D11 Academic Master Plan

April/May 2022 Update

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Pathways Update

We are pleased to announce five new pathway sites that were recommended to our Board of Education on April 27, 2022! Bristol and McAuliffe Elementary schools were recommended as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) sites; Columbia and Martinez were recommended as Arts Integration site, and Howbert was recommended as an Outdoor and Environmental Education site. Once these recommendations are officially approved by our Board of Education, we will begin the planning work that will allow for a successful launch of these programs in the 2023-24 school year. We are excited to bring you updates throughout the next year as we engage in this partnership with these schools!

We would also like to share our sincere appreciation for every school that applied for these pathway programs. All of the applications received were high-quality and showcased the passion that our educators and leaders have for these student opportunities. Schools that applied but were not recommended as pathway sites will have the opportunity to engage in a research and design process with us. Through the process, schools will identify a component of their application that they would like to pursue, and the district will partner with them to provide resources and support.


Spark Online Academy is pursuing a School of Innovation designation from the Colorado Department of Education. This innovation plan supports the continued successful implementation and launch of the school as it expands into grades 9 and 10 this fall and then in grades 11 and 12 in the following consecutive years.

The unique, interdisciplinary and performance-based learning model has been key in the growth of the school and is based upon the feedback from families and students. Additionally, this model is attributed to the continued increase in enrollment as the school year progresses. The high school will provide a model that aligns with the District’s pathways structure as outlined in the Academic Master Plan by implementing a portfolio defense of learning and performance measures throughout the high school years. Every student will defend a senior capstone project in a peer, teacher, and community partner evaluative process for fulfillment of all state and local graduation requirements. Their project will be self-selected from a body of curated work demonstrating competencies they developed over the course of their learning.

The waivers being requested in the innovation plan allow for the most efficient governance of the school in order to maintain the model being sought by our increasing enrollment base. The waivers will allow for:

  • Additional days for the high school staff and students to participate in an off-site student “crew” development prior to the school year start date
  • Training time and selection based on the unique cross-disciplinary, performance-based learning model
  • Flexible application of seat-time metrics to allow for experience based learning such as job shadow and externships.
  • Implementation of hiring and supervision practices that allow for multi-specialized instructional staff in each content area to support the pathways and cross-disciplinary models
  • Permission to refuse limited term assignments or placements of staff from the district given the specialized skillset needed for the non-traditional model
  • Permission to select district provided training that aligns with Spark’s model
  • Educational programming that allows for cross-disciplinary, inquiry based learning application
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Career and Technical Education (CTE)

This month's highlight comes to us from the Palmer Holoquest Team! These high school students designed and programmed virtual reality devices that allow the user to drive in space! To recognize and honor their work, they were asked to present and host a booth at the 37th annual International Space Symposium! This opportunity allowed them to meet and interact with engineers and scientists from all over the world.
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