Education for the 21st century

Help us ignite innovation, create breakthrough ideas, and celebrate the enterprising ecosystem of St. Vrain Valley Schools.

Our Vision

The Design Challenge is new competition (in its second year) designed to ignite innovation, create breakthrough ideas, and celebrate the enterprising ecosystem of the St. Vrain Valley Schools.

The challenge provides our schools with an opportunity to solve an authentic system challenge within their school environment. Each year, school faculty teams will be invited to address a challenge that confronts their capacity to achieve our district's mission of academic excellence by design. School faculties will utilize design thinking processes to develop their solutions and will also generate presentations that convincingly demonstrate the value of their solutions. Community partners will judge applicants and award prizes to the team with the highest rated solution presented at our pitch competition.


2016-2017 Focus

Apply Design Thinking to solve challenges that impact student voice and student choice.

The St. Vrain Design Challenge provides our schools with an opportunity to apply the business and engineering model of design thinking to solve technical problems that are being faced in their workplace. Design Challenge participants will:

  • Strengthen faculty skills in using the Design Thinking process in authentic workplace situations
  • Generate replicable solutions that can be use used in other schools across the district
  • Encourage excitement in using entrepreneurial practices within the school system for other purposes
Learn more about our solution target >>


Our Sponsors


Design thinking is the essential ability to combine empathy, creativity and rationality to meet user needs and solve real-world issues.

  • "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

Two Competitions

Choose your pathway to innovation in the classroom.

Every participating team will win $250.

If you were an Emerging Learner in last year's competition, you should now register as a Skillful Practitioner

Emerging Learners

The Emerging Learner Competition nurtures those new to Design Thinking by providing additional support in applying Design Thinking to their identified challenge. The Emerging Learning Competition is strictly for those with no previous experience using Design Thinking.

Grand Prize

$4,000

Runner Up

$1,500

Skillful Practitioner

The Skilled Practitioner Competition provides a dynamic forum for those experienced in using Design Thinking in their school-based practice. The Skilled Practitioner Competition is designed to stretch the skills of those with previous experience and elevate their expertise.

Grand Prize

$4,000

Runner Up

$1,500



Agenda Emerging Learners

9:15 - 9:30: Legacy Elementary - Team Legacy
9:33 - 9:48: Blue Mountain Elementary - Inquiring Minds of Blue Mountain
9:51 - 10:06: Erie High - Wild Erie Readers
10:09 - 10:24: Skyline High - SHS iHOPE (Inclusivity Helps Our Peers Excel)
10:27 - 10:42: Skyline High - Access to Essentials
10:42-10:52: BREAK


Agenda Skillful Practitioner

10:52 - 11:07: Mountain View - Mighty Mustang Design Team
11:10 - 11:25: Timberline PK8 - Emphatically Empathic Educators
11:28 - 11:43: Skyline High - Empaths
11:46 - 12:01: Fall River Elementary - FR Designs

Awards Ceremony12:01 - 12:15: Judgeing & Awards Prep
12:15 - 12:30: Awards Ceremony and Adjournment

Competition Timeline

  • Through November 16, 2016

    Interested school teams complete application to participate

  • October 22, 2016

    Attend Design Challenge Institute for emerging learnings and those new to this process (optional)

  • November 2016

    Empathy & Define Problem Checkpoint

  • November-December 2016

    Ideate Checkpoint

  • January 2017

    Prototype and Test Checkpoint

  • February 17, 2017

    Completion and submission of Solution

  • March 11, 2017

    Live pitch competition, presentation of awards

Solution Target

For the 16-17 school year, the promotion of Student Voice and Choice will be the Design Challenge focus. Interested schools will identify a challenge that addresses student empowerment and ownership over their own learning or learning environment and use design thinking to develop an actionable solution for systemic improvement.

Supporting Documentation >>

Professional Development

Our district will host a Design Challenge Institute training for salary credit at Timberline PK-8 Community Room from 8:30 am - 3:30 pm. This training will provide a foundation of knowledge for those entering the Emerging Learning Competition, as well as all others interested in learning Design Thinking strategies and practices. Interested persons should register through the Office of Professional Development or contact OPD with questions at 303-682-7231.

Register Now >>

  • "Imagination can take you everywhere but design will take you to somewhere great."
    - M. Cobani

Now Accepting 2016-17 Applications