School of Choice 2023

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Table of Contents School of Choice is a special advertising supplement from Colorado Community Media, publisher of 23 community publications reaching over 350,000 readers every week.



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Mapleton Public Schools introduces new CTE opportunities Imagine heading into your freshman year of high school enrolled in classes inspired by your career pathway of choice, the ability to earn industry credentials, and on-the-job opportunities awaiting your participation. In Mapleton Public Schools, students don’t have to imagine this robust take on a college-and-career going culture, they get to experience it. As one of the metro area’s leading districts of choice, Mapleton continually evaluates program offerings to ensure classes and opportunities meet the needs and pique the interests of families and students. In the district’s 2023 family and student school experience survey, parents and students agreed that learning and academic growth are prioritized at their schools, and generally viewed the quality of their education as favorable. However, a common request was for more class options. In response, the district launched five Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways at high schools this fall. These opportunities will help students develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to be successful and workforce-ready when they finally pick up their diplomas. The expansion of Mapleton’s CTE program is supported by funds from the mill levy, overwhelmingly approved by Mapleton voters in 2022.

The pathways focus on health sciences, business management, digital media and communications, engineering and technology, and alternative cooperative education, with pathways in technical theater and teaching coming soon. Each pathway was created in collaboration with educators, business representatives, and community stakeholders to be relevant to both school and workbased learning. So, students aren’t just taking math classes because of their school level, but classes that matter to help fulfill their dreams. A CTE steering committee is being organized to facilitate partnerships between educators and industry leaders and ensure Mapleton’s programs are preparing students to meet – and exceed – the demands of today’s (and tomorrow’s) workforce. For more information about Mapleton’s CTE steering committee, please contact CTE Director Chris Byrd,, 303.853.1068. Mapleton is located in the ‘heart’ of the metro area, where major highways and interstates converge. The district is one of the largest employers in the North Denver/Thornton area and is always looking for good people to help us guarantee all students achieve their dreams. To find your next job, go to


Putting the pieces together

Focusing on outcomes in early childhood education leads to long-term success (BPT) - Being a parent means fostering the attributes children need to succeed in life. The aim is to create humans who will be a benefit to society, exemplifying strong character, morals, intelligence, confidence and more. That’s why it’s important to be intentional with what children are taught from a young age, beginning in early childhood education programs. According to a survey of parents with children ages 0-6 conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Kiddie Academy Educational Child Care, parents prioritize learning soft skills and social issues in early childhood education over subjects like math, history, geography and science. Parents are looking for a well-rounded experience that isn’t necessarily aimed at teaching the common subjects that come to mind when thinking about “school” in general. Instead, parents are more likely to want to narrow in on “outcomes” that will propel their children forward in areas that will help them become successful adults. So what are the key outcomes parents should look for when choosing an early childhood edu-

cation program? Experts at Kiddie Academy say the outcomes of character, confidence, curiosity, connection, critical thinking and creative expression are the most important. “When we concentrate on building skills to benefit children for life, especially at a young age, we aren’t solely focused on teaching domains of education that increase subject knowledge, but instead on building a developmental base that will form the foundation for future education,” said Ocie Watson-Thompson, Ed.D, at Towson University and Kiddie Academy curriculum advisory board member. For children of preschool age, focusing on the outcomes of hands-on, play-based experiences is key. Social-emotional development is another result of early childhood education that should not be overlooked. Everything a child learns in a child care program should build a developmental foundation. According to NAEYC, early math, for example, is not about the rote learning of discrete facts like how much 5 + 7 equals or worksheets with one correct answer. Rather, it’s about children

actively making sense of the world around them and using open-ended playful exploration to encourage children to solve problems in real situations. In this case, the outcome of critical thinking is built around subtle mathematical principles, providing the foundation for learning more complex concepts as children grow. Other outcomes like confidence, connection and creative expression are built by helping children recognize their strengths and abilities, fostering positive relationships with peers and adults, and through imaginative crafts and play. It’s a building-block concept. Each outcome is the first block in what will eventually grow into a fully developed and sturdy tower. Parents today find it more important for children to learn practical life skills over traditional academics in the early childhood development years, according to the aforementioned survey. And it appears they’re on to something. Focusing on the practical outcomes a child can learn in their early years can make all the difference in kickstarting a lifetime of learning.




St. Anne’s Episcopal School

educating MINDS enriching HEARTS expanding HORIZONS

Preschool (Age 3) through 8th Grade Innovative Academics Arts, Athletics, Technology, Languages Sports and Extracurricular Activities Extended Day Care • Chef-Prepared Meals Need-Based Tuition Assistance Available Outdoor Education Campus in the Denver Foothills 2701 S. York Street, Denver, CO 80210 • (303) 756-9481 •

St. Anne’s Episcopal School is a distinguished independent school nestled just within Denver, situated on a picturesque 7-acre campus. Our community is rooted in our core values: community, curiosity, faith, compassion, and humility, which are the pillars upon which we build the foundation for our students’ education and character development. Catering to children from age three through 8th grade, St. Anne’s is committed to providing an exceptional academic program. Our mission is to nurture and uplift every child, recognizing their unique talents and potential. Our exceptional academic program fosters character, empathy, and a love for learning. A hallmark of St. Anne’s is our dedication to service learning. We believe that cultivating compassionate and socially responsible individuals is a fundamental part of education. Our students engage in meaningful service learning projects, which provide them with the opportunity to make a positive impact on our local and global communities. Through

these projects, our students learn the importance of empathy, giving back, and humility. Additionally, St. Anne’s takes advantage of its splendid natural surroundings with an innovative outdoor education program. Our 17.5-acre mountain campus offers a unique environment that provides a rich source of inspiration. Here, students have the opportunity to explore and learn in a natural setting, fostering a deep appreciation for the environment and instilling a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them. St. Anne’s Episcopal School is a vibrant community that nurtures and supports the growth of each child. Our commitment to integrity, humility, and compassion, combined with a rigorous academic program and unique outdoor education experiences, sets the stage for well-rounded and compassionate future leaders who are ready to take on the challenges of our ever-changing world.

Arvada West Choice Enrollment Night - Come See What Our School Has to Offer!

40 AP or Honors/Advanced Courses Comprehensive Career/College Preparation Various Athletic/Activity/Performing Arts Programs Rigorous Academic Environment 40 or Honors/Advanced Courses Courses 40 APAP or Honors/Advanced Career & Technical Education Programs ComprehensiveCareer/College Career/College Preparation Comprehensive Preparation Various Athletic/Activity/Performing Arts Various Athletic/Activity/Performing Arts Programs Programs Rigorous Academic Environment Rigorous Environment Career &Academic Technical Education Programs Career & Technical Education Programs 11595 Allendale Drive, Arvada, CO 80004 | 303.982.1303

On November 15th from 5:00-7:00 PM, Arvada West High School is hosting our annual Choice Enrollment Showcase for prospective families interested in learning more about AWest, the extensive academic, activity, and athletic experiences we offer our students, and how we maximize student achievement. You are invited to tour our building, meet our teachers, hear from current students, and see how Arvada West High School’s rich history and traditions are progressing to provide students with significant, real-world learning. The evening will offer an informational presentation in the auditorium as well as representation from all departments, activities and athletics throughout the building. We look forward to you attending this informative event. A community-driven and achievement-oriented high school, Arvada West offers comprehensive college prep, career and technical exploration, and

workforce development for young adults. Our population of nearly 1900 students ranges from highly-academic AP students to the Significant Needs Program, which is embraced by both students and staff. As our population continues to diversify, the Arvada West staff work to support students as a community of learners and leaders who think critically about the world around them and develop the college-and-career ready skills necessary to find success in a collaborative, 40 AP or Honors/Advanced Courses technology-driven world. Comprehensive Career/College Preparation Various Athletic/Activity/Performing Arts Contact: 303-982-1303 Programs Rigorous Academic Environment Career & Technical Education Programs




4 ways to help lighten the burden for educators (Family Features) Teachers are more than leaders in their classrooms, they are leaders in the communities they serve, committed to educating the leaders of tomorrow, and their value cannot be overstated. To provide an optimal learning environment that equips their students for success, teachers often go above and beyond, sometimes at great personal expense. In fact, an analysis by My eLearning World estimates teachers will spend an average of $820.14 out of pocket on school supplies during the 2023-24 school year, the largest amount ever, which doesn’t include all of the hours dedicated beyond the traditional school day. To help alleviate some of the båΩurden, consider these ways parents, guardians and community members can contribute and support the efforts of educators.

