Northgate Neighborhood

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Koi Bring Positivity Across DCC

In September 2016 our 9-yr-old, a Discovery Canyon Campus 4th grader, brought home some fun fish he made in art class at school. That weekend we had a friend in town, his parents, and my in-laws for dinner. After dinner said 9-y-o placed a piece of paper on the table in front of each person… 7 adults and his brother, a 12-yr-old DCC 7th grader. He displayed for us how to make the fish, with very few words… and we all made the fish. It was funny at the time, as just a small project that he wanted to show us was being done at school.

Well, weeks later I found out this little paper fish was a much bigger deal than we thought. This koi fish project was a cross-campus project from the Pre-K level all the way through the Seniors in the high school. You might recall my teammate Nicole blogged about a cluster of suicides affecting Academy School District 20, specifically a handful at Discovery Canyon Campus. In an effort to unite the campus from PreK-12, the arts department started the koi fish project… with phrases like “we’re all in this together” and while it often feels like we’re swimming upstream in life, we’re swimming together! It’s a bit reminiscent of Nemo and “just keep swimming!”. This is one way DCC is trying to combat suicide, as well as rolling out curriculum addressing teen suicide information and hopeful prevention!! 

The koi fish project became even bigger than we thought. Since the campus is so big, they created a paper “stream” in every hallway to create one united stream. This project has now been entered with the Guinness Book of World Records for something like the longest contiguous paper art display. From what I understand, to date 6 “officials” have been out to campus twice to measure and we should beat the former record. The campus often tries to find ways to unite the different levels of campus… some examples include involving all levels in homecoming week celebrations, getting elementary kids into high school shop classes for projects, bringing high schoolers down to the elementary level for classroom experience, and having coaches across all grade levels working toward similar plays. There are so many things we love about DCC as a family; this koi fish project just adds to the positivity. 

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As a side, I sent a few pictures in to the elementary art teacher, who then passed them along to the entire elementary staff and middle school art teacher heading up the koi project. In mid-December a friend of mine sent me a screen shot of an article in The Tribune – a Monument, Woodmoor, Gleneagle paper… with our son on the front page and a story about the koi! We were shocked!! Needless to say, he was pretty excited about it. This story has spread to the local Colorado Springs Gazette paper. It’s pretty exciting and will hopefully bring positivity. But most importantly we hope the project does as they wanted, uniting the campus and maybe even saving lives. We want all kids to feel like they are a part of something!!!

Here is a link to the Gazette article:  http://daily.gazette.com/Olive/ODN/TheGazette/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TheGazette%2F2016%2F12%2F14&entity=Ar08704&sk=983DE6B1

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D20 Digital Learning Coach Model

*** Warning – this is a “proud mom moment” and props to our school and district as well. I’ve said many times how our school and teachers have met our boys where they are in their education. The oldest has been participating with our TAG teacher for years. And while our youngest has struggled at points in math, they recommended Math Club to help bring his skills up to par. Both have seen vast improvments, and we so appreciate how the teachers and staff see their needs and meet them in that place. Recently our older boy, Cole completed a Tinker CAD program at school, encorporating math and fractions (ratios) to create a 3D model on-line. His choice was a robot, but it can be used to create other 3D building drawings and probably so much more. After his project he was asked to participate in a D20 board meeting where he and other students would display their math / technology projects to individual board members to show how they use technology with math in the school. This is all part of a movement by the district to have a Digital Learning Coach in schools. We all know we are in the age of technology… I can’t believe how things have changed since we were in college in the late ’90s, let alone the past couple years’ of advances.

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Our librarian, TAG coordinator, and TAG teacher are helping advance this DLC model for all schools. Eight elementary schools in the district participated initially in the program, to help model how a DLC can help students at all levels. It was so fun to see Cole and his TAG classmate present to a board member, but also to see other schools with sudents as young as kindergarden displaying technology projects to board members. I love living in and seeing a district and community that sees value in similar programs. We want to thank Mrs. Knox, Ms. MacLean, and Ms. Hullings of Discovery Canyon Campus elementary for their participation, encouragement, and forward thinking. We’d like to also thank the entire school board and principals of Academy School District 20!

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 And of course, well done Cole, we love you and are so proud of you! (sorry, I had to)

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