National School Board Association Directors

We want to say THANK YOU!

We are so happy to host such an amazing group in our little mountain town. From the very bottom of our hearts, thank you for choosing us and giving us a chance to showcase the amazing learning happening in our schools. Enjoy this recap of all the great things you saw in our schools!

Restorative Practices

Estes Park School District is a Restorative Practices District. Restorative Practices include approaches such as connection circles, adult and peer-led mediation and conferencing to build a stronger community within our schools and respond to student misbehavior when it does occur by getting to the root cause of the problem.

The goal of a restorative culture is to teach social-emotional and conflict-resolution skills in a way that encourages acceptance of responsibility for misbehavior, increases self-discipline and fosters appreciation for the rights of others.

Using this model in our school community allows for all students, teachers, administrators, parents and community members to get to know each other through active and respectful listening and ultimately creating a foundation of trust and empathy. When people are engaging in a restorative manner, it affects overall campus climate in a healthy way, making harm less likely to occur in the first place.

For more information, please contact our Restorative Practices Coordinator, Mary Barron.

Hannah Heckerson & Rudy the Therapy Dog

Let's face it, Rudy stole the show. This amazing therapy dog is helping with social emotional wellness by means of his fluffy exterior and big heart.

A student was quoted this week saying "He is the shape of a friend."

For more information on Rudy and our Mental Health Clinician who brought him to us, read the story here or contact our Mental Health Clinician, Hannah Heckerson (sorry, Rudy doesn't have his own email address....yet.)

Explorer Post 911

High School students join this program to be trained in emergency response protocol as a collaboration with the Boy Scouts of America. Training happens with three main emergency entities: Estes Park Police Department, Estes Valley Fire Protection District and Estes Park Health Emergency Medical Services. Students gain hands on experience in real world application for life-saving skills and can explore careers in these three fields throughout the program. For more information about the Explorer Post 911 program, contact School Resource Officer, Curt Plassmeyer.

BAM (Business and Marketing) Class

Teacher Bob Regan has empowered students to build their own business with BAMCO.

Students in the class run their own corporation consisting of key players such as a CEO, CFO, Human Resources, Marketing Department, etc. and they are held accountable by a board of directors. Last year their popup businesses were a huge success. This year, they unveil their new project: BAM Coffee Lounge! Over the summer they completely remodeled what used to be the woodshop into the first student lounge at Estes Park High School. The lounge will be equipped with a work area, plenty of seating, a projector and movie screen, a ping pong table and so much more. Students sell stock at the beginning of the year and then at the end of the year they liquidate their business. For more information or to check in on stock trading, please reach out to our Innovator: Bob Regan

Trout in the Classroom

The entire third grade class (consisting of four classrooms) at Estes Park Elementary School took on a project last year that brought trout into the classroom. They hosted the first ever Polar Plunge and fundraised the money to bring the tanks into the classroom. In collaboration with a volunteer (Joe Bottoms) and Trout Unlimited, the classes learned about the life cycle of the trout, water chemistry, habitat, anatomy through dissection of the trout (not the trout they raised!). They restorated riparian vegetation along the banks of the stream by the school to help repair flood damage from 2013. In the end, they successfully raised trout from eggs and watched their entire life cycle in the classroom. The classes will be entering their second year with the program this year and we will be anticipating bringing eggs in soon!

For more information, please reach out to our Innovator: Catie Rugaber

Aquatic Robotics

Into the great unknown! Or at least to the Community Center to test out a new way to engage students with 2020 science standards. Ravi Davis is bringing Aquatic Robotics to the entire fourth grade team. Students will gain vital knowledge and global awareness as they learn about ecosystems and habitats within oceans, lakes and rivers. They will fulfill the objectives of the global outcomes by also collaborating with a team to find solutions to real-world problems.

This new project provides innovation and a chance to work with community partners to strengthen engagement. For more information, please reach out to our Innovator: Ravi Davis

Observation Bee Hive

We were excited to share the buzz on our educational observation hive in the Elementary School makerspace/library. We were able to complete this project thanks to funding for the hive from a Whole Kids grant in association with The Bee Cause Project, as well as a generous grant from our local Safeway Foundation to help build and implement the complimenting "pollinator garden” outside. The Bee Team, made up of a group of Elementary School teachers, trained with beekeepers from the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster to learn how to take care of our hive and these amazing little pollinators. They prepped the pollinator garden area outside of the library in in the cold weather of early spring, and now we have flowers and plants to give them the proper landscape for success.

For more information, please reach out to our Innovator: Erinn Wharton

Vex Robotics

In 2017 Estes Park Elementary School started a Robotics Club for students in grades 3-5, and the 4th and 5th grade students participated in competitive Vex IQ matches along the Front Range. As the 5th graders moved on to the Middle School, the district realized that the program had to expand to meet the need. The global outcomes that were integrated in the learning were fun and students were actively engaged.

With help from a matching equipment grant from the St. Vrain Innovation Center and a partnership for training with their talented staff, the second year of the club grew tremendously with 63 kids participating in grades 3-8. Two of the Elementary School teams went to Nationals in Iowa, and even went to Worlds in Kentucky.

This year, the Middle School has taken the learning one step further and has created an electives robotics class for students in addition to the club offering. We are excited to see where these opportunities take our kids this year!

For more information, please reach out to our Innovators: Shawna Carosello or Nick Gooch.

Estes Park STEAM Class

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) is a hands on learning class for our middle and high school students. It develops critical thinking skills through team building exercises. Students learn about what the real world is like and how to prepare for it by exploring their interests in the areas of STEAM. The class covers a variety of topics such as 3-D printing, coding, website building, and the students even created a real live interactive app that takes you on a scavenger hunt through downtown Estes Park (Pikas in the Park). The class designs, creates and runs its own website at

Exercise Learning Center

The Estes Park Middle School offers physical education classes to students every day of the year and in addition has something very special to offer when students need extra “brain breaks”. The Exercise Learning Center (ELC) houses 15 stations that include cycling, dancing, rowing, and boxing. Some teachers bring their entire class in at times, and other times they will send in a couple of students who have finished with their work early or simply need a break. In addition, fifteen students from each grade utilize the center twice each day. The Estes Park Medical Center tracked the health of this focus group of students with the hypothesis that their health will improve throughout the year due to combining ELC use with their normal physical activity.

ELC Video

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

A big thanks to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for donating the goodies that we hope you enjoyed over the weekend! Each gourmet gift box was packed and wrapped by hand for YOU by the family of one of our own board of education members! (We hope you loved the tiger butter!!!!)
Estes Thrives Designing Local Learning for a Global Future