Colorado Succeeds members are driving forces of innovation in education, and we’re excited to give you a first look at a new, outside-the-box school model that will bring education and industry partnership to a new level. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before and our members have an opportunity to get involved on the ground floor.
First, some context: Colorado Succeeds member and real estate development, investment and management firm, McWhinney, is currently developing Baseline, an 1,100-acre walkable, bike-friendly mixed-use development in Broomfield. Rooted in values of environmental stewardship, healthy living, and innovation, Baseline will include upwards of 6,000 residential units, up to 17.2 million square feet of commercial space, 145 acres of open space and agriculture plots, as well as retail and medical space.
While the project is ground breaking in and of itself, McWhinney is taking things a step further by incorporating a surprising anchor tenant in the development – a school.
But not just any school.
Championed by Adams 12 Five Star Schools and our partners at mindSpark Learning, this Adams 12 STEM School is truly cutting-edge. Set to open in Fall 2021, the school will host 1,800 students, feature an instructional core that revolves around problem-based learning, and boast relationships with 460 STEM companies.
Here are a few reasons we’re certain it’s a model to watch.
Full Integration of Industry and Education
Central to its structure, the school will co-locate industry and education, hosting industry partners on-site and in office spaces next to the school. This integration, as well as the open floor plan of the school itself, will allow students to work directly with businesses through innovation labs and open studio space. Tech startups, for example, can incubate on campus and work side-by-side with students daily.
The model also provides incomparable opportunities for mentorships and credentialing. In fact, every student will receive a diploma and an industry-recognized credential upon graduation.
Additionally, through a partnership with Butterfly Pavilion, which plans to open a new location at Baseline at the same time, students will have access not only to exhibits, but also to mentorship and research partnerships with world-class invertebrate scientists. All of this will be accessible to students just a short walk from campus.
From Cradle to Career Under One Roof
Also revolutionary is the way in which Adams 12 STEM School will remove silos that typically exist between early childhood education, K-12 education, and post-secondary education and workforce training. In addition to the K-12 school, there will be an on-site preschool to support the community’s youngest learners.
Multiple higher education partners will also play a role and there are plans to open a workforce development center in the building.
This is the first completely co-located education system in the country where the entire pipeline of learning, as well as industry, are working together under one roof. In this setting, educators and industry leaders will have the opportunity to learn from one another, avoid duplication, create greater alignment, and expedite the scaling of promising practices. Our current education system was built for a past era, and this initiative flips this outdated model completely on its head.
The Benefits of Bringing Business and Education Together
The Baseline project is incredibly promising and important if Colorado is to create agile, lifelong learners who can thrive in a future we can’t predict. By blurring the lines between education, the workforce, and community, we can support students’ love of learning and, hopefully, avoid the age-old question ‘why does what I’m learning matter?’
What’s more, the research is clear that better education outcomes lead directly to a stronger economy. While Colorado’s economy is currently the top in the nation, many Colorado students graduate from high school unprepared for what’s next, be it higher education or the work place. A recent survey conducted by Colorado Succeeds and 19 industry partners found that 77 percent of Colorado employers said it has been difficult to hire people with the right skills for open positions. Colorado companies face numerous challenges and costs due to this disconnect.
If Colorado improved education to the levels needed by the workforce, over next 10 years, 57,600 more high school graduates would obtain some form of post-secondary education, adding an additional $12 billion to Colorado’s GDP and creating 14,600 new jobs.
Your Opportunity to Get Involved
It’s more important than ever for the business community to work in lock-step with schools to transform education. Leaders like McWhinney, mindSpark Learning, and Adams 12 are embarking on this unchartered path. As a member of Colorado Succeeds, you have an opportunity to join them and help drive this necessary evolution.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you and your business can get involved with this ground-breaking project, contact Ashley Andersen, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at firstname.lastname@example.org.