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Our Word is Our Bond, Second Edition

The Montbello Warriors are Back!

Montbello High School reopened its doors to students in August 2022, eight years after the high school closed its doors and said goodbye -- forever leaving a legacy ingrained in the community. Today, the Warriors are back and the legacy continues! Pictured above are Montbello students standing in front of their school, which is currently undergoing a $139.5 million construction project. Dubbed “Reimagine Montbello” and paid for by the 2020 bond, made possible by Denver voters, Phase 1 of construction began in June 2022. Construction on the new building is estimated to be completed in 2024. If you missed it when it debuted in on our first edition, you can still view the iconic beam signing.

Our Word is Our Bond

Our Word is Our Bond is an informational resource delivered to our DPS stakeholders, both internal and external, highlighting the efforts of our district to uphold the promises made during the most recent and relevant bond cycle(s).

In this newsletter, you can expect status updates on our current bond construction projects and information on Mill Levy overrides and the ways in which they have benefitted our district. This newsletter will also share details on our Bond Oversight Committee and how its members work to serve our district.

Assistive Tech at Denver Public Schools

Jackie Bott has been working for Denver Public Schools for almost a decade. In that time, she has seen many improvements in assistive technology within our district. She has seen the growth we have had from the 2012 bond, the 2016 bond, and most recently- the 2020 bond. Denver voters have helped the district provide our children with the assistive technology they need to thrive!

"Because of the Bond specifically, we have a more robust inventory than anyone in the state," Jackie said. "Other districts simply don’t have the extensive library that we do."

In 2020, the bond passed and provided funding for new staff members, a van to distribute tech equipment, and a new assessment library -- one that qualifies children for Special Education. To learn more about the giant steps DPS has taken in assistive tech, watch the special report above, featuring our dedicated staff and ingenious students.

Glenbrook Greenhouse Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

"We can use this land productively, not just to serve the kids of southwest Denver, but to serve all of the kids at DPS, by growing fresh produce," Denver City Council member Kevin Flynn stated at the Glenbrook Greenhouse ribbon-cutting ceremony held in June.

Kevin serves as Councilman for District 2 of Denver and has been a part of DPS’ Glenbrook Greenhouse project from the very beginning, both as a neighbor and a planner. He has been working with DPS to align and collaborate with Denver Urban Gardens- a Denver community staple- to build a Food Forest Initiative at the ⅔ acre 2020 bond-funded structure.

The 28,000-sq-ft state-of-the-art commercial greenhouse is the first facility of its kind dedicated to providing public school students with fresh produce. There are no other greenhouses owned and operated by a school district that have this level of yield potential.

Theresa Hafner, Executive Director of Enterprise Management, oversees the project for DPS. Theresa and her team have harvested 1.7 tons of produce so far. Guests at the ceremony were able to tour the facility under the careful guidance of Theresa and Greenhouse Supervisor, Hayden Robbins. Guests even had the chance to sample the produce straight from the vine!

Check out the video to get a peek into the historic milestone for DPS.

Pride Month at Denver School of the Arts

At DPS, we share in the celebration in support of our LGBTQIA students, staff, and extended community. In honor of Pride Month, we stopped by one of the many exciting renovations happening at Denver School of the Arts (DSA), to get the inside scoop on a truly special project.

First, a little bit of history: Using premium bond dollars from the 2020 bond, DSA was able to purchase four new buildings to expand their arts program. The decision to expand was made in order to create a more equitable experience for children who want to pursue an arts education here in Denver. DSA will set forth on these plans by doubling enrollment for the incoming sixth-grade class next year in 2024, when the Academic Center (one of the 4 buildings purchased for the expansion) will have its renovations complete.

One of the approved additions in this building is a gender-inclusive restroom for DSA students.

"It was a huge opportunity for us to make some changes, to update, and to meet the needs of students. I worked with a student group over the past two years, talking about safety and opportunity to access, so when we talked to the architects we proposed the idea of a fully gender-inclusive bathroom," said DSA’s Assistant Principal, John Najmulski.

The addition will provide safe access to restrooms for all. The space was advocated for by DSA students and it will serve our DSA students.

Check out the video to learn more about this student-led initiative made possible by Denver voters.

July Construction Update: Ceylon Campus

It’s been five months since DPS held a Groundbreaking Ceremony for Ceylon -- a new school being built in a rapidly growing neighborhood in the Far Northeast of Denver. Governor Jared Polis was in attendance as we broke ground and began construction on this $51 million project passed by Denver voters in the 2020 bond.

Well, it’s July and it’s time for an update! We toured the campus and saw new walls built, cranes in action, and a construction team that has been working hard for months. Swinerton Construction happily welcomed us on to their busy site to help us get a glimpse of the progress to share with our community.

DPS Project Manager, Amy Sponsler, led us on a tour. "Right now we are on track to finish all of the concrete walls by the end of July," Amy said.

The Ceylon Campus is still unnamed. Elise Koehl is the School Communications Specialist for this emerging ECE-5 school, which will open its doors to students in August 2024. Elise is asking for your help to name this school! Watch the video for more information and visit the current website to submit your suggestions.

2020 Bond AC + Cooling Upgrades

Below is a list of all the projects completed thanks to our Denver voters!

Completed Projects:

✅ Force [Force Elementary School]

✅ Grant [Grant Beacon Middle School]

✅ Smith [Smith Elementary School]

✅ Valverde [Valverde Elementary School]

✅ Fairview [Fairview Elementary School]

✅ Hallett [Hallett Academy]

✅ Merrill [Merrill Middle School]

✅ Ashley [Ashley Elementary School]

✅ Smedley [Denver Montessori Junior/Senior High School and Denver Online High School]

✅ West High School [West High School]

✅ Manual [Manual High School]


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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