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Our Word is Our Bond, Fifth Edition | Winter 2023-2024

“Wisdom comes with winters” - Oscar Wilde

Winter Reflections

As we slowly tiptoe towards spring and dream of warmer days, it is important to reflect on everything the winter season has brought us. In this 2023-2024 winter edition of the “Our Word is Our Bond” newsletter, you will find updates on a variety of bond construction projects happening across Denver Public Schools.

We will begin our in-depth recap of the season with bond updates beginning in November of last year and take you on a journey of special DPS stories through the end of February 2024.

In this time period we have had a lively ribbon-cutting ceremony, influential community meetings, informative construction tours, and conducted engaging interviews with equity-minded DPS students who helped inspire new accessible designs for our school playgrounds.

All of these experiences and moments have helped us improve the adult, student, and system experience as part of our strategic roadmap. Let’s dive in!

What's New in Bond this Winter?

Student-led Adaptive Playground at DCIS Fairmont

Denver Public Schools has partnered with a group of students on a new build project. Alongside the DPS Operations team, these compassionate, plucky and fiercely intelligent students are preparing to break ground on an innovative design: an inclusive playground at their school.

The students, ranging from first to fifth graders, are on the design team and were inspired by a desire to share their playground with their friends with disabilities. They attend Denver Center for International School (DCIS), an ECE-fifth grade dual language immersion school in Denver’s Fairmont neighborhood.

The project will be funded with the $795 million dollar 2020 bond. After completion, the DCIS Fairmont playground will serve as a pilot project for similar playgrounds in the future.

"Inclusivity is at the heart of this student-designed playground. Without their passion, advocacy, and wonderfully thoughtful relationships with fellow classmates, this project would not be starting this summer," said DPS Operations Project Manager Amy Sponsler.

"When our team heard about this project, we really wanted to make it happen, as DPS is committed to creating high quality learning environments both inside and outside of classrooms."

Eidos Architects, Lime Green Design, and Palace Construction are the external contractors hired for the job and have been more than willing to work with the young designers.

"Working in collaboration with DPS and DCIS Fairmont to create DPS’ first fully adaptive and inclusive play environments has been such an incredible and rewarding project to be a part of. Our team has learned a lot throughout this project and look forward to having the opportunity to create additional adaptive play spaces in the future," said Eidos Project Architect Andrew Tschetter.

Thank you Denver voters for supporting this important work! Stay tuned for a groundbreaking ceremony for this unique project! The ceremony date will be announced in the spring.

Denver Public Schools Celebrates Opening of CHSAA-Approved Athletic Facilities at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College in Far Northeast of Denver

On Nov. 30, 2023, DPS leadership, families, and students celebrated the addition of brand new athletic facilities with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College (DMLK) in the Far Northeast of Denver. The new gym has been approved by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) to host high school games and matches.

The project includes a new CHSAA soccer field and new CHSAA gymnasium with spectator seating. Additionally, there are trainer rooms, an athletic director's office, locker rooms, restrooms, storage, concession and ticket sale stands. A “Hall of Fame'' corridor connects the existing main entry to the new wing.

Prior to the construction, DMLK students had to participate in high school sports off-site, bussing to other schools for practices and games for sports such as soccer and basketball. The new athletics wing and gymnasium expansion provides new game and practice space for DMLK students at their own school.

The new athletic spaces were made possible through support of Denver voters and paid for with 2016 bond reserve dollars. The budget for the gymnasium and soccer field totals more than $20 million.

"To every educator that pushed for this outcome, thank you! To every Denver citizen who voted to pass a bond and invested in our public schools, thank you! This project is the result of shared responsibility and a tireless commitment to serving students," said Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero.

This project was made possible thanks to Denver voters, DPS’ Board of Education, DPS’ Planning, Design, and Construction team, DPS’ Bond Oversight Committee, DPS district leaders, and DPS community partners, contractors: Eidos Architects and GH Phipps. They all helped make this special project come to life and played a role in helping unlock this next exciting chapter in DMLK’s history.

New Year, New Bond Updates with Mr. T!

