Homestead Elementary School
Homestead Elementary School’s new Innovation Space is all about exploring every single student’s greatest potential.
According to Homestead Principal Chris Hardy, the revamped space that includes a STEM lab, video production resources and flexible furniture designed to encourage collaboration, engagement and team-building has had an inspiring effect since it launched at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. Students have responded to the space’s inviting design and open dynamic; they’ve found routes to their own personal pathways of purpose, a goal set out in Cherry Creek Future Forward, the district’s roadmap to maintaining excellence well into the future.
“It’s been amazing. This new space is so inviting, and it’s allowed our students to lay the groundwork for exploring the unknown,” Hardy said. “We focused on making a space that’s multi-purpose, flexible and functional. These new resources have really helped all of our students to build their confidence.”
During a video production lesson held on a recent fall afternoon, students navigated around the new STEM lab and had free reign in mapping out their own creative visions. In small teams, students set out goals for individually crafted videos about astronomy and planetary science. They planned puppet shows and green-screen effects; they sketched out their ideas on tablets and laptops before moving forward with production.
“This space is a lot bigger than what we had last year, and it’s really helped us to do our work,” said fourth-grader Peter Von Alvensleben. “It’s nice to have such a large space for doing STEM work and video production.”
As the video students worked in the STEM lab, other students navigated the revamped Media Center, a hybrid of a traditional library and a 21st-century workplace. Along with bookshelves, students have access to collaborative work spaces, flexible furniture and other resources.
“Every class, every grade level has been able to take advantage of this new space,” Hardy said.
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.”
"Homestead students love our new space! They are excited to have the room to move without being crowded, to create without size restraints, to experiment and explore without disruption of other's learning. Our new innovation space allows for a STEAM classroom that encourages creativity with it's bright lighting and openness. It also enables our school to have a place for grade levels to gather for project-based learning, special guest speakers, and school wide functions. The STEAM classroom and maker space can be combined into one gigantic space with the lifting of the garage door. We are ecstatic and thankful for the community support!"
-Principal Chris Hardy