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DENVER — Educators returned to work Thursday at Hill Middle School and throughout Colorado’s largest school district. It was an emotional homecoming for teachers at the middle school in Denver’s Hilltop neighborhood.

“One of the hardest parts of leaving our building is leaving the people we love behind and leaving our kids behind,” said Hill Middle School teacher and union representative. “We knew we had to do it to fight for what was right.”

Principal Sean Kavanaugh coordinated substitute teachers and central administration staff to ensure his 855 students stayed busy this week. He said only about a third of his teachers stayed in classrooms.

Read the  tentative agreement 

“This is one family that has been split these last four days— and to bring them back— is going to be critical to our culture,” Kavanaugh said.

Even though some teachers did not strike, they say they remained unified in their support of one another.