Timberline Takes 2nd Place at District Design Challenge

STEM School

This year, St. Vrain Valley School District announced its first annual Design Challenge for school staffs. Timberline PK-8 formed a team including the principal, the STEM coordinator, the MTSS coordinator, and six teachers. The challenge was to use the design process to solve a problem affecting our school. Timberline PK-8, a merged school comprised of both an elementary and a middle school, is dedicated to the success of its students through positive reinforcement and increasing personal awareness of successes and stumbles which they may face.  This goal does not come without its challenges: a student population in which 90% are from Spanish-speaking households making communication difficult, a wide array of iPad and desktop-based programs to monitor and encourage success which actually confuses the students, programs that do not communicate to each other leading to overlap and extra work for instructors and para-professionals, as well as students feeling unsupported effectively.

Working with input from both students and teachers, a collaborative team developed and prototyped a revised web-based Homework Club/Rewards program, reducing multiple programs and spreadsheets into two that effectively communicate with each other and has the added benefit of being able to communicate directly with parents in both English and Spanish.  Additionally, in order to assist parents in staying up-to-date on their child’s learning and have students be more invested in that learning, Advisory classes have been added to the schedule without losing any additional class time and parent/teacher conferences will be centered on the Advisory, focusing parent/teacher communication throughout the year.  Advisory will also allow teachers to focus on a single group of students, working with them to assess their learning, develop foundational academic skills, and be up-to-date on their class standings. Timberline's design team was proud to win 2nd place and receive $1,000 to put toward these school improvements.