Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg wants to hear from parents. Next month, he's launching the Superintendent's Parents Forum, an every-other-month gathering between district officials and a group consisting of two parents from each DPS school -- which by our count, adds up to about 300 parents. Possibly 300 angry parents.
It seems fair to say that most government entities, including schools, hear most from the public when something goes wrong. That's been true for DPS lately, especially in the case of Lake Middle School. Outrage at a perceived lack of community involvement in the decision to "turn around" the failing school at least partially prompted the school board to reconsider its plan. But a second vote failed to change the school's fate.
The situation with Lake also gave school board candidates running in November's election a rallying cry: DPS needs more parental involvement! Candidates on both sides of the school reform debate used it to their advantage.
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So is the Superintendent's Parent Forum the answer? Or is it just a peace offering?
Boasberg has high hopes, judging from comments he made when he announced the endeavor. "Strong parent engagement is a critical key to successful schools," he said. "This group of parents will provide us with strong feedback on key issues and programs that will directly impact their students' success in our schools."
Whatever the outcome, it seems like it could take a while to get there -- especially with 300 opinions to listen to. We hope Boasberg has a good note-taker.