Every year, we are blown away by God’s goodness to our community. We are continually blessed by our families, staff members, and community. While this week might be the official full week back to school for 2022-23, there have already been so many exciting things happening this school year. These are the top 10 highlights from the year so far.
1. Our Growing Thunder Community
Our community continues to grow with each school year, so this is a highlight for the past several years! Going into the school year, we have 865 students, 175 of which are new to the Denver Christian community. To put this in perspective, when we first moved to the Teller campus, we had 418 total students with 69 new students. We know these families and students are not just numbers, but new stories, perspectives, gifts, and talents that are brought to our community.
2. The Finish the Dream Campaign
This year, we launched the Finish the Dream Campaign, aiming to complete fundraising and construction of the new Performing Arts Center. This dream was a long time coming–we have been planning, praying, and hoping for this project to be brought to fruition for years. We are so thankful to everyone making this project possible. This past week we poured the new mezzanine floor! We still have a ways to go but are absolutely excited to keep this project going–visit the Finish the Dream page to learn more!
3. Junior Kindergarten
Our hope for this program is that it gives children the gift of time to develop their whole self and enables them to flourish as they begin Elementary and beyond! Junior Kindergarten is a program for kids who are young five-year-olds who may have a “cut-off” birthday and need some extra time. The main purpose of this program is to help kids fully master academic skills, gain confidence in social-emotional skills, and increase their fine and gross motor abilities in such a way that will allow them to have true success in their later school experiences. We are excited to see this addition take off and serve our families well this year.
4. Rumble Club
As of this past week, we have rebooted After School Care, now called Rumble Club after full days of school. This is a transition from our previous before and after care operations. As long as the weather is nice, Rumble Club will include time outdoors, snacks, and time for homework, reading, challenging centers–and play! For more information on Rumble Club, visit our After School Programming website page or check the weekly newsletter.
5. Rumble the Rhino
Speaking of Rumble–our next highlight is something we have been dreaming up for years! We love being the Denver Christian Thunder. However, this has posed a bit of an issue for a mascot–since thunder is a sound and not really a being, etc. Back in 2019, Dr. Kortenhoeven started a voting process with several different mascot ideas. While we have had a few other things to deal with since 2020–we are thrilled to introduce Rumble the Rhino, our new mascot! Rumble has already had fun on campus meeting students and delivering some t-shirts. We are excited to have Rumble at our games and events!
6. Highlighting New Spaces on Campus
Last year, we unveiled several new classrooms and our remodeled dining hall. This year, we remodeled spaces on campus to create a new middle school art room, middle school science room, and new staff lounges. In the past, middle school and high school art had to share the same room, which caused scheduling conflicts and limited the amount of time that either group could expolore their creativity during the day. MS science didn’t have a lab, although they sometimes used the HS labs. We are excited for the amazing learning experiences that will happen in both of these rooms! We also have new staff lounges, which we hope will be a blessing to our staff members.
7. Middle School Electives
This year we are transitioning from trimesters to quarters in middle school. Furthermore, we are adding several new electives. We are always seeking to offer more opportunities for our students to grow and learn, think technically and strategically, develop real-world skills, problem solve, feel confident leading worship and provide them more opportunities to demonstrate their creativity. We think the following classes, in addition to our core classes and specials, will do just that. (New options include Design Thinking, Forensic Science, Hand Lettering, Introductory Piano Lab, Age of Reform (which not only tackles history as far back as the 1800’s but ends with constructing a board game!) and many more.
8. Crew Time in High School
In the high school, we are adding “Crew” “Crew” is a term from EL education (formerly known as Expeditionary Learning) and is represented by their slogan, “we are crew not passengers.” Essentially, everyone is valued, needed, and belong. While we are not adopting EL education, we want to take the best of crew and utilize this structure. Crew Time will be a time to build community, connection, and a positive student culture, but we want it to also include social-emotional learning, wellness activities, and faith formation. In fact, we want this to be an additional weekly touch point for those three things … faith, wellness, and social-emotional health. Each Crew will have about ten students (mixed grades) with 1 adult leader.
9. HS Schedule and Class Changes
This year, the high school offering an Entrepreneurship class as a zero period course, as well as internships at Thunder Grounds (coffee bar) and TA opportunities in preschool. We hope that these new opportunities help students as they prepare for their future and gain important experiences. In addition, we are transitioning to a modified block schedule. Together, these changes help us continue to grow, challenging our students, and working to provide the best high school experience possible.
10. Growth through Teaching for Transformation
Last year, you probably heard a lot about Teaching for Transformation, the education framework that we have adopted throughout the school. We have continued to grow as a staff, learning how to guide students in making connections between God’s World (The Bible) and His World (The curriculum as the curriculum is a study of the world God has made for us). This year, over 70 staff engaged in our TFT training and we are already seeing the impact in our students.
These highlights are just a small snapshot of the incredible moments that 2022 has brought so far. We are excited to see what the rest of the 2022-23 school year holds!