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Aspen Academy Update from Head of School
  • Academics
Kristina Scala

We are all so grateful for your partnership and resolve as we’ve ventured into this unique COVID-19 journey. Your trust, support, and confidence in Aspen Academy to be discerning, prepared, and to always have the health, wellness, and progress of our students at the forefront of our minds as well as hearts.  We recognize the personal, familial, and economic challenges that many are feeling and experiencing. Our community has come together with a level of determination and positive pragmatism that has simply been outstanding individually and as a collective

Building resilience in times of crisis: How do you want to remember this moment?
  • Child Development
  • Entrepreneurship
Kristina Scala

Certainly, none of us could have ever imagined what life would be like during a global pandemic that has resulted in states of emergency at the national, state and local levels. As business leaders and as humans, many of us are struggling with uncertainty and balancing working from home while also attempting to help our children with their own home learning.

Mental Health Month: Helpful Reminders & Resources
  • Health and Wellness
Jessie Skipwith

May is Mental Health Month and, each year during this time, I get really excited by the variety of new ideas, research and information that is shared across the mental health community. This year, in particular, we are all being given ample opportunity to self-assess our resilience, self-care, grit, and yes - even our limits. 

 
Found Object Art -- From Ordinary to Extraordinary
  • Academics
Octavia Betz

Our art students continue learning and expressing their artistry while at home in new and exciting ways. The students went on a live scavenger hunt around their houses to find things the could arrange as practice. Once we were done experimenting, students created two different compositions that incorporated color theory and some form of symmetry.

Make the World Better: A Community Comes Together Through Service Learning
  • Gratitude
  • The Aspen Difference
Jennifer Gravlee

In February, walking through the halls of Aspen Academy, you would have seen giant cardboard boxes decorated outside classrooms, overflowing with items identified for our annual community service project. This year’s partner, Packs of Hope, provides backpacks filled with essential clothing items to children and youth who are transitioning into out-of-home or foster care. The organization serves 8 counties in 10 locations, delivering more than 300 packs a month to children ages newborn to 18 years-old.

Tips for Keeping Students Focused While Learning At Home
  • Health and Wellness
Jessie Skipwith

As we move into our sixth week of virtual learning with Aspen Academy students, one theme has been shared by numerous parents: How do I keep my student focused and engaged during online learning? The tips below are the top recommendations based on my over 20 years as an educator, administrator and counselor, supporting student success for students with various needs and they remain true for learning in classrooms, as well as learning at home.

Celebrating Challenge, Community and Compassion
  • Child Development
Jessie Skipwith

Every week I have the wonderful opportunity of working with my Impact class in our new Zoom platform. Impact is our Middle School class that guides students through a process of self-discovery, healthy risk-taking and learning to embrace an openness to growth in all areas of their lives.  Three days a week I come together with a wonderful group of students who share their challenges, their at-home learning experiences, and so many of the critically thought out, creative solutions that they are coming up with to overcome many of these new obstacles.

STEAM Education in a Virtual Learning Environment
Chris Lazartic

A month ago, many of us transitioned to a virtual school or work model. This may have brought significant changes to our lives, both professionally and personally. My life as an educator changed, but I was able to adapt to continue to offer quality learning experiences to my students. As the Middle School STEAM Coach at Aspen Academy, one of my roles is to teach an Innovation class to students in grades 5 - 8. Below are some tips that you can use, either as a parent or educator, to continue to inspire science, technology, engineering, art and math skills while learning outside of the traditional school building -- as well as a challenge!

Aspen Academy Students Compete in Virtual Shark Tank Businesses Competition Despite Pandemic
  • Entrepreneurship
Aspen Academy Contributors

Despite school closures, students at Aspen Academy continue learning and fueling the future with new ventures. After making it through two rounds of “shark tanks,” pitching their businesses to successful entrepreneurs in early April, seven Eighth Grade students were selected for the final round of pitching on Thursday, April 16, 2020. Students received coaching, counsel and were asked questions by entrepreneur judges whose careers span industries from retail to healthcare. The finalists’ businesses range from jewelry and soothing instrumental music to a spice blend and grips for gaming controllers.

Virtual Learning: Using Socratic Seminar for Thoughtful Discussions
  • Academics
Nicole Kruse

For many of us, virtual learning is giving us opportunities to become creative in our approach to instruction, and leverage technology to deploy our favored classroom tool. Learn more about how we're integrating Socratic seminar into our virtual learning.

