Fox Ridge Middle School
The new Innovation Spaces at Fox Ridge Middle School are spread across the building.
There’s the Learning Commons, a reimagined and revamped update on what was once a traditional library; the Red Rocks room is a presentation nook designed to give students a dedicated space to develop and refine their public speaking skills and their ability to refine an argument in front of a crowd. The Den offers a place for quiet, dedicated research, while the Ridge Maker Space offers an immersive chance for students to take part in STEM projects and immersive experimentation.
This wide variety of Innovation Spaces located across Fox Ridge gives students many different ways to develop 21st-century skills, including creativity, team building and problem solving. These are also key components of the Academic Excellence priority in Cherry Creek Future Forward, the district’s roadmap to maintaining excellence well into the future.
According to Principal Joleta Gallozzi, these distinct and dedicated additions have offered students a valuable bridge to developing their future pathways of purpose. Whether students are bound for college, a career straight out of high school or the military, these dedicated spaces give Fox Ridge student the chance to develop and refine their skills.
“These spaces have provided more opportunities for students to problem-solve, research and work in groups. They’ve also given teachers more chances to directly involve students in the learning in new and engaging ways,” Gallozzi said. “These new spaces have been a truly interdisciplinary step into the future for the entire school.”
Feedback from the students has pointed to a similar verdict. Eighth-grader Jack Bentley said, “We get to collaborate with other classes and share ideas.” Eighth-grader Ann Marie Austin pointed out that “The Ridge gets the creative flow going and the Den allows students to get comfortable. It’s a safe environment for kids.” Eighth-gradeer Medalynn Thompson noted, “I like how it allows students to be more creative. They can step out of their box. It’s fun to learn in.”
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.
“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 will use these new spaces to engage in projcet based learning in all core and electives classes. Thet will collaborate to solve real-world problems using resources, creativity, imagination, knowledge, and passion!"
-Principal Joleta Gallozzi