RMP Parent: The Importance of School Choice in DPS Superintendent Search
October 01, 2018 | By Berenice Quezada, DPS graduate and current DPS parent
When I graduated from Denver’s South High School in 2006, I didn’t know what kinds of options I had or how I could continue my education. Not having a college degree has made things harder for my small family. We have struggled with things like buying a car and buying a house. So when I started looking for a school for my kids, I knew that I wanted them to go to a place that would prepare them for college -- and not just that, but I wanted them to have an education that opened all opportunities for them.
Unfortunately, having the determination to get them to a great school was not enough to help me navigate the complicated process of school choice. When it came time to select a school for my daughters, I called on my sister-in-law to help me understand how schools were rated and where I could find the best elementary school.
That is what lead me to Rocky Mountain Prep (RMP). Although I was guided to send my daughters there because of their academic results, it is the warm and supportive community that has kept us there. At RMP, not only have my daughters grown and succeeded, but I have also found a place where I can grow as a leader.
Last year when my daughter, Alexa, was getting ready to transition to middle school, RMP provided every single fifth-grade family with information on what schools were available. They talked to us about finding a school that was a good fit for our students. And, most importantly, they helped us navigate a complicated school choice process. It was this kind of information and support that allowed me to feel like I had the power to actually make a choice for my kid’s education. When I was growing up accessing this information and resources was difficult for my parents, just like it continues to be difficult for families that don’t speak English and are not familiar with the education system in the U.S.
There has been a lot of progress made in Denver Public Schools (DPS) since I graduated and the growth and success of my daughters in school is proof of that. This type of progress can really shape our communities and better our future. But right now not all families have the option or the access to send their kids to a great school that will prepare them for the future. Our kids can no longer wait. That is why we must do more than just recognize the challenges our schools and district face and take real action.
The next DPS superintendent needs to understand that school choice is important for families and that all kids in every corner of the city need to have a GREAT school to choose from in their neighborhood.
In order to make this a reality we need to choose a leader that will work with families and schools and bring new ideas to solve the challenges we face.
Berenice Quezada is a DPS graduate and current DPS parent.
Want to share your opinion in the DPS Superintendent Search process? The DPS online community survey is live now until Oct. 12. Submit your survey response here.