Culturally Responsive Education

Opportunity Gap Cohorts

The Professional Learning Team is committed to its role in making an impact on the Denver Plan 2020. Part of this goal is to close the opportunity gap and provide all students access to educational opportunities that allow them to achieve at the highest levels. The Professional Learning Team, in partnership with other DPS teams (CELT, ELA Whole Child, FACE and SEO) offers an Opportunity Gap Professional Learning Cohort focused on peer-to-peer learning for school leadership teams based upon a problem of practice for a targeted group of underserved students.

Cohort I kicked off March 22, 2017 with Dr. Eddie Fergus, author of Solving Disproportionality and Achieving Equity: A Leader’s Guide to Using Data to Change Hearts and Minds, and faculty at New York University, joining our team to support our Opportunity Gap Cohorts with school-based strategic planning and team-designated activities. Eighteen instructional leadership teams made the commitment to engage in data-driven collaboration; to examine school-based structures and practices; and to take action steps that will have the greatest impact on student success. School teams have explored 3 types of biases and how they show up the existing educational structures: color-blindness, deficit thinking, and poverty-disciplining.  A Professional Learning Community in Schoology was also created online to support this cohort in their ability to share best practices amongst schools, support data-based practices in-between school visits, and to explore common wonderings about equity across teams. This cohort has launched problem of practice teams in the following areas:

* Excellence for Inclusive Practices — Focus on underserved population of student with special needs
* Excellence for African-American Students — Focus on an underserved population of African-Americans
* Excellence for Latino Students — Focus on an underserved population of Latinos
* Excellence for All — Focus on an under-identified population of Gifted and Talented students of color
* Excellence for Linguistic Students — Focus on an underserved population of English Learners

These teams are facilitated by the Professional Learning Team to provide time and space for participants to deepen research-based knowledge; explore best practices in action; and focus on student engagement and achievement for targeted group of underserved students.

Next Up This Spring

School teams will engage in an Environmental Scan, Classroom Walkthroughs, and Student Focus Groups, and visit districts who are also closing the opportunity gap to determine, for their school community, the focus area(s) that will provide the highest leverage for transformational growth and what approaches should be prototyped first. After schools have participated in an aligned professional learning opportunity and selected school visits, cohort members will be creating a year-long opportunity (AIM) statement using Improvement Science methods which is grounded in continuous cycles of improvement and supported by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Are you interested in the Spring 2018 Opportunity Gap Cohort? Click here to contact us! »

Turn Around School Support


The Professional Learning Team will support Turnaround Schools with continuous improvement by helping them measure the impact of school-based professional learning efforts. Based on identified needs, the PL Team can provide direct service around adult learning best-practice, data culture, and facilitation expertise. Additionally, we will also function as a broker to leverage current structures and strategic plans and coordinate existing district supports to build greater school-based capacity and integrated systems. As a result of our partnership, the Professional Learning Team will design for schools a differentiated Professional Learning Impact Plan that outlines relevant impact measures of professional learning, presents data results, and monitors progress to inform ongoing decision making.