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By James Archer

Last November, the Denver Post published an article (opinion, really) about Tom Boasberg (Denver Public Schools superintendent) taking a six month unpaid leave to live abroad with his family. Among other thing, the article said: “…it looks bad for the well-to-do superintendent of an urban district — who by the way lives with his family in Boulder — to jet off for six months when nearly 70 percent of Denver’s students are poor enough to qualify for federal meal subsidies. Those families could never dream of such a respite from the daily grind.” And Boasberg says years ago he promised his family they could live abroad. With his children getting older, “the time is now” he says.

Some people felt that, even though he is an excellent superintendent, he should have resigned instead of taking the time off.

Early this week, another article talks about his return after his time away.  In this article, it quotes the superintendent as saying, “For the last six months, our family was in Mendoza, Argentina, which is a small city on the western side of Argentina. My wife Carin and I took intensive Spanish language and literature courses at a local language school … and our children went to the local schools in Mendoza.“  He goes on to discuss what he and his children experienced in such a vastly different school system.

When asked, in Spanish, if he spoke Spanish, he replied “Sí”. When asked What would you want to say to the Spanish-speaking families that DPS serves about what you learned? He replied “Tengo muchas ganas de hablar con ustedes directamente en español. Y es una oportunidad para hablar sin interpretación, sin traducción.[ I’m lucky to speak with you directly in Spanish. It is an opportunity to speak without interpretation, without translation.”

I could not be more in support of this amazing man’s decision to achieve his goals. Not only did he honor his promise to spend time abroad with his children, he made the decision to really dedicate his own resources to doing something that will vastly help our community.   Some Denver schools are not only 70% free lunch; they are well over 80% ELL (English Language Learners).

This blog post is not about immigration, it’s about goals. And I can appreciate those families and individuals who have sacrificed everything for their goals – sometime even travelling, or relocating, to a different country.

Would you do it? Would you risk the backlash, and your career, to follow your goals and do something you think is important?



Post Author: James Archer

James Archer is the founders of The ShareLingo Project - a Social Enterprise that connects English and Spanish speakers for face-to-face practice. This model breaks down both linguistic and cultural barriers for individuals, businesses, and non-profits.

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