Volunteer in the Classroom One of the easiest ways to learn what life is like in the classroom and truly understand the needs is to spend some time there helping out. Many school districts could use volunteers to assist with oneon-one tutoring, organizing library books, chaperoning field trips, speaking to classes about career paths and more. Start by checking with your child’s teacher or calling the front office to see what opportunities might be available.

Assist with Classroom Registries Well-equipped classrooms are essential to student success, but teachers cannot do it alone. To help assist educators in reducing out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies, Walmart’s Classroom Registry allows teachers to create personalized lists of items they need, making it easy for the community to contribute to and support their efforts. Tailored to educators with personalized creation flow and recommended classroom items unique to each grade level – including popular items such as stationery, classroom decorations, art supplies, classroom treats and rewards such as stickers and “edutainment” items – teachers can share their lists quickly and easily through direct links to their custom registries. Registries are also discoverable via the registry search using the teacher’s last name and state.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Work with Your Student at Home Not all learning takes place in the classroom. In fact, you can model the importance of your child’s education at home and create good habits such as doing homework at a certain time each night, getting a good night’s rest before school and using lessons learned in the classroom during family time. Contact your child’s teacher to learn more about the lesson plan and what you can do at home to assist with your student’s education.

Attend School Board Meetings to Voice Support Because important decisions that impact teachers are often made by those not in the classroom every day, keeping tabs on the issues impacting teachers and local school districts can help you advocate for educators if the need arises. Start by attending a few school board meetings to learn how they operate and get a handle on issues directly impacting teachers. Then make your voice heard – or run for the school board – to support policies and actions that serve teachers’ best interests.

Find customized classroom wish lists and more resources to support teachers at



Elk Creek Elementary 303-982-2900

Marshdale Elementary 303-982-5188

West Jefferson Elementary

The Bergens Elementary 303-982-4900

Parmalee Elementary



Wilmot Elementary

West Jefferson Middle

Evergreen Middle


Conifer High




Evergreen High 303-982-5140


4 strategies to make learning fun for your kids

(BPT) - Supporting your child’s early learning opportunities isn’t just important for the present. Doing so can plant the seeds for future success. According to the National Institute of Children Health and Human Development, studies show that supporting children’s early learning can result in higher test scores from preschool up to age 21, better grades in math and reading, and a better chance that children will stay in school and go to college. Of course, getting your children interested in learning is easier said than done. Read on to learn four strategies that will make learning an engaging and entertaining experience for kids that can foster a lifelong love of learning. 1. Reward achievements A powerful tool to motivate your kids to learn is positive reinforcement. By offering rewards like stickers, extra playtime or a sweet treat when your child completes a tough assignment or gets a good grade, you can help them enjoy homework and other educational tasks. A rewards system helps kids recognize their efforts and visualize their progress. This concrete proof of their achievements can encourage them to set goals and work steadily to achieve them. One thing to remember is that the rewards shouldn’t overshadow the importance of learning itself. Make sure to emphasize both the shortand long-term benefits of knowledge. 2. Snacks as learning tools Turn mundane lessons into a delightful experience by incorporating snacks into learning. According to a study by The Nation’s Report Card, only 35% of students are reading proficiently by grade 4 and the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading scores are the lowest in decades. As such, it’s important to teach literacy in an engaging, imaginative way from an early age. A bite-size snack that’s perfect for educational activities are Sun-Maid raisins. For back-to-school season, the brand collaborated with ABCmouse, the leading digital learning program for children, to expand access to literacy resources. Each iconic red Sun-Maid raisins box features exclusive, limited-edition ABCmouse flash cards with a

sight word on every carton. Each pack of six boxes also features a custom link to an interactive microsite hosted by ABCmouse. There, kids will find a variety of imaginative and engaging activities, from over 120 different flashcards to worksheets to coloring pages. Not only will kids be learning, but they’ll also be enjoying a delicious better-for-you snack - a double win for parents and kids! To learn more about these fun, free learning activities, visit ABCmouse. com/ABC/SunMaid. 3. Plan field trips that inspire You can extend learning beyond the classroom by taking your kids on inspiring field trips. If they’re learning about local history, check out a museum for exhibits on the topic. Many museums, zoos, botanical gardens, historical sites and science centers offer interactive exhibits, guided tours and other activities that make subjects come to life. It’s these hands-on experiences that make learning fun and help children retain the knowledge they gain throughout the school year. For a low-cost alternative, consider taking your kids out on a walk to discover and learn new things. Take turns identifying different things based on themes (e.g., name things you see that are yellow) or take a new path that leads to a fun surprise, such as stopping by a local Little Free Library. 4. Get crafty When paired with a lesson, crafts are an excellent way to make learning meaningful. Making dioramas, posters and models helps kids create a visual representation of what they’re learning and gives them a hands-on approach to learning. If your child is learning about the solar system, help them build a model of the sun and planets to help solidify the concept. Or, if they’re learning about a historical event, they can design a diorama or poster that illustrates the event in a concrete way. Parents can transform learning from a chore into an adventure by offering rewards, incorporating snacks, planning field trips and using crafts. These tips can help you create an environment that encourages your kids’ curiosity and allows them to explore education in a fun and accessible way.





Douglas County School District Celebrating 65 Years of Excellence There is so much to celebrate in the Douglas County School District! Learn more about our award-winning schools, opportunities to earn college credits and industry certifications while still in high school, specialized programs such as International Baccalaureate schools, project-based learning schools, gifted and talented programming, special education services, alternative education opportunities and so much more. Douglas County School District has 90 schools across 850 square miles, including in the cities and towns of Castle Rock, Franktown, Highlands Ranch, Larkspur, Lone Tree, Parker, and Sedalia. No matter your child’s goals and needs, there’s a place for you in the DCSD family! Career Technical Education Programs Expansion The Douglas County School District continues to grow its career and technical education program - which provides students additional pathways to success after high school. Our school district currently offers 52 career and technical education programs and 22 industry certifications. In the 2023-2024 school year DCSD will offer 14,229 career and technical education seats to students – the highest number to-date. Students can access CTE courses at high schools across our county and at the new DCSD Legacy Campus. New Schools and Programs Thanks to support from the 2018 bond that was approved by Douglas County residents, DCSD officially opened the DCSD Legacy Campus for pathway programming in Lone Tree, as well as our newest high school VALE (Venture Academy of Leadership and Entrepreneurship) located in Parker.

Kindergarten Registration for 2024-2025

• Teachers

Learn More

Kindergarten enrollment for the 2024-2025 school year kicks off on November 27. If your child will be five-years-old by October 1, 2024, this is the time to get them registered. Stop by your local elementary school or visit kindergarten.

• Substitute Teachers • Educational Assistants (EA IVs)

Find out what sets the Douglas County School District apart. Visit

Careers in DCSD The Douglas County School District is seeking amazing people to join our team of superheroes. Visit our website for a full list of openings. We are hiring for many positions, including: • Bus Drivers • Bus Assistants

• Kitchen Workers/Assistants • Early Childhood Education/ Preschool Staff • Before and After Care (BASE) Staff • Security Dispatchers • Campus Security Specialists • Custodians/Building Engineers • Grounds and Maintenance You can make a difference for students, support your community, gain work experience, while working flexible hours. Apply today at




(BPT) - Kids and teenagers nationwide are starting a new school year, which offers parents a chance to evaluate the ways they can support and encourage their children to help them succeed. Parents play an active role in their child’s education, especially as it pertains to subjects that have increased importance within a student’s curriculum. In recent years, there has been an emphasis among science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, as it provides students with hands-on learning that can

LET KIDS EXPLORE NATURE Stimulating interest in science at an early age is key to encouraging their exploration and curiosity, and the natural world is a perfect starting point to engage kids in conversations about science. “The next time your family is hanging out in the backyard, at the park or walking around the block, encourage kids to take in the vibrant ecosystem around them - which is full of living organisms that depend on each other for survival,” said Milton. “Nurture their interest by encouraging hands-on examination, fostering questions and showing how science connects to the real world.”

ELEVATE SCIENCE OUTINGS Take advantage of the wonder and exploration found in science centers, planetariums and natural history museums. Many venues offer interactive displays that can spark your child’s curiosity in science-related fields in a fun, hands-on and engaging way. Consider spending time at one of them for your next family outing. Some host birthday parties or other events for children that offer an unforgettable experience.

TRANSFORM YOUR KITCHEN INTO A SCIENCE LAB Sparking love for science begins at home by transforming everyday moments into scientific adventures. One of the easiest ways is to run simple at-home experiments that can spark curiosity. You can become one of your child’s science teachers this year by finding a few experiments to do together. “Start with mixing baking soda and white vinegar to introduce chemical reactions in a powerful way. Or show them how plants and trees ‘breathe’ through their leaves by submerging a leaf in water and watching bubbles appear,” Milton recommended. “Whichever experiment you choose, the point is that students love science when they actually do science.”

nurture their problem-solving skills. Moreover, science specifically offers opportunities for children to explore the world around them, and it’s important for parents to know how to drive passion and curiosity for science in this next generation. For easy ways to inspire your children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for science and nature, educator and international STEM advocate Saki Milton is offering tips for parents to consider as the new school year starts - whether they’re outand-about or at home.

CONNECT CURIOSITY TO FUTURE CAREERS IN SCIENCE Science is a perfect outlet for naturally curious children, as there are so many things to experience and explore. Considering how much STEM-related careers are expected to grow in the next decade, their childhood curiosity for science and nature may lead to a career that could last a lifetime. Is your child interested in space? Experience endless exploration through astronomy. Obsessed with animals? Maybe zoology is for them. How about insects? Believe it or not, there’s a perfect job out there for them, too. Expert entomologists study insects and use their research and knowledge to develop products that help protect families and their homes from insects and the diseases they may carry. The STEM™ line of products are scientifically engineered bug-killing insecticides and mosquito repellents that mix science with nature to help all of us keep those pesky bugs at bay. Their products, such as STEM™ Multi-Insect Killer Spray (Ants, Roaches, Flies) and STEM™ Mosquito Repellent Spray, are powered by plant-based active ingredients, such as lemongrass, geraniol or peppermint. With no added dye, fragrance or harsh chemical odors, they help fight bugs safely and effectively around people and pets, when used as directed.

SHOW VERSUS TELL It’s easiest for kids to learn and grasp new concepts when there’s a tangible outcome of their work. For instance, absorbing information about chemistry from a textbook is much harder than seeing chemistry happen in front of their eyes. “I always encourage parents and their kids to try household chemistry projects, such as making homemade soap or lip balm, which are great ways to learn about how substances interact with one another, as well as math by mixing substances proportionately,” advised Milton.

EMPHASIZE THAT SCIENCE IS FOR EVERYONE Last but most vital, remind your child that science is not a club for a select few. It’s for everyone! Using positive and reaffirming language around your child can help foster a sense of belongingness in science. “Remind them that science is for everyone, and everyone is a scientist,” Milton added.



A place to learn, a place to belong.

Free Horizon Montessori PK – 8th Grade

A public Montessori option - Free Horizon Montessori (FHM) is where teachers meet students where they are, and each individual child will receive a meaningful and comprehensive education. Students and families join a school community where academic excellence, and an inclusive learning environment unites school and community in a common vision. Founded in 2002, FHM embraces the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, this dedicated educational model supports individualized learning and has a corner-

Serve. Lead. Inspire.

stone of respect and responsibility for oneself, the environment, and those with whom we share the world. As Jefferson County Public School’s only Option School of Innovation, FHM prides itself on offering a welcoming environment to dynamic learners. FHM offers in person tours (sign up at www. and we are always available to answer questions. Enrollment for 2024-2025 starts soon! Free Horizon Montessori – A place to learn, a place to belong.

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Immerse yourself in the spirit of service at SkyView High School, where our students collectively dedicated an inspiring 12,702 hours during the 22-23 school year.


SkyView Academy is committed to preparing students to be life-long learners and honorable leaders of tomorrow.


Discover a dynamic community featuring clubs, spirit weeks, thrilling home games, tight-knit friendships, and teachers who not only know your name but truly understand you.


Be part of our championship 2A Mile High League athletic teams and soar to new heights of excellence!


Step into the spotlight and join our nationally recognized and awardwinning theatre department.


Embark on a transformative journey where students thrive within a culture of high expectations, supported by unmatched levels of social, emotional, and academic guidance.

In building ng life-long learners and honorable leaders, our approach fits the desires of our scholars, thespians, and 2A Mile High League athletes, perform who all compete and prepare for rigorous challenges in our state-of-the-art facilities. Whether you enjoy athletics, performing arts, p, STEM, or perhaps something else, there is a place for you at SkyView! leadership, tou to get a But don'tt just take our word for it. Join us at our High School Showcase on October 26th, sign up for a shadow day, or come to a tour true sensee of what we're all about. Scan the QR code for more information or to register. We can't wait to welcome YOU to the Hawk Family!

For year round local school coverage visit For year round local school coverage visit



All in on finding

your path

“Aims was the bridge for me to go to a four-year university.” It's time to be All in.

Apply today! Go to


Read Jackie Estrada’s story at



Finding Empowerment Through Education at Aims Community College Going to college is a formative experience for many. For first-generation college student Jackie Estrada, attending Aims Community College encouraged her growth academically, socially and personally. Jackie’s involvement in extracurricular activities, work-study employment and classes at Aims accelerated her evolution into the woman she is today. Jackie grew up and still lives in Brighton, Colorado. “I came from really humble and proud roots, and I find it so amazing that I’m the first to go to college in my family.” She is proud to be a role model for her younger brother “to let him know how much more you can do if you believe in yourself.” Beginning Her Journey She graduated high school in 2020 and was still deciding on her next step. According to Jackie, her mom encouraged her to attend college, even though she wanted to take a year off. At first, Aims wasn’t her first choice since some friends were going elsewhere and starting at four-year institutions. After some consideration, she decided to attend Aims for the affordability, proximity to her home and the Aims2UNC Transition Program. One key element of her journey was the people she met along the way. “I was trying to find the right mentorship because I’m a first-generation student. It’s hard trying to be successful when your family doesn’t necessarily know how to help you,” she said. Tapping Into Support and Resources Aims has a lot of resources and support for students, including staff dedicated to student achievement inside and outside the classroom. Jackie met and cultivated relationships with advisors that helped her through her Aims education, including Alicia Nava Ortiz with TRIO Student Support Services and Jacob Sutton with Aims2UNC. Jackie also gained strength and an expanded perspective through the mentorship of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) team. Her work as a peer specialist at the CDI was an integral part of her time at Aims. “They made me feel like I was worthy enough to be a leader and to be able

to talk about these issues within my own community and to be able also maybe to try and expand that outside of school.” That work-study job at the CDI “kicked off my social justice journey,” she said. Jackie is proud that she had the opportunity to contribute to programs around inclusivity. Jackie says these experiences “made me feel like I could be a leader.” This role inspired Jackie to start a LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) campus chapter at Aims with like-minded friends. “We should be coming together and trying to be better for our community and ourselves and feel accepted within ourselves.” She said she feels like it is essential to share stories to build community and friendships on campus among the Latinx community. Jackie is proud of her work as a diversity, equity and inclusion campus leader. “I want to be successful. I want to start my own stuff. I want to talk about social justice. I want to be a strong and powerful woman. And being a peer specialist, I think, was the root of everything that I’ve gone through right now,” she said. Creating Connections in the Classroom Another formative element of Jackie’s Aims journey was academics and her professors. “I loved taking ethics; it opened my mind to see both sides of the story, not just one side.” Jackie also loved her course in environmental science. “The professor also showed me how to be more eco-friendly, learn what causes pollution, and how I can help. It’s something that I had never really taken the time to think about.” The small class sizes at Aims helped Jackie succeed academically and led to strong social connections. “Because the class sizes were so small at Aims, I could make that one-on-one connection with my peers, and so I did end up creating really good friendships at Aims.” The small community at Aims helped Jackie thrive and equipped her to start the next chapter in her story. “I think Aims was the bridge for me to go to a four-year university,” she said. “I don’t think I would’ve ever been Continued on next page



Aims Community College Continued from previous page

prepared enough if I hadn’t gone to Aims, especially with all the amazing people that I met.” Taking the Next Step As an Aims2UNC student, Jackie enrolled in both Aims and UNC classes. She received a competitive scholarship from the Stryker Institute for Leadership Development at UNC, with a mission to serve women from under-represented groups and support scholars in their identity and leadership development. Jackie is now confident about her path forward. “I have many underrepresented identities, but that isn’t going to stop my educational journey.” She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Science at UNC. She has a double minor in Environmental Science and Psychology, all subjects she is passionate about. Jackie’s ultimate goal is to become an occupational therapist, and she is thinking about possibly extending her education to graduate school. With all her achievements so far, Jackie sums up her experience in this way. “Aims helped me believe in myself enough to want to be so successful.” Aims Makes College Affordable Pay less tuition at Aims than at any other Colorado college or university. College costs across Colorado continue to skyrocket, but not at Aims. The average credit hour is $72 compared to $313 at nearby four-year institutions — that’s more than 300% savings. Earn a two-year degree or certificate and get straight to work in your career after graduation or transfer to a bachelor’s program as a junior with substantial tuition savings. You can trust that you’ll receive a high-quality education that prepares you for whatever comes next because Aims programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and are taught by experienced faculty in state-of-the-art facilities. Aims offers 200+ degree and certificate programs to choose from, so you’ll save money and never have to sacrifice your career interests to make college affordable. You’ll find a diverse student body, numerous clubs and organizations to join, and a supportive staff and faculty with real-world experience that makes your time at Aims enriching in every way you can imagine. More About the Aims2UNC Program Jackie found her path through the Aims2UNC program, and you can too! Aims2UNC in an innovative partnership between Aims Community College and the University of Northern Colorado. When accepted to the Aims2UNC program you will be considered a student on both campuses, allowing you to engage at each campus including access to facilities, events, clubs and organizations, in the way you find most meaningful. Our transition program differs from a traditional transfer program because rather than focusing on a single point in time (the point of transfer) it begins as soon as you are accepted into the program. Our holistic approach is centered on developing a sense of community and belonging on both campuses, and providing streamlined advising to allow you to achieve your goal of earning a four-year degree from UNC. To these means, we encourage prospective students to apply as soon as they are enrolled in courses at Aims.

Enroll at Aims Community College Make Aims Community College your top choice when it comes to pursuing your education. With our diverse programs, experienced faculty, top-notch facilities, supportive community, affordable tuition rates and flexible learning options, we are dedicated to providing you with the tools and resources you need to succeed. Join us at Aims Community College and unlock endless possibilities for your future. Here’s how to enroll: • Visit • Submit your online application (It’s free to apply!) • Enroll in your classes (Work with an enrollment coach if you have any questions at all!)

Enroll today and find your path to success!

➢ Smaller Class Sizes

PULLOUT ADVERTISING CHOICE 2023 ➢ Unique and ChallengingSUPPLEMENT: Programs That PrepareSCHOOL Students forOF Life After High School

Courses and Teachers to Meet and Ignite Individual Student Interests & Passions Almost Four Decades Tradition of Excellence Faculty and Staff That Truly Care About Students Lowest Teacher Turnover Rate in Douglas County School District Isn’t it time you asked yourself…HIGHLANDS WHAT! Beginning in 1987, Highlands Ranch High School has established a long tradition of academic excellence and nationally recognized programs including multiple national honor societies, a well-developed AP program, a thriving AP program, a thriving Career & Career & Technical Education program with pathways that earn AP, CE, and professional certifications, as well as a Technical Education program with robust selection of extra-curricular activities and athletics. Highlands Ranch is not only a school in which a student pathways that earn AP, CE, and pro- they can become part of a family of high-quality students, staff, faculty, and can reach their full potential, but where fessional certifications, as well as a administration. Interactive Student Tours are based on student interests in pre-registration (QR Code). ➢ ➢ ➢ ➢


Highlands Ranch High School Why Choose Highlands Ranch High School? • Smaller Class Sizes • Unique and Challenging Programs That Prepare Students for Life After High School

robust selection of extra-curricular activities and athletics. Highlands Ranch is not only a school in which a student can reach their full poten• Courses and Teachers to Meet tial, but where they can become and Ignite Individual Student part ofHigh a family of high-quality Interests & Passions Why Choose Highlands Ranch School? students, staff, faculty, and admin• Almost Four Decades Tradition of Sizes ➢ Smaller Class istration. Interactive Student Tours Excellence ➢ Unique and Challenging Programs Thatinterests PrepareinStudents for Life After High School are based on student pre-registration (QR Code). • Faculty and Staff Truly and CareTeachers ➢That Courses to Meet and Ignite Individual Student Interests & Passions About Students➢ Almost Four Decades Tradition of Excellence


• Lowest Teacher➢ Turnover Rate Faculty andinStaff That Truly Care About Students Douglas County➢ School District Lowest Teacher Turnover Rate in Douglas County School District


Isn’t it time you asked yourIsn’t it time you asked yourself…HIGHLANDS WHAT! self…HIGHLANDS WHAT! in 1987, Highlands Ranch High School has established a long tradition of academic excellence and Beginning

Beginning in 1987,nationally Highlandsrecognized programs including multiple national honor societies, a well-developed AP program, a thriving Ranch High SchoolCareer has established & Technical Education program with pathways that earn AP, CE, and professional certifications, as well as a a long tradition of academic exrobust selection cellence and nationally recognized of extra-curricular activities and athletics. Highlands Ranch is not only a school in which a student reachnationtheir full potential, but where they can become part of a family of high-quality students, staff, faculty, and programs includingcan multiple al honor societies, aadministration. well-developedInteractive Student Tours based on student interests in pre-registration (QR Code). Pre-Registration Highlyare Encouraged

Events Will Include:

➢ Open House, Pep Rally, Student Tours, & Parent Sessions ➢ Career & Technical Education Program Demonstrations from Engineering, Cyber Security, Computer Science, Business & Marketing, Cosmetology, Family & Consumer Sciences, Technical Theater, and Broadcasting & Filmmaking ➢ Session with Colorado’s Principal of the Year ➢ Sessions about: College Readiness & Course Rigor, Advanced Placement, Concurrent Enrollment, and Honors Courses ➢ Getting Involved at HRHS: Activities & Athletic Showcase ➢ Session about CTE opportunities ➢ Session about “How to HRHS” ➢ Prizes & Swag!





