By Amanda Allhouse, President
Stapleton United Neighbors (SUN) surveys the community in order to gather broad community input. SUN’s current survey will be open through late-February 2019. While it includes a range of topics, this survey was motivated by conversations between Evergreen Devco and community members living near planned retail to be called The Shops at Beeler Park. Aggregated results will be published in the Front Porch, shared with Evergreen as well as other groups responsible for leasing space in and around Stapleton, and shared with additional community partners such as the Denver Public Library, the Denver Police Department, and Denver Public Schools. Link to survey: http://surveys.verticalresponse.com/a/show/461957/3ee3d82ab7/0
February Community Meeting: ByLaw Vote
During the 6:30-7:30 Outreach hour at the February 19th monthly SUN meeting, SUN will host a community vote on changes to SUN’s bylaws. Please refer to the January Front Porch SUN spot or www.StapletonUnitedNeighbors.org for details of these changes. Briefly, after SUN’s May 2018 Annual Meeting, in response to feedback about the voting process, the SUN Board of Directors identified areas of its By-Laws to update and streamline. Recommended changes are intended to add clarity, remove inconsistencies and modernize the By-Laws to better serve the needs of SUN and the community.
SUN Sponsored City Election Candidate Introductions: April 16
As part the SUN Outreach Committee meeting on Tuesday April 16th at 6:30pm, there will be an opportunity for candidates for the City Municipal Election to be introduced and answer questions. Candidates interested should contact SUN at Stapletonunitedneighbors@gmail.com.
Recruitment of a Diverse Board
SUN Outreach meetings in spring of 2019 will continue on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm, followed by the SUN board meeting at 7:30, both in Central Park Recreation Center Multipurpose room. Meetings are open to the public and all are welcome to attend. Specifically, residents interested in civic engagement at the community level are encouraged to attend SUN’s monthly meetings. SUN is the registered neighborhood organization for the Stapleton area of Denver and is comprised solely of volunteers. Our mission is threefold: to provide a forum for our residents; to maintain a communication network between ourselves, our neighboring Denver residents, and the City of Denver; and to act on issues of importance to the community as a whole. SUN facilitates community discussion of key issues, encourages in proactive steps to avoid problems and conflict, and is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community. SUN seeks to be comprised of a diverse group of community members who share this purpose and principles. Residents can nominate themselves or neighbors for a 2-year term on the SUN board in person at a monthly meeting or by emailing: StapletonUnitedNeighbors@gmail.com.
Parent Discussion of SchoolChoice
Jointly hosted by SUN and Park Hill Neighbors for Equity in Education, the January SUN meeting tackled SchoolChoice with an eye to how individual families can participate in a way that would improve equity across schools. The rich discussion culminated with broad considerations and specific advice for parents and guardians participating in the school choice process. When evaluating schools, parents were encouraged to review the school calendar of events to determine whether the same values are reflected in the nature of events hosted at the school as are present within the family. Questions about the presence of a School Accountability Committee, where parents can inform the direction of the school, can illuminate whether there is an active mechanism in place at a school to work with parent input. Parents were encouraged to bring the same social consciousness that influences other aspects of daily life into the SchoolChoice process, and to visit a school that perhaps they otherwise would not have considered.
Three Tips for Parents
By Carol Roberts, Front Porch
Before attendees divided into small groups to talk about the values that guide their choice of a school, Park Hill parent Andrew Lefkowits offered three tips.
1. Calm down. SchoolChoice may feel like you have to find the “perfect fit” and if you don’t do it right everything is lost. “Actually, for the vast majority of kids, the vast majority of schools will do a nice job. The decision you’re making now is not the difference between the Nobel Prize and living in your basement,” says Lefkowits.
2. Principals have a lot of autonomy and impact the school greatly, but principals change over time. Look at parents’ roles and what value the school places on them and the Collaborative School Committee as a source for driving changes at the school.
3. Think about your values and what you want your kid to get out of school. It’s easy for a parent to feel that if a school has good test scores it must be good for my kid. But there are so many more elements that make up a good school experience. “For me the experience of being in a community of people who are not like me was transformative—finding shared humanity with people from different backgrounds,” says Lefkowits.
Parents Share their Values
Angie Curington, kindergarten daughter–
“It’s hard looking at a school’s website. Even as a teacher I can’t really tell what they mean in day to day language. I value a school that has some kind of neighborhood connection, even if there’s kids coming from all different places. Recognizing that there are people living right around us, how can we still be connected to them in addition to just our school communities?”
Kelli Brandenburger, kindergarten daughter–
“I got my 5th choice. I went in thinking 95% or something like that get their first choice, no way would we get something that low. I kept thinking, ‘We’re on the wait list, we’ll get a call.’ Then we never did. I wasn’t heartbroken. I thought we can get her into another program next year. And I know they (Inspire) are red. But I feel like that has to do with them being new. And I love their philosophy. And I love the teachers. They are service-oriented, they do personalized plans. And my daughter loves it.”
Margaret Fogarty, 2nd grade son and ECE daughter–
“We’re particularly interested in the Spanish immersion program at Steadman. If she doesn’t get in ECE we’ll try again for kindergarten. Park Hill, our boundary school, would be fine, but it has a concentration of wealth and a lack of diversity. We’re interested in diversity in her school environment. The program at Steadman was brand new for my son so it wasn’t even on our radar then. It’s been neat to watch the evolution. Interesting. It doesn’t feel like a red school.”
Janeel Williams, 5th grade son–
“I value parent and community engagement. It’s very strong at Steadman. It is encouraged and respected. If you went to my son’s class, you would see a lot of community people who grew up in Park Hill and who are leaders in Park Hill come in and talk about things like life skills, which are very important.”