Restorative Practices Come Full Circle at Estes Park School District R-3

The Estes Park School District R-3 is excited to announce their focus on Restorative Practices for students and staff throughout the Estes Valley and our school district.  Restorative practices work to build community and can help to create calmer, more focused classrooms, in addition to strengthened relationships. When using restorative practice, teachers often find the overall ratio of time spent managing behavior is reduced, and through this reduction, staff are allowed to focus more energy on instructional time and learning pursuits.  

On August 17th, in partnership with Estes Valley Restorative Justice Practices, Estes Park School District communicated their planned initiative with a presentation from Melissa Westover, the EVRJP Manager and Executive Director, and Mary Barron, the newly-recruited Restorative Practices Coordinator at the Estes Park School District.

Mary Barron joins the staff at Estes Park Schools through a grant-funded position that will focus on bringing attention to the Restorative Justice Practices in all district schools. She has 20 years of experience in education, including years of experience supporting students with  special education services.

The community-based presentation and in-house training provided a great overview and history of restorative practices, how they are used, and why they are successful in school settings. The presentation touched base on the importance of providing framework to help students take responsibility for their actions and see multiple points of view, two very important outcomes that were identified through the Estes Thrives project, last spring.  The entire staff was able to join into a firsthand demonstration of using the "Classroom Circle" approach, which will become more visible throughout the Estes Park Schools as the restorative practices collaboration grows.  About 150 staff were included in the connection circles as a way to not only provide initial training, but the circles also allowed staff to express their critical next steps in the training process.

As for the ongoing restorative practices work in our schools, Girls Circle and The Council for Boys and Young Men, are set to start the week of Labor Day and run through the end of the semester.  The Girls Circle will be available to grades 4 through 12, and the Boys Council will be available to grades 6 through 8.  

In addition to the school circles, the school staff members are working on Student Support and Accountability Circles (SSAC).  Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA) are based on restorative justice principles, giving students an acceptance of responsibility for their roles in both creating and solving problems.  The circle represents a bond of mutual respect, understanding, and ownership of the process.


For more information on how you can join the conversation, or to volunteer to help with any of the upcoming scheduled circles, please contact Mary Barron, at  

Melissa Westover






A huge thanks to our partners at EVRJP and to the group of volunteer circle facilitators for the training on August 17th: Bill McNamara, Charlie Waller, Denise Lord, Mary Barron, Melissa Westover, Russ Nehrig, Sarah Davies, Susan Stewart, Curt Plassmeyer, Teri Beaver.



Estes Park welcomes Emergency Services Explorer Post 911:

By Kate Rusch, Town of Estes Park, Public Information Officer  

First in the nation where youth can explore career paths in Police, Fire and EMS

Estes Park is delighted to be the home of a groundbreaking new program-the first in the United States- to give young men and women ages 16 to 20 an opportunity to learn the range of career opportunities in three emergency services-police, fire and EMS. The Estes Park Police Department, Estes Valley Fire Protection District and Estes Park Medical Center EMS Ambulance Services have joined to offer Explorer Post 911, with twice monthly classroom instruction from career professionals plus hands-on training including ride-alongs with first responders. Explorers will also receive guidance to help them determine which career alternative may be best for them before they invest in further education and training. The program is a partnership with the Boy Scouts of America Explorer Scout Program and the Estes Park High School Career Pathways program.

Explorer Post 911 is spearheaded by Police Chief Wes Kufeld. An Explorer graduate himself, Police Chief Wes Kufeld commented, "We're excited to offer local students hands-on experience in emergency services so we can ultimately recruit talented, dedicated young men and women into these critical public service careers." Kufeld shared, "Participating in the Explorer program as a youth in Fort Collins made a lifelong impression on me. I had an amazing time and, in the process, I learned that law enforcement was the right career for me. Afterward I became a Community Services Officer in Estes Park, worked on my education and training, and ultimately became Chief of the Estes Park Police Department."

Also supporting the Explorer Post 911 program are Fire Chief and Eagle Scout David Wolf, Estes Park Medical Center EMS Ambulance Director Guy Beesley, High School counselor Hannah Heckerson and Boy Scout volunteer and Eagle Scout Bill Marshall. The Post 911 Advisors who lead the program are Catherine Cornell (EMS Ambulance), Curt Plassmeyer (Police) and Brian Faith (Fire).

Explorer Post 911 is recruiting students beginning with an informational booth at high school registration day Aug. 9 and with an official registration session at 6:30 p.m.Wednesday, Sept. 6 at the Dannels Fire Station (901 N. Saint Vrain Ave.). The initial Explorer Post 911 program will take place through the 2017-2018 school year.

