Dear friends of the Denver Preschool Program,
As you’ve no doubt heard us say before, we are guided by a vision of ensuring that Denver’s children enter kindergarten ready to reach their full potential. However, that vision is so much more than just an intellectual concept or a phrase on our website. It is what gets us out of bed every morning, what drives us throughout the day and what sometimes keeps us up at night. We know for a fact—because research has proven over and over—that quality early education benefits children long after they’ve left preschool. We know that children who attend high-quality preschool programs are more likely to graduate high school, attend college and have successful careers. We know education, including early childhood education, is the best way to end multigenerational poverty. And we know that lifting children and families out of poverty not only helps them, it also benefits our community as a whole.
Because of this knowledge, we celebrate the fact that we were able to serve more than 4,700 Denver children and families in the 2017-2018 program year and that in total those families received more than $13.5 million in tuition support.
However, we also know that we’re only reaching approximately 60% of eligible families in our city, and that’s not acceptable to us. We’ve therefore been listening closely to our families and providers to better understand what they want and need in order to determine why 40% of families aren’t taking advantage of DPP—and how we can change that.
As a result 2018 was an exciting year of evolution at DPP. We heard loud and clear that tuition continues to be a challenge for families, so we implemented the greatest one-time increase to our tuition credit scale in the organization’s history, increasing the amount of funds available to families by 10.7%. We also announced plans to expand our quality improvement (QI) program starting in the fall of 2018 to include 3-year-old classrooms because two years of high-quality preschool are even more impactful when it comes to preparing children for success in kindergarten and beyond.
Because listening to our stakeholders is a priority at DPP, whether we’re examining research results or gathering feedback from providers and families, we spent much of 2018 in the community. We hosted Neighborhood Preschool Showcases and spent time with families at outreach events all across the city. We also met with every school we serve in 2018 to ensure we are partnering with them in the most effective ways possible. Thanks to all of those interactions, we’ve learned a lot.
While we were engaging with our families and providers in their communities, we also set our sights on developing a new, centrally located community-gathering space. After several months of renovation, we now have a room designed specifically to support our friends and partners, and our own office space for the first time in our organization’s history. We hope you visit us and take advantage of this wonderful new resource in the near future.
We’re proud of the milestones we accomplished in 2018 and what they mean for Denver—and we remain deeply grateful for the support of the City and County of Denver and its residents. None of this would be possible without the support of Denver voters who understand the importance of early childhood education. Your ongoing support is crucial to our ability to continue to positively impact the lives of our treasured children—and by extension, our city as a whole.
Of course, the kind of impact we seek to have takes an outstanding, dedicated team and a tremendous leader. To ensure our continued strength, DPP developed and solidified our succession plan in 2018 to help make leadership transitions as seamless as possible. We put that plan into action following the decision by our CEO Jennifer Landrum to step down in January 2019. As this report goes to print, we are honored and excited to welcome Elsa Holguín as our new leader. Elsa is truly a pillar of our state’s early childhood education community. Among many other accomplishments, she is co-chair of Colorado’s Early Childhood Leadership Commission, and she spent the past 21 years at the Rose Community Foundation as its senior program officer for child & family development. During that time she played a pivotal role in developing the initiative that eventually became DPP. We are thrilled to begin this new chapter in the life of DPP with her at the helm.
With Elsa leading our team through the rest of 2019 and beyond, we will continue listening to learn how to most effectively further our mission to champion, fund and increase access to quality preschool across our community—and to inspire others to do the same because we know it matters. We thank you again for your support, and we look forward to a bright future together.
and CEO, DPP
Chair, DPP Board