Susana Cordova visited TJ to observe classes and speak with student leaders.
Superintendent Susana Cordova visited Thomas Jefferson High School during the second week of school to ask students in the community about their experience at TJ. She solicited feedback about what could be changed to better future students in Denver Public Schools. Cordova chose to visit various schools throughout the district.
Cordova spent her morning visiting classrooms. Upon walking around the school, she sat down and spoke with a diverse group of thirteen students. Administrator and leadership teacher Jon Poole chose this small group of students so that Cordova could see the diversity and ethnicity of the students that attend TJ. The conversation included advice that Cordova wanted to share from DPS alumni, advice from underclassmen that should be taken into action, TJ’s 15 minutes of fame tradition, and what students enjoy about TJ, as well as what could be improved. Bella Williams, senior, mentioned the lack of diversity in our CCT program and the fees required for AP courses and SAT/ACT sessions and tutors. “The fees tend to hold back a lot of students from underprivileged backgrounds who can not afford to pay for CCT, AP, and ACT or SAT and it is a disservice to our community to allow these students to not have equal opportunities,” explained Williams.
The groups of students also discussed concerns regarding mental health district-wide. Removing the stigma of mental health has become an increasingly common goal among many schools nation-wide, which Cordova supports. Students also brought up the ongoing increase in student to teacher ratio and the effects of having larger classes. With the lack of air conditioning, students are having difficult times focusing through the seven-hour school day. An increase in the student to teacher ratio will create challenges between student-teacher relationships, whether that be after school help or how students interact with their teachers in class.
DPS is the second largest organization in terms of employment in the state, second to the state of Colorado itself. The opportunity to talk to the person who leads the district was something TJ couldn’t pass up. Students and administration glowed about the conversation that took place. Poole, was overwhelmed with the performance of the students. “It’s really rewarding and a positive experience to see them interact with adults in general, but it’s even more enjoyable when I get to see them interact with someone like Mr. Christoff or the Superintendent, and for them to show up like that for us, it’s meaningful,” mentioned Poole.
Cordova plans on visiting TJ again in the winter to watch a basketball game in order to see our Spartan athletes in action. Her appearance in the TJ community gave students and teachers the chance to talk about changes they would like to see at school and also what makes a successful environment for students to thrive as their best selves.