Douglas County Schools honored, Ponderosa students asked to speak at Green Schools National Conference


Members of the Peace Jam Club at Ponderosa High School are being recognized as sustainability experts and a national model. Students have saved their school more than $300,000 by cutting electric bills and the amount of trash they send to the landfill. The organizers of the Green Schools National Conference have asked the students to speak on Wednesday to encourage administrators from school districts around the country to follow their lead.

During the conference, which began on Monday at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center, the Douglas County School District will be one of the highlighted districts. DCSD has saved more than $11 million over the past four years.

The Ponderosa students are expected to take the stage at 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday as part of the offerings for adult conference goers, which means they’ll be talking to superintendents and principals from throughout the country.

The Peace Jam Club decreased energy usage by 33 percent, energy demand by 29 percent and now recycle about 80 percent of the school’s refuse.

The goal of the conference is to encourage more schools to consider sustainability measures, which are often easy and can save precious resources, both taxpayer money and the environment.

Mountain Ridge Middle School students use hands-on activities to explore energy

Karen Sangster’s 8th grade students are engaged and excited about energy.

The students are performing challenging,hands-on activities in their science class. The activities enable them to investigate and understand the concepts of energy transfer, endothermic and exothermic reactions, motors, solar cells and the basics of kinetic and potential energy.

A workshop in which Sangster participated last spring inspired the activities. “We spent 2 weeks with students rotating through all of the 6 stations,” says Sangster. “At the end students did a presentation on the station they started with. We also did posters for each of the big ideas from each station. The students had a lot of fun and learned quite a bit about how energy is transformed into different types of energy.”

“I did a lot of emphasis on the Law of Conservation of Energy. Students were able to explain how the law worked from the many examples. We ended the unit with the articles on energy resources.”

Sangster will be working on a hydrogen workshop for her students soon, tying it in with the periodic table and how elements form new chemicals.

All the materials used in the projects were donated by the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project. The mission of the NEED project is to bring balanced approaches to energy education to our nation’s schools. Their website is

Student leadership to celebrated, observed at Legacy Point Elementary

Legacy Point Elementary is doing such a great job of instilling Steven Covey’s leadership lessons in students that dozens of teachers will be coming to the school to see their work first hand. 

The students began learning about Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People last fall, after teachers and parents participated in training for the program.

This week, up to 90 educators who are participating in one of Covey’s Leader in Me Symposiums are traveling to the school. On Wednesday February 29, they will observe and take part in discussions centered on the success Legacy Point has seen while educating its students inthe 7 Habits, which empowers them to find the leader within themselves.

As you might expect, the young leaders are planning on taking the lead by greeting educators, conducting tours and participating in classroom demonstrations.

Miles fuels up Roxborough Elementary

The kids at Roxborough Elementary got a big treat on Friday when Miles, the Denver Bronco mascot, paid them a visit. 

Miles was there to encourage kids to eat well and get moving as part of the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign. Play 60 asks kids to pledge to do 60 minutes of exercise per day to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.

Students created a fun skit showing the effects of junk food and no exercise then revved the crowd up for the arrival of Miles, who entertained with music, an interactive presentation, and a healthy dose of dancing in the aisles. Miles and the Roxborough kids learned about nutrition and proper eating, and the importance of moving around every day.

Schools can submit video of their skit to the Physical Activity Skit Challenge at the Fuel Up to Play 60 website for the chance to win prizes. Other challenges and activities to get kids moving and eating right can be found at


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