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CCSD Class of 2022: By the numbers

OHS grads in 2021.In the next few weeks, thousands of graduating seniors from Cherry Creek Schools will receive their high school diplomas and launch the next phase of their lives.

This group of more than 4,500 students from across the district’s 108 square miles has faced a particular set of challenges in their journey to the end of senior year. They’ve seen their world change in myriad ways during the past 18 years, from the arrival of new technology that’s redefined connectivity and communication, to social movements that have beamed a spotlight on issues of equity and social justice.

This is also a graduating class that successfully overcame all of the hurdles, adjustments and transitions that arrived as they pursued their education through an unprecedented and unparalleled global pandemic. In so many ways, the district’s class of 2022 personified Cherry Creek Schools’ core values: growth mindset, equity, whole well-being, relationships and engagement.

“These students learned and showed us that we can do almost anything if we need to,” said CCSD Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Perry during the Board of Education’s regular meeting held at Grandview High School on May 9. Perry offered facts and highlights about this year’s graduating class, a presentation to the board that’s become a tradition in the weeks before the formal end of the school year. “These are just snippets of the amazing things that our seniors have done this year and during their time with us.”

The Cherry Creek School District’s class of 2022 is a diverse group that boasts a wide range of accomplishments and goals for their future. In the coming weeks, 4,514 students from CCSD will receive their diplomas. Of those, 1,760 have attended the district since kindergarten (40 percent of the graduating class were enrolled in the 2009-10 kindergarten class in Cherry Creek Schools).

As Perry pointed out, every single high school and program carries its own points of pride as students head toward their graduation ceremonies. What’s more, the past year has offered a special set of accomplishments and highlights for students who had to adjust to remote and other models of learning during the pandemic. This was the year when students returned to full theatrical and musical performances; this was the year when seniors were able to enjoy school dances, Wish Week fundraisers and other events as an entire community. Seniors across CCSD reconnected with their peers, teachers and mentors this year in too many ways to count.

“It’s great to see our theatrical presence back, it’s wonderful to see an expansion of clubs and activities,” CCSD Board Member Anne Egan said after the presentation. “I like that as a theme running through all of our schools: the theme of student voice. It’s important that we make sure that we always have that presence in our buildings and in our district.”

The dedication and success of students was clear across CCSD. At Cherokee Trail High School, more students had access to AP, IB and other programs to help them find their pathway of purpose. Cherry Creek Elevation welcomed more students into their physical building this year, and Cherry Creek High School boasted the highest graduation rate in two years (more than 95 percent). As of this writing, the class of 2022 has earned more than $53 million in college grants and scholarships.

At the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus, a $170,000 grant from the Daniels Fund will ultimately boost opportunities, equipment, class programming and other resources for students. At Eaglecrest High School, more than 200 students were recognized by the College Board as AP scholars.

Endeavor Academy saw a new restorative justice model implemented that’s resulted in a decrease in disciplinary measures, even as they launched a new Business Pathway for more students to connect with their future careers. Earlier this year, Grandview High School held a Wish Week fundraiser for the books, one where Cherry Creek Schools Board of Education President Kelly Bates helped raise nearly $7,000 for the Medical Dog program; during the assembly in March, she made good on her promise to shave her head to show support for people who have experienced hair loss due to medical conditions.

At Overland High School, students and teachers alike took part in national conferences that explored issues of equity, academics and justice; for example, five Overland students took part in the national Youth Diversity Conference this year. At Smoky Hill, the school’s Sources of Strength program was incorporated into an advisory group. The district’s Interdisciplinary Teams, or I-Teams, had zero discipline referrals and will see 27 students collect their high school diplomas by the end of the month.

All of these are just highlights from a graduating class that has made it through challenges and reached impressive heights. Whether they attended one of the district’s traditional high schools or thrived in one of the programs available to students in Cherry Creek Schools, these graduating seniors were the model of perseverance, compassion and success.

“This time of year is an absolute joy for me. I love to see all of these stories of success,” said CCSD Board Member Angela Garland. “Our traditional and non-traditional schools and programs prove that when we say ‘all learners,’ we mean ‘all learners.’”

-- Posted 5/18/22 at 10 AM