DPS encouraging families to prepare for a teacher strike

DENVER – While Denver Public Schools and some of its teachers prepare for the possibility of a strike, the district says families need to be ready, too.

DPS has created a resource guide to try to answer questions families may have about the possible strike and instruct them on important steps that need to be taken in the event substitutes need to take over.

“We are keeping our schools open so that we can support our students,” Superintendent Susana Cordova said in a video statement Tuesday night.

DPS plans to keep schools open by staffing classrooms with substitute teachers instead. According to the district, all breakfast and lunch programs will be implemented as usual. DPS says all bus and other transportation services will continue with normal operations as well.

The district is encouraging families to plan ahead for staff changes by updating parent contact information and students’ medical information.

“Make sure that your contact information is up-to-date, either by logging into Parent Portal or contacting your school’s front office, so that your school can notify you of any unexpected changes. Your school will need updated phone numbers, e-mails and home addresses for parents, guardians and other emergency contacts. Also, be sure your school has an updated list of your child’s medications,” the district’s website says.

Additionally, DPS encourages parents to speak to their children about the possibility of the strike and what it means.

“Children may be confused or worried. Be sure to talk with them and listen to their concerns. Explain what a strike is, that the strike is temporary and that their teachers will return to work when the strike is over. Encourage your children to continue to focus on their schoolwork,” DPS advises.

Child and family therapist Dr. Larry Curry says it is normal for younger students to be nervous to go to school with a different teacher or some kids may feel guilty as if the strike is their fault.

“It’s important to give them brief answers but honest answers,” Dr. Curry says.

One of the most important things for parents to remember, he says, is to give kids the facts about the strike but to leave all opinions out of the conversation.

“We want to be very careful about what we say because the child will go back to the classroom, will go back in front of the teacher and we don’t want there to be some ill feelings,” Dr. Curry said. “The last thing we want is for the child to be in the middle of that conversation and hear that and feel as though their teacher has done something wrong.”

DPS also has a family helpline available for parents and families with additional questions not answered in the guide. The phone number is 720-423-3054

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