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Questions for Denver leaders on Latino education

How is Denver Public Schools working to recruit teachers who look like the mostly minority students they teach?

What are the plans for implementing comprehensive sex education in the city’s high schools?

Has the district learned any lessons from its bruising public battles over turning around its lowest-performing schools?

Audience members at the Denver Latino Commission‘s Education Town Hall meeting on Tuesday asked a flurry of questions about issues affecting the city’s public school students, who are 57 percent Hispanic.

The panel members fielding questions were Tom Boasberg, Denver Public Schools superintendent; Nita Gonzales, principal of Escuela Tlatelolco, a DPS contract school; Arturo Jimenez, vice president of the Denver school board; and Maria Guajardo Lucero, director of the Mayor’s Office for Education and Children.

Panel members politely disagreed on some issues, such as the DPS School Performance Framework, which is used to measure the city’s schools. And audience members were not afraid to ask blunt questions, querying Boasberg on a recent district reorganization that shifted some responsibilities for DPS’ highest-ranking Latina staffer, Ana Tilton.

Boasberg said Tilton, the chief academic officer, continues to be his deputy. Tilton, asked for a comment Wednesday, responded through the district’s communications office:

“We face an extraordinary set of opportunities in implementing new K-12 standards and assessments, developing stronger opportunities and programs for English-language learners, and reforming our teacher professional development and evaluation systems,” she said. “I will continue to lead on these critically important issues in my role as Chief Academic Officer.”

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