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Cresthill ‘chefs-in-training’ whip up 4Cs during Culinary Extravaganza

HIGHLANDS RANCH – For a few nights this month, Cresthill Middle School was turned into one of the most popular restaurants in Highlands Ranch.

The students in Rene Tomczak’s “Culinary Arts For Kids” classes put their 21st Century Skills to work, demonstrating communication and collaboration as they entertained as many as 75 guests during each of the five nights in March.

Those nights were cross-disciplinary authentic learning opportunities for the Cresthill students. They served appetizers while guests viewed the art gallery on display in the halls and chatted with the artists from Juliette Sawyer’s art class. 

Guests were then seated in the candle-lit dining area, where they were introduced to their head chefs and assistant chefs, whom were elected by their peers to lead the night. Every student had a role—whether it was serving as hostesses, servers, bussers or line cooks. 

At the table, edible flowers embedded in beautifully plated salads, gave the evening a colorful start. Guests were entertained between the courses with vocalists and a comical Italian opera singer imitator.  The main course was homemade pizza with toppings served to the liking of their audience, including gluten-free preferences. Homemade Italian cream cake drizzled with raspberry and caramel glaze was served for a sweet finish.

One of Tomczak’s mottos in class is “Every Minute Matters!” She shared that while watching the students at work, it was clear that they had learned to be resilient, and to make the most of their time to accomplish a summative performance assessment such as this.  

Guest surveys collected indicated a rating of “5 Stars,” and that they are eager to make reservations for another fabulous dining experience at the Cresthill bistro.


March 18, 2015 | By rmbarber | Category:

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.