Jubilation, and some confusion, as Denver schools begin their post-strike recovery

Lupe Lopez-Montoya greets students at Columbian Elementary School on Thursday after Denver's three-day teacher strike. (Eric Gorski/Chalkbeat)

Lupe Lopez-Montoya greets students at Columbian Elementary School on Thursday after Denver's three-day teacher strike. (Eric Gorski/Chalkbeat)

chalkbeat

By Chalkbeat 

Lupe Lopez-Montoya got the text message at 6:15 a.m. The strike was over, the colleague who’d been keeping her up to speed on news from her union told her.

And so as district and teachers union officials celebrated their deal at the Denver Public Library, Lopez-Montoya resurrected her regular commute to Columbian Elementary School, the northwest Denver school where she’s the longest-serving tenured teacher.

For the past three days, Lopez-Montoya had stayed out of school as Denver Public Schools and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association sparred over how teachers in Denver are paid. She still had unanswered questions about the future. But first, it was time to greet students.

One girl ran across the sidewalk to give a hug. “Ms. Montoya’s back,” she shouted, burying her face in the teacher’s side.

Lopez-Montoya began to welcome students into the building. “Line up and you can go get breakfast,” she told one boy. “I’m happy you’re here today.”

The moment kicked off what’s certain to be an unusual day in Denver schools. With a deal coming just an hour before some schools were due to start for the day, teachers and families had little time to adjust their plans. The district also had too little time to reopen early childhood classes that have been closed all week; those will reopen on Friday, officials said.

Are teachers back to class? Substitutes still in place? Students digging back in to regular instruction? Take our survey to share your post-strike back-to-school story. And stay tuned here from updates as the school district starts to resume its normal operations.

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.

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