Together Colorado’s Local Organizing Committee in Montbello, Advocates for Children of the Far Northeast (ACFN), marked its first anniversary in July 2019! For the past year, parents and students have been organizing in the Montbello neighborhood of Denver to build a base of organized people to implement structural education reforms. Together Colorado leaders have worked in Montbello for years, but a new model was formed in July 2018 to build a wider base of active and organized parents and students within the area. Instead of working within individual schools, Montbello leaders formed a neighborhood-wide cluster of parents and students from multiple schools called Advocates for Children of the Far Northeast (ACFN).
In January 2019, ACFN convened a Parent Summit to recruit new parents and students to the group and to determine the major concern among parents and students in attendance. From 1-1 conversations over the past year and at the Parent Summit, ACFN realized that teacher turnover and inequitable school funding were the chief concerns among parents and students.
ACFN leaders explain that there is a racial and cultural disconnect between teachers and students which causes teacher turnover to be very high. Leaders are in the process of educating parents about Denver Public Schools’ funding formula, which is tied to enrollment and choice. Enrollment is decreasing because schools in the area are not performing as well as other, wealthier districts, that can supplement the lack of adequate state funding.
To engage more parents, ACFN has been working closely with Principal Juett of Noel Community Arts School. “Principal Juett supports us with meeting spaces and helps to engage more parents in our committee. We thank her for being an ally as we organize to make our schools equitable,” Sharon Battle, Together Colorado ACFN Leader explains.
ACFN will continue to recruit new members, research what structural reforms the schools in the neighborhood can benefit from, and set up 1-1 meetings with stakeholders in the area.
For more information on Together Colorado’s Advocates for Children of the Far Northeast, contact Adrienne Aguirre Deshaies, [email protected].