Citywide Education Progress Reports

DENVER: District’s Talent Strategies Focus on Hard-to-Fill Positions and Retention

Denver Public Schools (DPS) is using data to identify and respond to specific gaps to ensure that all schools have teachers and leaders who are a good fit. DPS is developing strategic partnerships with special education, math, and Spanish departments at local universities to fill positions that are typically difficult to staff.

To address the gap between the demographics of the workforce and student populations, DPS has a three-prong strategy: establish new partnerships with historically black colleges and universities; participate in Make Your Mark, a citywide recruitment effort with the mayor’s office and charter leaders; and use “stay interviews” to identify what supports teachers and leaders of color need from the district.

DPS identified a 20% teacher retention gap between the highest- and lowest-performing schools. The district is trying to retain effective teachers in the highest-needs schools by offering incentives of up to $6,500. Using surveys, DPS identified what types of supports teachers working in low-performing schools want. Regional superintendents then work with principals to make school-specific changes, such as hiring more social workers.

View Denver’s citywide education progress report.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education is a research and policy analysis center at the University of Washington Bothell developing systemwide solutions for K–12 public education. Questions? Email