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Castle View Premieres New Expert Speaker Series

Castle View Premieres New Expert Speaker Series: Series begins Thursday, September 24 and is open to parents District-wide

CASTLE ROCK – Castle View High School Principal, Jim Calhoun, wants to see Douglas County parents talking about the future of education. He hopes to spark this through a new and unique expert speaker series to be held this school year. Each event will focus on an element of the need for reinvention of the educational system.

Why do we need to re-conceptualize learning in school? is the name of the first of the seven speaker series events. The event, to be held on Thursday, September 24 at 7 p.m. in the Castle View High School Auditorium, will feature internationally renowned author, Will Richardson. A former public school educator of 22 years, Richardson is an outspoken advocate for change in schools and classrooms in the context of the diverse new learning opportunities that the web and other technologies now offer. He has authored four books, selling over 150,000 copies worldwide.

While this isn’t the first time Castle View is presenting a speaker series, this is the first of its kind to exclusively feature external expert speakers, versus using DCSD personnel.

“I want to plant seeds of thought in our parent community that then get nurtured in some way, shape, or form through discussions of things that they may think aren’t going well, to things that they may think are going well. I want them talking about the reform that’s occurring across the country,” Calhoun said.

Calhoun is no stranger to the idea of reform of the traditional education system. Students attending Castle View choose an “academy” of an area of learning (Biotechnology and Health Sciences; Leadership, Global Studies, and Communications; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; Visual and Performing Arts). A fifth Academy, called the Mosaic Collective, is an interdisciplinary program giving students the freedom to choose the path of their learning and structuring what their day will look like. Rather than teachers giving lectures to a class of 30 students, students must learn to be self-motivated to work on their projects and work with their teacher on an individual basis when they are stuck.

Students’ learning in context of Colorado Academic Standards, therefore, occurs in relation to the field that the student chooses and has an interest in.

“We need for kids to learn to be in charge of their own educational path, choose those things that they are most interested in, and pursue those things, so that when they are learning in a natural environment they are retaining those things because it’s important to them.  We know from research that if you are connected to something that you are going to learn it. When you are disconnected from something, you go through the motions, you memorize, you regurgitate, and you forget.”

The new speaker series is putting in context the innovation of Mosaic and Castle View learning philosophies. It also puts in context the larger vision of the Douglas County School District in its Case for Change.

“The United States has a 19th century educational system designed to fill a need of the industrial revolution of ‘we need workers to do what we tell them to do,’” Calhoun said.

“Education needs to change from the old model to a new model because society has changed. The world has changed. We can no longer look at schools as being the sole repository for information because we can get information from our phones. If that’s what we continue to do in public education, the United States is, in my mind, in dire straits.”



September 24 – “Why do we need to Reconceptualize Learning in School?” – featuring author Will Richardson

October 22 - “What Do Colleges Really Look for in a High School Graduate?”- featuring a panel of college admission counselors

November 3 - “A Case for Authentic Learning Opportunities”- featuring author Peter Gray

January 14 - “Making as a Component of Learning” – featuring author Gary Stager

February 11 – Transformative Learning Environment, NYCiSchool”- featuring Michelle Leimsider, NYCiSchool counselor

March 9 – Film Screening: “Most Likely To Succeed”

April 21 – The High Achiever Fallacy” – featuring Leonard Medlock, Consultant for EdSurge

All events will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Castle View High School Auditorium, and are open to everyone. Tickets for each event are $20 each, or you may purchase a pass for the full series for $75. Ticket sales cover speaker fees and augment professional development funds for teachers working to be transformative.

Reserve your seats by clicking here. (Select 9/24 for single tickets to the 9/24 event, or select 9/23 for a full series pass.)

For more information on each event, click here.



September 21, 2015 | By CSilberman | Category: Castle View High School, Choice Programming

District News

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DOUGLAS COUNTY – Graduation rates in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) continue to climb. Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) shows the on-time, four-year graduation rate is now 90.4 percent.

DCSD students also made an impressive showing at graduation. The class of 2017 earned more than $82 million in scholarships.

DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

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Working through the recent winter break, the Douglas County School District Board of Education has kicked off its search for DCSD’s next permanent superintendent. Following a thorough vetting of potential search firms, Ray & Associates (no relation to Board Director David Ray) has been hired to conduct the national search. The cost of the firm, excluding travel expenses, is $40,000. The money will come from the school board's budget, which is used for costs such as legal expenses and conferences.