Archives for May 2013

D.J. will miss Skinner but excited for NHS

The three years I’ve spent at Skinner have been the best years of my life, so far. I am glad I chose Skinner because of the great staff, the students and the preparation Skinner has given me. The teachers are very supportive, with more one-on-one time to work out problems you’re facing. The staff is very trustworthy and nice. I also like my peers because they are all very respectful and welcoming. We treat each other as family. We talk to everyone without anyone being left out. At Skinner, we have no cliques, which is nice.

Skinner has prepared me for the peaks that lay ahead on my educational path. Skinner also gave me a strong foundation and very high expectations were placed on me at Skinner. A few ways Skinner has prepared me is that I can feel confident about being successful in Honors classes and I can do 10th grade math next year when I’m in 9th grade. With the magnificent learning experience I received at Skinner I am proud to call myself a Skinner Scholar.

The next chapter of my life will start at North High. I am so happy to be going to North for the next four years. I’m happy because the school is a rising star and I will love being a part of a small revolution. I am also excited about the great academics North provides to its students. I can take AP and college classes while I’m there. North sounds like a great school, it is very traditional. When I graduate from North, it will be exactly 50 years after my dad graduated from North. North is a new mountain of challenges, but because of Skinner, I am ready to travel this terrain.

– D.J. McAllister, 8th grade Skinner student


Skinner scientists invent solar cars!

Congratulations to the Skinner Scholars who participated in the 23rd Annual Junior Solar Sprint – sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) – on Saturday, May 18th! Middle school teams from across Colorado spend a semester building solar- and battery-powered model vehicles with guidance from a parent, teacher, or coach. The Solar Sprint event provides an fun, educational and exciting opportunity for teams from across Colorado to race their vehicles and compete in design categories. Thanks to the hard work these students put into their model cars, Skinner was among the top 10% of builder-racers!

Building solar- and battery-powered cars requires skills in both math and science. The primary goal of the competitions is to generate enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills at a crucial stage in the development of young people. The competitions also help improve students’ understanding of scientific concepts and renewable energy technologies, and encourages young people to consider technical careers at an early age.

Representing Skinner in 8th place were team leaders Demetrius Sabell and Maximus Sabell along with Dylan Mey. In 17th place was team leader Ryan Breitenstein along with Luis Nava. Several middle schools from all around the state entered into solar and lithium battery races totaling 86 cars.  Special thank you to Heather Versailles of the Neighborhood Center for spearheading the semester-long project.

For more information, please visit:

Skinner’s New Garden: A Place to Learn and Grow

Scorpion Botanic Garden – Help is needed!

Skinner’s Special Education class and teacher have launched a very exciting project and we need the community’s help!

The garden is intended to be a place to learn and grow for Skinner’s  Multi-Intensive special education class.  Specifically the garden will teach  math, science and life skills in a practical and fun way.

The students and their teacher, Ms. Jamie Kitchen, have already put in a lot of effort to make this happen. The DPS Facility Management Office has approved the site at the school and the DPS Sustainability Office, which oversees all gardens at DPS schools, is helping to guide this effort.  They have been a big help to Ms. Kitchen and the students in figuring out what to plant, garden design, etc.

On Monday, May 13, all Skinner students were able to enjoy a free dress day (out of dress code) with a minimum $1 donation to the garden.  Skinner’s 6th grade honors science class is also helping the special ed class with this project. Other groups have also helped including the Grands, the grandparent and community elder group who do volunteer activities at the school and Ms. Kitchen has already signed parents up to help with the watering during the summer when school will be closed. As you can see, while this is specifically for the special education class, the entire Skinner family is supporting this project.

Skinner’s corporate partner, Zachry Engineering (, has made a generous donation of the funds necessary to build a fence around the garden.  Additionally, Taming Nature Garden Center (38th & Clay) and Home Depot (Wadsworth & 52nd) have donated supplies.