New Year's celebrations are a great time to think about your resolutions and to plan ahead for the personal goals you want to achieve in the year ahead. In 2024, the Planning, Design, and Construction team at Denver Public Schools took that spirit of taking action and goal setting into their own hands and presented personalized messages to a handful of our DPS schools who are scheduled to receive 2020 bond-funded upgrades! The greetings included construction updates on the bond projects happening at 26 DPS schools. Take a look at this special series to learn more about these 26 voter-approved projects!

CPAC is Off to the Races!

In the last week of January, DPS’ 2024 Community Planning and Advisory Committee (CPAC) met for their first full meeting – hosted by Montbello High School! The CPAC is made up of a diverse group of people who share a common interest: supporting and investing in Denver Public Schools.

They are volunteers who play a critical role in creating a bond package proposal that, if approved by the Denver Board of Education, will be presented to Denver voters in November 2024. Watch as we interview a few of our members in the video below.

Together CPAC members are examining the needs of schools across the district and working together to prepare recommendations on air conditioning, building maintenance, and safety and technology, among other essential investments. 

The CPAC will meet a total of five times together as a full group and four to six times in their subcommittee groups, over the course of six months. 

To review presentation materials from CPAC meetings and to learn more about the CPAC process, including details on how you can sign-up for public comment (space is limited, so register early!) please visit our website at: Please note that members of the community are always welcome to participate as audience members, with no prior sign-up necessary.

Ceylon Becomes RASA (Responsive Arts and STEAM Academy FNE) Construction Progress & Rename Update

The Ceylon campus was made possible by a $51 million dollar investment in public education. Denver voters passed a bond measure in 2020 that provided the necessary funds for an ECE-5th grade campus in the rapidly expanding Far Northeast corner of Denver. With an ever-increasing influx of new families, the need for education in the area has been steadily growing. Even as we toured the lively construction site, new housing developments could be seen surrounding all sides of the soon to be realized brand new DPS school.

Ceylon also has a new name: “RASA” which stands for Responsive Arts and STEAM Academy FNE. We toured this campus in its final stages of development and met with RASA’s co-founding Assistant Principal Kelly Okoye for a sneak peek at what’s to come. RASA is now enrolling.

Bond in the Media

Montbello High School

The most expensive bond project to date, the $139.5 million dollar “Reimagine Montbello” project is well on its way to completion! The Montbello Warriors are back and stronger than ever. The design of this new school building will honor the legacy of the past and pave the way for a bright future for the students of Montbello. We invited Fox 31 and CBS news on a construction tour of the campus.

Ceylon/RASA Electrified Campus Feature

DPS’ first fully electric campus had its debut spotlight. The new Ceylon campus is innovation at its best – bringing a fully sustainable campus for kids to the ever expanding far northeast community. RASA will open its doors to its first students this fall. For a look back at the history of RASA (Ceylon campus), you can review the 9 News coverage from last year.


What is "Bond and Mill Levy" Anyway?

Both a bond and a mill levy are types of funding drawn from property taxes to support public projects and services. A bond is a one-time capital investment in schools and classrooms. For example, bond funds may help renovate older schools to update them for 21st-century learning, build brand-new school buildings and buy additional educational technology. A bond can invest in building upgrades such as critical maintenance, sustainability or air conditioning.

A mill levy funds ongoing operational needs such as teacher salaries, software, school nurses and social-emotional supports. While a bond funds the physical building of schools and classrooms, the mill levy funds bring the classroom to life. For more information on funding please review our school funding 101 resources.

Everyone Has a Voice at DPS

The details surrounding bond and mill levy can often be confusing, and we hope to rectify that -- in part -- with the development and distribution of this newsletter. Transparency is our goal and we are working hard to make sure the Denver community knows that the promises we made are promises we have kept.

All of our stakeholders have an important role in advocating for the improvements we make in our school district and the lives we are able to change in doing so. We hope this newsletter will illuminate that and will be both a call to action and a word of encouragement.

Thank you,

Giorgia Alexander

Bond and Mill Levy Communications Specialist for DPS

Questions or comments? Contact:


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