For more information, visit the booth at High School Registration Day, or contact Bill Marshall at Explorer Post 911 program information will be posted at as it becomes available. 



Junior Achievement Brings Real Life Experiences to 3rd Grade Students

When you were in 3rd Grade, would you have ever imagined all of the work that went into the building and managing of your favorite restaurant?  What about having to plan out a city and figure out where those buildings would be placed?   A restaurant in a residential area?

These sound like pretty grown up decisions, but at the same time our children deserve to be inspired and prepared to succeed in a global economy.   These types of project based learning activities get our young people excited and interested in diverse ways, and become valuable lessons learned that they will remember.   This is another great example of Estes Thrives. 

Dean Belka, a Board of Directors member for Junior Achievement out of Lincoln, NE and his wife, Sue, have been volunteering their time with the Estes Park School District to help present economic concepts to students in fun and nontraditional ways.  

In April of 2017,  Erinn Wharton's third grade class was tasked with building a city.  During the project, they had to learn about zoning, they built pop up buildings, and they had to make their proposals to the two designated "city planners" to see if they were compliant with their designs.  

The students learned about taxes, and how that money is collected and used.  They also opened up a mock restaurant in their town, and did everything from creating the menu to "buying" the goods that they would need to open.  Additionally, they went through the hiring process and worked on advertising.  

The students were extremely engaged and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  If learning is presented to a young child in a way that is fun and interesting to them, the subject matter doesn't always have to be traditional.  By creating a learning experience that held their attention, and that they became invested in, they were able to see the project through from start to finish, and conquer any obstacles they ran into.  What a great lesson for the children of tomorrow: Global and Local Awareness, Critical Thinking, Perseverance, Logic and so much more. 



4th Grade Classes Make a SWEET Impression!

Town Mayor, Todd Jirsa, and School Board President, Cody Walker, pose for a photo with a few of the students.  

Town Mayor, Todd Jirsa, and School Board President, Cody Walker, pose for a photo with a few of the students.  

Laura's Candies has been a favorite sweet treat spot in Estes Park since 1970 when Erwin Little opened it and named it after his wife.  In 1982, the Holcomb family purchased the shop and in 2015, three generations of the Holcomb family expanded once again.  

Earlier this spring, Ben Holcomb came to 4th Grade Teacher, Lauren Stepaniak, wanting to collaborate with the fourth grade students and his shop.  The project proposed was to have the students create and name a new ice cream flavor.  All fourth grade classes (four total) participated in the experiment, and they started brainstorming about flavor combinations that were delicious and unique.  

The students each wrote a letter to Ben Holcomb proposing their ice cream flavor, and after reviewing them all, he chose two flavors from each class to bring to life for a taste test.  

The shop made the 8 new flavors and hosted a tasting where the classes invited the school and community to come and sample them and vote for their favorite.   The winner of the taste test was "Campfire S'mores" by Georgie Baker.  

Ben and Laura's Fine Candies donated about 50% of the proceeds made from that night, back to the 4th grade/Elementary School.  In addition, the winning ice cream flavor will be featured all summer long for guests and community members to enjoy.  



Deaf student trail-blazing her way to a chemistry degree

Article from SOURCE by Anne Ju Manning

Evie Bangs was 5 years old when she started to lose her hearing. At age 8, her hearing plummeted, and she could no longer understand her teachers.

Courtesy Photo

Now she’s about to graduate from Colorado State University. And she’s gotten here not by dwelling on what she has lost, but focusing on what she could gain – and soon, that will include a degree in chemistry from the College of Natural Sciences.

Bangs may be CSU’s first deaf chemistry major – at least in anyone’s institutional memory. It’s taken Bangs an extra year to finish her degree, in part because of the uniquely time-consuming way she must absorb challenging course material, with the help of sign language interpreters.

“When I’m in my classes, it’s kind of overwhelming,” said the Estes Park native. “I realized that in order to do well grade-wise, I needed to take fewer credits.”

Bangs has also spent that extra time working toward an American Chemical Society-certified degree, which requires additional training and lab work. Bangs aspires to attend graduate school, and become a professional chemist.

The entourage

For every class, as well as for group projects, Bangs is accompanied by two American Sign Language interpreters and one class transcriber from CSU’s Resources for Disabled Students (RDS). Her teachers joke that Bangs has an “entourage.”

