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Inventing the future

Student showing off his presentation on a laptop, center, while people all around him pay close attention

Students from Mesa Middle School, Cherokee Trail Elementary, and Heritage Elementary dream big to create solutions for real world problems

CENTENNIAL— It’s not unusual for students to be tasked with the challenge of conceptualizing a solution to a real-world problem. However, some Douglas County students were challenged to elevate that task a few levels, developing a prototype of their solution and then presenting it to local business leaders they have never before met.

Students from Mesa Middle School, Cherokee Trail Elementary School and Heritage Elementary School gathered for their big reveal Wednesday night at the Innovation Pavilion in Centennial for the “Better Together” event.

“We want to prepare students for a future we can’t predict,” said Tony Jackowski, principal of Mesa Middle School. “We’re looking for that balance of skill acquisition and innovation, so that we’re preparing them so that they can critically think, creatively think, collaborate and also communicate.”

One of the prototypes presented was an app, still in the development stage, that can read and translate sign language to verbal language, and vice versa, created by Mel Williams and Alizeigh White-Rushing, who attend Mesa Middle School. The inspiration for the app came from Williams’ cousin, who is deaf.

“She always has to have an interpreter with her to have a conversation,” Williams said. “Sometimes she would like to be able to have private conversations on her own.”

Some of the other prototypes students presented included a chair designed for people with sensory processing disorders that allows them to safely move around and fidget, and a solar-powered compact machine that can attract and cook bugs for food for people starving in remote and impoverished regions of the world.

The Innovation Pavilion helped to bring local business leaders to the event. Mike Fitzgerald, CEO of the Denver South Economic Development Partnership, who attended the event, said, “We have to invest in a new future because everything is going to change. The people inventing what that future looks like are right here. These youngsters are dreaming.”

View more pictures from the event here

April 6, 2017 | By CSilberman | Category: Elementary Education, Middle School Education, Schools

District News

On February 9 the PACE Center hosted Portfolio Day for students like Sladovnik. It was an opportunity for critiques from working professional artists, and workshops. It culminates in the "Bright Futures" art exhibit - a showcase of selected work on display February 16-27.

Last month, the Board of Education passed a resolution tasking the Superintendent to convene a task force inclusive of members of the general public and staff members. This task force will develop a survey for parents of students eligible for special education services and a survey for staff members who serve students eligible for special education services.

Board members sitting at the dais

CASTLE ROCK - On February 6, the Douglas County School District (DCSD) Board of Education confirmed its commitment to begin the process of seeking approval from voters for additional local funding.

“Our children need a bond and mill levy override (MLO) to be passed in 2018, beyond any doubt,” said DCSD Board of Education President David Ray. “We want to move forward immediately with the necessary processes and collaboration with our community in order to finalize a formal funding package.”