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Stone soup project wraps up learning, kicks off Thanksgiving

CASTLE PINES – Students at Timber Trail Elementary raised more than $1,300 during a school project turned fundraiser that became the perfect way to kick of Thanksgiving.

For the past three weeks, Timber Trail first-graders have been learning about Stone Soup during a cross-curricular project based learning lesson. Stone Soup is an old folk story that dates back hundreds of years and has been told in many European cultures as a lesson in cooperation during tough times. It tells of hungry strangers, who have little more than a pot, water and rock, but are able to persuade local townspeople to give food, by telling them that they need a little garnish to help with the soup’s taste. Before long, the previously empty pot is filled with a delicious stew, enjoyed by all.

“We traditionally do Stone Soup as a Thanksgiving kickoff,” explained Timber Trail Elementary Teacher Nikee Onken. “This year we really wanted to make it sustainable for them and teach them how traditions are created, not just learn about traditions.”

Additionally, lessons about natural resources and sustainability were also tied to the project and Thanksgiving theme.

“We are having the kids tell us why they are thankful. We start with how are they thankful for Earth's materials,” Timber Trail Elementary teacher Kimberly Ulery said.

Soon the project grew beyond the classroom, becoming a fundraiser.

“We're trying to teach them to learn by doing,” Ulery said.

The school reached out to DCSD Nutrition Services to make Stone Soup for the entire school. DCSD Executive Chef Jason Morse immediately agreed and on Friday, November 21, he got to work making about 15 gallons of soup, complete with carrots and peas.

“What's cool is that the first-graders inspired everyone in the school. They wanted to build that sense of community,” Morse said.

The first-graders encouraged other students, as well as staff and parents to make donations for Heifer International, a nonprofit that is working to eradicate poverty and hunger through sustainable, holistic community development

“We've been researching charities that we can donate money to and talking about helping those in need, in a more sustainable way, rather than just giving them money and clothes,” Ulery said.

The students seemed to enjoy the soup.

“It's good because it has healthy food,” a Timber Trail student said.

“It has carrots and peas,” another added.

Most importantly, the teachers say the experience will result in sustainable learning for the students.

“They're getting a very good understanding and I think they're a lot more thankful during this holiday season,” Ulery said.

November 25, 2014 | By rmbarber | Category: Elementary Education, Schools

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.