Saluting Aspen Academy Community Healthcare Workers
  • The Aspen Difference
Kristina Scala

We thank the health care professionals in the Aspen Academy and larger community for their expertise, dedication and tireless work in tending to the sick and those in need of support. You are our heroes. 

STEAM robots
  • Child Development
Kelsey Sullivan

Over the past week, I've spoken to a number of parents who were feeling anxious about how they would entertain their kids over Spring Break without the online school routine. I was inspired to create this resource for young learners, to support with some screen-free creativity.

Aspen Academy Update from Head of School
  • Academics
  • Health and Wellness
Kristina Scala

Please take note of an important schedule change and health and prevention updates from Head of School, Kristina Scala.

Mother and daughter looking at computer together
  • Health and Wellness
Chris Lazartic

As technology becomes integrated more into both the lives of adults and children, we want to provide extra time and resources this month to focus on the healthy use of this technology. Over the next four weeks, students will engage in Cyber Civics activities and discussions in Leadership and Innovation classes. Based on our safety focus this week, here are conversations and activities you can explore with your students. 

student using ipad to code
  • Child Development
  • Health and Wellness
Katie Lee

Technology is everywhere. Soon, we could even have technology implanted into our bodies, so we can be tracked and on demand at every moment. Scary? Yes. How can we educate our youth on the safety and security of our online presence? We have to begin these conversations at home

Girl reading a book i n a library
  • Academics
  • Financial Literacy
Eric Peterson

Over the course of nine years at Aspen, Mr. Peterson has experienced this question countless times: “Why doesn’t my teen like to read?” While attending the Writing and Reading Project winter workshop last month at Columbia University (thanks, Annual Fund!) he discussed strategies to create high engagement for reading among middle and high school students. Read on for more!

Improving Health and Wellness: The Quest for the Green Ribbon
  • Child Development
  • Health and Wellness
Lynda Sailor & Alison Weems

Aspen Academy has created a focus on improving health and wellness in a number of ways. Read more about the ways our student and staff focus on these important aspects of living well.

Reducing Environmental Impact and Costs: The Quest for the Green Ribbon
  • Health and Wellness
Lynda Sailor & Alison Weems

Since 2012, the State of Colorado has welcomed 18 statewide educational institutions to the coveted status of “Green Ribbon School.” The award, issued as part of the US Department of Education, honors America’s public and private elementary, middle and high schools for their efforts toward improving student health and achievement and reducing their environmental impact

Learning from a Cardboard Arcade
Chris Lazartic

Almost a decade ago, a young, creative mind was made famous on the internet by a brief film documentary. Caine’s arcade, which debuted in 2012, showcased a boy’s cardboard arcade that he made in his father’s automotive shop. The movement grew after the documentary took off, and it inspired the creation of a non-profit called Imagination.org, “Global Cardboard Challenge” and “A Day of Play.” Here at Aspen Academy, we were also inspired by this movement and decided to join in on the fun! Here is what I have learned from our “cardboard experiences” the past few years

How to Inspire Students to Be Creators & Leaders: Highlights from Entrepreneurial Expo 2020
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Literacy
  • The Aspen Difference
Aspen Academy Contributors

Each year, our hundreds of students from Kindergarten through 7th Grade spend months and weeks thoughtfully bringing businesses to life for a culminating event in January: Entrepreneurial Expo. It’s one of the most energetic and inspiring days on campus as students demonstrate the leadership and entrepreneurial skills they’ve developed: collaborating as a team, determining a product, creating it, and marketing and selling their final product.

Finding your purpose: Your life depends on it
  • Health and Wellness
Kristina Scala

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is said to have stated, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Read more about the evidence that purpose allows us to live a longer, healthier life.

How Does ELEVATE Support Students at Aspen Academy?
  • Child Development
  • Health and Wellness
Jessie Skipwith

ELEVATE team members are here to engage with each Aspen Academy student in his/her personal growth as we meet students where they are. Recognizing that each student brings personal strengths and learning styles to their school experience, ELEVATE promotes teachers, students and parents in building upon these individual differences to guide students towards success...

Leaf It Better
  • Health and Wellness
Nathan Byrne

Let’s rally around creating a space of pride throughout our school. This is our space and we can always look for ways to "leaf it better" than we found it: picking up after ourselves and others; placing trash and recycling in appropriate bins; Wiping down spaces; Picking up recess equipment; and more!

