Preparing the students of today for the jobs of tomorrow is one focus of the Cherry Creek School District’s Institute of Science & Technology. Equally important is sparking students’ curiosity, igniting their imagination, and fueling a life-long love for learning, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM fields.
Colorado Lt. Governor Joseph Garcia will join students, parents, educators, business leaders and community members to celebrate the opening of the Institute of Science & Technology with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and classroom demonstrations from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17. The Institute, located at 12500 E. Jewell Avenue in Aurora, is part of the Overland High School-Prairie Middle School campus, a 6-12 campus of academic excellence.
“We invite our entire community to share in the pride and excitement as this dream becomes reality,” said Superintendent Mary Chesley. “Our community envisioned a place where we could prepare our students for rewarding careers in challenging fields and support a strong economy through a well-educated workforce. A strong partnership between our district, our community, higher education, and business and industry, has brought that vision to fruition.”
Cherry Creek voters approved funding for the Institute in November 2008. The $18 million, 58,000 square foot facility was designed and built with science in mind, from the lines of latitude and longitude on the floors, the galaxies of stars on the ceilings, and the windows that represent Fibonacci’s sequence. The building also features energy-efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems.
The Institute will serve all students attending Overland and Prairie, who will be able to choose classes in five “career concentrations” which are similar to majors in college. They are:
- Health sciences
- Computer Science and Applied Mathematics
- Natural Resources and Energy
- Arts and Technical Communications
- Engineering and Technical Sciences
In addition to opening the Institute this year, the Cherry Creek School District is also phasing in a new elementary science curriculum district-wide, as part of its efforts to implement a rigorous and focused program of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in every school by 2012-13. The Full Option Science System, or FOSS science program, integrates science with reading, writing and math and has promoted academic growth in schools where it was piloted.