Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Denver Schools Hire Deferred Action Recipients as Teachers

The Denver Public Schools system is hiring Latino teachers who came to the United States as undocumented immigrants as children. 

The school district is hiring young people who qualified for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and now are allowed to work as a result. 

Denver schools superintendent Tom Boasberg told 9 News that there is a great need for more bilingual teachers, so much so that the district often recruits outside of the country. 

“These teachers often are bilingual or multilingual and have a deep personal understanding of the challenges that many of our students face who similarly came to this country in undocumented status as young children,” Boasberg told Reuters.

Only two deferred action teachers are employed now, but he said the district wants to hire more than ten next school years. Reuters reported that one of the two is Alejandro Fuentes Mena, who came to the United States from Chile when he was just four years old.

The Associated Press reported that the second teacher is Kareli Lizarraga, a 22-year-old graduate of the University of Pennsylvania who moved to the U.S. from Mexico when she was also four years old.

The school system is working with Teach for America on the hires, who are receiving training  funded in part by the Walton family, founders of Wal-Mart.