Barbara has spent her career making sure all children get a good start in life, especially children who are likely to fall behind before they even enter kindergarten. Barbara was the head of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, was Lt. Governor, and is currently the at-large member on the Denver School Board. She expanded preschool options for families by helping create the Colorado Preschool Program and the Denver Preschool Program. As a school board member, she is working with the City of Denver to expand access for families with very young children to libraries and museums so that they’ll have the experiences and language skills to succeed in kindergarten and first grade. She also led the DPS committee that created and implemented a strategic plan for improving third grade reading skills for all students because third grade is when students make the transition from learning how to read reading challenging materials in fourth grade and beyond. Barbara’s work led to the largest increase in reading skills for all groups of Denver students in the history of DPS. Now she wants to increase the number of literacy interventionists who can help accelerate the language development of students who are significantly below grade level.
Barbara knows that many students need help dealing with challenges in their lives and their development to do well in school. She listened when DPS principals asked the school board to increase their access to counselors and social workers to help address the needs of students in classrooms and the school. Last year, voters overwhelmingly approved $15 million in extra funding for social-emotional supports for schools. Barbara and the entire school board ensured that principals have the flexibility to decide what support services would best meet the unique needs of their students. This is why Barbara co-sponsored a policy to end the expulsion or suspension of children in kindergarten through third grade in order to help kids learn from their mistakes with the guidance of trained professionals. Barbara also listened to parents who know that their own children will have a better experience in school when the social-emotional needs of vulnerable classmates are met. DPS is united is helping all students feel safe and welcomed in their schools so they can learn and fulfill their potential.
Barbara opposed the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. She passed a resolution condemning the Trump education budget that would cut funding for preschool, school counselors and mental health services. She voted unanimously with the school board to protect Denver students no matter what their immigration status, religion or identity. Barbara will fight Washington to keep public money for public schools.
Barbara believes that a modern school district must always fight for equity for all students and simultaneously ensure that families have educational options for meeting the unique needs of their children. She worked with fellow board members to pass policies that give principals the autonomy to make their own decisions about their school’s budget, schedule and curriculum so that they do what is best for their students and teachers. This gives teachers