One Imagination Presents . . . Cafe Paramour

Love wasn't the only thing in the air on Wednesday, February 11. One Imagination took to the stage to exhibit their amazing talents during the first annual Cafe Paramour where over fifty community members gathered together to watch students and staff alike showcase song, spoken word, and dance performances. Guests were able to bid on Valentine's Day’s gift baskets to give to love ones, while also posing in our Valentine’s photo booth.

Cafe Paramour is just one of many ways One Imagination students are able to express themselves in the community.

Every week students come together to learn about what it means to be a leader, how to celebrate themselves and their talents, and ways that they can use Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math to further engage in their chosen art discipline. This is our ONE Imagination Program! Students gather every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. in order to showcase their skill set, increase academic readiness outside of the classroom, and talk about real life issues they see in their community. ONE Imagination acts as the only regional art program for students within the Far Northeast Community and has been designed to be affordable for every student. If you know a student between 6th and 12th grade who is interested in the arts, have them sign up for ONE Imagination today! Disciplines include: voice, dance, acting, photography, creative writing, fine arts, and modeling.

Check out this video put together by our ONE Flash Photography team!

For more information, or to join, please contact our Dean of Arts and Leadership, Kahlib Barton at:

Recognizing the Positive Impact of Community Ambassadors at the Planting the Seed Conference

At the Planting the Seed Conference, over 500 participants met to discuss impact in education, emerging leadership, healthy living, spiritual initiatives, and social justice.

We kicked off the conference this year with special remarks by U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and Mayor Michael B. Hancock. During this time, we were able to recognize people who had made a positive impact in the community. Two of these individuals have been dedicated contributors within our Far Northeast Community Ambassadors, Bert Bourgeois and Delmy Cuellar.

If you’re looking for ways to continue to make a positive impact in the community, we encourage you to sign up to be a Community Ambassador! Ambassadors take part in trainings throughout the year in order understand about school and community reform, as well as learn about wraparound resources and services. Additionally, they are our first line responders to supporting communities and families. Ambassadors are invited to several events throughout the year, including trainings with elected officials, such as Mayor Michael B. Hancock.

Youth Summit Spurs Monthly Leadership Meetings with Students

During the “Students of Style” Youth Summit, we were able to hear over 400 students’ voices from a myriad of schools throughout the Denver Metro Area. Through the conversations that they had with young professionals and leaders throughout the community, students were able to express their most pressing needs to be successful in the future.

As a direct result of this year’s “Students of Style” Youth Summit, Young Adults for Positive Action has been meeting with principals in order to create a monthly leadership program for the student leaders who attended the conference. Each month, Young Adults for Positive Action will address the themes that were discussed during the conference: community leadership, education, social justice, and workforce development – in order to see how we can create more opportunities for: access, positive relationships, cultural relevance and response, and accountability.

At the youth summit, students were able to hear from a dynamic group of professionals from across the Denver Metro community. Angela Robertson, Principal of P.U.S.H. Academy, opened the morning by encouraging the young leaders to be positive models before they moved into break-out panels that addressed community leadership, education, social justice, and workforce development. The closing charge from State Senator Mike Johnston reminded the students to know who they are and to be consistent in their pursuit of education.

Thanks to the support of Mile High United Way, we were able to document the students’ voices. From the conversations in the sessions, their voices were clear!

Denver Public Schools, Aurora Public Schools, and the Community, at large:

Students Want Access

Although they understand the importance of networking and connecting with like-minded business people, they do not understand how to identify networks or what resources are available in their community. Students are looking for more resources for internship experiences and to further their education. Additionally, students are looking for wraparound resource services for not only their own families, but for their friends, as well.

Students Want Relationships

These young men and women want to know that they not only have the support of their teachers, neighbors, and other adults in the community, but that they have acceptance. They need positive people in their lives that do more than just give orders. Particularly, students look forward to the experience of dialogue, mentorship, and example with the people that are connected to them.

Students Want Cultural Relevance and Cultural Response

Many of the students want to know ways that they can deal with discrimination in a positive and productive manner when at school, and for their careers. They are seeking the tools necessary to articulate the struggles they encounter on a daily basis and ways to overcome the discrimination they face in order to have successful futures. Particularly, students look forward to the experience of dialogue, mentorship, and example with people that are connected to them.