The two interpreters are necessary due to the complexity of the material; sometimes, while one is working with Bangs to quickly make up signs for words like “stoichiometry” or “adiabatic process,” the other is continuing to listen to the instructor, so that Bangs misses as little as possible. Halfway through class, they switch roles. It’s called “teaming,” says RDS interpreter Dede Kliewer, and through the years of working with Bangs, everyone – including the interpreters – has learned a lot about chemistry.

Like many deaf people, Bangs can read lips, but even the best lip-readers catch 60 percent or less of what’s being said. She can get by one-on-one, but in groups or lectures, sign language and notes transcribed after the fact have been Bangs’ primary modes of learning.

RDS, part of the Division of Student Affairs, has eight sign language interpreters and 26 class transcribers, says Kliewer, who interpreted for her when Bangs was a freshman. The office also employs about 30 student notetakers. In Kliewer’s 24 years at CSU, she can’t recall another chemistry major, although they’ve had biology majors, and a chemical engineering graduate student.

Why chemistry?

It was a high school teacher who first encouraged Bangs to study chemistry in college. As a CSU freshman, Bangs enjoyed Professor Alan Van Orden’s General Chemistry for Majors course. “I remember he said on the first day, ‘Welcome to chemistry – the study of stuff!’ And I thought, ‘I don’t care how hard chemistry is going to be. I’m sticking to it!'”

Besides Van Orden, Professor Nancy Levinger was a memorable teacher for Bangs. “She helped me out a lot,” Bangs said. Levinger’s door was always open to Bangs for extra help. She took the time to write detailed lecture material on the board. And when Bangs’ interpreters were switching roles mid-class, Levinger would pause to let them catch up. “It wasn’t harming the other students, but in a way, Dr. Levinger was taking care of me,” Bangs said.

Professor Delphine Farmer’s class on environmental chemistry sparked in Bangs an interest in atmospheric research. In her junior year, Bangs became an undergraduate research assistant in the lab of Professor Jeff Collett, chair of the Department of Atmospheric Science. She’s involved in two projects now, supervised by research scientist Katie Benedict, in passive and active sampling of atmospheric ammonia all over northeastern Colorado. Recently, she co-authored a paper on the role of dew as a nighttime ammonia reservoir – her first academic publication.

Help along the way

Bangs says her family, teachers, classmates and friends have played active roles in her journey. But perhaps most of all, the RDS interpreters have helped her succeed as a student. “They were a bright spot on the bad days,” she says. “Sometimes I was not looking forward to class, but I looked forward to seeing my interpreters.”

Bangs also learned to keep lines of communication open with her professors – introducing herself at the start of the semester, and taking advantage of office hours.

“If their door was cracked, I was knocking on it,” Bangs says. She added, “Everywhere I go, here at CSU, people have filled in the gaps for me. They made it so that I could be successful.”

Between working in Collett’s lab and keeping up with classes, Bangs found time to volunteer in some of Kliewer’s American Sign Language courses. Last semester, she visited a local elementary school, where she met a fifth-grade boy whose little brother had just been born deaf. The interaction moved her to be more open about her experiences.

While being deaf sometimes requires special assistance, it is only part of a bigger story, she says.

“I’m not remarkable,” Bangs insists. “I am just like everyone else. My story is just a little different; being deaf is a tribulation that I had to get over. My cards were dealt, and others have their own challenges that they need to get over, too. Deafness, anxiety, anything at all – everyone has a story.”




Safeway Grant Continues to Improve the View

The Estes Park School District announced in February that they were awarded a $6,200.00 grant from the Safeway Foundation.  

These funds were used to purchase 25 Google Expedition Kits that allow our students to take virtual journeys all over the world. The portable kits are being used in all three schools on campus. The entire class is lead by their instructor as they explore the same location with the ability to view their surroundings in a 360 degree format.

Through the weeks following the purchase of the Expedition Kits, the STEAM classes have gone on multiple journeys in the comfort of their own classroom and learned about places they have dreamed of going to.  

Estes Park School District R-3 would like to give a heartfelt thank you to our wonderful community Safeway for allowing us to give this opportunity to our students! This is a wonderful example of 21st Century learning at its best!

Here, Estes Park Safeway Manager, Eddie Martinez, presents the Estes Park Middle School with a check for $6,200.00. 

Here, Estes Park Safeway Manager, Eddie Martinez, presents the Estes Park Middle School with a check for $6,200.00. 



Estes Park Students participate in DaVita Bike Build

Estes Park School District R-3 was extremely grateful to be able to participate in the massive bike assembly and giveaway that made Guinness World Records history on April 26, 2017.   

