RiseUp Community School
Monday, August 6, 2018
by: Trina Maull
Director of Talent Services
RiseUp Community School
RiseUp Community School, a Denver charter school, opened in August 2015. The school is located in downtown Denver within the Denver Firefighters Protective Association building; a historic firehouse with such history and amazing architecture.
This school is an Alternative Education Campus — a school that accommodates at-risk populations— in the DPS system. It specializes in teaching students who have either dropped out of school or are at risk of dropping out, or have a criminal background or a history of child abuse or neglect. RiseUp serves students ages 16-20 and is committed to providing each student an opportunity to learn, practice and excel at skills within their community.
I had the opportunity to visit the school and participate in the panel portfolio presentations in May. The student presentations were a cumulative end of year project evaluating their mastery of higher order thinking, social responsibility and post secondary learning; the curriculum focus at this school. You could feel the energy and excitement as you walked around the school on this day. Students were eager and ready to present their learning and acquired skills through the portfolio presentations.
The students presented on various topics of study to a panel of teachers and external partners including community members. They presented their key learning and how the subject matter was relevant and applicable to their life and community. The students were well-prepared and shared their own unique stories on how the class content, activities and lessons affected them personally.
During this time, I attended a presentation on physical education. The students shared their learnings on health, wellness and nutrition and its importance in their lives. Many shared personal changes they had made as a result of this learning. In addition, I heard many stories about classroom activities that gave students exposure to deeper learning on their subject such as the various guest speakers that shared their subject knowledge during the school year. The students were actively engaged with the panel when sharing their projects and it was inspiring to observe. I also sensed how attentive, caring, and supportive the teachers were during this time.
The evaluation of the students portfolio presentations included the panel members asking questions relating to their learning in several different competencies, skills and application from the course content. For many of the students, this was their graduation year and final presentation. They would leave school with a supportive crowd of fellow students, graduates and teachers cheering them on to success. It was an amazing learning experience and I was happy to be an active participant!