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Inquiry, Innovation & Creativity Fair tests 21st Century Skills

CASTLE ROCK – Students at South Ridge Elementary in Castle Rock displayed a wide array of projects at the first-ever Inquiry, Innovation and Creativity Fair on April 18. 

Unlike traditional science fairs which feature experiment after experiment; Inquiry, Innovation & Creativity Fair participants are encouraged to find something that interest them and explore it using their 21st Century Skills like critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration.  Each of these skills ties back to the International Baccalaureate (IB) learning at the school.

Whether it’s analyzing the tracks left behind by an animal or creating an invention that fulfills a need in their lives, the focus of the project is completely up to the student.

“We are asking (the students) to make personal connections to their learning.  The kids are running this and what they want to do, it’s their passion and they can make anything work,” commented South Ridge Elementary Principal Dena Gaddis.
The exhibits were varied and unique, but there were five areas of focus:
Collection- Collect and organize something of interest, answering questions related to observations made while exploring the world
Experiment- Conduct an experiment to find the answer to a question/problem. 
Invention/Innovation- Just about everything we use, work with, or wear was invented or repurposed to answer a need. 
Connection to Learning- Sometimes the answer to our questions has already been found—students are encouraged to gather information about the topic by speaking to experts, visit an institution or doing research.
Creativity- Amazing things happen when students are creative.  This project showcases true imagination.  A student must create something new.
Twenty IB students from Douglas County High School, Castle Rock Councilwoman Renee Valentine, and other guests will be at the school on Thursday morning, helping to judge the entries, for students that have chosen to enter in the competitive portion of the fair.
“I am very impressed. You can see that a lot of time has gone into each and every project, very creative,” said Castle Rock Councilwoman Renee Valentine.
Douglas County High School student and judge Shympia Chongtoua added, “It’s interesting to see that all these are not mandatory, so they came up with the ideas and that’s what I find so interesting.”
In all, more than 150 students signed up for the fair, which is completely optional.
“When learning is fun and engaging it is no surprise that it expands outside of our school’s walls. Students can’t wait to show off their projects,” said Principal Gaddis.
She says it is an excellent way for the students to demonstrate the 21st Century Skills they are honing in the classroom everyday.
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.