DaVita, Inc., a Denver based kidney care company, brought nearly 4,000 volunteers from all over the world to assemble the bikes at the Colorado Convention Center, that would then be donated to non profits and charities around the metro area.  A large majority of the volunteers were in town for a multi-day annual meeting.


DaVita set a new world record for donating the most bikes to a charity in an hour. They donated 979 bikes total, and 750 kids left the event with brand-new, free-of-charge bikes. Among those 750 kids, were 12 of our very own Estes Park third grade students.  All children that received a bike also received a bike helmet, bike locks and safety instructions.

The bikes that were unclaimed at the end of the event were donated to various Denver organizations, but also included Estes Park School District R-3.  These donated bikes will be a part of the Estes Park School District R-3 Bike Program that is being developed through Estes Thrives currently.  

2015 Estes Thrives Day, Bike Building Project

2015 Estes Thrives Day, Bike Building Project

Estes Park School District R-3 was the only school outside of the Denver Area asked to participate in this event. Estes Park was recognized to participate by DaVita after seeing their participation in a similar type of event on a much smaller scale in 2015.  During the project on May 15, 2015 (Estes Thrives Day), the Estes Park High School students were tasked with building 50 bikes, donated by the Stanley Hotel, that they would then later give to an elementary school student in need.

Sheldon Rosenkrance, Superintendent of Schools, remarks “It is amazing to be part of something so enlightening, and especially to see it on such a larger scale this time around.  This type of generosity and teamwork really captures the essence of Estes Thrives”.

It’s a well known fact that there are few things quite as exciting as getting a shiny new bicycle as a young child.  Something equally as fulfilling, is receiving the gift of health and wellness that a lifestyle containing activities such as biking can provide.  Being able to put both of those things into the hands of a child with one act, is priceless.  Estes Park School District R-3 is looking forward to continuing the trend of providing opportunity for health, wellness and happiness through Estes Thrives.





Some of the biggest questions we hear regarding Estes Thrives are  "What is Estes Thrives?”, “What's next?" or "What updates are happening with Estes Thrives?"   First it helps to understand that Estes Thrives is a strategic plan with several key objectives.  Once you understand what Estes Thrives is, you will begin to see it around you at work in the community on a daily basis.  Estes Thrives is an initiative that brings students, community, and learning professionals together to design the future of learning in Estes Park.  Some upcoming events that exhibit the Estes Thrives initiative are the Estes Park Mountain Festival (April 28 & 29), which is a celebration of Arbor Day, Earth Day, and Mountain Culture all rolled into one (visit for more information); the 1st Annual Mountain Music Festival (May 13) which is a benefit supporting Estes Park Schools Music Programs (for more information visit, and several other projects such as repairing the portion of Fish Creek Road that was damaged in the 2013 floods.  The Estes Park Environmental Club, Environmental Science class and the Estes Valley Watershed Coalition worked together with the help of several organizations in the community to plant over 3000 native plants, bushes and trees last fall.  Another effort is planned for this Spring during the last part of April.  

NLC participation from Kindergarten students gave an unlikely spin on the data and feedback collected. 

NLC participation from Kindergarten students gave an unlikely spin on the data and feedback collected. 

The most current stage of this multifaceted process is the introduction of “Neighborhood Learning Conversations”.  The Board of Education and the EPSDR-3 Administration team, along with strategic partners of Estes Thrives,  have been hosting "Neighborhood Learning Conversations" or NLCs in small settings (between 4-12 people) in homes, coffee shops, and there have even been a few held in a yurt!  The discussions are focused on the rapid pace at which technology and education are changing, and what the vision of our future successful graduates looks like from different angles.

A couple of the Estes Park Elementary School teachers have brought the conversation into their classrooms to get a wide variety of feedback, no matter what the age level.  The information we have gathered so far is extremely valuable. The conversations have been passionate and rich. The community members that have joined into the conversation are excited and ready to participate in the future of our children.  There is still time if you would like to join the conversation.  There were 10 conversations scheduled during March, and there are several "NLC's" scheduled between now and May 1st.  

There will be an open house style Neighborhood Learning Conversation held at the High School Commons on April 11th from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.  Superintendent of Schools Sheldon Rosenkrance will facilitate the meeting and will be ready to hear your ideas about the vision for our graduates. The conversation will be open to the public and any and all interested persons are encouraged to attend.

On May 11th, the Estes Thrives team will hold a Community Learning Conversation in the High School Commons, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  At this special final conversation for this data collection stage, we will present the results and information collected throughout the Neighborhood Learning Conversations and begin creating the next steps toward preparing our young people and our communities for a bright and hopeful future.