Welcome Back
  • Academics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Literacy
  • Gratitude
Kristina Scala

We hope you had a wonderful break and holiday season with your family and friends and took time to restore and celebrate the accomplishments of 2019 as well as to look forward to the possibilities and opportunities in the coming year and decade

Top Blogs of 2019
  • Academics
  • Child Development
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Literacy
Aspen Academy Contributors

Our Aspen Academy faculty and staff have contributed articles on learning in the classroom, helpful advice for supporting students, and successful student endeavors over the past year. As we reflect on the end of the decade, here are the Top 6 most popular blogs from our team.

Looking Forward to 2020: Gratitude, Gatherings & Goals
  • Gratitude
  • The Aspen Difference
Kristina Scala

As we near the end of the decade, it's a poignant time for reflection, centered around three important aspects of our lives: gratitude, gatherings, and goals. Enjoy these practical questions and tips for creating the most of the weeks to come before 2020!

Fostering an entrepreneurial mindset
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Literacy
Kristina Scala

Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, but everyone has the potential for entrepreneurial thoughts. Cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset is about equipping people in your organization with a certain way of thinking and working as they improve their skills. When we talk about entrepreneurial development, we are not assuming that everyone will be an entrepreneur. Instead, we’re encouraging them to think like one.

A Complete Guide to STEAM Supplies for Parents and Teachers: Tools to Use to Help Learners Become Innovators
Chris Lazartic

As the holidays approach, we may consider purchasing toys, technology, kits or other fun gadgets for the children in our life. As teachers, we may look to spice up our learning environment after the first three months of school. Some of these items may facilitate learning on a higher level, while others may serve more entertainment purposes. This article explores more on engineering kits, maker space resources, hardware and software, grading each on an "Innovation Scale."

Integrating STEAM in the Classroom
  • Academics
Chris Lazartic

One of the ways we're transforming education at Aspen Academy is how we integrate STEAM into daily lessons for students, and consistently seek out new ways to integrate innovation into our classes. Here are some of the ways we're currently exploring new technologies with students.

On Gratitude
  • Child Development
  • Gratitude
Kristina Scala

When I reflect on gratitude, I’m reminded of the connection between learning resilience and gratitude. As children grow, it’s natural to want to remove barriers and witness their success. However, there are ways our students practice skills that create resilience as they learn. 

How to Teach Kids to Earn and Value Their Money
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Literacy
Katie Becker

You know you want your child to have a good understanding of money management; one that ensures they will be able to use money thoughtfully, understand how it works in the context of society, and be able to leverage it towards the goals and dreams they have for their futures. The question is, HOW? How do we build that kind of capacity starting young?

Using Math to Understand the World Around Us
  • Academics
Maureen Mullen

A common question comes up regarding mathematics: “When would I ever use this in real life?” At Aspen Academy, we strive to support students with applying mathematics to life. Over the course of the past few weeks, Aspen Academy 7th and 8th Grade Algebra students are working applying their mathematics beyond the typical homework.

The Simple Guide to Teaching Life Skills
  • Child Development
  • The Aspen Difference
Katie Becker

Over the years we have embarked on the process of explicit teaching of concepts that are often assumed to be “absorbed” in the context of home or school. Concepts including: attitude, emotions, responsibility, listening, etc. In today’s world, we cannot assume that these skills naturally develop -- we have to teach them.

Work Hard.
  • Academics
  • Advancement
  • Gratitude
Kristina Scala

Many in our community make a choice to contribute to our Annual Fund that funds professional development opportunities for our faculty. For that, we are incredibly grateful. Learn about some of the exciting ways faculty is being engaged and enriched through professional development opportunities.

The role of kindness and curiosity in the workplace
  • Child Development
  • The Aspen Difference
Kristina Scala

“Be kind” is the one rule that’s guided Aspen Academy for the past 15 years. Those words are the first thing people see when they walk into our space. We have other values, but kindness comes first. Always.

Resilience is More than a Buzz Word
  • Child Development
  • Health and Wellness
Jessie Skipwith

Resilience is a life skill that speaks to an individual‘s ability to rise above any number of life’s challenges, problems or setbacks that might be faced on a daily basis, especially during the trying years of developing adolescence. Becoming more adept at this skill allows not only people in general, but our young people in particular, to pick themselves back up when they find themselves knocked down.

