The Den­ver Pub­lic Schools de­ci­sion to close some schools was tough but nec­es­sary.

The Denver Post - - NEWS -

Den­ver Pub­lic Schools of­fi­cials sent a clear mes­sage late last Thurs­day night that the dis­trict will not tol­er­ate fail­ure.

By clos­ing three un­der­per­form­ing el­e­men­tary schools, the school board re­fused to ac­cept sub­par aca­demic per­for­mance for any of Den­ver’s chil­dren for a mo­ment longer.

We agree and ap­plaud them for mak­ing the tough de­ci­sion.

Af­ter hours of im­pas­sioned tes­ti­mony from par­ents and teach­ers hop­ing to spare the schools from clo­sure, school board mem­bers stood by their pre­vi­ous de­ci­sion to close schools that fail to meet the dis­trict’s ex­pec­ta­tions.

Chalk­beat re­porter Me­lanie As­mar re­ported that the board voted unan­i­mously to close Green­lee, Amesse and Gilpin Montes­sori el­e­men­tary schools.

“We don’t get do-overs with our kids,” board mem­ber Mike John­son said af­ter urg­ing those who came to tes­tify to stick with the dis­trict through the clo­sure process.

John­son is right. We don’t get a sec­ond chance when it comes to ed­u­cat­ing our chil­dren. Wait­ing for a school to im­prove for the next gen­er­a­tion fails the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion.

We know teach­ers, par­ents and prin­ci­pals in these schools work hard ev­ery day to make a dif­fer­ence in their stu­dents’ lives. But some­times that isn’t enough.

Other schools that were part of the fed­er­ally funded 2010 turn­around have seen suc­cess.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Tom Boas­berg high­lighted the clo­sure of Mont­bello High School, say­ing Thurs- day night that more stu­dents than ever in north­east Den­ver are grad­u­at­ing from the smaller high school pro­grams that opened in place of Mont­bello.

Among the new schools opened in north­east Den­ver to serve stu­dents from Mont­bello and other ar­eas was Col­le­giate Prepara­tory Academy, a school that today is hit­ting indi­ca­tors for stu­dent im­prove­ment. While stu­dents at that school still strug­gle aca­dem­i­cally, state test scores show they are im­prov­ing at rates de­ter­mined ac­cept­able by the dis­trict. Col­lege and ca­reer readi­ness scores are also im­prov­ing at a good rate and are close to meet­ing ex­pec­ta­tions.

McGlone El­e­men­tary was also part of a turn­around plan in 2010. That school fed into Mont­bello. The el­e­men­tary school has been hailed as a suc­cess, so much that for­mer U.S. Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion Arne Dun­can came to call to cel­e­brate huge gains in lit­er­acy tests.

Dras­tic mea­sures don’t al­ways work, how­ever. This is the sec­ond time Green­lee El­e­men­tary has been sub­ject to a restart of sorts. The school was one of the dis­trict’s turn­arounds in 2010, when al­most all of the school’s teach­ers were fired, a new prin­ci­pal was put in place, and mil­lions in fed­eral dol­lars were poured into the school.

Clearly the ef­fort didn’t work, but the dis­trict is try­ing again, and per­haps this time the restart as a dif­fer­ent school will work.

Stu­dents in these schools don’t just de­serve bet­ter, they de­serve the best. We ap­plaud the dis­trict for mak­ing tough de­ci­sions to see they get it sooner rather than later.

Den­ver Post file

A stu­dent at Den­ver’s Green­lee El­e­men­tary School looks at his teacher on Feb. 18. Green­lee is one of three schools that DPS de­cided last week to close.

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