One of the smaller districts in the Denver region, Englewood Schools is committed to digital learning and STEAM education. In the district’s PreK-8 STEAM curriculum – designed around digital citizenship, design thinking, robotics, and sustainable energy – students learn basic coding with small robots and drag-and-drop blocks, progressing to writing their own code using open-source software. In robotics classes, they learn about electricity, gears, and ratios while building solar panels into their remote-controlled cars, angling the panels for maximum results. Then they race them to see whose can go the farthest and fastest.
High school students can choose one of six “pathways” (each of which incorporates STEAM and digital learning): Computer science and engineering; manufacturing and design; digital media; visual and performing arts; biomedical sciences; and sustainable agriculture and green energy. In the digital media pathway, students create podcasts, produce music in the recording studio, and host a morning news program on their Pirate TV station. Instead of writing traditional papers, English students use a variety of digital media to research topics and do multimedia presentations for their classmates.
While these activities are engaging, the district has a large free and reduced lunch population, so one priority is “making sure that our students have equitable access,” says Learning Services Coordinator Dr. Kirk Henwood. The district is also working towards having all students graduate with either an AA degree or college credit.