Dr. Kalpana Rao, the embattled Denver Public School’s Cheltenham Elementary principal, has resigned.
Rao was criticized by families and Padres & Jovenes Unidos for having students eat their lunch on the floor while awaiting punishment – a practice that reminded parents of another principal in the 1990s who forced students who spoke Spanish at school to eat on the floor.
Parents also accused Rao of making racist remarks, which she denied at a press conference yesterday.
Below is her resignation letter.
“Today, I told my staff at Cheltenham that I have decided to step down from my position as principal. While the district’s investigation found no basis for the allegation that I made a racist remark to some parents in my school, it has become increasingly clear that my presence at Cheltenham is distracting from what should always be the primary focus – our fantastic kids.
This is an extremely difficult decision for me to make. I am, and have been, incredibly committed to the idea that all children deserve access to educational opportunities that enrich their lives and make their dreams a reality. I have made mistakes in my time at Cheltenham, but I have never wavered from that steadfast vision.
At some point, however, I have to place the needs of my students first and allow our school community to heal. I want to thank my amazing teachers for the dedication and support they have shown me, and I want to encourage them to continue in their commitment to our children, our families and our school.”