Denver Public Schools Superintendent Irv Moskowitz signed an agreement Thursday guaranteeing the district will work to improve the academic achievement of Hispanic students.
Denver safety manager Fidel ”Butch” Montoya and Nita Gonzales, chairpersons of the Latino Education Coalition, also signed the two-page document.
The signing ceremony took place before a packed room of city officials, educators, parents and alternative high school students at the Servicios de la Raza building in north Denver.
The agreement includes the seven goals presented to the school board in June by the coalition, an umbrella group of 15 organizations.
DPS and the coalition agreed to come up with a timetable for the changes by Nov. 15.
The memorandum ended 27 days of fasting by Gonzales, who went on a hunger strike Sept. 16, vowing not to eat solid foods until the district agreed to the coalition’s recommendations.
Also on Sept. 16, Mexican Independence Day, about 800 students walked out of classes to protest the district’s lack of attention to the academic problems of Hispanic students.
Moskowitz called the agreement a key toward improving the education of Hispanic children and bettering the relationship between the district and the Latino community.
Gonzales said Moskowitz so far has shown he can work with the coalition to stem the poor achievement among Hispanic students.
The goals include increasing Hispanic participation in decision making; ensuring students start school prepared to learn; emphasizing math and technology classes; discouraging remedial courses and preparing students for college; encouraging Hispanic parents to participate in their children’s education; increasing the number of Hispanic instructors; and guaranteeing that the district’s bilingual program complies with a 1984 federal court order.