Campus Middle School
The improvements that were finalized at Campus Middle School as part of the school’s Innovation Space expansion in the fall of 2019 weren’t limited to a single room.
What was formally a traditional library on the first floor of the school did see plenty of improvements from the additional construction funds, which were approved by voters as part of the 2016 bond package. The newly refurbished CMS Innovation Space now features flexible learning nooks, as well as state-of-the-art technology and flexible furniture. According to CMS Principal Charlotte Meade, these changes have given students more autonomy and choice in their learning process. What’s more, these improvements have supported the Instructional Excellence priority in Cherry Creek Future Forward, the district’s roadmap for maintaining excellence well into the future.
But the expansion of the school’s main library space was only part of the expansion. The CMS team in charge of using the bond money found opportunities to encourage collaborative learning and innovation for all grades across the school.
“The whole commons and sixth-grade area has been redone, and we’re using that throughout the day,” she said. “We’re also providing after-school support there; teachers are available and students can come and get help. They can collaborate and cluster into groups; every grade level benefitted from the improvements.”
Meade said that the combined changes have created a new kind of learning culture at the school. Whether they’re working in small groups in the school’s dedicated STEM space, filming video segments at the dedicated green screen space or working on individual projects in the commons, students have more opportunities to pursue their own individual pathways of purpose and share their insights with their peers.
“What I think is most interesting to observe is the students’ use of flexible learning spaces,” Meade said. “Thanks to these spaces, our teachers invite our students to use choice and voice in the learning process. The educational outcomes are impressive, and sometimes surprising!”
Eigth-grader Lux Vang has seen firsthand how adjustments to the physical space in a school can impact learning. Since the improvements launched at the beginning of the year, Vang has noticed concrete, meaningful impacts in his learning.
“The new Innovation Space on the first floor has been really helpful. It’s a quiet space, and it’s easy to do partner work here,” Vang said. “I’ve stayed after school to do homework here, and I really like it. The furniture is comfortable, and our access to technology has improved a lot. We have a lot more technology that we’re actually involved with. It’s real nice.”
Similar spaces have gone up in every elementary and middle school in the Cherry Creek School District, and came through funding approved by voters in 2016. The spaces are designed to develop skills like collaboration, inquiry, empathy, problem-solving, curiosity, innovative thinking and passion. According to the latest academic research, as well as firsthand input from parents, teachers and other members of the CCSD community garnered during the Cherry Creek 2021 initiative, these are the skills that are integral to preparing students for a 21st-century academic and professional landscape. This innovative approach to learning is also tied directly to the Instructional Excellence priority in Cherry Creek Future Forward, the district’s roadmap for maintaining educational excellence.
“We worked with business, we worked with industry and we worked with colleges when we created the focus of what our innovation spaces would be. The goal is helping our students become critical thinkers,” said CCSD Superintendent Dr. Scott Siegfried. “We want them to use knowledge in different ways, and we want them to learn to effectively learn to work with other people.” Siegfried added that every innovation space was designed to meet the unique needs of every separate school and community. “One of the greatest parts of our innovation work is allowing every school, every principal, every student and every community to be engaged in what innovation should look like at their school,” Siegfried said. “This is the next iteration of excellence.”
"Our students are thrilled about the new opportunities for learning in the Commons. They love the flexible seating and the ways they can easily collaborate with each other. They like that there can be a whole bunch of smaller learning spaces within one larger space and that they have easy access to technology."
-Principal Charlotte Meade