 Open House, Pep Rally, Student Tours, & Parent Sessions

 Career & Technical Education Program Demonstrations from Engineering, Cyber Security, Computer Science, Business & Marketing, Cosmetology, Family & Consumer Sciences, Technical Theater, and Broadcasting & Film Making  Session with Colorado’s Principal of the Year

 Sessions about: College Readiness & Course Rigor, Advanced Placement, Concurrent Enrollment, and Honors Courses  Getting Involved at HRHS: Activities & Athletic Showcase  Session about CTE opportunities

➢ Open House, Pep Rally, Student Tours, & Parent Sessions ➢ Career & Technical Education Program Demonstrations from Engineering, Cyber  Prizes & Swag! Security, Computer Science, Business & Marketing, Cosmetology, Family &  Session about “How to HRHS”

Events Will






Thursday, Nov. 2, from 5-7 p.m.

What to Expect Families of prospective students (grades K-12 for the 2024-25 school year) are invited to attend our Spartan Showcase Night to see what we're all about. Things your experience include: Athletics, Clubs & Enrichment Student Support Offerings Curriculum and Academics Food trucks So much more!

Questions? Email us at

at 8816 Barrons Blvd. Highlands Ranch

dow Days a h S l o o h High Sc ted in

ler interes igh schoo h can re tu fu to offer? S Is your t we have a h w g in c . experien out more de to find o C R Q e th 12/8, /17, 12/1, Dates: 11 . . to 2 p.m from 8 a.m

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Fall in Love with STEM School Highlands Ranch Are you looking for a rigorous and challenging learning environment for your student that unleashes their unlimited human potential? Look no further than STEM School Highlands Ranch. Since we opened our doors in 2011, innovation has led the way in every aspect of who we are and what we do at STEM School Highlands Ranch. Many have tried to mimic us, but we’ve consistently proven, time and time again, that our Problem-Based Instructional Model, infused with real-world industry partnerships and experiences, is not only preparing our students to thrive in the constant world of reinvention. but also lead it. We want you to hear directly from our students and parents about what makes this community of Spartans so special. “STEM School Highlands Ranch has taught me not only about theoretical concepts that you would typically learn in class but also a lot about myself as a learner, as someone who is creative and always looking at ways to improve society for the better,” said Gitanjali Rao, a STEM alumna and the first-ever TIME Magazine Kid of the Year. Rao joined STEM in middle school and has accomplished amazing things, including being an inventor, author, patent holder, and more. She is currently a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, Mass. “You never find yourself feeling bored,” Rao said. “You never find yourself with repetitive content in front of you. You always have this opportunity to learn within the classroom or even outside of one. You are never alone at STEM. Regardless of what you’re interested in, what opportunities you have, there’s always a friend, there’s always another group of people, there’s always another class, and there’s always a teacher waiting to help you out and make you grow.” “The school has taught my kids to be advocates for themselves,” said Jeanie Brevort, a STEM Parent of four current students and one graduate. “It has taught them to be who they are and doesn’t put them in a box. STEM is a great place to send your kids because I feel like

David Marquez

STEM Student & TSA National President

I love STEM School Highlands Ranch because of the amazing teachers that we have here and how much they have facilitated my learning in certain subjects and really helped me take a step further than I would have otherwise.

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they understand the whole child. While they’re in school, the kids get to find out what they are passionate about, and they get to work in groups to solve real-world problems.” ABOUT US We are a FREE public charter school in Highlands Ranch located on the West side of Douglas County, between Broadway and Lucent, and Highlands Ranch Parkway. We are the flagship school of the KOSON Network of Schools, and we were one of the first schools in Colorado to have the P-TECH program (Partnerships in Technical Early College High School). While we serve students in kindergarten through 12th grade inside our main school building, our campus has an innovative approach to learning that exceeds our classroom walls. Students utilize all areas of the building, including our playfields, playgrounds, and parking lots, to explore, learn and innovate. OUR INSTRUCTIONAL MODEL Our innovative instructional approach called the KOSON Problem-Based Learning Model, is a teaching methodology where learning is student-centered and driven by relevant, real-world prob-

lems. Throughout their instruction, students learn about a problem, ask questions, research, brainstorm solutions, test, analyze and take action, all while learning the state standards. Students access background knowledge and investigate standards and aligned concepts that might help solve the problem. Our KOSON Instructional Model encourages peer collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, all while learning responsible use of technology. To learn more about PBL at STEM, visit academics/problem-based-learning-at-stem/. CURRICULUM AND ACADEMICS We offer access to a range of unique learning opportunities that produce students ready to compete at the highest levels. Our classrooms are not like the traditional classrooms of the past. Teachers and students work in a collaborative environment to solve real-world problems. Our school is one of the few STEM schools that infuse science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning into all aspects of education. In addition to integrated, problem-based learning across all STEM subjects, the school offers

rigorous humanities courses, arts, world languages, as well as theater and music programs that were selected as one of the most innovative by the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Elementary School students are provided with a rigorous and relevant core education that taps into the innate curiosity of each student while integrating essential STEM skills and concepts within literacy, mathematics, social studies and science. All elementary students will participate in “specials” classes that include art, music, physical education, technology, engineering, and world language. Middle School students are provided with an engaging and empowering education that incorporates essential skills and character development with rigorous real-world education. They develop the skills of critical thinking, collaboration, safe failure and applied innovation through an exciting and challenging integrated STEM curriculum. High School students have access to a variety of technology and computer science classes focused on programming in a variety of languages, creative applications like 3D animation/modeling and designing, and building games. Additionally, our students can earn industry-level IT certifications by taking classes in A+, Net+, and Security+. In our engineering labs, students fine-tune their problem-solving and creative skills as they take classes in manufacturing, robotics, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), digital electronics, and transportation technologies. We also offer a myriad of Advanced Placement classes, as well as THE MOST Concurrent Enrollment (CE) offerings in Douglas County, enabling students to take classes both on and off-campus for college credit, while still enrolled in High School. The success does not stop there, as 98% of our seniors applied and were accepted to twoyear and four-year Colleges and Universities following the 2022-23 school year. Continued on next page



STEM SCHOOL Continued from previous page

CAREER DISCOVERY The Career Discovery program is the first of its kind for students in Colorado. The program aims to leverage the power of collaboration between STEM students (K-12) and industry professionals to forge pathways of discovery and nurture unlimited human potential. These connections allow students to learn alongside experts as they solve real-world problems, explore their personal interests, and build relationships that can potentially lead to an internship/apprenticeship or full- or part-time job placement after graduation and during college. Learn more about our Career Discovery Program by visiting https:// Part of our Career Discovery Program is opportunities for High School students to push past the limitations of their grade and age

to experience real-world scenarios through internships and career pathways that will set them up for unlimited success. We are one of only a few schools in the state of Colorado approved as a P-TECH School (Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools). STEM currently offers Robotics and Automation (formerly mechatronics), Cybersecurity pathways, and Game Design and is on the path to adding additional pathways next year. The current pathways allow students to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Robotics and Automation degree or an Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity from Arapahoe Community College. Best of all, we cover the tuition cost for our P-Tech students. THE STEM EXPERIENCE Learning with us does not stop at the classroom walls. Our students have a full range of Enrichment programming at their fingertips, as well as opportunities to compete on CHSAA Athletic Teams.

