Indian Peaks Elementary School is located in an established neighborhood in southwest Longmont, but its attendance boundaries extend to the west, east and south to include several additional neighborhoods. The name was selected to represent a geographical connection to the Indian Peaks Mountain range in the Front Range. The school’s mascot, the Moose, represents a once prolific animal in the Rockies that is now resurging in the Colorado high country.
Indian Peaks’ Instructional Focus Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) is the foundation of the high quality, research based instructional programming offered. STEM uses inquiry-based approaches to learning, involving the process of exploring the material or natural world, that leads to making discoveries and asking questions in the search for new understandings. Furthermore, involvement in learning implies possessing skills and attitudes that permit students to seek resolutions to questions and issues while they construct new knowledge, thus supporting the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills. For students, this method of learning ends the listen-to-learn paradigm of the classroom and gives them real, authentic learning challenges and problems to solve. For the teacher, inquiry-based education ends their paradigm of talking-to-teach and recasts them in the role of a facilitator of learning, being engaged in the same quest for knowledge with the students.
At Indian Peaks, we provide our students with a methodology for innovation that combines creative and analytical approaches, and requires collaboration across disciplines. This process—which has been called design thinking—draws on methods from engineering and design, and combines them with ideas from the arts, tools from the social sciences, and insights from the business world. Our students learn this process together. They then personalize it, internalize it, and apply it to their own challenges. We learn by doing. We don’t just ask our students to solve a problem, we ask them to define what the problem is. We start with empathy; they uncover the real human needs they want to address. Students brainstorm to develop an unexpected range of possible solutions, and create rough prototypes to test with real people. Our bias is toward action, followed by reflection on personal discoveries about process. For more information on Design Thinking, visit http://dschool.stanford.edu. Indian Peaks offers Spanish support in English literacy in grade K-3 for students as needed to better support their literacy skills.