Back to school in Cherry Creek: 5 things to know

District offers new learning opportunities, adjusts for full-day kindergarten


It's a time of expansion in the Cherry Creek School District, and kids from kindergarten to high school will see new opportunities in the 2019-20 school year.

From new learning spaces for younger students to a whole new career-technical education campus for high-schoolers, there's a lot to take in this fall.

Here's a look at what's new, along with important dates to know for the school year, which starts Aug. 12.

Innovation Campus, new online school

High school students across the district can now immerse themselves in studies for in-demand career fields and earn college credits and industry certifications at the new Cherry Creek Innovation Campus.

Information technology and STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and math — are covered, of course, along with six other pathways: advanced manufacturing, business services, health and wellness, hospitality and tourism, infrastructure engineering — or building trades — and transportation. Within those areas are more specific studies, such as automotive tech or virtual reality.

District high school students also now have the option to attend Cherry Creek Elevation, the district's new online high school. Elevation gives students a personalized, rigorous and flexible educational option, said Abbe Smith, district spokesperson.

Cherry Creek district offered some online learning before, but expanding into a full-blown online school allows it to offer more courses to more students and allows kids to be full-time online students.

Space to tinker

Innovation Spaces — designed to spark curiosity, critical thinking and collaboration — are entering their second year, or will soon open, at all elementary and middle schools in the district.

Each of the Innovation Spaces is unique, designed to meet each school's needs based partly on input from each school's Site Advisory Team. Those are groups made up largely of students, parents, teachers and administrators.

Some Innovation Spaces opened in August 2018, while spaces at other elementary and middle schools have been completed or will be completed shortly.

Diversity on the mind

As part of the district's effort to shape policy to be mindful of diverse student groups, a handful of students from diverse backgrounds at all district high schools met last year to talk about their experiences.

“We will continue to find ways to include student voice and perspectives in district conversations,” Smith said.

It's still in the works as to when initiatives are expected to be proposed based on ideas in those meetings, Smith said. The district is still compiling the findings and working on recommendations.

All kindergarten, all day

The Colorado Legislature recently approved full-day kindergarten to begin this school year, and the Cherry Creek district has made moves to adjust.

The district will now offer full-day kindergarten, rather than half-day kindergarten and kindergarten enrichment, and there will be no cost to families.

Kindergarten enrichment was offered at 35 elementary schools last year and provided child care for the half-day that kindergartners were not in school, Smith said.

Children who are already registered for kindergarten enrichment will automatically be enrolled in full-day kindergarten.

Important dates

• Oct. 14-18, fall break

• Nov. 8, no school for K-8

• Nov. 27, no school for K-12

• Dec. 23-Jan. 3, winter break

• Jan. 6, no school K-12

• Jan. 20, no school for all schools

• Feb. 17-18, no school for all schools

• March 5-6, no school K-8

• March 16-20, spring break

• May 1, no school K-8

• May 22, last day of school


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