Educating the leaders of tomorrow through coding and communications skills
  • The Aspen Difference
Kristina Scala

It was almost 37 years ago that Time magazine named the personal computer “Man of the Year.” Since then, massive shifts in technology have revolutionized the way we do business. From email and the internet to artificial intelligence and blockchain, tomorrow’s workforce has grown up during decades that include this rapidly shifting technology.

Lifelong Learning: How Teachers Recharged This Summer
  • Health and Wellness
  • The Aspen Difference
Aspen Academy Contributor

Summer is a time for our teachers, administration and staff to regroup. Aspen Academy faculty, staff and students are continuous learners even during the summer months. Read on for a few highlights of how our faculty embraced learning this summer.

The Importance of Attendance
  • Academics
Corey Sampson

As our Head of School, Kristina Scala, is fond of saying: “the world is run by those who show up and hustle.” What this implies is that the first step is to show up. Getting to school is paramount to success in school.

Together we are Stronger; Together we are Safer
  • Child Development
  • Health and Wellness
  • The Aspen Difference
Jessie Skipwith

As we near the end of the first full month of school, it is important for all of us to reflect on the month of September and to look forward to the month of October as our beloved students continue to demonstrate their passion, wonder and curiosity here at Aspen Academy.

Top 5 Learnings From Middle School Retreats
  • Academics
  • The Aspen Difference
Corey Sampson

Each year, Aspen Academy students start their year off by attending our Middle School Retreats for two days. Here are a few of the big takeaways for what students experience in this focused time together...

How Curiosity Changes Things…Calendar Changes for 2019-2020 School Year
Theresa Letman

This year, Aspen Academy is on a journey of curiosity, of understanding and celebrating one another, and of learning more. We’ve discovered some ways we can better celebrate our own curiosity. We evaluated our 2019-2020 calendar and have adjustments to better serve our families and to be consistent with our values. 

Back-to-School Musings from a New Addition to the Aspen Academy Team
  • Child Development
Katie Lynn Hamel

Despite being very ready for the first day of school, and it being my 37th official First Day of School (if you count my first days as a student and teacher), I still was a bit nervous. I had done so much of this before: gotten the classroom ready, had the pencils sharpened, I had learned the names of the students. Yet I knew, every day is a new adventure and I truly wasn’t sure what was going to be in store.

6 Ways Aspen Academy Makes Safety a School Priority
  • Health and Wellness
Bridget Aylward

Our top priority at Aspen Academy is the safety of our students, staff and community. Each year, we remind our community of the safety measures we practice and enforce  that enable us to create a space where everyone thrives. We dedicate the month of September to the Health & Safety of our school and community.

Learning Through Gardens: Outdoor Learning Labs at Aspen Academy
  • Health and Wellness
Aspen Academy Contributor

This summer, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization, recognized Aspen Academy for creating a Certified Schoolyard Habitat® through its Garden for Wildlife program. Aspen Academy has joined with over 5,000 schools nationwide that have transformed their schoolyards into thriving wildlife habitats that provides essential elements needed by all wildlife – natural food sources, clean water, cover and places to raise young.

A New Focus on Purpose-Based Learning
Aspen Academy Contributor

In September, speaker Ross Wehner joins us at Aspen Academy for a Parent University talk on "Exploring Purpose With Our Children." Learn more about the importance of purpose in creating resilient lives for us and our children by reading on.

Welcome Back From ELEVATE
Team ELEVATE

Team ELEVATE would like to extend a warm welcome back to the 2019-20 school year! We hope that you, your families and loved ones, all had a wonderful summer enjoying those activities that you find rejuvenating and enjoyable. We are looking forward to an amazing year with your children and families here at Aspen Academy and we want to invite you to reach out to Team ELEVATE at any time. The ELEVATE program is here to support ALL students and families in the Aspen Academy experience. ELEVATE focuses on meeting the needs of all students by meeting individual students ‘where they are” along their academic, social-emotional and developmental journey.

Supporting Students in Learning to Advocate for Themselves
  • Academics
  • Child Development
Jessie Skipwith

As students enter Middle School, these are formative years to practice skills helpful in the high school years. Among the important transitions students make during this time is a shift to developing capabilities to be more accountable and advocate for themselves. Learn three ways we support Aspen Academy students in making this transition.

I'm curious...
  • Academics
  • Child Development
Kristina Scala

Lately, I’ve been inspired thinking about the role of curiosity in our lives. Where is curiosity showing up for you?