Technology Student Association (TSA) is a national organization that gives our students the opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering, and math fields through exciting competitive events and leadership opportunities. There are a wide variety of events to prepare and compete in, including Underwater ROV to Biotechnology to Catapult Design to Fashion Design to Forensic Technology to Career Prep. Our BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics Team empowers students to use their creativity and intelligence to build a robot from scratch. Cyber Patriots is a defensive cyber security competition, where students work in teams to discover vulnerabilities and develop remedies in an operating system that has been compromised.

However, the spirit and legacy of all the heroes from that day provide a light of resiliency for us all as we walk through the stages of recovery. Our heroes embodied what it means to be a STEM Spartan: Honesty, Integrity, Empathy, Respect and Responsibility. COME CHECK US OUT! We invite families to take part in our Prospective Parent Building Tours on Wednesdays from 9-10 a.m., for Secondary grades (starts from the Secondary School lobby), and 10-11 a.m. for Elementary grades (starts from the Elementary School lobby) on days we are in session. If you’d like to find out more, please email info@stemk12. org. For more information about our school, please visit our website at or call us at 303-683STEM (7836).

RECOVERY AND RESILIENCY The events of May 7 will forever leave an imprint on our school, students, families and community.

Conifer High School Conifer High School serves the foothills area. Enrollment for the 2023-24 school year is 830. We have 49 certified staff, of which 67% have advanced degrees. Conifer High School offers a variety of classes in 11 subject areas. Our 23 Advanced Placement and 13 Honors courses continue to grow and provide rigor to our students’ academic needs. To ensure our students’ successes, Conifer offers many

support systems, such as a Learning Center, Guided Study Halls, Responsive Scheduling Intervention, and other programs that provide students of all levels with additional academic assistance. Conifer was ranked a top 5 neighborhood school by The Washington Post. Accomplishments of our students over the past couple years include: 7 Academy appointments, 4 Boettcher Scholars, 6 Daniel’s Fund Scholars, 4 Ivy League acceptances, 2 Conservatory acceptances, and National Merit Finalists. Conifer students are very involved in athletics and extracurricular activities. We have 22 sports teams and multiple clubs/activities including a mountain bike team, DECA, and HOSA programs- which qualify a number of student for national competitions. We also have a growing fine

CONIFER HIGH SCHOOL Is Accepting Choice Enrollment

For the 2024-25 School Year, Dec. 5, 2023 - Jan. 12, 2024

Future LOBO Night:

Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024 • 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm A showcase of Conifer’s Course Offerings, Sports & Activities 23 AP Classes – Performing Arts • STEM Programming - Student Media - Marketing Warren Tech - Concurrent Enrollment • 21 Sports – 30 Clubs/Activities (DECA – HOSA – Mtn Biking – Robotics – Newspaper)

Questions: Contact Jolene Sadowski, Registrar • 303. 982.5249

arts program with incredible plays, art shows, musicals, and instrumental music performances throughout the year. Community service is also a strong component of the Conifer tradition, with about 25% of the

senior class recognized at graduation for having completed over 200 hours of community service. Conifer prides itself on the strong community we have built, that is accepting to all.



Does your child struggle to read? Have you ever thought your child may be dyslexic?

Let EP RD En rich your c hild! Programs available for Kids Ages 2.5 to 5th Grade


• After School Care • Enrichment Programs • Fall & Winter Camps

If you think this sounds like your learner, Vertical Skills Academy maybe the right school. Our school has a supportive learning environment with a 1:8 staff to student ratio. Students also receive 1 hour of Orton Gillingham tutoring every day. Give us a call or email to learn more. Vertical Skills Academy is a unique school that specializes in teaching students with dyslexia using explicit, evidence-based, multi-sensory instruction to empower students to reach their full potential.

• Family & Kid Events

32156 Castle Ct., Evergreen, CO 80439 #201 303.562.1900 or Ask for Amy Thomas

EXPLORE MISSION OUROUR MISSION Cherry Hills Christian awakens the educational experience by preparing students awakens to live fully for God in a rapidly changing world, knowing they are students to Cherry Hills Christian the educational experience by preparing His masterpieces uniquely designed for His purpose.

live fully for God in a rapidly changing world, knowing they are His masterpieces uniquely designed for Soul. His purpose. Fully His...Heart. Mind. Strength.

Preschool - Grade 8


Fully His...Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength.

OUR FAITH CHC is committed to helping students sharpen their knowledge and heart OUR FAITH for God and His word through classroom study, chapel services, life groups, CHC is committed to helping students their and heartfor God and His mission trips, local ministrysharpen outreach, and CHCknowledge community events.

word through classroom study, chapel services, life groups,mission trips, local ministry APPROACH outreach, and CHC OUR community events. CHC sets the foundation for lifelong learning by encouraging curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge for personal enrichment and the glorification of

OUR APPROACH God. At the same time, we recognize each one of our students is unique and learns differently — so we provide services, tools, and facilities specially CHC sets the foundation for lifelong learning by encouraging curiosity andthe pursuit designed enrichment to help them reach their fullglorification potential. of knowledge for personal and the ofGod. At the same time, we recognize each one of our students is unique andlearns differently — so we provide PORTRAIT OF A GRADUATE services, tools, and Our facilities toofhelp reachfortheir full potential. Portrait speciallydesigned of a Graduate is a snapshot whatthem we’re aiming at CHC— each of the areas serving as a check and balance with our students as they

graduate. PORTRAIT OF A GRADUATE Alive Hearts

Our Portrait of a Graduate is aSouls snapshot of what we’re aiming for at CHC—to provide a Anchored Academically Prepared foundation for our graduates to grow in Minds their relationship with Christ and use their GodAbiding Strength Learn more @ given gifts and talents to be problem-solvers, decision-makers, and lifelong learners. OUR GRADUATES HAVE: • Alive Hearts • Anchored Souls • Academically Prepared Minds • Abiding Strength

Email: 303.791.5500

Learn more @

Email: 303.791.5500



What are teachers and students saying about AI and education? (BPT) - When ChatGPT came on to the scene, it and similar generative AI platforms immediately began sparking heated debates among educators, students and parents about its potential to disrupt education. A recent study from global learning platform Quizlet found that high school and college teachers and students (aged 14-22) who have used ChatGPT or a similar AI technology agree that it is an effective study tool, with students in particular responding that it helps them to better understand the material and study faster and more efficiently. Generative AI will be on the minds of students and teachers as they prepare to head back to the classroom this fall. With this technology top of mind, here are some things to consider this school year. Students study smarter, not harder, with AI Those that claim the use of AI in the classroom hinders students’ academic potential can think again. Students who spend three or more hours a night on an average weeknight during the school year studying gave credit to ChatGPT and similar AI technologies’ ability to streamline studying by generating helpful resources like study guides. Other popular uses among students included conducting research and summarizing or synthesizing information. Twenty-six percent of students in this group also said that teachers have encouraged them to use AI-generated technology like ChatGPT while they study, whereas students who reported less than two hours of studying on an average weeknight during the school year were less likely to have a teacher recommend using this technology. UC Berkeley student Sam Clement gives AI-generated learning a thumbs up, saying, “It feels like an extension of my brain, or a supplementary boost to my own thinking abilities.” He added, “Platforms like ChatGPT make studying engaging by allowing me to probe concepts over and over until I understand. It can feel like unlimited office hours, something invaluable to busy college students.” Students also reported that AI-generated technology has had a positive impact on their mental health, with 73% claiming it helps reduce stress and anxiety, and 57% claiming it decreases their workload. Teachers give it an “A” High school and college teachers that have used ChatGPT and similar AI technologies for school cite the top four uses as research, generating lesson plans, summarizing or synthesizing information and generating classroom materials like tests and assignments. Nearly

half of teachers agreed that the vast capabilities of AI have made their workload more manageable. Maureen Lamb, Dean of Educational Technology and Innovative Pedagogy and a member of the Latin faculty at The Ethel Walker School, says, “The notion that tools like Google Bard and ChatGPT are essentially shortcuts focuses on the output rather than what we want the technology to help us achieve. It’s the same question teachers ask ourselves when creating assessments and exams. ‘What skill or concept do I want my students to demonstrate?’ If ChatGPT can provide a teacher with a lesson plan for the day or generate an essay prompt, then great. It gives teachers more opportunity to refine our teaching approach and challenge students appropriate to their unique needs.” Students and teachers embrace AI in the classroom Some students and teachers are already working together to set ground rules for using platforms based in generative AI at school and while studying at home. Thirty-seven percent of student respondents have had teachers or instructors talk to them about the proper use of AI technology as it relates to course work, and 60% of teachers say that students are proactively approaching them about using these platforms to enhance their studies. Teachers that have been approached by students about using ChatGPT or similar technologies say their students are either asking for permission to use AI-powered platforms, examples of proper use cases or instructions on how to use AI technologies.

