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Parents’ Council celebrates collaboration and creativity

The depth and breadth of creativity in Cherry Creek classrooms is amazing. Just ask anyone who attended this month’s Parents' Council meeting, held March 9 at the Student Achievement Resource Center. From world music drumming to e-Waste recycling, they saw enthusiastic students and passionate classroom teachers taking learning to new levels, thanks in part to support from the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation and school-based Parent-Teacher-Community Organizations (PTCOs).

For example, Belleview Elementary music teachers Peter Eschholz and Marla Martin described the positive impact of the multicultural World Music Drumming curriculum and drums they were able to purchase with a grant co-funded through the Foundation and the Belleview PTCO. Not only does the program help students meet standards for music education, it also allows Eschholz and Martin to differentiate instruction for different learners, accommodate students with special needs and make the most of every minute in class, since students don’t have to share instruments anymore.

At Sunrise Elementary, passionate readers come to school early all year long to read and discuss the best new children’s books as members of the school’s Newbery Club. Then they vote on their choice for the annual John Newbery Medal winner for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature.

“The kids use the same criteria as the Newbery Committee,” said Sunrise media teacher Susan Isaac, who received a Foundation grant to fund the program. “That includes things like setting, characters and plot.”

This year the students selected The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. Just a few days later, it was named the 2015 Newbery Award Winner by the Newbery Committee.

“You could hear the kids screaming throughout the school,” Isaac said.

See the students in action in this video about the Sunrise Newbery Book Club.

But elementary students aren’t the only book lovers around. At Campus Middle School (CMS), 75% of the student body of 1,400 students, as well as most of the staff, is reading the same book – The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis – as part of the 1 Book, 1 Campus program, which is supported by the CCS Foundation, the CMS PTCO and Comfort Dental.

“One thing we’ve been able to accomplish is making reading cool,” said CMS teacher librarian Derek Phelan, who manages the program with the help of “an army of volunteers.”

Watch this video to see how Campus is building a community around reading.

At Falcon Creek Middle School, students have been traveling the Silk Road in art class, while learning about history, geography, economics and other subjects along the way. As art teachers Fran Flicker described the interdisciplinary program, which is funded by a Foundation grant, two of her students demonstrated their artistic talents, using silk as their canvas. Learn more about the Silk Road program in this video.

Finally, Parents’ Council participants got to learn about an innovative electronics recycling program that provides job training for students in the district’s Transition Program, which serves students with special education needs aged 18 to 21 who have completed their high school core classes. The Transition Program offers consultation, vocational school assistance, work assistance and life skills, and now, a class where these students can learn a marketable skill in a growing industry. Following state legislation that prohibits the disposal of electronic waste in landfills, dismantling and recycling the kind of components found in old computers is set to become a booming industry. See the students in action here.

The final Parents’ Council meeting of the 14-15 school year will feature two seniors from each high school in the district. They have overcome incredible obstacles to make it to the milestone of graduation. It is one of the most moving meetings of the year and will be held at 9:15 a.m. on Mon., April 13 at the Student Achievement Resource Center, 14188 E. Briarwood Avenue in Centennial.

Posted 3/10/2015 9:59 AM
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