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Meadow View plans to infuse arts into curriculum, become first Colorado Artful Learning school

CASTLE ROCK - Meadow View Elementary recently announced the integration of the Artful Learning Model as part of its curriculum, the first school to do so in Colorado.

Inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s vision that music and the arts can be used to improve academic achievement and instill a love of learning, a group of Meadow View Elementary 4th, 5th and 6th grade students got the chance to preview and assess a sample lesson.

Art teacher Kate Nichols guided the class through a group project of drawing a human skeleton and used that drawing to integrate other content areas, such as math, writing and even social studies.    Students worked both individually and in small groups to illustrate their own vision of a skeleton, and then search for hidden images within their own drawings.  

“This makes you see deeper—the stuff that is inside,” said one student.

Nichols led students in an animated, two-way exchange on the art project and an evaluation of the lesson itself.  Several students commented on how much they liked getting the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with their fellow classmates.  Students brainstormed about how this art project could be incorporated into other subjects, such as using math skills to divide sections of the art project or writing a story about the characters or items they found inside the skeleton.    They also got to walk around the room to see what their fellow students did.  

“We got to put our imagination into something good,” said a student. 

Students even commented on the background music played during the lesson—an integral part of the Artful Learning process.  “It gives me inspiration and helps me to focus,” said one student.    While the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, students also pointed an item for improvement.  “You need to change these chairs—they are really uncomfortable,” noted one student.  

The Artful Learning Model incorporates the District’s Strategic Plan priorities of providing a World-Class Education and preparing students for jobs that require a high level of creativity and innovation.  Nearly 20 years of research by the Leonard Bernstein Center shows that using music and the arts in the learning process helps students become creative, collaborative and critical thinkers in a world where companies are looking for employees with these 21st century skills.  

Nichols and her fellow teachers, staff and administrators all embrace the school’s mission—to inspire a passion for learning by fostering student growth and independence through educational opportunities.    For more information about this program, go to Meadow View Elementary's website or

October 14, 2013 | By Anonymous | 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.