Schools to Learn From: Valverde Elementary

EDUCATOR “Good morning! ¡Buenos Dias!” NARRATOR Every morning at Valverde, EDUCATOR “¡Buenos Dias!” NARRATOR you get this sense, EDUCATOR “Bien?” NARRATOR You’re the main character. TEACHER “Good morning!” MERY SUAREZ “The greetings. Sometimes they come from different situations. And when…

Schools to Learn From: Valverde Elementary

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EDUCATOR
“Good morning! ¡Buenos Dias!”

NARRATOR
Every morning at Valverde,

EDUCATOR
“¡Buenos Dias!”

NARRATOR
you get this sense,

EDUCATOR
“Bien?”

NARRATOR
You’re the main character.

TEACHER
“Good morning!”

MERY SUAREZ
“The greetings. Sometimes they come from different situations. And when you greet them, and they notice you’re there for them, everything changes.”

MS. KAY
“Good morning, Ivan. Happy Fri-yay!”

NARRATOR
Of course, every student is a main character in this story…

MS KAY
“Write to one person who made you smile this week.”

NARRATOR
A story about belonging.

MERY SUAREZ
“They are safe here. They feel we are here for them.”

NARRATOR
Mery Suarez, and Ms. Kay – are a fourth-grade teaching team at Valverde.

(Chime rings)

A school that, for years, was struggling to
serve its students.

Drew Schutz / Principal
“You know we were a former turnaround school, and a school that was the bottom of the list
in terms of outcomes and performance.”

(Parents talking)

NARRATOR
They took a long look at what was missing, and hired a family liaison.

MRS. CYNTHIA
“Parents felt like they weren’t being heard. That they didn’t have a voice. And they wanted to be a part of the community but didn’t know how to do it.”

(Adults and kids talking)

NARRATOR
Valverde renewed efforts like community nights, and parent teacher home visits. Teachers started
joining students at lunch, and giving out those fun handshakes before class.

MS. KAY
“Emmy’s going to see Olivia!” (Applause)

NARRATOR
All of it… to rebuild a sense of trust.

MRS. CYNTHIA
“That’s why it’s such an emotional topic for me. Because we really started from nothing, and we have just grown grown grown grown grown…”

NARRATOR
And so have the students.

MS. KAY
“Just building them with love just helps them to understand a little bit more of the high expectations.”

NARRATOR
On the 2018-19 CMAS, Valverde students posted a growth score of 75.5. That’s among the
best in Denver Public Schools. And it’s well above the Colorado Growth model, which sets the average score for academic growth at 50.

Mery
“When we were having these meaningful conversations about students’ needs… all that worked! So, we need to keep doing that!”

NARRATOR
Another celebration: the percentage of students on or above grade level in literacy increased 14.5 percentage points. Mery Suarez’s students were tops in the state – with 80-percent of students meeting that mark.

MERY SUAREZ
“We know we’re learners, right? Not only the students, but we are learners (yes) and we
collaborate all the time. So I think this is the result of that.”

NARRATOR
These students, their teachers, and the staff here at Valverde, are all main characters in the best kind of story. And they’re already writing the sequel.

MS. KAY
“It’s ultimately all for student success. That’s why we’re all here. That’s why we’re all pushing the needle. And giving them love. And giving them high expectations. And so to see it’s all paying off and kind of this revolving door now, we can see it
coming to life… I think is so special. And that’s what we’re here for.”

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