Moving forward, we will be establishing a newsletter for updates and to keep the parents and community involved and informed.  The newsletter will be available on our Facebook Page, through local newspapers and through a special email list.  For more information, to sign up for our new monthly newsletter via email, to receive a complete list of NLC's happening in and around Estes Park, or if you have questions or comments in general, please contact

We appreciate your feedback and we want you to know that you are an instrumental part of this process.  Together we can succeed at designing local learning for a global future.





Estes Thrives was starting to take shape in early May of 2015, when Superintendent Sheldon Rosenkrance, working closely with the BeClearly Organization out of Boulder, set to work to make the initiative a reality.  They began with a vision, an opportunity to do something great- something extraordinary- to change the future of education in our community--with our community--and for our community.  The notion was simple, the future is ours to create...but how?  

Now with the Estes Thrives initiative heading full speed ahead, and gaining encouraging and exciting momentum, we take a look back at some of the first steps towards the big picture.  


On May 6th, 2015, 50 students, staff from the school district and members of the community gathered to generate ideas for the projects of Estes Thrives.  The brainstorm session was able to start the ball rolling on the beginning of a culture change.  

On May 15th, ESTES THRIVES DAY was named.  More than 600 students from the Estes Park School District joined together with community members to stage a massive clean up effort throughout the community that included tree planting, painting, and different beautification tasks.  A group of students were bused out to the YMCA of the Rockies to help with the cleanup of their campus, while a different group of students were bused out to Mary's Lake Campground to help with the seeding of their lots.. On the school district campus, students were restoring and painting various signs and working on the grounds to enhance the common areas.   Elementary School students planted trees as part of the Arbor Day celebration sponsored by the Town of Estes Park. 

High school students were excused from their afternoon classes to participate in building 50 bicycles, working in groups of two to four students per bike.  When they completed the project, they had the opportunity to give that bike away to an elementary school student.  The Larimer County Boys and Girls Club chose the students that would receive the bicycles based on need. 

The Elementary School Kids were part of a wellness ambassadors program, working with the high school students signing an agreement to ride their bike as often as they could and to be part of the healthy change. 

Since that day, Estes Thrives has been making appearances in everyday tasks, events and projects throughout the community. Its very clear that the entire community has a voice and that we are all involved in creating the best possible future for our children.  The Estes Park School District is proud to become a catalyst for this dynamic phase of customized learning.



Estes Thrives Neighborhood Learning Conversations: You're Invited!

We are deeply honored to let you know about a most remarkable conversation that's starting in Estes Park and to invite you to take part.

Neighborhood Learning Conversations -- 90-minute "living room" discussions about an inspiring vision for the future of our schools -- have been happening in and around our community for approximately four weeks now.  These conversations need a wide array of student, parent, and guardian voices to help design and facilitate the conversations that will create this long-term vision.  

Neighborhood Learning Conversations are an effective and inclusive way of reaching two goals: (1) ensuring that our schools move forward with a shared awareness of current educational best-practice;  (2) making certain that this happens with each and every individual student in mind. This is where we need your help.

We're looking for community members (adults and teenagers) who are open-minded, inclusive, supportive of our schools, and pro-active to become part of these courageous conversations and engage in thoughtful dialogue.

Would you consider becoming a partner in the Estes Park Neighborhood Learning Conversations?

If so, please join us on Tuesday, April 11th, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., in the high school commons where the vision and mission of the future for Estes Park Schools will be discussed openly with a request for valuable input from you.  

If you are unable to attend the conversation mentioned, please reach out to for more information on how you can get involved.  

Sheldon Rosenkrance (Superintendent)





The project was simple: have students build their own electric guitars.  The learning, on the other hand, has been rich!  


Students begin by choosing what type and what style of guitar they wish to build; then we ordered the materials.  We do some learning about the physics of sound and the mathematics of fret spacing on the keyboard.  They build a one string guitar out of a 2x4 and some twine.  They learn about octaves and harmonics.  We build a simple speaker and pick up from magnets and wires.  Then their materials arrive!

The first stage in actually building their guitars is strictly woodworking.  They sculpt and sand their bodies, design and shape their headstocks.  After finishing the above with paint, oil or stain, students locate, drill and fill each of their fret dots, cut and place the actual frets and attach the fretboards to the neck in the precise location to ensure the correct scale length, before attaching the neck to their guitar bodies.  This produces real guitar-looking products, but they are not yet instruments.

