Paige Foster is looking forward to being one of the first students to enroll at Cherry Creek Elevate, the Cherry Creek School District’s new online high school.
“I’m hoping to graduate early,” said Foster, for whom traditional school has sometimes been a challenge because of the chronic headaches she has experienced since sixth grade. That’s why Foster and her family are excited about Elevate, which will open in August.
“I really like the flexibility and the scheduling,” said Hollie Foster, Paige’s mother. “When you’re at a brick-and- mortar school you have to be up and out the door by 7 o’clock in the morning. At Elevate, on days when she has bad nights, she can sleep in. She’s self-motivated so she’s able to get up on her timeframe and get her schoolwork done.”
Paige Foster will be one of about 250 full-time students in ninth through 12th grade expected to make up the inaugural student body at Elevate. Students must live in the Cherry Creek School District. The school will eventually serve an unlimited number of full-time students as well part-time students who are also taking classes at their home high schools. Principal Kristy Hart expects a diverse group of learners: students like Paige who are dealing with serious health issues, students who are at-risk and need an alternative school setting, students who are working full- or part-time jobs, as well as elite athletes who are in training and home-schooled students whose parents aren’t comfortable teaching some subjects. Hart says regardless of what brings them to Elevate, each and every student will find a personal and personalized educational experience, combined with a support system that will help them succeed.
Elevate students will also find a comprehensive curriculum. When enrollment and registration opens on January 31, students will have a full range of core and elective courses, including Advanced Placement and concurrent enrollment courses, to choose from. All classes will be taught by exceptional educators who were hand-picked by Principal Hart. She was looking for teachers who are especially flexible, innovative and willing to take risks to meet the needs of students. They also have to embrace the school’s core value.
“It’s a non-negotiable for me that every staff member will believe that every kid is capable of learning. There is no exception to that. None,” Hart said.
Hart is also selecting educators who are able to personalize instruction for each and every student, to ensure that they learn at a high level. Hart hired Ray Ruginis to teach math at Elevate. He has 11 years of experience in both traditional and online high schools. He believes Elevate will be able to provide students with exactly what they need.
“We can give them something that they’ve never experienced before that is successful for them,” Ruginis said. “It’s the future, to be honest, because this is where we’re going. Whether it be schools or the next place these kids are going to get hired at, there’s going to be some aspect of their job that’s online or they’re going to have to learn something online for the job. We just feel like we are part of the future with this.”
In addition to hiring an outstanding staff, Hart has spent the past several months working with the architects and contractors who are designing and building the physical space for Elevate. The school will be housed in the Fremont building, located at 14603 E. Fremont Avenue, south of Arapahoe and Jordan roads.
“It’s not like any other school – there’s nothing in our district that is going to look like what this physical space is going to look like,” Hart explained. “It’s so collaborative and community-driven. The traditional classrooms won’t exist. Seeing how the physical space will reflect our vision is really spectacular.”
Even though Elevate is an online high school, Hart wants students to feel welcome there and to take advantage of the many opportunities there will be for in-person, face-to-face interaction with staff and other students.
“We want kids to feel like they don’t have to work from home all the time if they don’t want to,” Hart emphasized. “If they need support and if they want that social, collaborative setting, the building is open to them. We want Elevate to have a welcoming, homey, family feeling.”
The Cherry Creek Elevate Course Guide is available now and enrollment and registration open on January 31. Enrollment is open to high school students who reside in the Cherry Creek School District. Students can attend Elevate on a full-time basis or on a part-time basis if they are also enrolled at their neighborhood high school.
Additional information is available on the Cherry Creek Elevate webpage and will be presented at information sessions on the following dates:
|Grandview High School||Thursday, January 17 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.||Grandview Lecture Center|
|Cherry Creek High School||Tuesday, January 22 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.||Schillinglaw Lecture Center|
|Virtual Info Session||Wednesday, Feb 6 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.|
Video Conference Link:
|Cherokee Trail High School||Thursday, Feb 21 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.||Lecture Center 402|
|Eaglecrest High School||Wednesday, Feb 27 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.||Lecture Center W299|
|Virtual Info Session||Monday, March 4 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.|
Video Conference Link:
|Smoky Hill High School||Wednesday, April 3 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.||Lecture Center|
|Overland High School||Tuesday, April 23 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.||Lecture Center|
|Virtual Info Session||Tuesday, May 14 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.|
Video Conference Link: