Ongoing Partnership With Denver Public Schools Deliver Big Districtwide Savings, Renewable Energy And STEM Opportunities For Students
With 89,000 students across 207 schools, Denver Public Schools (DPS) offers students the opportunity to thrive academically with comprehensive, robust and college-ready curriculums. For the past 100 years, DPS has been committed to excellence and cultivating the whole student, offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses, robust sports programs and extracurriculars as well as career and technical education pathway programs. In the 16 years since the DPS and McKinstry partnership began, the relationship has engaged McKinstry’s full platform of services and offerings as well as a collaboration with the City and County of Denver. To bolster the district’s career preparedness and STEM education efforts (known as CareerConnect), in the early-2010s the district partnered with McKinstry to offer its students hands-on STEM mentorship opportunities. Starting with a solar education module and career mentorship program at Abraham Lincoln High School in 2013, the STEM program has since grown to impact 300 students at four schools across the district.
John F. Kennedy High School
Located off Bear Creek in south Denver, John F. Kennedy is an International Baccalaureate high school serving grades nine through 12. During the 2019-2020 school year, Kennedy was a DPS Whole Child Distinguished School: a districtwide incentive celebrating schools demonstrating exceptional learning environments. The award prioritizes schools offering equitable and inclusive environments where students are challenged, engaged, supported, safe, healthy, and socially and emotionally intelligent. During the 2016-2017 school year, McKinstry’s STEM mentorship collaboration included classroom-based career mentorship as well as the renovation of the school’s roof-accessible greenhouse. With the help of McKinstry team members, students implemented high-performance greenhouse improvements including new irrigation, windows and sealing as well as ventilation.
South High School
Blocks away from Denver’s popular Washington Park, South High School is a Concurrent Enrollment school with college credits earned by high achieving students. In 2019, McKinstry’s STEM mentorship focused on wind energy design and engineering, guiding students through the design and testing of their own model turbines. Further education included a field trip to Xcel Energy’s 600 MW Rush Creek Wind Farm in Limon, Colo. to see wind-generated power in action. Building on this programming, the 2022 partnership included hands-on demonstrations for students in wall construction, solar design and building information modeling software. Students were encouraged to think critically and design their own models for showcase. A field trip to the CS Wind (formerly Vestas) factory in Windsor, Colo. allowed students to see turbine construction up close and personal.
Career Education Center Early College of Denver (CEC)
McKinstry’s STEM mentorship collaboration is expanding in 2023 and beyond with a new partnership at CEC. This partnership will focus on career, academic and hands-on mentorship for students in the Architecture and Advanced Manufacturing learning pathways.
In addition to STEM mentorship opportunities, McKinstry has been proud to uplift DPS’ equitable STEM education and inclusion goals with scholarship opportunities. To support graduating seniors and aspiring STEM professionals in accomplishing their post-secondary education goals, McKinstry has proudly awarded several cash scholarships to DPS students throughout our partnership. In 2023, McKinstry founded the Tara Carney Memorial Scholarship to further bolster this effort and will continue to award scholarships to hardworking female students pursuing STEM education and career pathways.
McKinstry is proud to partner with values-aligned Denver Public Schools. For over a decade, this impactful collaboration has not only furthered DPS’ academic and climate goals but has also engaged dozens of McKinstry team members in community engagement beyond STEM mentorship alone. As we continue to showcase this ongoing partnership, we are excited to highlight how DPS’s environmental justice and equity goals engage the community through volunteerism and decarbonization projects districtwide.