Students learn about different electronic components and soldering; then all the pickups, potentiometers, switches and jacks are connected and installed.  The guitars are strung and the final challenge begins: "intonation" of the guitar, which usually proves to be tricky.  Once complete, each student has a custom, self-made, musically excellent guitar to take home and keep.  Such a product is rare in schools, and this one seems to inspire immense pride.  Not only is the guitar a powerful pop-culture symbol of "cool," but its multi-media complexity makes its creation a significant achievement. 

Student feedback is overwhelmingly positive.  A few students have repeatedly said that it is the best class they ever took.  Several students have said that it is the only class they regularly arrive for and begin working for before the bell even rings.  Several students have said that the skills they learned will be useful for the rest of their lives.  A couple of students have claimed that they want to continue making more guitars as hobbyists.  One student said that the skills she learned were the type she imagines boys get from their dads.  From my teacher's perspective, it is tremendously satisfying to see students who are enthusiastic about creating something for their future, who help each other to stay safe and learn, who express their appreciation and demonstrate it every day by taking pride in cleaning up.  I wish all of my work in education was more like this experience. 

The Estes Park School District R-3 would like to thank OtterBox Foundation for their generous donation to make this a reality! 



Native American History of Estes Park

3rd grade teacher and Estes Thrives strategic partner, Erinn Wharton reached out to the Estes Park History Museum to see if they could collaborate and teach a Native American unit to the 3rd grade learners. 

On November 21st and 22nd, Curator of Education,  Alicia Rochambeau visited four of the Estes Park Elementary School classrooms to share a slide show about the Native Americans that used to live in Estes Park.  Rochambeau also led a Native American craft that each child was able to take home. 

The Native American culture is a celebrated part of living in the Estes Valley, and many different festivals and happenings in town throughout the year help to highlight their many traditions.  The third grade team is very grateful for the partnership with the Estes Park Museum and really enjoyed learning about the local heritage. 



Cherry Creek Artrepeneur Grant Helps Start a Teaching Collection at EPMS

Submitted by Karen McPherson, Outreach Coordinator 

In 2016, Estes Park Schools were awarded a Cherry Creek Artrepeneur Grant. Janus Capital Group funds the grant, which provides a $500 purchasing budget to roughly twenty schools across Colorado. Middle School students use the money to purchase art at the Cherry Creek Art Festival, a nationally recognized art and craft show held each year in Denver over the July 4th weekend. Art purchased in 2016 allows Estes Park Schools to start a permanent art teaching collection. Two middle school students, Evan Schaefer (entering 9th grade) and Makayla Fraley (entering 7th grade) attended the event with Karen McPherson, the Estes Park Outreach Coordinator and grant facilitator.


On a Roll
Benjamin Frey, multi-media collage artist
Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

We were looking for art that referenced our town. We listed many things we associate with Estes Park including wildlife (specifically bears), bikes and outdoor activities, including festivals. We also talked about the texture of the landscape and the rock layers. This piece has all of those elements. It feels fun. And we like the title, learning how to keep rolling is a good lesson. – Evan and Makayla

Process: The first layer is a series of 1910 Encyclopedia pages referencing bears.  This base has a layer of large, gestural acrylic paint applied; the bear is a stencil. 




Digital Prints on Wood Blocks
Shawn Ray Harris
San Francisco, CA

We chose these because they are humorous and absurd… animals doing people things. We like the way he makes eating broccoli seem cool. – Evan and Makayla

Process: The artist puts on costumes and poses for the pictures. So he dressed up as a bear, pretending to hold something. Then, he adds other images (like broccoli) with a digital editing program.




Fred Pichon
Denver, CO

Estes Park has a lot of visitors. There are a lot of campers. This Airstream camper has a silver outside and reflects whatever environment it is in. This one reflects the mountains and the water. The artist talked to us about how important is to learn and understand the world by drawing it.  – Evan and Makayla

Process: The artist drew and then painted the camper. He thought it needed a hard horizontal line so he added duct tape that he cut out to go around the camper. It is a combination of neon and quiet.



EPHS students, clubs rally to repair Fish Creek's flood damage

By T.A. Rustin
POSTED:   09/29/2016 03:52:50 PM MDT

Students from Estes Park High School teamed up with ecology experts from the Estes Valley Watershed Coalition on Wednesday to help rebuild the ecosystem along lower Fish Creek. That area was devastated by the flood in 2013, washing away vegetation, eroding the banks, destroying the utility infrastructure, and damaging homes.

The Coalition has been working for the last year to restore areas damaged by the flood. They selected this area of Fish Creek as their first project, according to Molly Mills, Coordinator of the Coalition. Nearly a year ago, she met with Chuck Scott, principal of the high school, and asked if the Coalition could work on restoring the river banks adjoining school property.