Lamb, who embraces the use and exploration of new technologies in her classroom, says, “A strong and trusting classroom community was something we struggled to find learning virtually during the pandemic. We need to think about technology in the classroom now like we did then.” She adds, “AI should think with us, not for us. Now, more than ever, we should encourage students to trust the power of their own voices. While AI-generated technology is a powerful tool in our toolbox, human voices still hold a huge creative advantage.” AI can help create equitable learning environments Students and teachers see a future with limitless potential when learning and AI come together - 42% of all respondents categorized their attitude toward AI technology in education positively. Respondents that disagree with bans on the use of AI technology in schools say that it expands access to information, assists with studying and enhances creativity and critical thinking. Forty-eight percent of teachers predict that ChatGPT and similar AI technology will help students recover from learning loss that was caused by the pandemic. “Personally, I love the technology and don’t think that its benefits to the classroom have been fully discovered yet,” Clement added. “AI-generated technology allows students to find learning solutions that work for them, and applies what works for them to any and every problem or concept they could need. Teaching students the proper way to use this technology will be key, but I for one am very optimistic about its future.”


The Profound Benefits of Small Middle and High Schools

In today’s educational landscape, schools are growing larger, with average enrollments skyrocketing since 1940. While larger schools may promise efficiency, they often come at the cost of academic achievement and social well-being. Amy Stuart, Head of School at Renaissance Secondary, shares valuable insights into the benefits of a small school environment. These advantages can have a lasting impact on students’ academic success, social development, and overall well-being. 1. Enhanced Learning and College Readiness Students in small schools are better equipped for success. Research shows that they learn more and are more prepared for college compared to their counterparts in larger institutions, particularly in middle and high schools. Not only do students in small schools have higher graduation rates, but they also perform better in college. This advantage is largely attributed to the personalized learning environment that small schools offer. Teachers in smaller schools are more familiar with their students’ academic strengths and

weaknesses, enabling them to tailor instruction to individual needs. In a small school, no student gets lost in the crowd. 2. A Safer and More Welcoming Environment Safety and a sense of belonging are two hallmarks of small schools. In smaller environments, students experience fewer conflicts, feel safer, attend school more consistently, and report a stronger attachment to their institution. This enhanced safety is not just a perception; it’s backed by data. The National Center on Education Statistics reports significantly fewer incidents of fights, weapons, and other forms of violence in small schools. Small schools also exhibit lower levels of negative social behavior. The close-knit community of small schools fosters an atmosphere where both students and staff are vigilant about maintaining a safe and respectful environment. 3. Fostered Sense of Belonging Multiple studies indicate that small schools facilitate a unique culture of belonging and achievement, resulting in a greater “sense of belonging” compared to larger

schools. Students also experience stronger connections with caring adults who know them well and have a more positive attitude toward their educational journey. Head of School Amy Stuart beautifully captures this sentiment, stating, “We frequently hear from students and parents that the Renaissance Secondary community feels like a crew. A sense of belonging is extremely important developmentally for middle and high school students. The teachers here know your name, who your siblings are, what extracurricular activities you enjoy, and perhaps most importantly, what you’re capable of. There’s little opportunity to sell yourself short when your teachers know you well and push you to grow and learn to your fullest potential.” 4. Development of Citizenship and Leadership Skills Small schools provide fertile ground for the development of citizenship and leadership skills. Students in small schools are more engaged in their school community and are more active in serving their communities. They also enjoy increased opportunities to participate

in extracurricular and leadership activities, allowing them to develop essential leadership skills. Levels of extracurricular participation are significantly higher in small schools compared to their larger counterparts. This inclusivity promotes a vibrant community where students participate in a wide array of activities, fostering teamwork, empathy, and responsibility. 5. Increased Teacher Satisfaction Teacher satisfaction plays a pivotal role in shaping the educational experience. Teachers in small schools report higher job satisfaction levels, perhaps due to their stronger connections with their colleagues and students. The enthusiasm and dedication of teachers are critical because they directly impact students’ interest, energy, curiosity, and excitement for learning. In small schools, teachers are more than just educators; they are mentors and guides. This close connection fosters a positive teaching environment where educators are deeply invested in their students’ success.


expect more.










Explore at Explore at Explore at

Grades K-� & KindiePrep ages �-�. Join our waitlist and sign up for a school tour.

Learn more about our high achieving and award winning STEAM programming available at our 3 beautiful Douglas County campuses. And be sure to check out our KindiePrep program our friends ages Grades for K-� &younger KindiePrep ages3-5. �-�.

Join our waitlist and sign up for a school Learn more visiting our website Grades K-� by &tour. KindiePrep ages �-�. Grades K-� & KindiePrep ages �-�. at our Join our and sign up Learn morewaitlist about ourand highattend achieving and Join waitlist sign up available November 7,STEAM 2023and school tour. award winning programming for aour school tour. for a 3school tour. at our beautiful Douglas County campuses. Learn more about our high achieving and And be sure about to check our KindiePrep Learn ourout high achieving and awardmore winning STEAM programming available program for ourSTEAM younger friends agesavailable 3-5. award programming at our 3winning beautiful Douglas County campuses.

High-Achieving and Character-Driven since 2005 In this ever-changing world, providing a high level of education, teaching character & manners, and focusing on the whole child are paramount! At American Academy, we’ve been doing just that for over 18 years. American Academy is a charter public school (no tuition), serving Kindergarten through eighth grade students at three Douglas County campus locations, and children ages 3-5 at our private pre-schools (KindiePrep). We deliver a solid academic foundation using Core Knowledge curriculum and a STEAM emphasis (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) in a climate of support and student-teacher connectedness. We teach the whole child, addressing social-emotional wellbeing and growth along with academic achievement, and meeting each student at their own level of readiness. We teach character and manners so students can connect successfully with the world. And we focus on STEAM so we can tie the challenges and skills of science and technology to the creativity of the arts while providing a wide range of opportunities for students to explore diverse interests and passions. A Solid Foundation At American Academy, we use the Core Knowledge curriculum to build a sequenced, common foundation of history, world civilizations, geography, art, culture, and music. Our language arts and math curriculums complement Core Knowledge perfectly, developing those skills in an incremental and sequential manner to ensure long-term retention and deeper understanding. Our daily science curriculum and proprietary STEM curriculum (STEM Discovery Weeks and Engineering Academy) are designed to meet Next Generation Science Standards. We round out each day with a regular rotation of art, music, technology, and physical education classes.

