March 4, 2016
Denver Mayor, District Partner to Recruit Minority Teachers

Denver’s mayor and acting superintendent greeted 15 teacher applicants Friday morning, touting the city as the new “it” city and asking the future teachers to consider working in Denver Public Schools.

“There’s something for everyone in this city and there’s certainly room for dedicated, committed and prepared professionals like educators, like yourselves, and we’d love to have you in our city,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

The meeting was part of a recruitment effort to find more educators of color to work in the city’s school district.

About 75 percent of DPS students are minority students, yet the most recent numbers from the state show the district’s teachers have a reversed demographic with about 75 percent being white and 25 percent of different race — including 16 percent Latinos and 4 percent black.

“It’s an incredibly competitive landscape for many of these folks,” said Susana Cordova, the district’s acting superintendent.

Some of the educators in the group, including a black man from Georgia who is about to graduate as a special education teacher, will particularly be in high demand, Cordova said.

The group is scheduled to tour several area schools, meet with DPS teachers, and will explore the city over the weekend, including attending the Denver Nuggets game Friday night at the Pepsi Center.

Their visit is paid for by a group of foundations led by the Donnell Kay Foundation.

In their session Friday morning, teacher candidates asked Cordova and the mayor about the district’s reading material, how paraprofessionals are supported, and how special education teachers work with regular classroom teachers.

Officials touted the city’s preschool program, the district’s encouragement of bilingualism and partnerships with the public library system.

“People all over the country want effective educators of color,” Hancock said. “The more you can bring educators of color, effective educators of color into the classroom, I think the comfort level, the relatability increases as well for that student. It’s important.”