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Igniting the fire for learning in Cherry Creek Schools

​Did you know?
That students in the Cherry Creek School District can earn college credit while they’re attending high school? Or study architecture, biotechnology, culinary arts and other subjects that could help them get a head start on a rewarding career?

Did you know?
That the second biggest growth spurt in a child’s life occurs in middle school, between the ages of 11 and 14? And that those years are a time of tremendous cognitive, physical, emotional and identity development?

Did you know?
That academic rigor starts in elementary school? And that kids in elementary school benefit from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education just as much, if not more, than older students?

Those are just some of the things people attending the March 10 Parents' Council meeting learned during a special presentation about the rich variety of curricular and cocurricular classes, clubs, activities and events that are available to CCSD students. The presentation was introduced by Chris Smith, executive director for elementary education, who said “We want to share with you the many ways our educators ignite a fire for learning in our students.”

Ron Peterson, executive director for high school education, described the district’s vibrant Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, which offer 40 different “rigorous and relevant” programs, from aviation and automotive technology, to graphic design and criminal justice. These are not the vocational classes your parents took, but rather stepping stones to college degrees, technical certifications, and good paying, high demand careers.

The many opportunities available to sixth, seventh and eighth graders, were introduced by Dr. John Kennedy, executive director for middle school education. “We have programs to meet the incredible cognitive development that occurs in middle school,” said Kennedy. Those opportunities range from art and drama classes and clubs, to Brain Bowl, Destination ImagiNation and Robotics. Students also have the opportunity to participate in school and community service activities, programs that promote caring, tolerance and inclusiveness, and affinity groups, such as Sol e Estelas, and Brotherhood and Sisterhood groups.

Dr. Tera Helmon, executive director for elementary education, talked about the important of STEM Education at the elementary level. In addition to the renowned FOSS Science curriculum used districtwide, Helmon said that 37 of 43 elementary schools have additional STEM programming before, during or after school. That includes Lego Robotics, computer coding and programming, Science Olympiad and many more programs that help students develop creativity and critical thinking skills.

Some programs are designed to support advanced learners and gifted students. Dr. Floyd Cobb, executive director of curriculum and instruction, said those include the district Chess Tournament and Spelling Bee, and the popular Inside Out program, which offers innovative classes to more than 1,000 students during fall, spring and summer breaks.

Finally, Dr. Robyn Duran, director of Excellence and Equity, talked about the district’s High School Student Leadership teams, and how students of color now have a voice at the table and a platform to help them help the district continue to increase academic achievement and graduation rates for all students.

It was a challenge to fit so much information into a short presentation, but those in the Parents’ Council audience left with a much better idea of the many different ways the Cherry Creek School District is striving to meet the needs of all students, and provide them with a variety of ways to discover new skills, develop their talents, and ignite their fire for learning.

Posted March 11, 2014.

Posted 3/11/2014 2:24 PM
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Cherry Creek School District No. 5 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in admission to its programs, services or activities, in access to them, in treatment of individuals, or in any aspect of their operations. The lack of English language skills shall not be a barrier to admission or participation in the district’s activities and programs. The Cherry Creek School District No. 5 also does not discriminate in its hiring or employment practices. This notice is provided as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Questions, complaints, or requests for additional information regarding these laws may be forwarded to the designated compliance officer: District Compliance Officer or directly to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Region VIII, Federal Office Building 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite #310, Denver, CO 80204.

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