September 18 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House educators, administrators, as well as business innovators and investors gathered to recognize outstanding work in improving education within Colorado.
The event in Downtown Denver was an award ceremony for the Succeeds Prize, a fund that invests $150,000 into Colorado education. This opportunity to advocate for education was made possible through a collaboration between Colorado Succeeds, 9News, mindSpark Learning, and more.
The Littleton High School STEM program was one of three finalists competing for the Excellence in STEM Education Award, along with Northridge Elementary School and STEM Launch K-8. Northridge Elementary School won the award, and will receive money to support their STEM program, school, and community.
LHS is the only school in Littleton Public Schools to have a STEM Certificate Program. Students that participate in the STEM program are required to create an online portfolio that they will be able to show to colleges and employers to demonstrate STEM skills.
The selection committee was strongly interested in the ability of STEM program models to engage a diverse group of students and create relationships with field experts and innovators to enhance learning.
“Littleton High School obviously has a very diverse group of students compared to some other schools, and we do an excellent job of bringing the wide variety and background of kids into our STEM program…the way our model is set up, you don’t have to be a scientist genius or a math prodigy to be in the Littleton STEM program. You can be on the football team, you can be in the jazz band, you could be in theater, you could be an IB kid, you really be any of those things and still have a home in STEM,” said Littleton High School STEM coordinator Heather Bartlett-Mogg.
In addition to being diverse, Littleton also has many partnerships to provide more opportunities to students. Several community and business partners include Galvanize, the American Association for University Women, Colorado School of Mines geologist Jeff May, and the Shades of Blue Program. Another unique partnership is with the University of Colorado in Denver which gives LHS students who graduate with a gold STEM certificate automatic admission into the CU Denver School of Engineering.
“We have all these partnerships where kids learn not just from instructors here in this building, [but also] from people outside the school about what STEM careers look like and they can see themselves, kind of picture themselves in those careers and have then mentors, and connections, and partnerships with people outside the school,” said Bartlett-Mogg.
Funding was also granted to winners of the Transformation Impact award for elementary, middle, and high school, as well as the Excellence in Innovation award and the Excellence in Technology Enabled Learning.
In order to be considered, a school must fit all criteria, and then must submit an application. Finalists prepare a site visit to allow committee members to observe the campus and classrooms and to talk with students, teachers, and administration.
This year’s award ceremony had a much larger audience and was live-streamed by 9News. For more information or to view the live-stream you can visit the Colorado Succeeds Website.