A Challenge for Every Child We know that not all students start at the same level, learn in the same way, or master skills at the same pace. To meet every child at their individual level of readiness, American Academy uses flexible ability grouping. Ability groups allow our teachers to challenge each student with concepts and skills appropriate to their level of readiness while also requiring them to grow and master new ones. To form an accurate picture of whole student readiness, we assess students in several ways in multiple subjects throughout the school year and combine that information with teacher and learning support staff insight. Students move between ability groups over the years as we work to meet their individual needs for support and challenge. Building Character The American Academy Character program highlights those character traits which lead to integrity, academic and personal excellence, and consideration for others. We teach and encourage American Academy Manners in order to support those character traits and to help students put them into action. These character traits and manners are implemented, modeled, and repeated in and out of the classroom at every opportunity, every single day. The result is a school culture of kindness, respect, and personal responsibility, and a body of students who are able to engage positively and productively with others at school and beyond. A STEAM Emphasis Our school-day STEAM curriculum instructs students in core subjects, teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving. It also provides students with a safe space Continued on next page



American Academy Continued from previous page

to try, fail and learn to persevere. Our extensive extracurricular STEAM programming is divided into two major areas of concentration — STEM and Performing Arts — and provides students with a wide range of exciting opportunities to explore! All students are encouraged to try new things in both concentrations and many programs intentionally connect across these areas of concentration. Some examples of STEAM extracurriculars include

acting techniques, instrumental classes, band and orchestra, choir, theater tech, visual arts clubs, school musicals, Robotics Competition, computer-aided design club, yearbook, broadcasting club, music theory, dance, engineering certification, and performing arts certification. American Academy also offers several optional out of state STEM trips, where the learning truly becomes “hands-on”. We are always looking for new ways to challenge and inspire our students with STEAM! Learn more at

128 seventh grade students from all three American Academy campuses attended a week long STEM trip on Catalina Island, CA where they were immersed in the field of aquatic ecosystems, working side-by-side with experts in the field of marine science.

4 TOP TECH DEVICES TO ENHANCE EDUCATION (Family Features) Gone are the days of paper and pencil being the necessities for learning. Schoolwork has gone digital, meaning it’s time to gear up your students for success with the top tech that keeps them connected in the classroom and beyond. From kid-friendly smartphones and earbuds to connected wearables and devices that keep learning fun, consider these on-trend solutions as your kids head back to school. Find more schooltime tech by visiting Power At-Home Productivity Students (and parents, too) can accomplish more after school like homework, studying and socializing with the Dell Inspiron 14 laptop powered by the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 Compute Platform. Equipped with the Qualcomm AI Engine, this processor enhances audio and visual experiences. Effortlessly multitask and shift between apps without sacrificing speed or battery life, given the power-efficient proces-

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

sor that helps deliver long battery life even in thin, light and quiet designs that don’t require a loud, hot fan. Listen and Learn Whether students are listening to prerecorded lessons, immersing themselves in audiobooks or simply enjoying some favorite music while completing schoolwork, high-quality earbuds can help block out noise for maximum productivity. For example, the Moto Buds 600 ANC Wireless Earbuds feature Snapdragon Sound technology that delivers advanced wireless audio quality. A game changer for wireless audio, it eliminates the gap between wireless and wired connections for high-resolution music and synced entertainment. Opt for Kid-Friendly Wearables If a smartphone is a bit too advanced for your little learners, an age-appropriate smartwatch that keeps them connected may be a better fit. Empower kids to be kids with an option like the

Snapdragon Wear 4100-powered Verizon Gizmo Watch 3 with a range of benefits from 4G LTE cellular connectivity to games and GPS-safe zones. This smartwatch is designed with safety and fun in mind without the distractions of a smartphone so you can have some peace of mind while keeping students focused in the classroom. Keep In Touch During School Days Hectic schedules during school days and workdays can leave parents feeling out of the loop. When your children are ready for a ride home or a practice, game or activity gets canceled, ensure you can be the first to know by keeping them connected with the OnePlus 11 5G powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform. It combines power with effortless elegance and is driven by extreme hardware with Dolby Atmos Speakers, Dolby Vision, 80W SUPERVOOC Charging and 3rd Gen Hasselblad Camera for Mobile.




The Core Knowledge STEAM School of Choice

Ben Franklin Academy, a John Irwin School of Excellence and voted Best of the Best in 2023 is ENROLLING SOON! • Rigorous academic curriculum provides exceptional education for students in grades Pre-K – 8 • Focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math • Incorporates character education and encourages parent involvement


Ben Franklin Academy: FULL STEAM AHEAD! Looking for a John Irwin School of Excellence that provides rigorous academic curriculum with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM), as well as character education? Ben Franklin Academy is The Core Knowledge STEAM School of Choice in Douglas County and was voted Best of the Best in 2023 because we do all that AND MORE! At Ben Franklin Academy (BFA), our mission is to develop students from preschool through eighth grade who are well-read, scientifically curious and civically engaged. That’s why K-8 students receive daily instruction in core classes— science, math, social studies and language arts—as well as a robust curriculum in technology, art, music and physical education. Middle school students (grades 6-8) also participate in STEAM lab, PE, Life Skills, Mindful in the Middle and Electives. Here’s why we’re The Core Knowledge STEAM School of Choice: Science – Students learn complex material in an age appropriate way and their lessons are reinforced by weekly hands-on experiments which incorporate math, art, engineering, technology and inquiry into the scientific method. Our kids participate in Space Week, Earth

Week, Engineering Week, Code Week, Playground Physics, Science Fair, the STEAM Expo, Star Lab and a number of dissections. Technology – The use of technology is incorporated into the very fabric of BFA—from state-of–theart classroom technology, to the iPads and computers students can access. Elementary students learn the basics of how to use a computer, typing skills as well as elements of computer science and coding; additionally, they are encouraged to think creatively through project-based learning. Middle school students gain hands-on experience in a variety of intersecting fields to encourage ingenuity, persistence and confidence, including digital photography, graphic design, 3D modeling/printing, electronics and more! And, beginning in fifth grade, students have access to their very own Chromebooks. Engineering – Various engineering concepts are routinely integrated into BFA’s curriculum. Additionally, elementary students complete an engineering unit focused on design in technology lab, and building in the science lab. Middle school students learn the basics of robotics, construct objects using 3D modeling software, and study software engineering through game

design. Arts – BFA believes the arts to be a critical part of a well-rounded curriculum so we designed our thriving Art Program to engage the whole child and foster high achievement in all contemporary skills. Children are encouraged to express their creativity and imagination through ceramics, fiber arts, painting, drawing, sculpture and mixed media. In middle school students can choose from a wide variety of creative electives including Painting, Drawing, Ceramics, Glass Fusing, Tech Theater and Jewelry Making. The music program focuses on empowering students in a safe and nurturing environment to listen, sing, play instruments, compose, dance, evaluate music and musical performances, improvise and arrange. In addition, students have the opportunity to showcase their creativity and talent in front of a live audience. Middle school kids have the opportunity to be involved in full-scale, award-winning musical productions on our beautiful stage, be involved in our tech crew, sing in the choir, or take classes on drama/ theatre. Math –BFA uses enVision Math because it offers vertically aligned topic based instruction, with higher

level thinking skills, real world problem solving and differentiation in each lesson. Students thrive at BFA because we focus on the success of individual students through the use of flexible ability grouping and differentiated instruction. And, we’re proud that our rigorous curriculum, character education and STEAM focus ensure students are successful when they transition to high school. Parents feel a part of the community at BFA because we welcome them into the school to volunteer. In addition, there are ample opportunities to get involved and meet other parents. BFA is truly a community of people who want the very best for their child(ren). Kids and parents aren’t the only ones who appreciate Ben Franklin Academy—with a supportive administration, autonomy in the classroom and small class sizes— our staff and accredited teachers do as well! That’s why we can boast about an 85 percent teacher retention rate. To learn more about Ben Franklin Academy, see our website (www. or sign up to visit BFA.

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