REDI—Research, Entrepreneurship, Design and Inquiry—uses self-directed learning to offer students the opportunity to grow as problem solvers who are better prepared for college, careers, and life.
The REDI Lab at CA is a one-trimester “school-within-a-school” experience for Juniors and Seniors that inspires creativity, ingenuity, and success. Armed with self-awareness and a permission mindset, REDI Lab students design highly personalized projects based on their interests and passions. Along the journey, they experience true-to-life setbacks, resets, and accomplishments that evolve and shape their outcomes. REDI Lab offers two programs, Junior REDI Lab and Senior REDI Lab.
During the Winter trimester when a student's college application process is coming to a close, Senior REDI Lab students focus on entrepreneurialism by first identifying local problems then designing solutions with global connections.
Intentionally placed in the third trimester as students are beginning to think about what comes after high school, students in the Junior REDI Lab are exposed to a design ethos and creative process for solving problems.
In both learning experiences, REDI Lab provides students with the space and time to explore what they’re curious about, conduct deep research, and design and test their ideas. Using principles and concepts taken from industry and the business world, students are given the support and tools to be reflective and practice skills that are necessary for success beyond Colorado Academy.
Past examples of projects are:
Exploring craftsmanship through making cowboy hats
Working to solve Riemann’s hypothesis
Designing a ride-sharing plan for private and corporate jets
Writing original short stories and novellas
Redesigning downtown buildings
Creating a design and business plan for a new CA natatorium
Making art, music, and other forms of self exploration
REDI Lab is offered at no additional cost to students who apply and are accepted, and all students stay on track for graduation. If you want to know more or get involved, please contact us!
Connecticut College - BA Fairfield University - MAT
Tom Thorpe teaches Upper School English. He came to CA in 2012 from work at both St. Anne’s Episcopal and Graland Country Day schools in Denver. Thorpe served as Technology Coordinator at St. Anne’s as well as a Global Studies leader there. Prior to that, he worked at Graland as an Eighth Grade English teacher, team leader, Humanities Department Chair, and more. Thorpe co-founded and co-organized the Colorado Global Studies Symposium with Betsey Coleman and Jon Vogels. Prior to working in Denver, he taught English and History at New Canaan Country School in Connecticut. He holds a double major BA in Social/Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies from Connecticut College, and a Master of Arts in Teaching, with an emphasis on secondary school curriculum and instruction, from Fairfield University. He serves on the Facing History and Ourselves Board, as well as the Rocky Mountain Parents as Teachers Board. Along with being certified in outdoor education, Thorpe presents regularly at local, national, and international conferences on English Curriculum, Technology, and Global Studies. He is Director of the REDI Lab program for Juniors and Seniors.
Colorado College - BS University of Colorado - MEd
Martha Smith has been an Upper School Science teacher at CA since 2010. Smith teaches Freshman Biology and Chemistry and is an Upper School advisor. Before coming to work full time, Smith was twice a long-term substitute at CA, teaching courses in Chemistry, Biology, and AP Chemistry. She is a Denver native who received her bachelor's in chemistry from Colorado College. Smith worked as an environmental chemist for three years after college before returning to graduate school. Her MEd is in Curriculum & Instruction with a specialization in Secondary Science from the University of Colorado. From there she went on to teach Chemistry and AP Chemistry for six years at Alameda High School.
University of Rochester - BA Harvard Divinity School - MA
Neethi Venkateswaran came to CA in Fall 2019 from the Head-Royce School in Oakland, Calif., where she worked since 2011 as a teacher, STEM Director, Academic Adviser, and leader of the school’s Diversity and Inclusion. She has taught a range of mathematics, including Geometry, Algebra, Precalculus, and AP Calculus AB. Prior to that, she worked as a teacher and resident faculty member at the Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, Calif. Venkateswaran has received numerous awards and honors for her teaching and for her own academic achievements, including the Presidential Scholar Award in the Master of Theological Studies Program at Harvard University. She is also a graduate of the Klingenstein Institute for Teachers at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College in New York City, and she has taught Indian Dance and is an accomplished violinist.
Colgate University - BS University of Pennsylvania - MA Colorado School of Mines - MCE
Amanda Zranchev has taught Upper School Physics, Accelerated Physics, and AP Physics C during her combined time at Deerfield Academy (Mass.) and Trinity School (N.Y.). In Spring of 2019, she worked part time in CA’s REDI Lab program and joined the Upper School Math Department fulltime in the fall. At Deerfield, she coached Varsity Softball, Varsity and JV Cross Country, and JV Squash. She also served as a dorm resident, weekend activities coordinator, and advisor. While at Trinity University, Amanda co-advised the Science Olympiad team and coached Varsity Softball. She earned her Master of Education degree while working as a Teaching Fellow at Deerfield, and she recently finished her Master of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines.