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Cimarron students peer into future, receive international recognition

PARKER – Two groups of Cimarron Middle School students were recognized during the recent International ExploraVision science competition.

The goal of the event, which is sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association and Toshiba, is to encourage students to use their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills to consider how modern day technology could one day evolve to solve the world’s problems.

“The students investigate the current technology, the history of how it evolved from its origins to today and then they could forecast out what breakthroughs would need to happen in order to create a new invention,” explained Cimarron teacher Nadene Kopff.

She says that many of the projects focus on health, environmental or energy crisis issues. The students must write a 12 or so page paper, with proper attribution and then create mock ups for a website that they would create, if their product was developed.

Every year more than 20,000 school groups submit entries for the event. Only 100 groups are honored, regardless of grade level, with Honorable Mentions and this year two of those groups were from Cimarron.

Cimarron’s students presented two projects, investigating a possible cure for Alzheimer’s disease, through the replacement of brain cells with microchips and a potential way of powering homes in the future, using a thin ultraviolet collecting film, which could be placed on windows.

“It has to be realistic,” Kopff said. “It has to be something that is conceivably possible in the next 20 years.”

Cellular Replacement – Cimarron Middle School
Sabrina Boulton
Hunter Metzger
Emma Mays
Andrew Timmons
Ultraviolet Collecting – Cimarron Middle School
Abby Davidson
Katie St. Gemme Pate
Kaitlyn Magnison
Shelby Willis

Kopff says this is an excellent authentic assessment for her students, since they must use the 4Cs and are then judged by scientific experts.

“They had very purposeful research and a very purposeful project to explore,” explained Kopff. “Instead of just research everything that you can learn about Alzheimer’s or what is going on with solar power, they were looking for how can we forecast what it can do in the future.”

 In the eight years Kopff has encouraged kids to participate in the event, this is only the second time a Cimarron group has been chosen for an Honorable Mention.

Learn more about the ExploraVision competition at

June 3, 2014 | By rmbarber | Category: Middle School Education, Schools

District News

graduates standing in line outside, smiling

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.

Five female students standing on stage smiling and laughing at the awards ceremony

The top two-percent of female athletes in Douglas County School District (DCSD) were honored at the annual Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon last week at Chaparral High School. This year represented the 30th national celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day, created to encourage and promote the participation of girls in athletics. The girls who were honored were selected by their school’s coaches, athletic directors and principals for their outstanding achievements.

Superintendent Search text based logo

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.