January 31, 2012
For more information contact DCTA at:
303-831-0590 (DCTA office — ask for Henry Roman or Carolyn Crowder)
The Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) filed a class action grievance today with Denver Public Schools (DPS) regarding the mishandling of a process to provide expanded learning opportunities which would extend the school day for students in several Denver schools.
“Because of our focus on creating the best opportunities for student learning, we are concerned that directives from DPS administration to change the school day for students and teachers ignore the best practices promoted by the National Center for Time and Learning (NCTL) and several provisions of the DCTA contract,” said Henry Roman, DCTA president.
NCTL is a national group who has been working with representatives from fourteen DPS schools during the 2011-2012 school year. Teams from these schools have been meeting with NCTL to consider expanded learning opportunities for their students which could adjust their school day during the 2012-2013 school year.
As a member of the group attending the NCTL sessions, Henry Roman has learned that the process of expanding learning time is supposed to include the involvement of teachers, parents and students – and should be designed from the “ground up” – not mandated with “top down” administrative directives. Communication to parents has centered around announcing changes instead of soliciting ideas. The planning teams from the fourteen schools were told to design their own plans and “think outside of the box” and yet, this past week were given “one-size-fits all” directives from central administration that would basically make most of the designs look exactly the same, without considering many of the plan elements originally designed by the planning teams. Currently, most traditional DPS middle schools start at 7:30 am and go until 2:30 pm. A common element in these directives would change the ending time at many of these schools to 3:30 pm.
DCTA is also worried about unanswered questions around this issue such as how these changes could complicate bus transportation; the supervision of students during the extended school day and how all of the changes will be funded over the next few years. “In a time when teacher’s salaries have been frozen and the forecast for the 2012-2013 school year includes more cuts to the DPS budget, it is irresponsible to begin new programs without a clear idea of a sustainable funding source” says Henry Roman.
The DCTA/DPS contract agreement clearly states that “The District’s scheduled student school contact day will not be extended without applying the due process of collective bargaining,” and yet thus far DPS administration has refused to engage in the collective bargaining process on this issue.
“We want to engage in collective bargaining around this issue in order to negotiate a fair process that gives schools the freedom to design what they know will lead to student success, the recruitment and retention of excellent educators, and shared accountability for all involved.” Henry Roman, DCTA President.
The fourteen affected schools:
Denver Center International Studies
Henry World School