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1st day in DPS a 'great success', district says

Susana Cordova spoke Tuesday about the first day and what lies ahead as the district navigates through the coronavirus pandemic.

DENVER — The superintendent of Denver Public Schools (DPS) called the first day of remote learning for the new school year a "great success" and said that thanks to a shipment late last week, they have enough Chromebooks for all students who need them.

"If there are families who don't have devices, please do reach out to your school," said Superintendent Susana Cordova. "We do have Chromebooks we can continue to distribute, and we do have hotspots as well. So there shouldn't be device issues." 

More devices have been ordered, however, Cordova said they have enough to meet their current needs. That comes after, she said, late last week the district was waiting on devices as part of a nationwide shortage.

She spoke at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday as part of the district's weekly updates and also said they'd help facilitate access to free or low-cost internet for families who need that.

"It is really about making the connections to make sure that everybody has the resources they need," said Cordova.

Prior to the briefing, Cordova visited Newlon Elementary, which is one of 55 Discovery Link sites across DPS where students are participating in remote learning from school. These sites were opened to provide childcare first for DPS staff, and then to DPS families. Registration is currently open to families and the cost is $10 per child.

DPS began the new school year Monday with remote learning for everyone after pushing its start date back a week to Aug. 24. They plan to continue the virtual learning for most students through the end of the first quarter, which is in mid-October.

Cordova said they've worked on new protocols to support student learning in a remote environment. They include things like a code of conduct and how to apply discipline when necessary in a "virtual space."

RELATED: How the first day of remote classes went for the state's 2 largest districts

Last week, Cordova said they're still in the process of figuring out exactly how things will work when classes resume for in-person learning in October.  She said families still have time to select a 100% online option or in-person, and said most staff members had already made their selections. It's possible a hybrid model could be used where students attend school some days for in-person instruction and remotely on the other days.

DPS has said it's working to bring back small groups of students "identified as high-priority for in-person learning" as soon as Sept. 8. 

High-priority students were identified as those who require special learning, students who use English as a second language and younger students in kindergarten or below. Cordova said last week that plans for that had not yet been finalized.

RELATED: 140 students in Denver Public Schools did not participate in remote learning

The district was also finalizing plans to create learning centers where students would be able to do remote learning from inside school buildings. Cordova didn't have an updated on a timeline for those programs Tuesday.

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