Meet the Finalists: Excellence in Education Innovation

Colorado Succeeds received more than 50 applications from schools and district administrators across the state to compete for the $15,000 prize for demonstrating Excellence in Education.

Guided by the Vision 2030 Framework, all programs had to share their response to the critical question of today: How are you developing agile learners and preparing students to thrive in an uncertain future?

Experts predict that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet. This means that we must embrace and celebrate education leaders and teachers who are willing to go beyond tradition.

The selected finalists are challenging the status quo and exploring ways to truly engage students in learning. Successful students are not measured simply by a number, but whether they can think critically and work collaboratively to shape the technology of the future, rather than be replaced by it.

Through a robust selection process involving education, business, and philanthropic leaders, three programs have been identified as models of excellence in technology-enabled learning — and now we want you to get to know them…


Legend High School — EDGE, Douglas County Public Schools: The EDGE program seeks to challenge the traditional thinking of educational practices by providing students the opportunity to pursue their own passions through a personalized learning model. An acronym for Explore, Discover, Grow, and Empower – EDGE mentors look at the big picture of learning in order to inspire and engage all students. 

To fully explore, students are given the opportunity to engage in field experiences, internships, and travel. Students learn beyond the walls of the school and connect their experiences to the real world across various industries such as aerospace, medicine, and audio engineering. Past field experiences include Eisenhower Tunnel, TEDxMileHigh, Denver Startup Week, and the Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge at Denver University. In the true spirit of collaboration, EDGE is strengthened by 174 businesses partnerships and internships as well as 12 nonprofit partnerships.


Pueblo 70 and Parkview Medical Center — School to Employment (S.T.E.P.) Program: Founded in 2002 between Parkview Medical Center and School District 70, the S.T.E.P. program is a semester-long observation/internship that exposes students to careers in health care.

Students are selected through a competitive application and interview process. Participating students receive high school credit and are concurrently enrolled in a Medical Terminology class at Pueblo Community College. Practicing healthcare professionals serve as mentors to students throughout a clinical rotation of 128 observation hours.

Students also have the potential to earn a certificate of proficiency from the National Consortium for Health Science Education and are guaranteed an interview for employment upon graduation at Parkview Medical Center if minimum program qualifications are met. Through quality academic experiences and real-world opportunities, S.T.E.P.’s mission is to help students confirm their desire to pursue a career in healthcare.

Roaring Fork School District — Senior Capstones: Starting with the Class of 2018, all 12th-grade students in Roaring Fork Schools are asked to examine a problem in their community and complete a capstone project prior to graduating. The motivation for this capstone program came out of a community visioning process in 2013 – throughout that process 1,400 parents, teachers, students, and community members provided input on the direction of Roaring Fork Schools. New graduation requirements were adopted to reflect these changes and a steering committee made up of administrators, teachers, and community members was formed to design the main components of the capstone program.

Last year, Roaring Fork Schools was invited to co-host a state-wide symposium on capstones with the Colorado Department of Education’s (CDE) Office of Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness.

“We are proud to be leaders in the statewide effort to provide these kinds of learning experiences for our students and are enthusiastic to have so many capstones colleagues with whom to share and learn,” said Roaring Forks Superintendent Rob Stein.

The Award for Excellence in Education Innovation is sponsored by Janus Henderson Investors. The winners will be announced during a live-reveal ceremony at The Ellie Caulkins Opera House on Sept. 19. Each winner will be awarded $15,000. For more information about registration and the awards visit


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Manager of Communications
Colorado Succeeds