Two weeks ago, the class walked up and down a few of the bustling streets of the Highlands neighborhood asking neighbors and local businesses if they would help fund our garden and received almost $200 in cash donations to purchase supplies. “We also passed out flyers and talked to people about our garden plans. It was a great afternoon to practice our communication skills and get people interested in what Skinner is doing,” said Ms. Kitchen

If you are interested in donating to this amazing project, please see below for the items we still need. Any help is appreciated and gently used items are welcomed.

The primary need is for funding to complete the garden. We need approximately $300 more for the garden, as well as the items listed below.  Please contact Ms. Kitchen at or 720-424-1513 to donate.  Please also see the class blog at for updates and more photos.

DONATIONS NEEDED (New or gently used items are great!):

Cash donations of any amount ($300 total needed)

Soil (100 40lb bags)

Cinder Blocks (224)

Garden Trowels (15)

Large Shovels

Gardening Gloves (20 pairs)

Hand Held Weeding Forks (10)

Large Watering Cans (5)

Garden Hose (1)

Garden Hose Reel (1)

Nozzle/Wands for Hose (1)

Bricks or Composite Boards for Lining Planting Areas

Garden Signs

Ground Stakes to Label Plants (30)

Picnic Tables/Benches/Items for Sitting Areas

Students complete their mentorships in medicine, journalism, photography and programming

Four students, driven and passionate about their interests, recently completed mentorships in a variety of careers. DPS students are selected from teacher referrals, and Program Manager Laura Kent is extremely impressed each year:  “Skinner teachers have done a wonderful job of identifying passionate students who are strong candidates for this program. It demonstrates their rapport and connection with the students.”

Each student met regularly with a volunteer mentor in their profession, and completed a project and class presentation. The following students participated this spring:

Ben Waters, medical mentorship with Kori Neessen, medical student at Anschutz Medical Center.Ben spent his mentorship around cadavers and human organs, and did an in-depth study on concussions. He even brought some of the organs to his class presentation. “I am so happy that this opportunity was available to me. It really inspired me in my life. Now I’m really interested in medicine. My mentor was so nice and so hard working but was still funny and able to make it fun.” class presentation

Melina Kilen, journalism mentorship with Julie Dugdale, senior editor at 5280 Magazine.

Melina visited Julie weekly in her downtown office, learning about the writing process and magazine production. She met with staff involved in the production, and is now even more motivated to pursue a career in writing. For her project, Melina wrote a restaurant review by doing research, interviewing the owner, and writing the story. restaurant review

Dorian Earnest, vintage photography mentorship with Mandell Winter, Colorado Camera Collectors Club.Dorian developed photos in a dark room, attended a camera show, and explored antique camera collections. class presentation

Max Julien, programming mentorship with Addison LeMessurier, programmer at Phobic Studios. Max built an iPhone app while learning about the variety of roles in software development: designers, testers, sound designers, artists, publishers, producers, and investors. “At my time inside Phobic, I realized how fun the job is.” By the end, Max was addicted to writing code! class presentation

Skinner Arts Night

This Wednesday, May 15th, and Thursday, May 16th, at 6:30, Skinner Middle School presents its end of the year Arts Night.  The Drama club will perform William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comical play that will make you smile and laugh the whole night. The Music Program will have a Band performance on Wednesday and an Orchestra performance on Thursday.

Megan Gilman and Annabel Allen were pleased with the enthusiasm in drama and had over 30 students participate this spring.  “Because Drama has grown so much this year we were able to double cast” said Ms Gilman.  Both casts are amazing and won ribbons and praise at last month’s DPS Shakespeare Festival. Come see a truly great performance and celebrate our NW Denver budding middle school actors.

Additionally, the Skinner Band and Orchestra will have respective performances immediately following the play.  Over 90 students participated this year in Skinner’s music program with the Arts Night as the culmination of all of their hard work.

Please come and enjoy the Skinner Middle School Arts Night.

