News Archive


< 2021


News Archive

  • May

    DA Students Present at DU Educational Conference

    What Diverse Learners are Teaching Us

    Students Anthony Allmaras, 12th grade, and Farah Hasan, 10th grade, presented at a virtual conference at the University of Denver (DU) on April 24. With Director of Education Philippe Ernewein as moderator, the students spoke about the technology tools they use to support their learning, organizing, and researching. Anthony and Farah are both members of Denver Academy's Student Technology Advisory Committee (STAC), a group of students representing grades 6-12 that meets weekly with Mr. Ernewein, Anthony Slaughter (Director of IT), and Dr. Mindy Adair (Director of Mathematics & Technology Integration). STAC provides feedback on scheduling and curriculum, as well as input on strategies and the useability and functionality of specific technology tools.

    "The feedback from the Student Technology Advisory Committee has been incredibly valuable for the IT and Program Teams," says Mr. Ernewein. "It was wonderful to have the opportunity to share those insights and that process with others at the conference."

    Learn more about the conference at DU via this link.  

    Click here to read more about STAC and Farah Hasan's experiences with Distance Learning in Mr. Ernewein's "Campus View" interview with Farah in May 2020.   

    Read More
  • April

    Don’t Miss DA’s Virtual Gala, April 17

    Saturday, April 17, 6:00 p.m.
    Register Now
    Grab your family and enjoy a gala like no other as we bring you back to the hysterical and witty set of Saturday Night Live, DA-style. From the comfort of your own home, your family will enjoy participating in a live-streamed mission-driven program, paddle raise, entertainment and live auction! The silent auction will open at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, April 12, and will close following the end of the live program on Saturday, April 17. All proceeds from the gala go directly to DA’s Tuition Assistance Program, which nearly one-third of our students rely on in order to receive a Denver Academy education.
    Send Your Teacher Packing by purchasing chances for your child's favorite teacher to win a prize!  Only $5 per entry. Click here.

    Questions? Contact Gala Director Sara Verhoestra at
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  • Students Learn About Influential Women During Women's History Month

    In honor of Women's History Month in March, Denver Academy students of all ages learned about influential women. Tenth Grade Biology students learned about Rosalind Franklin, the unsung Hero of DNA. Here's a link to a TEDEd video they watched in class. 

    Fifth Grade students discussed influential women Elizabeth Jennings and Rosa Parks and we reflected on people whose steps they're following in and people who support them. Their reflections in class are pictured here.
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  • Mustang Proud: Ms. Mackenzie

    Zoe Manning, DA Student
    Ms. Kristi Mackenzie, a Denver Academy high school science teacher, has taught at Denver Academy for a combined seven years. Ms. Mackenzie has become an integral part of the Denver Academy community and made a difference in numerous student’s lives. 

    It was a natural progression for Ms. Mackenzie to pursue a career in the scientific realm, considering her affinity for biology in high school. Ms. Mackenzie earned her Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in chemistry from the University of San Diego.

    “ I always knew I wanted to work in biology. Initially, I was on a path to be a marine biologist. Though, I felt pigeonholed by such a specific major,” said Ms. Mackenzie. “I then changed to a general biology path. After receiving my degree, I decided to go a teaching route compared to the Ph.D. direction.”

    Thereafter, Ms. Mackenzie earned her Master of Science in Medical Genetics from the University of Colorado, Health Sciences. Ms. Mackenzie’s tenure at Denver Academy began in 2000 when she taught several science (biology and chemistry) and math classes, and also advised and mentored multiple homeroom classes. In 2004, due to family needs, she moved to Utah and worked as an adjunct professor for Salt Lake City Community College.  After returning to Denver, she worked as a teacher for both Denver Public Schools and Jefferson County Schools. Later, she reconnected with Denver Academy while working with a learning specialist for her own child. In 2018,  Ms. Mackenzie returned to Denver Academy after being invited by the head of the high school, Mr. Wood.

    Throughout the Denver Academy community, Ms. Mackenzie is highly regarded for her distinctive approach to biology and her ability to meaningfully engage students through progressive and entertaining lessons. Ms. Mackenzie’s teaching approach centers around student proactive accountability while also emphasizing the creation of a safe learning environment for students. Through kinesthetic inquiry-based activities, such as labs and models, students are able to develop a deeper understanding of scientific concepts while also developing critical-thinking skills.

