All DPS alumni are invited to participate in the Advocacy Accelerator through our collective action campaigns. Graduates of Ednium’s Leadership Launchpad are invited to participate in the Advocacy Accelerator to further define their projects, build support, and begin implementation. Each year, the Accelerator grows as new participants introduce new ideas and initiatives and the coalition of alumni support one another in bringing projects to life.
The participants of the inaugural cohort agreed to push for two major curriculum changes within DPS: financial literacy and cultural and ethnic studies. These two projects align directly with two of five policy priority areas identified over the past year that focus on (1) essential life skills and (2) leaning into equity and will ensure the next generation of DPS students feel part of their educational experience and are prepared for life after high school.
Our push for DPS to ensure academics and experiences are centered on life skills, equity, career development. shared power, and broadening the definition of success will force a paradigm shift in how the District envisions and delivers on educational excellence for our students. New courses in Financial literacy and Cultural and Ethnic Studies fall under Life Skills and Equity respectively, and both have data and the life experience of recent former students (alumni) to demonstrate their critical importance. As more alumni begin to explore their own experiences and stories, more campaigns and projects will emerge.
Current Campaigns and Projects:
Financial Literacy as a Graduation Requirement
Economic stress and recessions disproportionately impact communities of color, setting up greater financial and economic challenges for past, current, and future students. Yet during the 2019-20 school year only four high schools offered a financial literacy course and only 157 students opted to take it. The 150 alumni in our first Design Lab ranked financial literacy as the top set of skills and knowledge missing from their K-12 experience.
Cultural and Ethinc Studies as a Graduation Requirement
Evidence shows culturally relevant pedagogy has a positive effect on GPA and attendance, especially with students who are “at-risk” of not graduating. It is also knowledge and skills that help all graduates succeed in life. Regardless of students’ ethnic background, most employers, and universities value cultural competence, anti-racism, and critical thinking skills for people of all backgrounds. This evidence along with the experience of DPS alumni in our Design Lab clearly show ethnic studies is a critical piece of the educational career for all DPS graduates.