Fellow: Carly Duffey
Host: Angela Cobián, Denver Public School Board Member
Project: The Equity of Colorado’s New 2021 Graduation Requirements
Carly Duffey, a former special education teacher in Denver, Colorado, worked with Denver Public School Board Member Angela Cobián as her LEE Policy Advisor Fellow to conduct research on the impact of Colorado’s new 2021 graduation requirements on the city’s students, specifically students who are newcomers and English Language Learners.
For the project, she researched the new graduation requirements, identified potential gaps, and researched best practices for supporting multilingual students with academics and graduation. In addition, she built relationships with local stakeholders and captured their feedback on the current implementation of the new graduation requirements to help guide future policy decisions.
“Participating in PAF opened my eyes to the different roles that play an important part in the educational landscape in Colorado,” says Carly.
Her work culminated in creating a memorandum with recommendations for the DPS Board Members around supporting newcomer and ELL students with high school graduation.
Carly's project increased awareness of the potential impacts the new graduation requirements may have on certain student groups. Her work, however, is just the start of the intentional analysis and deliberation that is needed to consider when crafting policies to support all students with high school graduation. The first class of students under the new graduation requirements will matriculate in 2021. Data will need to be collected over the next three years and policies adjusted based on the rates seen in 2021.
Through the process, she strengthened her skills in research and analysis, advocacy and relationship-building, and saw firsthand how you can use your positional power to be an advocate.
“This experience empowered me to use my voice and experience in the classroom to be an advocate for my students and their families,” she shares.
While the fellowship has ended, Carly continues to use the skills she gained from her experience. She is studying for a master's degree in Education Policy and Social Analysis and frequently reflects on the PAF fellowship and her time in the classroom to guide her understanding of issues in education. Following graduation, Carly aims to find a job that aligns with her core beliefs and work towards creating educational equity for all students.
Get your foot in the policy and advocacy door — gain experience tackling real-world challenges impacting students. Apply for the Policy Advisor Fellowship —a six-month, part-time program in which a LEE member serves as a policy advisor to a senior LEE member.
Interested in hosting a fellow? Find out how.