    The autonomy that the Denver Academy Program Team gives teachers, allows teachers to personalize their lessons.“Denver Academy stood out to me because Denver Academy recognizes that education isn’t ‘one size fits all.’ I saw that the Denver Academy teachers had an individualized plan for students, ” Ms. Mackenzie said. “Denver Academy looks at learning in a ‘how do you learn best’ sense compared to public schools where it is ‘how much can you learn.’” 

    Ms. Mackenzie explains that these unprecedented times have required particular inventiveness and flexibility in teaching approaches. “I have had to learn how to make meaningful, engaging lessons through an online platform,” said Ms. Mackenzie. Forced ingenuity has also had some positive takeaways that will be carried through in post-pandemic times. Denver Academy's expansive campus has allowed a large part of learning to take place outdoors. “I really enjoy teaching outside and utilizing our campus.”

    Outside of school, Ms. Mackenzie enjoys spending time with her family and exploring Colorado.

    Ms. Mackenzie is Mustang Proud because she gets to come to work with some of the best educators and people she has known. 
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  • March

    Scooter Highway Fun for Elementary/6th Grade

    Each year, Denver Academy's Physical Education (PE) Department creates a "Scooter Highway" in the gym for students in Elementary and 6th Grade. It's a fun obstacle course for the students to navigate through with various challenges along the way. The students enjoyed COVID-friendly races and relays along the course during PE classes on Friday, March 19. Way to go, Mustangs!

    Did you know that DA provides PE every school day for students in Elementary and 6th Grade and it's offered as an elective for middle and high school students? Find out more here
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  • Poet Jovan Mays

    DA Celebrates Changemakers During Black History Month

    Katie Bradford, J.E.D.I. (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) Chair
    Black Excellence Month
    Human excellence is celebrated year-round, and during February, DA turns the spotlight on Black changemakers. 
    What is a changemaker?
    Simply put, a changemaker is someone who advances the common good. Students were encouraged to research, appreciate and share knowledge about Black artists, musicians, scientists, and trailblazers who have changed our world. Below are just a few ways the “changemaker movement” was felt around campus in February.
    Researching & Reading About Changemakers: 
    Elementary students created changemaker posters proudly displayed in High School buildings. Olivia Sawyer chose to highlight Poet Amanda Gorman for her changemaker poster, pictured above. Elementary and 6th Grade students also worked with Librarian Jolene Gutiérrez to read about female African-American changemakers last month and will continue these efforts as we celebrate Women's History Month in March.
    Appreciating Changemakers: 
    Middle School and High School SOCA (Students of Color and Allies) sponsored changemaker exhibits in Elementary and Middle School buildings. 
    Sharing Knowledge of Changemakers: 
    Teachers were inspired by Black excellence as well. Mr. Laird’s display outside the Middle School Campos EPC SmartLab celebrates Black scientists, inventors, and history makers. 
    High School Happenings (JEDI style):
    The Counseling Department, led by Karan Steuart, engaged High School students with presentation and writing workshops featuring Jovan Mays. Jovan Mays is the Emeritus Poet Laureate of Aurora, Colorado; a National Poetry Slam Champion; TED Speaker; the Youth Voice Coordinator of Aurora Public Schools; and Director of Your Writing Counts. Jovan’s inspiring written word performance kicked off two days of workshops. Students found their own voices and were inspired to write from the heart thanks to Mr. Mays’s personable and charismatic instruction.

    Katie Bradford, Dean of Arts & Media, JEDI Chair
    Anthony Slaughter, Director of IT & JEDI Co-chair
    Lynne Cole, LS Counselor, MS & HS SOCA Sponsor
    Monica Johnson, PE Teacher,  HS GSA Sponsor
    Emily Popper, MS Teacher, MS GSA Sponsor

    For more information or to contact the JEDI team at DA, email
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  • February

    DA Hosts First Student Pickleball Tournament

    Valerie Hamlin, DA Director of Marketing & PR
    Middle School Students Participate in First Denver Academy Pickleball Tournament
    USA Pickleball Provides Prizes

