Join Us in Demanding Change in Colorado Public Schools
We demand Colorado schools be shaped by Colorado students. For too long, adult leaders have made decisions about our schools, our experiences, and our needs. But now, students are setting the agenda for the future of Colorado Public Schools. Support the Colorado Student Agenda by signing the petition and demanding leaders and elected officials take action.
Now is the time for school districts across Colorado to lead the way in creating equitable and just school systems. Sign the petition and get plugged into local action opportunities in your school district.
1. Support Student Mental Health
Suicide is the leading cause of death for young Coloradans and school staffing structures and ratios lead to inadequate mental health support.
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- Hire designated mental health counselors at a maximum rate of 1 mental health counselor to 250 students.
- Mandate formal mental wellness training sessions in all K-12 public schools.
- Train ALL existing staff on de escalation and crisis avoidance techniques.
- In 2021 Our Turn students advocated for Denver Public Schools to start a pilot program staffing mental health counselors in schools. The DPS Bond and Mill Committee voted to allocate $2 million to this pilot program.
- A Student Op-Ed on the Need for More Mental Health Supports
Examples of Our Work:
2. Justice For Marginalized Students
Our education system continues to reproduce institutionalized inequities that harm students of color, students with disabilities, students from low income communities, and LGBTQ+ students.
- Include students in staff hiring process to increase staff diversity.
- Audit existing policy and legislation mandating culturally responsive curriculum to ensure metrics are being met
- Mandatory trainings for teachers to better understand their students
- We collaborated with other organizations to advocate that the DPS Board be transparent in their plans to catch students up, especially students from communities the education system typically underserves.
Examples of Our Work:
3. Improve Post-Graduation Pathway Support
Colorado public schools students are graduating unsure of their options and unprepared for the future.
- LCFF funding must be used to support students and schools with the highest needs.
- Fund diverse college & career/ academic counselors who...
- Meet with students starting in 9th grade to help them discover the best post-graduation pathway.
- Providing direct support for college application and financial aid (applying for FAFSA, writing essays, applying for scholarships etc).
- Participating in trauma informed and inherent bias training.
- Hire more college & career/academic counselors of color, who are first generation college students, or who share the lived experiences.
4. Student-Centered School Culture
Schools and classrooms lack student and community leadership, therefore they are not environments where students feel supported to learn, grow into successful adults, or express their true authentic selves.
- Co-create and implement systems for student and community leadership in school decision-making.
- Implement yearly inherent bias training for all school staff.
- Offer courses that teach students critical life skills:
- Comprehensive Sex Education
- Financial Literacy
- Build and implement school based plans to improve staff-to-student and staff-to-family relationships, and community leadership in school-based decisions.
5. Full and Equitable Funding
Colorado ranks among the lowest states in school funding and teacher pay. On top of that, there are inequities in our funding formula that are placing a higher burden on some communities to adequately fund schools.
- Ensure that local districts are using federal stimulus (ARP/ESSER) funding to support student needs.
- We sent a letter to the state board of education demanding they spend incoming federal stimulus dollars equitably and in line with student priorities. Watch the testimony here and read the letter here!
Examples of Our Work:
This Fall, student and alumni leaders from DPS have been meeting with DPS school board candidates to ask for their commitments to take action on the Colorado Student agenda if they are elected. Students are asking candidates whether if elected, they are willing to implement policies and allocate resources in line with the student agenda pillars. Check out our report cards on the candidates below, where a "Yes" checkmark indicated they responded affirmatively to our ask!
Our Turn is active in multiple states across the nation, working directly with students and community partners to advocate for changes in education policy. Explore other current issues.
Push for More Equity in Minneapolis Schools
We’re elevating the voices of Minneapolis public school students to drive district-wide recommendations that combat inequities.
More Mental Health Counselors to Meet Student Needs
Members are responding to a pressing need by demanding real investments in mental health across all Denver schools.