Kepner Keeps True to the Innovation Model

Crisp and clear on the core values and mission, Kepner Beacon Middle School is an amazing place for teaching and learning. Even though the school is in it’s inaugural year, this quick success doesn’t surprise us, as Alex Magaña and his team (Michelle Saab, Kevin Croghan, Jesse Elston (Librarian), Nick Botinelli (Parent) and KBMS teachers) have planned and worked diligently to replicate and improve upon the success of Grant Beacon Middle School.

A bit of background: both sites are Innovation Schools within the Denver Public School system. Based on the success at Grant, the Beacon network was formed to turn around other struggling middle schools. They operate within the DPS system and are housed on a campus with 2 other schools. There are 4 principles that drive the teaching and learning at each school: focus on critical thinking, personalization through blended learning, character development and extended day enrichment opportunities.

Character development. Character development permeates everything staff and students do. It is also visibly clear that Beacon Schools have committed to character development throughout the building. Students earn accolades and recognition when they demonstrate these traits.

Blended and personalized learning. Blended and personalized learning is also present in every Kepner classroom you step into. Right down to the furniture and spaces in which students learn, Magaña made sure that even the environment was ideal for blended and personalized learning.

students sitting at blended learning stations at Kepner

a diagram of kepler's station rotation model

Extended Learning Opportunities. Community members and support come to Kepner daily to participate and lead extended learning opportunities for students. Principal Magaña has advocated for this and it has proven to increase engagement, parental support and student interest. He has gone so far as to include enrichment 4 out of 5 days of the week for students (see sample schedule below).

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Images in this blog were created by the Kepner Beacon Middle School leadership team. Please contact us for more information.

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Emily Liebtag

Emily Liebtag, Ed.D., is Education Reimagined's Senior Partner for Systems Transformation. Formerly, Emily served as the Vice President of Advocacy at Getting Smart.

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