DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Public Schools has just released its annual report covering everything from student learning and progress to student and parent experiences. FOX31 spoke with the district superintendent about the report and goals for the district moving forward.

The superintendent said he is satisfied with the progress the district has made over the last year, and he’s hopeful about their plans moving forward.

“I’m incredibly encouraged,” Dr. Alex Marrero said when asked about this year’s report.

The superintendent said he is optimistic about the future of DPS.

“Considering the year that it has been, the year 2022 and 2023, the academic school year. Also, we’re still recuperating from the pandemic like many, many school districts, so the fact we’re showing progress in spite of all of the distractions is incredibly encouraging as a superintendent,” Marrero said.

Air conditioning in Denver schools in focus

It was a school year where security was front and center for the state’s largest school district after separate shootings left two East High School students dead and two administrators hurt, but the report didn’t focus much on safety.

“How we do assessments of our schools to see if we are vulnerable, we engage in that and are looking forward to sharing that with the respected, impacted communities to see what if any shifts do we do to the physical building,” Marrero said.

Marrero said families can look at the long-term operational safety plan for more details about safety.

Another issue families faced this past year was the sweltering heat. The report highlighted a goal of only 17% of DPS schools without air conditioning next year. Marrero said the impacted schools will not be concentrated in just one part of the city.

“It really has to do with how that initial bond, that 2020 bond, identified the schools,” he said. “I think it also has to do with those who are planning the strategy and implementation in terms of how many they can do in a scope.”

Marrero said the district will talk with community members to figure out if the district should use bond money for the remaining units.

“The fact that we have, I would say, close to 200 schools that have climate control is remarkable. Some of our schools are over a century old, so it’s not an easy fix. We’re looking forward to engaging with the community in the near future to see what we can do. Whether it’s going out for a bond or not to compliment and have all of our schools, so that’s something that we are considering,” Marrero said.

Low performance for literacy, math CMAS scores

Additionally, the report found the district met its overall attendance goal of 87% districtwide. They set a goal of 89% for next year.

There’s not as cheery of an outlook for literacy and math CMAS scores. Only 28% of students in sixth through eighth grades met or exceeded goals for that test last year. Only 33% of third through fifth graders met their goals.

Graduation rates did improve to 76.5%, up from 74% last year.