Thomas Jefferson

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A Message from Principal Morris-Sherer

Posted 03/02/2016 by dpscms

photo by Anja Oss

Dear Thomas Jefferson High School Community,

It is with mixed emotions that I write this letter announcing that I will be leaving the principal position at Thomas Jefferson High School. Although this is a difficult decision for me to make, I confidently leave our school knowing that the work we have done and the growth we have realized together will continue for years to come. With TJ trending in the right direction, this is the right time for me to pursue new opportunities and challenges within Denver Public Schools. I will be fully available for the rest of this year and into next year to train and support the new leader at TJ. I am honored to have earned your trust and been afforded the opportunity to serve the students and families of Southeast Denver and the Thomas Jefferson community.

When we began our journey together, we set a clear vision and lofty goals designed to impact culture, academics and the community at large. We set out to collaboratively and purposefully prepare all students for post-secondary options, while ensuring each student is college and career ready when they graduate from TJ. As I reflect over the last three years, we have not only accomplished our main goals, we have exceeded them! In just three years, we have:

Year 1

  • Improved TCAP scores by 1% to 6% in every grade and in every content area
  • Showed 1 to 7 point gains in Median Growth Percentile on every test administered
  • Improved our ACT score by 1.3 points
  • Grown in every ACT content area
  • Increased Advance Placement (AP) pass rate by 8%, the highest in DPS that year
  • Earned a 10% overall increase in College Readiness in rising seniors
  • Reduced the number of referrals, suspensions and tardies, and increased overall attendance
  • Increased the positive perception of TJ in the Southeast neighborhood
  • Earned a Green rating on the School Performance Framework in one year – TJ’s greatest accomplishment!

Year 2

  • Remained a high-performing high school
  • Increased the number of concurrent enrollment classes offered
  • Increased the concurrent enrollment pass rate from 83% to 93%

Year 3

  • Recognized as a “Top Performing” and “High Growth” school
  • Instituted College Level Examination Program testing, which helps students receive college credit for what they already know. We had all 12 seniors and 1 junior take the test in either Spanish or French. All passed earning 6 to 9 college transferrable credits.

Over the next few weeks, the district will begin the process of asking the community for input on the desired characteristics for the next leader for TJ and forming a principal selection advisory committee. Instructional Superintendents Scott Mendelsberg and Sean Precious will be developing a timeline for the full community engagement and selection process and will send that out to you as soon as possible.

Thank you for all we were able to accomplish together. I am forever grateful to the Denver Board of Education and the entire TJ family who made my tenure here such a pleasure.

Suzanne Morris-Sherer
Thomas Jefferson High School

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