Denver Public Radio

Beloved Denver Teacher Stunned To Be On DPS No-Hire List

by Jenny Brundin

Former Schmitt Elementary teacher Dolores Carbajal–Sandoval looks at a thank-you card from a student whose reading improved more than two grade levels last year.

Denver public school students go back class next week, but not all their teachers will be there. Last spring, school administrators placed 80 teachers on a blacklist, banning them from working in the district for at least three years, and in some cases for good. At a 10-hour board meeting in May, a string of teachers protested. Some argued the district’s process for evaluating teachers wasn’t followed. The district maintains every teacher on that list had significant performance issues.

One of those teachers was Dolores Carbajal-Sandoval. For 17 years, right around this time of year, she was happily preparing for the school year. She loved making her classroom at Denver’s Schmitt Elementary warm and inviting for her 4th and 5th graders, all Latino. She’d bring in gardenias from her garden for students to care for. She’d set out books about the Trail of Tears and Cesar Chavez. She put calaveras – traditional ceramic skeletons- in the corners for kids to tattle to and talk about their problems.

“It’s amazing how they would go and talk and talk and talk and talk!” Carbajal-Sandoval said with a laugh.

It seemed like she understood her students and their parents. She spoke their language and she, herself, is the daughter of migrant farmworkers. Carbajal-Sandoval’s joy also came from sharing her expertise with other teachers. Many sought her out, especially on second language issues. Lagging students often ended up in her class, and she pushed them hard. One previous principal placed Carbajal-Sandoval in the top ten percent of all teachers she’d ever worked with. Teaching was her life.

“Once I’m in my classroom, it’s a whole different world, ” she said. “It’s my world with them. I love it. I love teaching!”

But this year after 17 years of teaching in Colorado, she won’t be coming back. She can’t hide her emotion as she looks down at a list of former students.

“I know them, and I know what they need, and I won’t be able to see them through, ” she said through tears. “And I don’t know if people will know that Ricardo, he’s is a picky eater, and I knew when he didn’t eat. Will they know that Daniella, she’s such a good girl, but so sensitive? Will they know that Francisco doesn’t get to see his Dad but once a year? Do they know that? Will they know that?"

Colorado law allows teachers who don’t have tenure yet to be let go for just about any reason. They don’t have to be told why. Carbajal-Sandoval was in that category - even though she’d been teaching 17 years, she’d only been in Denver schools for three. Things changed for her this year, with a new principal. The school was a pilot for new academic standards, and any more demands were placed on teachers. She was one of several who pushed back, asking for more support.

University Of Chicago Press Governing With the News, Second Edition: The News Media as a Political Institution (Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion)
Book (University Of Chicago Press)
2010-09-29 13:43:53 by relaxmax

Cornel West and Tavis Smiley - A New Radio Show

Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Start a New Radio Show
Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are two of the coolest brothers on the intellectual block. They've served as public road maps for the empowerment of black men everywhere, and their work does not get the recognition it deserves.
Well, Public Radio International is working to help change that by granting Smiley and West their own radio show. In fact, the show is going to be called "Smiley & West."
The announcement for the new show was made during the Public Radio Programming Conference, held in Denver, Colorado

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