DENVER — Summer is officially over for more than 90,000 kids in Denver Public Schools. On Monday morning, the state's largest school district welcomed students back for the first day of the 2018-2019 school year.
Monday also marks the final "first day" for longtime DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg. He announced in July that he would step aside after 10 years at the helm.
Reflecting on the past decade, Boasberg said he's proud of the improvements in graduation numbers, pre-school enrollment and district growth. He says Denver's growth as a city means more parents are looking for quality schools.
"We’ve had the fastest enrollment growth of any city in the country, and that’s really the result of the work of our teachers and school leaders," Boasberg said.
For his final first day, Boasberg chose to highlight a school in Denver's Montbello neighborhood. Escalante Biggs Academy is a full-time pre-school. Denver Public Schools has expanded pre-school to 6,000 4-year-olds and 1,000 3-year-olds.
"This is an area of town where 10 years ago, low-income families had to put their kids on a wait list and hope that they would get into preschool," he said.
Boasberg's advice for his successor is to invest in people, especially teachers.
"One of the things I’m proudest of is that we now have the largest teacher leadership program of any school district in the country," he said. "This year, nearly every single Denver teacher will be part of a team led by a fellow teacher, a teacher who teaches half (of the) time and the other half of the day, they coach and guide and support teachers."
The DPS board has laid out a three-month timeline for naming a new superintendent. Finalists will be announced in October, and new superintendent should be named in November.