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Landshark? How about a tankful?

Students making presentation

HIGHLANDS RANCH – Teaching and learning in Douglas County schools takes on many forms, including one at Rocky Heights Middle School that took a dive into the "Shark Tank."

Rocky Heights Middle School Teacher Judi Holst recently led her Language Arts students through a unit that brought the 4Cs (collaboration, communication, creativity and collaboration) to the forefront. Her unit was modeled after the popular reality television series "Shark Tank."

Students found themselves navigating through a sea of challenges as they set out to invent solutions to global problems. Once their research and development was complete, they were required to pitch their ideas to a panelist of "sharks," a group of parent volunteers who deftly performed the roles of potential investors.

"Not only have the students been engaged in this unit, but they have learned real-world skills in many subject areas, along with the Language Arts Standards," said Holst. “Their creativity and innovation is what made this unit worthwhile.”

After the unit concluded, Holst found that she was actually capable of swimming with the sharks, when the success of the project came ashore in this post on the Shark Tank Blog on January 28.

Student's Shark Tank recap published

Maria Pangalos presents to the Shark TankThe Shark Tank unit left 8th-grade student Maria Pangalos so inspired that she wrote an article about her experience, which was recently published in The Castle Pines Connection.

“This phenomenal project sparked ideas that the students didn’t even know they had. In fact, the project brought out the amazing creativity that might have gone unnoticed for years if it weren’t for the passion of having a little freedom, and a lot of fun,” wrote Pangalos. View the full story

February 5, 2014 | By SCPaulsen | Category: Rocky Heights Middle School, Middle School Education

District News

High school students across Douglas County, and many students in respective feeder schools, are once again learning that a little kindness can go a long way. Again this year, our high schools hosted Wish Weeks to make dreams come true for Make-A-Wish Foundation beneficiaries.

The Douglas County School District (DCSD) Board of Education has named Thomas S. Tucker, Ph.D. as the sole finalist to lead our 68,000-student district as superintendent on a unanimous vote.


The American School Counseling Association (ASCA) has certified Sagewood Middle School as a Recognized ASCA National Model Program (RAMP). A prestigious honor, Sagewood is now the only middle school in the state of Colorado to have gained this certification. Schools must receive a near-perfect score on ASCA’s scoring rubric, which outlines guidelines for building and maintaining student achievement, behavior, counseling curriculum, school culture, and several other factors, in order to become certified.