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Parents, students discuss ways to improve Adams 14 district as future remains unknown

Community meeting held to discuss future of Adams 14 district
Posted at 10:28 PM, Apr 06, 2022

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — One week from Thursday, the Adams 14 School District will present a plan for improvement to the state, but an advocacy group says the community must be involved in shaping the district's future.

In a 32-page report, a state review panel (SRP) recommended closing Adams City High School and reorganizing the Adams 14 School District. The panel cited the district's culture, along with declining enrollment and the number of current students choosing to not attend Adams 14 as evidence of the need for "drastic change."

On Wednesday, the community-centered organization Together Colorado held a community meeting in Commerce City for parents, students and recent graduates to discuss changes they'd like to see in the district.

"I might not get the opportunity to graduate from Adams City High School if they shut it down," said Areli Gutierrez, a student within the district. "[The state] needs to meet us halfway."

Adams 14 School District now has until April 14 to present a plan for improvement that the Colorado State Board of Education finds adequate. The board is required by law to intervene when schools in the state underperform for extended periods of time. However, some parents in attendance say they feel the state hasn't given them enough support.

"What we're looking for is to have our public schools open," said Elizabeth Rivas, whose daughter attends Central Elementary School. "We don't want them to close, we don't to say no to our kids."

The district includes more than 6,000 students, of which 86 percent identify as Latino.

Rivas says the district needs to stay intact so Latino culture can be preserved. She says bilingual coursework and more community engagement are also important.

"Our language is Spanish, but [my childrens'] language is English as well," she said. "In the future, they'll be able to speak more than two languages."

In 2018, the state required the district to appoint an outside consulting group to help improve the circumstances within Adams 14. The group, MGT Consulting, exited the district in February after more than two years.

Families told Denver7 the district only needs support from those willing to embrace their community.

In Spanish, Rivas said her American dream is to see her children be successful and pursue higher education.

"I feel Adams 14 can help them do that," she said.