"I asked him for permission to work on school property," she recalled, "and he said, 'Only if you involve the kids and make this a learning experience,'" said Mills.

Mills agreed at once to the plan, and she took the responsibility for securing grant funding and obtaining legal permission to work on the river banks. That required several months, since there are numerous overlapping jurisdictions involved in the Fish Creek watershed.

Photo Courtesy of the Trail Gazette 

Photo Courtesy of the Trail Gazette 

With guidance from teacher Alex Harris, the high school's Environmental Club began planning and recruiting their classmates for this event. Mills did some training with the students, teaching them about riverine ecology, and the proper techniques for planting trees. The students in the club then created training materials for the student volunteers.

"This has been a student-run project the whole way," said Mills. "I brought the idea to them, and the funding; they organized the volunteers, mapped it out, and got the logistical support."

Carlie Rosenkrance, a member of the club, agreed that the project has optimistic goals.

"Anything helps," she said. "If we keep working at it, in a few years we'll see a big change."

Beginning early in the morning on Wednesday, students transported plants and supplies in pickup trucks to three areas along Fish Creek. More than 300 students arrived and split into teams to get to work on the riverbank. They began by pulling and bagging noxious weeks that have proliferated since the flood. They also cleared the banks of accumulated flood debris and trash.

The Coalition brought in 3,000 trees, provided by the Colorado State Forest Service. The specific species had been selected by Mills in consultation with ecology experts. They included river birch, alder, chokecherry, and cottonwood. Mills's ecology consultants marked the locations for each tree. Working in teams, the students dug holes, planted the trees, and carried buckets of water from Fish Creek to water them.

Nearly the entire student body has been involved in this project, including the Culinary Arts class, which planned and prepared lunch for the students, teachers and volunteers. Students in the Film Studies are making a documentary to tell the story of the project. The faculty and administrators also supported the project.

"All the teachers are participating," said math teacher Kenzee Dennis as she stuffed weeds into a black plastic trash bag.

Marsha Weaver, who teaches Civics and Geography, praised the work ethic of the students working around her: "Some of them really like it!"

English teacher Dan Copeland worked right alongside his students, pulling weeks and clearing debris. Part supervisor, part mentor, part cheerleader—it was apparent that the students appreciated his commitment to their project.

Sheldon Rosenkrance, Superintendent of Schools for the School District, walked from group to group, talking with teachers and students, admiring their cooperative spirit.

"We want to be part of our community," he said. "It's important that our kids realize that we're not isolated from the rest of the town." He surveyed the students pulling weeds and digging holes. "It's an opportunity for our kids to learn to cooperate, to work with other people, to learn real world skills, and to make our town better," he said.

Photo Courtesy of the Trail Gazette

Photo Courtesy of the Trail Gazette

Randy Mandel, representing the Colorado Water Conservation Board, walked among the groups of students. A water and ecology specialist, Mandel explained to the students how their efforts would improve the watershed. Mandel noticed a student struggling with the root ball of a tree. He bent down and guided her in the proper technique.

"We gotta make sure we've got the soil firmly pressed around it, so there are no holes," he told the student, and moved on to the next group.

Gary Miller, President of the Coalition, said that the flood impacted Fish Creek more severely than any other area in the Estes Valley, and therefore was chosen as the first project.

"The Coalition was formed to bring together organizations interested in sustainable restoration of the flood damaged areas," he said. The Estes Valley has seen three 500 year floods since 1979, and Miler predicted that we should expect more in the future. "We need to be prepared for the next huge event," he said. He pointed out that this project has served to educate the students about the broader problem of environmental disasters.

Mills said that this is the first phase of the revegetation of the Fish Creek watershed. The next phase will be putting up fencing around the young trees to encourage the elk and deer to browse elsewhere.

"Otherwise," she said, "they will eat everything we've planted."

In the next few months, the Coalition will be mulching the area and broadcasting native grass seeds to improve the ground cover.

As the students finished planting the last of the 3000 trees, Mills surveyed the creekbed with Scott.

"This is fantastic," she said. "They've done a tremendous job. It's been incredible to watch these kids come together."

Photo Courtesy of the Trail Gazette 

Photo Courtesy of the Trail Gazette 

"It's a good day," Scott said, summarizing the experience.