  • Wednesday May 15 at 6:30
    A Midsummer Nights Dream, Immediately following – Band Performance
  • Thursday, May 16 at 6:30
    A Midsummer Nights Dream, Immediately following – Orchestra Performance

To order a DVD or request the online video from the night, please make an online request (by May 24) and consider a donation to the drama program

Skinner Athletes Make a Playoff Run in Soccer and Finish Strong in Basketball and Baseball

Before spring, the only place Serai was playing soccer was after church with the boys. So when she had the opportunity to join the Skinner team, she jumped at the chance. She thought playing on the girls team and getting her first soccer ball were exciting, until she went on to score a goal in the playoffs!

The team started the season in dramatic fashion, winning their first game in extra time. During the season, they went on to score a lot of goals and boasted an impressive 6-1 record. Their excellent play advanced them to the second round of the playoffs before losing 4-2 to last year’s champion. The 20 girls on the team brought a range of experience – from first-time players to players who have played since they were five years old. But one thing the girls had in common: they all had fun playing together!

Comprised of mostly 6th graders, some with little or no experience, the baseball team impressed with effort and progress all season. Of all the team members at Skinner, one student in particular made great strides in throwing, ball handling, and hitting. It was inspiring to watch the other team members rally around this student with coaching efforts of their own. The coaches and school are very proud of this team!

The boys basketball team finished strong by winning their last three games, a big improvement after a slow start. Hard practice and teamwork made the difference, and now several players will attend a summer basketball camp.

The girls basketball team also finished their season with stunning improvement, strong camaraderie, and impeccable sportsmanship. In the first game, the girls struggled to score 10 points in the game, but by the end of the season, the girls posted 48 points against a tough team from Bruce Randolph! Every girl on the roster scored in that thrilling matchup, which made the victory even sweeter. Through practice and hard work, the girls learned to execute a swarming zone defense, effective inbounds plays, crisp passing, lightning fast breaks, and a devastating press. The girls were supported by two 8th grade players who acted as assistant coaches, Mariah and Gabby.
Every player made valuable contributions to the team’s success, but special mentions go to Yanitza for her breakaway layups, Jasmine for her ball handling as point guard, Amelia for her speed and defensive playmaking, and Alice and Paola for their ferocious rebounding. The team’s chemistry grew so strong that the season was capped off with a giant sleepover!


IMPORTANT DATES: the Skinner Talent Show (May 2) & the Mile High Run (May 4)

SKINNER’S GOT TALENT – Thursday, May 2 6pm

Please join us for the Skinner Talent Show, this Thursday evening at 6pm in the Skinner auditorium.  Several students have auditioned and 15 will be performing.  The talent ranges from acting/skits to acoustic guitar performances and dancing. Come and support our talented and brave performers.  Skinner Middle School is proud to present the lineup:

•  Jazmine Eaton —- Self-Composed Song

•  Ivy Medina —- Singing

•  Savannah Roche —- Piano and Singing

•  Kimberly Aguilera and Jules Martinez —- Singing

•  Daniel Martinez —- Singing

• Cheyanne Burton —- Singing

• Sabrina Rodriguez and Kyanna Burrell – Dancing

• Destiny and Alyssa Laws —- Singing

•  Janae Cashman —- Singing

•  Ayleen Lepe —- Singing

•  Yukiko Vega and Elicia Hernandez —- Singing

•  Maya Stone —- Guitar and Singing

•  Rose Solis —- Singing

•  Adia Bousman —- Singing

•  Demetrius Sabell, Maximus Sabell, and Ozborn   Schneider —- Acting/Skits

Admission to the Skinner Talent Show is a donation of one non-perishable food item.


MILE HIGH RUN – Saturday, May 4 beginning at 8:30 am

The Mile High 5 Race at Sloan’s Lake is a community RUN to support NW Denver schools.  Please come support Skinner by running, walking or watching.

Three different runs (or walks) are scheduled:  A 5000 ft “Fun Run” will begin at 8:30 a.m., a 5K run will begin at 9:00 a.m. and a 5 Mile Race will start at 9:15.

Please sign up (it’s not too late) or come and cheer Skinner students, teachers and families!

To register:



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