    For more than five years, DA has been teaching pickleball as part of its racquet sports unit in Physical Education (PE) classes. This year, the DA coaching staff has put together a round-robin tournament as the finale to the unit which has caught the attention of USA Pickleball. The co-ed doubles tournament included DA Middle School students with prizes from USA Pickleball including branded paddles for the top six players and the first-place team will receive an annual individual membership to the organization. In addition, Denver Academy will receive a Youth Program Provider (YPP) Membership, which gives access to the official youth pickleball playbook, discounts on equipment for the school, free access to the youth pickleball video series, and digital copies of Pickleball Magazine.
    The competition kicked off on Monday, Feb. 22, and took place all week during PE classes with the semi-finals and finals on Monday, March 1, and Tuesday, March 2. The all-around tournament winners were Peter H. and Joel D. Fair Play Awards were also given to Ted G., Gunnar C., Maddy W., and Rose G. 
    The tournament took place on the Denver Academy Campus in the James E. Loan Athletic Center, 4400 E Iliff Ave., Denver, CO 80222. The James E. Loan Athletic Center opened in May of 2019 and provides a 25,000 square-foot facility including a multi-use gym with 500 seats as well as locker rooms, a weight room, and a dance studio. The gym is part of DA’s 50th Anniversary Building on Excellence campaign. Find out more here
    As part of its curriculum, Denver Academy provides Physical Education every day for students in Elementary through 6th Grade and as an elective for Middle and High School students. Pickleball is offered for middle school students. Due to the sport’s popularity among students and the fact that it’s a great physically-distant activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, DA coaches decided to add the element of a tournament this year.  

    “A lot of kids who don’t typically like team sports love pickleball,” said Denver Academy PE Teacher and former USA Olympic Mountain Biking Coach Ben Ollett. “The sport is a great physically-distant activity during this time as we navigate through the pandemic. It has really become a favorite of both teachers and students, so we decided to make the unit more robust this year by adding a tournament at the end.”
    USA Pickleball found out via social media that DA was engaging its students in the sport and reached out to collaborate. “USA Pickleball loves seeing the excitement of our youth playing the sport and with Coach Ben’s mutual enthusiasm for being able to teach the students how to play by sharing a Twitter photo, we wanted to learn more about their PE program,” said Director of Media Relations for USA Pickleball Laura Gainor. “We’re grateful for the robust program that Denver Academy is offering their students and their interest in organizing future camp programs and tournaments to allow us to continue being the fastest growing sport in the United States.”
    USA Pickleball will be providing branded paddles and an annual membership to the first-place winners of the tournament as prizes and is in discussions with DA about possible collaborations in the future through their Youth Program Provider Membership offering.

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  • Fifth-Graders Strive for Guinness World Record

    Students in Ms. Carlson's fifth-grade homeroom learned how to make origami foxes in Mrs. Wheat's art class this year. They also studied world records and perseverance in Character Education, classes all Elementary students take where respect, responsibility, perseverance, generosity, and empathy are taught and discussed. Thus, the students were inspired to set a world record.

    Their quest began at the start of the school year. As of late January, the students have hand made 1,725 origami foxes with their goal set at 2,500. They're over halfway there!

    Check out the photos to the right to see the students' collection of foxes and the tabulation system they created. 

    Way to go, Mustangs. Keep up the good work!
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  • January

    DA Middle School Students Learn by Baking

    DA teachers and students continue to be creative during this extraordinary school year. During our most recent time of remote learning, Mrs. Fritzsche's Middle School students engaged in some experiential learning after reading the book, The Outsiders. Part of their assignment was to bake Sodapop's chocolate cake he bakes in the book. Check out some of the photos of their creations! 

    Parents were asked for reviews of their kids' creations for extra credit:

    "Nate was really excited to get to work and bake a chocolate cake for his brother and sister to enjoy since he is usually the one tasting their creations. He worked diligently throughout but he is one messy baker - at one point he measured out the vanilla extract over the counter and spilled half the bottle! While he greased the pans, the cake did get stuck - next time I would cut out parchment paper to put in the pans and grease more. Frosted cake with chocolate frosting and Nate added his personal touch of sprinkles. The cake was a hit with everyone in the family except Nate’s dad who doesn’t like chocolate. It was chocolaty but not too rich - perfect!!"

    "Luke wasn’t that excited to bake. He likes treats but not chocolate cake. But, we have never made a cake by scratch so that was fun. It stuck on the bottom of the pans so we had to be creative with the toppings.  The cake was average tasting. Madelyn, Luke's sister, gave it a 3 out of 5. Luke wasn’t very excited to eat it, having filled his stomach with other holiday treats.  But all in all, it was a fun holiday project to do together. Now he can say he baked a cake from scratch! 

    Way to go, Mustangs!
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