Fifth Graders Find Ways to Improve Community

Fifth Graders Find Ways to Improve Community

PEYTON, Colo. – While elementary school students in Colorado Springs entered a classroom May 1, several fifth grade girls separated them by gender.

“Boys on the left, girls on the right,” they said, pointing to gender signs on the walls of the classroom at Evans International Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. An upcoming discussion would cover the pros and cons of single-sex schools.

“I’m interested in hearing what they have to say,” said Sean Dorsey, Sand Creek Zone innovation leader, entering the room. “I want to see what they’ve accumulated and see what we can use as we plan our zones.” Continue reading

Educator Focuses on Information Literacy

Educator Focuses on Information Literacy

PEYTON, Colo. — Information is easy to find today, piled into powerful indexing websites like Google. Students must learn how to use it, according Megan Taylor, a history teacher at Sand Creek High School in Colorado Springs.

“This is about information literacy – using information,” said Taylor, standing in the school’s library April 12, surrounded by about 120 student projects. Tables held their exhibits and research papers, while computers displayed their documentaries and websites.

Find a turning point when an idea or event changed the world. That was the only project guidance Taylor gave her 10th-12th grade students in Falcon School District 49. Continue reading

Colorado Teens Take on Navy Technology, Engineering Project

Teens Take on Navy Technology, Engineering Project

PEYTON, Colo. – While controlling an underwater remotely operated vehicle, Te’shon Dickens carefully collected submerged items, confident of his wiring and waterproofing. His team spent more than a month configuring the device.

“This is pretty awesome – making and controlling your own submarine,” said 12-year-old Dickens, standing beside a pool Feb. 22 at Woodmen Hills Recreation Center in Peyton. He’s not a marine robotics technician. He’s a seventh grader at nearby Patriot Learning Center.

“This is the best project I’ve ever done in my life,” said Dickens, after collecting 12 rings during a SeaPerch recovery course, netting 18 points. Across the water, students navigated their configurations of tubes, motors, and wires through a timed obstacle course’s hoops. Continue reading

Girl Scout Tops Cookie Sales Despite Rare Condition

Girl Scout Tops Cookie Sales Despite Rare Condition

PEYTON, Colo. – As shoppers arrived at a grocery store in Colorado Springs, a girl who cannot speak asked, “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”

“Thank you for supporting the Girl Scouts,” said Tyra Young, 10, speaking through her augmented communication device Feb. 12 in Safeway. While raising donations by selling cookies, she giggled, greeted patrons – she danced, Gangnam Style.

“I like selling cookies with her, she’s unique. … She enjoys playing with me,” said Kira-Lynn Lee, 8, sharing a booth with Tyra. They’ll split credit for the evening’s sales. Continue reading

Why an Educator is Flipping Colorado’s Classrooms

Why an Educator is Flipping Colorado’s Classrooms

PEYTON, Colo. – High school science teacher Jennifer Gray’s curriculum deviates from traditional teaching models – they’re flipped.

“This is a team assignment; you need to work together,” she said, pivoting between groups of four-person tables Feb. 6, during her chemistry class at Vista Ridge High School in Colorado Springs.

Across the room, a student tossed his hand up.

“Did you ask someone to help you yet?” said Gray. When a group got stumped, she’d squat next to the students, guiding them toward answers, inspiring engagement and creativity. Continue reading

Colorado Students Welcome Winter Break Celebrating Inquiry

Colorado Students Welcome Winter Break Celebrating Inquiry

PEYTON, Colo. – Students at Evans International Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Colo., welcomed winter break with a midday mix of imagination and foolishness.

The students’ teachers provided a pride assembly Dec. 21, the day before their two-week respite, to promote goal setting, creativity and inquiry, according to assistant principal Michelle Slyter.

“The pride assembly combines all the things the International Baccalaureate is all about,” said Slyter. Evans International Elementary School became an IB world school in 2009, about six years after its faculty held their first pride assembly. Continue reading

Grandfather Heads Back to High School, Earns Diploma

Grandfather Heads Back to High School, Earns Diploma

PEYTON, Colo. – Thirty-five years after dropping out of high school in Waterbury, Conn., George Cook was added to a graduation list in Colorado.

Cook, 53, frequently promised his stepfather that he’d eventually earn his high school diploma. He made his final pact in early 2011, a couple of months before the man who had raised him, since 6 years old, died. On Dec. 11, he earned his diploma.

“All the years, I’d talk about going back and getting it,” said Cook, who moved to Colorado in 2008. “But I stayed so busy – sometimes working more than 60 hours per week. I was always exhausted.” Continue reading

Passion-fueled Student Innovation Put on Exhibit in Colorado

Passion-fueled Student Innovation Put on Exhibit in Colorado

PEYTON, Colo. – Students at Sand Creek High School in Colorado Springs set a new standard as International Baccalaureate learners Dec. 11, while exhibiting innovative ways to impact their world.

Now in its third year as an International Baccalaureate world school, Sand Creek High School in Falcon School District 49 has enhanced its Middle Years Program, tailored for sixth through tenth grade students, by adopting an inspiring project-based curriculum.

Dozens of personal projects, a sample of more than 100 student-selected topics, culminating more than three months of research, were organized across a classroom for community members to evaluate during the Tuesday night exhibit. Continue reading

Santa’s Toy Express Helps Colorado Families

Santa’s Toy Express Helps Colorado Families

PEYTON, Colo. – “We have a sleigh on the way,” said Jim Borst, bus driver trainer for Falcon School District 49, updating people preparing a hot breakfast Dec. 8 in a colorfully decorated facility at the district’s Education Service Center.

While kindergartener Angel Lobato Rivera, 5, stepped down from his “sleigh,” a bus garnished with green garland, red ribbons and snowmen cutouts, Terry Maloney reached out with her red cotton gloves, robe and white-laced nightcap.

Maloney, a special needs bus driver dressed to resemble Mrs. Santa Claus, paired Angel with three Falcon High School students. They rushed him out of the cool air for scrambled eggs, pancakes and sausage. As each bus pulled up, a line of volunteers extended to its door. Continue reading

iPad Push Hits District 49, Advancing Plans to Reform County Education

iPad Push Hits District 49, Advancing Plans to Reform County Education

PEYTON, Colo. – While standing in a library Oct. 31 in Falcon School District 49, Patrick Davis held up an Apple iPad, affirming its significance in education.

Surrounded by teachers and parents at Odyssey Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Davis said the tablet computer would accelerate education innovation for the Pikes Peak region. He’ll sign a check for $17,000 this week to put iPads in the school’s first grade classrooms.

“Our vision is to put an iPad, a ratio of one iPad for every four students and one for every elementary school teacher, in every elementary school classroom in El Paso County,” said Davis, Neumann Education Foundation president and CEO. Continue reading