- Mountain Vista Elementary School
Cherry Creek Schools Welcomes Back Students, Announces New Initiatives
The Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) welcomes back students as it begins a new academic year. For the 2023-24 school year, the district is announcing several new initiatives, such as Healthy School Meals for All, Universal Preschool, a third school-based community health center, and the opening of Traverse Academy, a first-of-its-kind mental health facility operated by a school district.
“We are committed to providing an excellent education for every student, every day,” Superintendent Christopher Smith said. “We look forward to welcoming students back to school and providing them with the skills and opportunity to pursue their own Pathway of Purpose.”
Cherry Creek Schools has been recognized as the best school district in the state for teacher satisfaction due to its competitive salary schedule and low turnover rate, according to analysis of Colorado Department of Education data. CCSD welcomed more than 460 new educators this school year – 73% of which came to Cherry Creek Schools from other school districts and 27% of which are new teachers. This is the largest group of new staff members the district has seen in 10 years. Also, the district made the Forbes Best Employers list in Colorado for the third year in a row.
“We are excited about the hundreds of new educators and staff joining the Cherry Creek Schools team,” Smith added. “In addition to providing a great learning environment for our students, we are committed to ensuring a great workplace for our teachers and support staff. These staff members are integral to Cherry Creek’s excellence and inspire our students to be successful in school and in life.”
Cherry Creek Schools is participating in two new statewide initiatives rolling out this year - providing free breakfast and lunch meals and offering free half-day preschool and enrichment programs for young learners. To prepare for the Universal Preschool program, CCSD upgraded 54 classrooms, built 17 new playgrounds, and hired 97 new classified staff members.
To care for the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of students, CCSD is preparing to open its third school-based community health center, operated by STRIDE Community Health Center, at Smoky Hill High School. CCSD is also expanding services offered through Hazel Health to ensure every student has access to free telehealth services to fill the gap as they pursue longer-term solutions.
In addition, Traverse Academy will open this fall. The new facility will offer short-term, intensive outpatient services along with educational programming to help students understand their mental health needs and learn tools to successfully cope and manage so they can have a smooth transition back into their homeschool settings. The school will be open to CCSD students in grades 4th through 12th who are experiencing mental health symptoms resulting in significant, pervasive impairment to their functioning and school achievement.