DENVER (KDVR) — As students get ready to head back to the classroom on Monday, Denver Public Schools said it is not only the beginning of a new school year but also a new era for the district. 

DPS will now begin operating under a strategic roadmap called “DPS Thrives” which the district said will help it get better at being better. 

“Our district has failed to provide the majority of our students with learning environments that allow them to thrive while they are with us and accomplish their dreams after they graduate,” DPS said in an online publication for DPS Thrives. 

“Currently, we have the largest gap between our Black students and our white students,” DPS Superintendent, Dr. Alex Marrero, said. “It is a sad reality that has somewhat defined achievement gaps in DPS.”

The roadmap defines goals DPS wishes to achieve and suggests ways to work toward those goals. 

“Our roadmap is not rigid, like a strategic plan would be,” Marrero said. “We can pivot, we can be flexible, we can even take a pause.”

The plan calls for participation from students, staff and parents to work individually and together to improve grade-level proficiency with an enhanced focus on marginalized students. 

“There may be a situation in which you’re going to get tapped on the shoulder. When I say tapped on the shoulder, little Johnny, little Alex, little Karen, little Amber needs to stay after school. Perhaps we need to extend their calendar, maybe it’s a Saturday academy. That’s one way,” Marrero said. 

Ultimately, DPS is aiming to close learning gaps between sub-groups of students and increase standardized test scores by ten percentage points across the board. 

“We have a large hill to climb, and it’s not going to take a year. We do anticipate major gains in year one because we’ve put all our resources behind this,” Marrero said. “But definitely by 2026, we believe that we’ll be in a situation in which we can celebrate.”