Des Moines Public Schools Comprehensive Agreement

Des Moines Public Schools Comprehensive Agreement: What You Need to Know

Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) is the largest school district in Iowa, serving more than 32,000 students across 60 schools. In 2020, DMPS entered into a comprehensive agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to address issues of equity and access for all students.

The comprehensive agreement is a result of a compliance review conducted by OCR in response to complaints filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The review found that DMPS had failed to provide equal educational opportunities to students of color and students with disabilities.

Here are some key highlights of the DMPS comprehensive agreement:

1. Improved access to advanced courses and programs

DMPS will ensure that all students have access to advanced courses and programs, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or disability status. This includes expanding the district’s Advanced Placement (AP) program, providing support for students with disabilities in AP courses, and increasing the number of students enrolled in Dual Enrollment courses for college credit.

2. Professional development for teachers

DMPS will provide professional development for teachers on issues of equity, including cultural competence, bias, and the impact of trauma on students. Teachers will also receive training on how to provide accommodations and supports for students with disabilities.

3. Parent and community engagement

DMPS will increase engagement with parents and community members, particularly those from underrepresented groups. This includes holding public forums and meetings to gather input on district policies and practices, as well as creating a community-led Equity Advisory Committee.

4. Improved data collection and analysis

DMPS will improve its data collection and analysis practices to identify and address disparities in student outcomes. The district will also create a centralized database to track student progress and ensure that all students are receiving the support they need to succeed.

5. Compliance monitoring

OCR will monitor DMPS’s compliance with the agreement for a period of three years, and the district will provide regular updates on its progress. Failure to comply with the terms of the agreement could result in additional sanctions and penalties.

In summary, the DMPS comprehensive agreement is a significant step forward in addressing longstanding equity issues in the district. By providing equal opportunities for all students, improving teacher training, and increasing community engagement, DMPS can work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable educational environment for all its students.