South High School Community Forum

On Wednesday, September 26, dozens of community members gathered at South High School to discuss their hopes and dreams for the next district superintendent. Many of the community members belonged to refugee and immigrant communities and the input they provided during this meeting reflected a vast array of backgrounds, cultures, languages and opinions.

Below are some of the most desired characteristics of a superintendent and the initiatives these community members hope will continue or change.

Teachers, students and high-quality infrastructure and instruction were among the top priorities for these community members.

  • “We put students first when we ensure great school options for all students”
  • “Making sure that every student has an equal opportunity for education, but also making sure they (receive) an equal education. Making sure students are challenged, and knowing that all students are at different learning levels and all students come from different backgrounds.”
  • “(T)he reason I chose budgeting to increase teacher salary and for services to students is my hope is this will lead to closing the academic achievement gap, lead to students being ready for college or career. An incredibly close second is early childhood education for all because that will accomplish the same goals as those stated above.”
  • “We need to view public schools as a public good, not a business enterprise. Working with community members to ensure positive outcomes for all students can happen authentically when public schools are viewed as common goods for society.”

Reflective of this input, was the desire for our next district leader to have the ability to ensure that all students, regardless of ability, will have a positive experience within DPS. Out of six choices, this received the most favorable votes.

Community members at the South High School meeting voiced their desire for equitable opportunities for students as well as diversity of thought in school leadership and governance.

  • “Ensuring diverse students in every school, not segregated schools based on community economics”
  • “It is important to maintain governance diversity with DPS without limiting a great school (in) each neighborhood”
  • “My top priority is inclusion for students with special needs”

Community members overwhelmingly said that the next superintendent should value diversity, equity and inclusion and have a demonstrated commitment to ensuring this is reflected in staffing at all levels—nearly 70 percent said that this was very important.

What are your top priorities for the school district? What do you want to see in our next district leader? Email and let us know. Our online community survey is also available until Oct. 12. Access the survey here.