Arrowhead Elementary School
A renewed sense of energy marked the learning at Arrowhead Elementary School when the 2019-20 school year kicked off.
That mood wasn’t limited to a single class or grade level – the entire student body, faculty and administration shared the excitement, thanks to the debut of the school’s newly refurbished Innovation Space. What had been storage space, hallways and an outdated library only the previous year was now a network of interactive, engaging learning spaces. From collaborative science stations to individual learning nooks, the more open and inviting space was designed to launch a new era of learning at the school.
According to Principal Kyle Sorg, those aims were fulfilled in the very first weeks of the new school year.
“It’s energized the entire area, and the entire school,” Sorg said, as groups of students working on interactive math and science problems exchanged ideas at work stations behind him. “For me, innovation means continuous progress – it means you never stop learning and improving. This new space sums up that spirit. It’s not fixed, and there aren’t boundaries. Our students can create and innovate more easily.”
From Think Tank learning stations to revamped and refurbished media screens and furniture in the media center, the improvements have given the central hub of the school an entirely different mood and feel. For students like Taylor Jimenez, 10, the space has offered more options in every kind of discipline, from team-based activities to individualized study and reflection.
“When I want to read by myself, I can find a quiet space. When I want to do fun activities with my friends, there are more places to do them,” she said. “We can draw on tables and share ideas. It’s changed the entire STEAM room and the way we learn.”
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.”
"Upon entering our school, you will see our new innovation spaces with students engaged in creating, collaborating, and critical thinking. Our new spaces inspire Thunderbirds to ask questions, take risks, and solve problems. Students are empowered to take ownership for their learning, which promotes life-long learning and student achievement."
-Principal Kyle Sorg