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CCSD students meet the challenges of an unprecedented year

Elementary, middle and high school students in the Cherry Creek School District excelled in myriad ways during the past year, even as they encountered unprecedented challenges tied to a global pandemic.

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Operations Jen Perry explored the accomplishments of CCSD students during a presentation to the Board of Education during its regular meeting Monday. As Perry explained to the board during her presentation at the Fremont Learning Center on May 10, the annual end-of-school-year report has normally explored the accomplishments of the district’s graduating seniors. After a year unlike any other, however, this overview took a more inclusive approach.

Graduation scene.“This is a longstanding report, and it’s one of my favorites. In normal years, we’d just be talking about the highlights of the graduating class,” Perry said. This year has been different, and we wanted to include accomplishments from all of our students.”

That overview included elementary, middle and high school students who made extraordinary achievements, even as they navigated a shifting world of In Person, Remote and Hybrid learning. It encompassed the students at Antelope Ridge Elementary, who held their first ‘Kindness Challenge’; the community at Polton Elementary, which spent the past year building culture, community and identity; the Horizon Middle School students who used the November presidential election to glean important lessons about civics and engagement; and the crew at West Middle School that continued the important tradition of connecting veterans with puppies as therapeutic way to help deal with PTSD.

Of course, the accomplishments of the district’s seniors weren’t left out. As in normal years, Perry offered fascinating snapshots about the size, the scope and the impact of the class of 2021.

Specifically, that group comprises more than 4,500 seniors, more than 1,800 of whom have attended classes in the Cherry Creek School District since kindergarten. So far, the class of 2021 has earned more than $63 million in grants and scholarships, a number that’s bound to grow as the school year wraps up and more students make decisions about their next steps. This group includes athletes, performers, scholars, community service members and artists; these students have exemplified excellence in every way imaginable, and they did it even as their world was turned upside down by a global pandemic.

“While this school year was different, it was still amazing. Our students were amazing,” Perry said. “As a district, we were still able to offer unbelievable resources to our kids, and that’s thanks to the board and our superintendent for the very bold decisions that you made in a very difficult time.”

The class of 2021’s extraordinary accomplishments were clear as Perry highlighted points of pride from Cherokee Trail High School, Cherry Creek Elevation, Cherry Creek High School, the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus, Eaglecrest High School, Endeavor Academy, Grandview High School, Overland High School, Smoky Hill High School and the district’s I-Team. These highlights included state championships, concurrent enrollment credits, community service and recognition on rankings from national institutions. Students from across the district’s 108 square miles found ways to excel, grow and thrive as they had to adjust to the demands of a world transformed by crisis.

“The accomplishments of our students make you understand even more why it is we do what we do,” said board member Janice McDonald. “It makes you proud to be part of Cherry Creek Schools.”

-- Posted 5/11/21 at 11 AM