Social Media & Stereotypes
  • Academics
  • Child Development
Nicole Kruse, Aspen Entrepreneurial Institute Coach

Middle school students at Aspen Academy learn about the connection between social media and stereotypes.

The Difference it Makes to Be Kind.
Aspen Academy Contributors

In April, we celebrated our value of “Be Kind,” with a month-long campaign including acts of kindness, a community art project, and overall focus on this value. Aspen community members Mrs. Cho and Mr. Skipwith share their experiences, "I try to do my small part to make sure I can be at least one kind voice for everyone whenever they may need it."

Coding: The Language of the 21st Century
  • Academics
Aspen Academy Contributors

With technology rapidly on the rise, artificial intelligence surfacing in business applications and big data creating a foundation in all our lives, coding is becoming the language of the 21st Century. Learn how students -- and parents -- at Aspen Academy are raising the bar...

Girl reading a book i n a library
  • Academics
  • Financial Literacy
Eric Peterson

Parents wonder why their kid doesn’t like to read, especially when they love to read! Our own Mr. Peterson attended the Writing and Reading Project winter workshop last month at Columbia University (thanks, Annual Fund!). Along with some of the most prominent educational minds in the country, he discussed  strategies to create high engagement for reading among middle and high school students. Read on to learn more...

4 Keys to Creating Transformative Learning: The Roller Coaster Project
  • Academics
Jessica Cho

At Aspen Academy each April, the hallways in the Middle School are abuzz with excitement: everyone knows that 6th grade is about to begin the Roller Coaster Project. The Roller Coaster Project combines an understanding of Physics with the ability to work in groups.

Person holds up sign reading, "give thanks."
  • Gratitude
Theresa Letman

"Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for." - Zig Ziglar

My kid seems addicted to video games, what do I do?
  • Child Development
  • Health and Wellness
Dr. Sheryl Zeigler

Nothing seems more powerful for boys these days than the lure video games. Learn strategies for resolving challenges with video games in your family.

4 Things to Look for in a PreK Program
  • Child Development
  • The Aspen Difference
Aspen Academy

Students who enroll in high-quality pre-k programs can eventually earn 23% higher incomes than if they skipped the early education. So, how does a parent choose a great PreK?

Make the World Better Entrepreneur Profile: Project Bobby Bear
  • Entrepreneurship
Theresa Letman

In 2014, when Annie and Emily Fox founded their non-profit called Project Baby Bear, they set out to make the world a better place one teddy bear at a time. Over the past five years, the pair have donated thousands of teddy bears to children and adults "who need a smile, a hug, or just a little extra love."

Be Kind
Kristina Scala

Since Aspen Academy opened its doors in 2005, we have maintained a commitment to this one rule: Be Kind. In April, we launch our "Be Kind" Campaign. Read on to learn more.

Day Camps: Finding the Right Fit
  • Child Development
  • Health and Wellness
Mary Stein

"I want my children to be surrounded by safe, mature and compassionate adults who will hold them accountable while also having fun and playing with them." Learn more...

2019 Service Week
  • The Aspen Difference
Kristina Scala

This week, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who changed the world with his dream and his vision to serve others and ensure that their differences were given a voice. His work is not done. His vision inspires one of our values, “Make the World Better.”

students show at Bears Store
  • Entrepreneurship
Nicole Kruse, Aspen Entrepreneurial Institute Coach

There are many important lessons that occur each week as our students are in the process of creating their class or grade level businesses. As part of the process, students have begun to learn more about the ideation process of generating a product including developing prototypes and researching the cost of items to build the product.

Traditions: 10th Annual 8th Grade/Faculty Basketball Game
  • The Aspen Difference
Theresa Letman

Since Aspen Academy opened the doors on our University Boulevard campus in 2008, the students and faculty have played a basketball game against one another on the Thursday prior to Winter Break.

Car Ride Conversations on Entrepreneurship: Did You Know?
  • Entrepreneurship
Nicole Kruse, Aspen Entrepreneurial Institute Coach

There are many important lessons that occur each week as our students are in the process of creating their class or grade level businesses. As part of the process, students have begun to learn more about the ideation process of generating a product including developing prototypes and researching the cost of items to build the product.

World Peace Game
  • Academics
  • The Aspen Difference
Melissa Taylor from imaginationsoup.net