Costa Rica Science Exchange

The science exchange trip is an annual high school trip to Monteverde, Costa Rica. The purpose of the trip is two fold. First and foremost the trip is an opportunity for students at Estes Park High School to become educated about the Monteverde cloud and rain forest ecosystems. The second component of the trip is immersion in Costa Rican culture and Spanish language. Students attending the exchange spend 10 days in the ecological preserves of Monteverde learning about the unique cloud and rainforest ecosystems. While on the trip students considered an overarching science question “What specific adaptations have organisms developed to survive in the Rocky Mountain and Montverde ecosystems?” After drawing comparisons to ecosystems in Rocky Mountain National Park and Monteverde, the students distilled their observations and experiences into presentation. On the final day of the trip our students made their presentation to park officials, city government staff, and Monteverde students.



Estes Park High School Student Anna Weibel Commits to Sacramento State

Story and Photos courtesy of BC Denver Basketball Organization 

Congrats to 2017 F/C Anna Weibel on her official commitment to Sacramento State!

Weibel took an official visit to Sacramento this weekend to tour campus, meet the Hornets coaching staff and spend some time with current players. It didn't take long to realize this was home for continuing her education and playing career on the next level.

Anna attends Estes Park HS and has been a member of the BC Denver Family for 3 years. She is a tremendous example of what hard work, patience and determination can achieve! We are so proud of you Anna and thankful to have been a part of your D1 dream making ride!



The Hysterical History of the Trojan War...

A humorous display of theatre perfection

August 4th, 2016 by Laura Smith

"Break a leg" was quietly murmured around the Estes Park club last Thursday and Friday as club members from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County Estes Park location geared up for their theatre debut of "The Hysterical History of the Trojan War."

"The Hysterical History of the Trojan War," a play by D.M. Larson is a historical overview of the Trojan War with humorous tidbits thrown in. Because history is always easier to understand and remember when you have a slight stitch in your side.

Club Members of Estes Park worked extremely hard on this production and were rewarded with a packed house and plenty of applause.

As part of the BGCLC summer plan to educate and immerse youth in a variety of activities, this performance was just one of many valuable experiences club members were able to experience this season.

If you weren't able to catch this showing, make sure to mark your calendar for yet another Estes Park performance on Aug. 10 at 5 p.m. at Performance Park as club members perform with Ballet Renaissance to conclude an amazing summer.

Hats off to you club members, keep up the great work!



Estes Park Elementary School Garden Club

The Estes Park Elementary School Community Garden plot is doing very well!  As part of the newly formed Estes Park Elementary Garden Club, the members took advantage of a plot in the Community Garden that was built earlier in 2016 and planted various crops such as kale, radishes, beets, carrots and pumpkins.  Sponsor Erinn Wharton and Boys and Girls Club director, Adam Jaramillo recently met with their students in the club to harvest kale, mixed greens and radishes.  Each child took a bag of greens and a bunch of radishes home with them.  



Estes Park Mountain Festival

What do you do when you combine Arbor Day, Earth Day, and Mountain Culture?

1st Annual Estes Park Mountain Festival
Estes Park, CO
April 29th, 2016 9:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Estes Park Events Complex

The Estes Park Mountain Festival is a celebration of Estes Park's natural resources, heritage and obligation to be responsible stewards of our land.  Combining Arbor Day and Earth Day with a celebration of our cultural heritage, the Estes Park Mountain Festival looks to celebrate how important it is for us to continue to be responsible stewards of our land, as well as celebrate who we are as a unique mountain community in the majestic Rocky Mountains of Estes Park, Colorado. 

Estes Park has been base camp for daring outdoor adventurers in the majestic Rocky Mountains for many centuries now.  About 10,000 years ago, the Estes Valley attracted the Native American tribes of the Ute and Arapahoe, whose families summered in the Estes Park area and wintered in the Middle Park region south of Grand Lake. 

Around the year 1800, adventurers from the East began arriving, and one of the first organized explorations to see the Rockies was led by Major Stephen H. Long in 1820.  These "mountain men" came in search of beaver pelts, bear skins and adventure. 

As a modern community, we have settled in the Estes Valley for many of the same reasons as our predecessors- because of its magnificent beauty.  To this day, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado have a draw unlike any other.  

What are the goals of the Estes Park Mountain Festival? 

  • Educate future generations about the importance of responsible land stewardship 
  • Celebrate our cultural heritage in the Estes Valley 
  • Share our passion for the Rocky Mountains 

How can you help? 

We are looking for groups and organizations that would like to be a part of this community celebration of who we are as stewards of the Estes Valley.  Please let us know if you have something that can contribute in a way that aligns with the mission of celebrating our land, our people, and our heritage.  

Please feel free to reach out to the festival coordinator, John Bryant at