Return to Headlines

Rep. Jason Crow tours CCIC, hears firsthand input from students and staff

Rep. Jason Crow with CCIC students and staff.U.S. Rep. Jason Crow had been talking about the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus long before his visit to the facility on Aug. 23.

As he sat in a conference room at the CCIC with a group of students from the school’s Infrastructure/Engineering and Business pathways, Crow spoke about how he had spread the word about the Cherry Creek School District’s stand-alone college and career preparedness campus. Specifically, he cited his role as the chairman of the congressional subcommittee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development.

“I talk about this school a lot,” the congressman representing Colorado’s 6th district told the assembled students, staff, and administrators. “You are reimagining education, and tying education to the workforce. The nature of work is changing, and we need to link education to what people are going to do with their lives in the future.”

Crow’s second visit to the CCIC was all about highlighting the efforts the state-of-the-art facility is making to match the professional demands of the future. Crow spoke about the rapidly changing nature of careers in the U.S. and abroad, pointing out that “there are jobs that don’t exist now that, in five or 10 years, will be viable career fields.” CCIC Principal Steve Day agreed, adding, “That’s a big part of what we’re doing … We know the importance of providing opportunities and apprenticeships for all students.”

The students from the school’s Infrastructure/Engineering and Business pathways added context to the conversation, offering the congressman firsthand observations, personal goals, and success stories. Students who had helped build Tiny Homes for unhoused populations in Denver spoke about the construction process; aspiring entrepreneurs like Hailey Wallace, a sophomore from Eaglecrest High School, shared plans for their own budding businesses. In Wallace’s case, it was creating a startup dedicated to creating awareness, education, and resources for reptile owners.

That resonated with Crow, who spoke about a job he had as a young man wrangling rattlesnakes.

The visit also offered Crow the chance to learn about other innovations across the Cherry Creek School District. CCSD Superintendent Christopher Smith told Crow about the district’s inaugural Summer Leadership Academy program that launched in June. Funded by the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation, the Leadership Academy aimed to teach students to set goals, create a social contract, communicate, and respectfully debate with others. The program stemmed from firsthand feedback from CCSD students following incidents of violence in local communities.

One of the students who first offered that firsthand feedback, Endeavor Academy alum Kanye Herron, was on hand for Crow’s visit to the CCIC. He shared personal insights and experiences with the congressman, speaking to the need for communication, investment, and attention to students from all backgrounds. Herron spoke about his own experiences losing a friend to gang violence, and how the concept for the Summer Leadership Academy stemmed from his own struggles.

The story had a visible effect on Crow.Rep. Jason Crow with CCSD students and staff on Aug. 23.

“I’m glad you’re here,” he said to Herron. “Your feedback really shows the impact you’ve had.”

Herron’s insights about the Leadership Academy put the broader work of the district into context. His input shone a spotlight on CCSD’s five Core Values – Growth Mindset, Equity Whole Wellbeing, Engagement, and Relationships. In addition to all of the work that happens on a daily basis at the CCIC to connect students with real-world professional and career opportunities, the district is working across a system that spans 108 square miles and 55,000 students to promote the concept of Pathway of Purpose.

“It’s about creating a model of lifetime learning,” Crow said.

- Posted on 8/24/22 at 10 AM