DENVER – Once a week, the students and staff at The Denver Center for International Studies have a chance to catch up with a morning meeting.
“It’s to make sure our school stays connected,” senior Madison Alexander said. “It’s where we are able, as students, to put announcements up there for anything that’s happening at the school.”
“I’ve always looked forward to going to the all school meeting,” senior Zari Vargas said. “It’s a way for all of us to come together and speak about everything that’s going on in the world.”
Principal Theresa McCorquodale said the morning talks are a way of empowering student by giving them a voice to talk about what’s on their minds.
“Our all school meetings every week are run by the students, planned by the students, hosted by the students," McCorquodale said. “If I want to speak as the principal, I have to get permission from them.”
The Denver Public school has about 750 students ranging from 6th through 12th grade. Students there develop and run more than 30 clubs at the school, facilitate weekly all-school meetings, and track their own daily standards.
McCorquodale said thinking globally by participating in activities like community service projects and learning abroad helps these students focus on the school’s core values of diversity, reflection, collaborative culture, integrity and high expectations.
“We teach students how to recognize perspectives, investigate the world, communicate ideas and take action,” McCorquodale said.
The goal is to help each student develop their own voice from day one, by coming together at the start of the day.
“People come from different backgrounds,” Alexander said. “They come from different experiences and they can bring something different to the table.”
It was that kind of global thinking that helped DCIS win the Succeeds Prize for Transformational Impact in high school education. The award was created in collaboration with Colorado Succeeds, 9NEWS, mindSpark Learning and the last three governors.
Together, they recently presented The Succeeds Prize awards to Colorado public schools and educators that showed innovation in education. A total of $150,000 was awarded with the hope the winners will share their best practices with other schools in Colorado.
“It makes me really proud that it’s recognized,” Social Studies teacher Darlene Rivera said. “Because I think it all too often, it's test scores and things that don’t always translate to all of our student’s successes.”
“Hearing that the high school won filled me with a sense of pride,” said Alexander. “It’s like ‘yeah we did that, that’s our thing right there.’”
For more information about The Succeeds Prize, go to TheSucceedsPrize.org.