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Philanthropist visits McMeen Elementary to brainstorm solutions for migrant student crisis

Philanthropist wants to help McMeen Elementary School students
Philanthropist wants to help McMeen Elementary School students 02:21

DPS volunteers Josh Scott and Jean Boylan recently walked the halls of McMeen Elementary School. McMeen is now serving more than 600 students, and a large number are recent arrivals from the southern border.

"I don't think I've ever seen anything that is this magnitude at this pace on this scale," said Scott, a DPS parent visiting the school as part of a philanthropic endeavor.


Stepping right into the rooms where Scott can see those challenges first hand - like classrooms at maximum capacity.

As one of the founders of the multi-million dollar company, Craftsy - he knows finding solutions to complex issues is vital.

"One of the nice things about my professional experience working in high gross start up environments is that it is the same kind of thing, there's so many problems to solve," said Scott.

Jean Boylan has a grandchild at McMeen and became a full-time volunteer there this year when she saw the degree to which the school was affected by large numbers of new students from Venezuela and Colombia.

"When people like Josh step up that is exactly what we need," Boylan said.

She has been helping monitor the crisis at McMeen Elementary School.

The school has welcomed hundreds of new students in the last year, and has been able to provide support through the DPS Foundation's Newcomer Student & Family Fund set up for new arrivals.

"We need to find ways for the community and all the great resources we have in Denver to hold hands and collaborate to solve this problem, so that we can really make it smoother for everyone," added Boylan.


Including families whose children have been attending public school for years.

Scott said, "A family that was in a 23-kid classroom and is now in a 35-kid class is questioning whether sending their kid to public school is the right thing to do next year- is a thing we should get proactive about getting in front of."

Scott wants to continue to help find clear actionable solutions like providing supplies or helping staff while also making other parents feel it's OK to have their kids in public school.

He added, "Let's try to find the philanthropic dollars, the resources to make that possible."

Scott is working with former DPS school leader Becca Meyer to direct his donations to schools serving newcomer students who are facing the greatest needs.

Meyer told CBS News Colorado, "We are still trying to decide the right supports for McMeen, and don't have any specifics there at this time. Because of your great coverage and Jean's amazing advocacy, McMeen has gotten some important support for their community. We are moving forward with helping a Middle School in DPS fund 2 bilingual team members as well as some needed technology, and an elementary in North Denver with a bilingual social worker. We are continuing to connect with school leaders to understand the needs of the community and where our support will be most impactful for school communities."

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