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'It's anger, it's sadness, it's frustration': DPS teachers fault staffing, COVID-19 protocols in anonymous survey

Survey results released amid wave of resignations
Denver Public Schools
Posted at 9:09 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 08:58:02-05

DENVER — Amid a wave of resignations at Denver Public Schools, the District Accountability Committee released the results of an anonymous survey of teachers Monday, which focused on issues plaguing the classrooms. The survey was distributed in November.

"It's anger, it's sadness, it's frustration, it's helplessness," said Karen Mortimer, chair of the District Accountability Committee. "It makes me feel really heartbroken."

The committee published more than 600 of the results on a public page, redacting the names and identities of the teachers who responded.

"We're all exhausted. Kids need so much more one-on-one time for all sorts of things, and we just can't do it all," one respondent wrote.

"Not enough time to adequately plan lessons during contract hours, pressure to rush from one thing to the next, lack of trauma support for teachers and kids," another wrote.

The responses centered around a few major complaints. The first is the lack of staff in many of the schools.

"Since the survey was completed, we have deployed hundreds of the Central Office staff into our schools to support the wonderful work that our school staff does every day," DPS superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero said in the statement to Denver7. "I continue to stay closely connected to our educators through my time in schools and my frequent discussions with school leaders and my Teacher Advisory Council."

Another concern shared by staff is safety. After months of at-home learning and new COVID-19 protocols, teachers say they do not feel safe returning to the classroom.

"Classrooms are unsafe and students have zero accountability," said one teacher.

Parents tell Denver7 the departure of staff at schools across DPS is impacting students as well.

"It was already noticeable before COVID. COVID simply exaggerated everything. It just made everything worse," said Sharon Battle, a parent of a high school student enrolled in Denver Public Schools. "This is an ongoing problem. I just want attention paid to this problem before next school year."

A spokesperson for Denver Public Schools said they will release their own comprehensive survey from the staff in the coming weeks.