to provide oversight and governance of this business plan. This governance/management model will provide the venue for vetting new opportunities, monitoring progress, and revising this plan as needed. It will necessitate the development of agreements instituting long-term commitments among agency leaders to support this work.
The development of a communications plan will be central to building system-wide communications links among all stakeholders. The communications plan will develop strategies designed to improve communications gaps, which will extend outside agency walls and include feedback from parents, youth, community, business partners and schools. Defining the use of shared language as a collective group is essential in order to communicate system-wide goals and effectively advance the City/DPS Collaboration Partnership.
Evaluation of both the achievement of outcomes and partner accountability will play a key role in advancing the work of creating an Integrated Service Delivery Model in Denver, both from a strategic and cost-effectiveness standpoint. A detailed evaluation plan will be developed within the next 3-6 months which will include baseline measures, milestones and partner accountability. It is critical that measures are included in which data is already being collected and an analysis will determine where there are gaps in data collection.
Staff /Resource Advocates
Central to the support of implementation of this Business Plan are two staff persons, one within the City and one within DPS. It is anticipated that these two positions will be needed in order to move forward. Resource Advocates are central to supporting and strengthening linkages among community-based organizations, businesses, parents and schools. Reporting to the DPS Project Manager, Resource Advocates will work in collaboration with schools, collaborative school committees, DPS/City collaborative partners and other individuals/groups to achieve measurable outcomes and goals outlined in the City/DPS Business Plan. Funding for Resource Advocate positions is secured for two years and a funding plan will need to be developed for any expansion of Resource Advocates.
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