Students Want Accountability

Despite the fact that some adults argue that we should lower the bar for young people to “raise morale,” students are not only looking for a high expectations culture, they want to be held accountable for the work that they do. The young men and women we saw today were thirsty to learn more and eager for the opportunity for more rigorous coursework and teachers.

In order to solve these issues, it is imperative that the community continues to understand the partnership and collaboration that comes from leveraging our resources. We will spend the next sixty days not only following up with students, but also speaking with school leaders to hold them accountable for student success. In order to ensure the success of students, it is important for school leaders to be receptive to students’ voices.

Schools should be intentional about partnering with community resources, such as the Z Place Network and Zoom Sites. Z Place is a comprehensive, community-based early childhood and family support center and network that includes a full range of innovative learning and community services designed to enhance the lives of children, families, and communities. Intentional collaboration is fostered between partners at Z Place by means of the Internal Referral System, Z Place newsletter, partners meetings, and strategic management. 

For more information on the Z Place Network or the Zoom Sites, which are located in schools, please go to or

Partners throughout the Z Place network are working to ensure that not only are students’ voices heard, but that we make an intentional game plan to answer these young men and women’s requests.

Denver Summit Schools Network 2013-2014 Highlights

Increasing College Readiness through Rigorous Coursework:

Based on student scores released this summer, DSSN schools have increased the average network score on the 11th grade ACT exam by nearly 2 points in five years. In 2009-2010, Montbello High School average ACT composite score was 14.6. This year, the DSSN schools averaged an ACT composite score of 16.4. Also as a part of the DSSN, Bruce Randolph increased from 15.2 in 2013 to 16.4 in 2014. (See graph below.) In addition, DSSN met the district 2013 ACT subject area score in math.


Options for Advanced Placement coursework are steadily increasing across DSSN schools. In 2013-14, 294 students participated in Advanced Placement options available at Montbello High School, DCIS Montbello High School, Collegiate Prep Academy, and Bruce Randolph High School. At Montbello High School, the number of students receiving scores to qualify for college credit in Calculus increased from 5% (1 student) to 75% (8 students).

Getting Students to College

Montbello has increased the amount of scholarship money for students by 278% in three years. As of May 22 the total monetary amount of scholarships was $2,911,005.00.

Serving Our ELL Students

On the ACCESS English language proficiency exam, DSSN high schools increased their Overall scores of Level 5/6 (Bridging/Reaching—the highest levels) by 18 percentage points over the prior year. The percentage of DSSN high school students scoring Level 5/6 exceeded the district by 10 percentage points.

Targeted Programs are Working

The percentage of DSSN 4th, 6th, and 9th grade students (math tutoring program students) scoring proficient or advanced on the Scholastic Math Inventory (SMI) increased by 40 percentage points across the year—led by 81% of students proficient/advanced in 4th grade. Both 6th and 9th grade tutoring cohorts exceeded the grade level cohorts of the past two years in terms of both proficiency and growth. Overall, DSSN students in the tutoring program this year averaged 288 Quantiles of growth, exceeding the accelerated growth goal of 240 Quantiles (more than two years of growth in each grade level).

More Community Involvement

Twelve to fifteen Parent Community Ambassadors were recruited and trained from each DSSN school, for a total of 200 Parent Community Ambassadors.

Students Attending at Higher Rates

In 2010-11, the attendance rate for Montbello High School was 84.8%. DSSN high school attendance has exceeded this baseline every year, with 2013-14 network high school attendance at 87.6%

Making Steady Progress

Since 2010-11 (pre-turnaround), the DSSN network has raised state assessment proficiency for the network overall in elementary math, reading, and writing; middle school math and writing; and high school math, reading, and writing. This is led by an 18 percentage point increase in elementary math and a 17 percentage point increase in high school reading. TCAP scores from the 2013-14 school year are forthcoming.

Preparing Students for Success Early

At the end of they year, 71% of DSSN Kindergarten students met the district Kinder DRA2/EDL2 DPS goal of 4 (68% for English, 74% for Spanish). This is higher than the district, as 68% of DPS Kindergarten students met the goals in Kinder (67% in English, 68% in Spanish).