At Colorado Academy, we are focused on teaching 21st century skills in a developmentally appropriate way for children of all ages.
CA’s commitment to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design, and Math) is interdisciplinary by nature. At CA, we recognize that these fields overlap, so our curriculum combines disciplines to offer students innovative ways of connecting these skills to the world around them. With multiple makerspaces, including the Anderson Innovation Lab, and forward-thinking faculty, CA students are prepared to think expansively, face the challenges of the future—and solve them.
At Colorado Academy we believe every child should have the opportunity to experience Computer Science. Whether coding their first game in Scratch, designing and programming a robot pet in Middle School, or creating a complicated simulation of the synchronizing patterns of fireflies in Upper School, students in every grade experience a rich CS curriculum.
With a strong emphasis on Design and Computational Thinking, students become creative and authentic learners. CA graduates have the skills needed to thrive in our technological society as well as a solid foundation in cyber-ethics.
Engineering & Design
CA provides spaces in all three divisions—the Lower School iLab, the Middle School Design and Innovation Studio, and the Upper School Anderson Innovation Lab—where students learn to invent and invent to learn.
With access to cutting-edge tools and experts who mentor them in technologies and innovative approaches, students are able to create from their imaginations. Here trial and failure help teach perseverance and determination, and eventually, success.
Pre-K and Kindergarten students start their engineering experience with Legos® in the Lower School iLab. Using Bee-Bots®, programmable robots, they learn beginning coding, sequencing, problem-solving, and, by working in pairs, collaboration.
Students in First and Second Grade continue working in iLab where they ideate, create, innovate, and collaborate, and those skills are reinforced in regular meetings of their classroom Primary Lab.
By Grades 3-5, Lower School students graduate to Ozobots, which can be programmed using a combination of color paths. Grades 4-5 also use Dash and Dot robots to accomplish a series of programming challenges, and students can choose to participate in robotics competitions. In their science studies, students learn drag-and-drop programming and building skills using Lego® WeDo and EV3 robots.
All students have experience with 3D design, modeling, and printing by the time they leave Lower School. The 1:1 program—one iPad per student—begins in the Fifth Grade.
Middle School (Grades 6-8)
CA’s strong emphasis on design thinking at the Middle School level means that every student in every class will do at least one project that involves its concepts—identifying problems, gathering and analyzing information and evidence, getting feedback, making revisions, and making decisions.
Students in Grade 6 focus on a fundamental understanding of circuits, creating a toy with lights. Building on that experience, students in Grade 7 use the Snap programming language and a Hummingbird Arduino to design a robot pet for their clients—Kindergarten students—and Kindergartners then test and critique the finished product.
By Grade 8, students in Middle School have the opportunity to explore the physical world in a science course that blends traditional physics and chemistry with technology and robotics. Students design and launch bottle rockets to study aerodynamics and rocketry.
In their interdisciplinary STEAM elective, Grade 8 students collaborate as artists and engineers using spatial visualization to design appealing and functional solutions to basic and complex problems.
The Middle School Design and Innovation Studio includes 3D printers, a laser cutter, a Computer Numeric Control (CNC) tool for cutting, carving, machining and milling, hand tools, glue guns, littleBits, and recycled materials for students to use in any project.
Students in Middle School are invited and eligible to compete on CA’s FIRST Lego® League robotics team.
Upper School (Grades 9-12)
Upper School students have boundless opportunities to design, engineer, and use computer science in project-based learning.
Want to build a “Tiny House” out of a retired CA school bus, complete with plumbing, electrical power, solar panels, Wifi, carpentry, and interior design? We did that in CA's Anderson Innovation Lab. Maybe you want to build a robot that can sail across CA’s pool? Perhaps you want to compete with the best high school students in the country at computer science challenges—or you may want to launch a future career by learning architectural drawing with 3D modeling software.
Problem decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction, and algorithm design are at the heart of our Computer Science program. Coding, robotics, physical computing and electronics, and 3D modeling and printing are a few of the core components in the CS curriculum.
Upper School students are required to take two trimesters of courses that are designated as Computer Science/Engineering & Design. After fulfilling their requirement, many students choose to take additional courses.
Computer Science/Engineering & Design Faculty
List of 7 items.
Upper School Technology Coordinator, Computer Science Dept. Chair
Colorado State University - BS University of Oregon - MS
At CA Since: 2001
Kimberly Jans teaches Computer Science and is the chair of that academic department. She also assists individual students in the labs with their questions, helps teachers with iPads and software and is the Academic Webmaster of the CA website. She can answer questions about programming, software, CA teachers' webpages, and the Upper School technology program.
MS Librarian/MS Computer Science/Engineering & Design
Lewis & Clark College - BA University of Denver - MLIS
At CA Since: 2013
Allie Bronston, as well as being the Middle School Librarian, teaches a Middle School Computer Science and Innovation class. She helps teachers and students with their iPads and technology lesson planning.
Upper School Computer Science/Engineering & Design
University of Delaware - BS University of Colorado-Boulder - MEngr
At CA Since: 2014
Jared Katzman, Director of Technology, teaches a Computer Science class, handles password questions, policy issues, troubleshooting, and answers questions about iPads, the wireless network, and CA's technology program.
Ohio State University - MA San Jose State University - MA At CA Since: 2012
Chris Roads came to CA in 2012 from Santa Cruz, Calif., where he was the Math and Science Division Head and taught math, physics, and technology courses at Georgiana Bruce Kirby Preparatory School. He developed several context-based, project-oriented courses, including Energy, Engineering Mechanics, and Audio Engineering, and he designed and installed the school's recording studio and digital media lab. Prior to working at Kirby, Roads developed and taught online AP and honors courses to students at underserved high schools throughout the state as part of the University of California College Prep Online program. He has also coached Science Olympiad teams, advised Junior Engineers Technical Society teams, and worked as an Industrial Engineer. At CA, he teaches engineering and design courses in the Upper School Innovation Lab. Roads is a Wilderness First Responder and certified yoga instructor and loves making music, traveling, mountain biking, backpacking, and outdoor adventuring of all kinds.
University of Denver - BS University of Colorado at Denver - MA
At CA Since: 2002
Bill Witt, Lower School Technology Coordinator, can handle hardware and software troubleshooting, and questions about printing, lost files, keyboarding, and the Lower School technology program. He also manages all the Lower School iPads and helps students and teachers with iPad apps.