In this Q & A, Principal Steve Isenhour of Hulstrom Options K-8 writes about his A-school in Northglenn, Colorado.
Describe your school’s mission and illustrate it with an example from the classroom.
Our mission at Hulstrom K-8 is to provide our students with the foundation of excellent instruction, rigorous academics, and accelerated learning, with a focus on 21st Century skills, higher level thinking, and project based learning. We serve and meet the needs of advanced students, including those identified as gifted and talented, while supporting their unique social and emotional needs in a caring and nurturing environment.
We make learning an exciting, life-long, hands-on endeavor at all levels of instruction. Learners excel when they are rigorously challenged. We do this while developing critical thinking and problem solving skills, which are essential for future success. Our focus of 21st Century learning combined with our Bring Your Own Device policy has especially engaged students in new and relevant learning opportunities. One of the strongest examples of this is the involvement and partnership our students have with the Colorado Youth Summit. The program allows our students to get out of the classroom and into the field to learn about history, archaeology, heritage tourism and preservation. They’re able to participate in experiential, applicable, and real life learning about history, documentation, presentation, etc.; all involving true historical sites in and outside of Colorado.
What are one or two ways that the team at your school meets students’ academic needs?
We do what is best for kids by individualizing and focusing on the specific strengths and needs of students. This way our students may accelerate when ready to move forward, or stay where they are until mastery has occurred. We also focus on the affective needs of the student. By doing this we proactively assist students with emotional struggles, but also empower students to understand their own emotional strengths and areas of need.
Name one or two characteristics, programs, or other detail about your school that makes it a special place.
Our students and parents constantly say, “Hulstrom is a family.” The size of our school and the ability for students to attend for nine years instills the feeling of family. Our students enjoy the challenging academics provided from a caring and tightly-knit family of teachers and staff. Having our Advanced Academic Program and our Gifted & Talented program provides options for students needing more than a traditional school can provide.
What’s the most frequently asked question from parents visiting the school – and how do you respond to it?
We are often asked how well we meet the affective needs of the students. Our staff is trained to meet the unique social and emotional needs of students, as well as any academic challenges students may need for success. Our staff is exceptional at understanding the relationship building and safety net the students require for ultimate success.