Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in Skinner Middle School. Skinner is a neighborhood middle school built around the needs and interests of middle school children. We encourage you to consider the quality experience Skinner will offer your child: strong school leadership, a supportive learning environment, award winning teachers, honors courses, art, drama, music, foreign language and middle school sports.

Why should my family choose Skinner?
Skinner remains true to its original goals in 21st century fashion. Skinner prepares all students to be high school, college, and career ready. A proud, diverse community of learn­ers, Skinner staff and students are engaged in a single-minded pursuit of high academic achieve­ment through superior math and literacy instruction and enrichment courses, activities, and communi­ty-building through its unique Learning Families.

We think the children and parents at Skinner can tell you best why Skinner was their choice for middle school:

  • “My children can stay with neighborhood friends, meet new friends and be a part of their community.”
  • “The ‘feel’ of the school is welcoming and supportive.”
  • “It is a safe learning environment that actively en­courages children from different backgrounds to collaborate.”
  • “It is a middle school focused on academics and many artful opportunities.”
  • “Teachers and parents collaborate to make sure my children are challenged academically.”
  • “The school is based on the needs of middle school children.”
  • An email from a 6th grade parent (Sept ’15):  “Perhaps every mother watches her child enter middle school with optimistic trepidation, ready for the worst but hoping for the best.  Your school, and your staff, have far exceeded my highest hopes for our son’s first month of middle school.  He comes home from school with a smile, eager to share some of the hands-on learning from Mr. Martin or Ms. Cummings’ science classes.  He recounts tales from Ms. Nelson’s social studies lessons, and loves that she is strict yet approachable.  Ms. Espe’s high expectations and teaching style are inspiring him to reach further than he thought he could.  He delves into his homework, which tells me that every one of his teachers is inspiring him to reach his potential.  And his learning family clearly has become a place where confidence is bolstered and laughs are encouraged.  Thank you for fostering an environment where such growth is the norm.  I am impressed!  In gratitude and admiration…”

Best ways to get information on Skinner:

  • Attend a Skinner Prospective Family Info Night (November 19, 2015 and January 13, 2016 – both from 6:30 – 8:00 pm)
  • Schedule a Tour (Fridays at 2:10 pm)
  • Schedule a Shadow Experience (5th Graders only)
  • Call Skinner’s Marketing person: Rebecca Caldwell, 720-424-1495 or

What are Skinner’s school hours?
Skinner’s first bell rings at 7:25 am.  This is when the doors open.  The tardy bell rings at 7:35 am.  Supervision begins on school grounds at 7:10 am.   The final bell rings at 2:45 pm.  After school programming in the Neighborhood Center and athletics begin at 3 pm and run until 6:00 pm depending on the activity.

What are the Skinner enrichment programs, activities, sports, or clubs?
Enrichment offerings during the school day include: Spanish, art, STEM, P.E., wood shop, band, orchestra, jazz band, yearbook, leadership, creative writing, social justice, sign language and much more.  Friday afternoon enrichment classes offer an additional opportunity to explore during the school day.  Friday Enrichment classes are taught by teachers, school staff and community volunteers. Examples of past enrichment activities include: Cooking, Drama, Guitar, Piano, Woodworking, Yoga, Photography and Skateboarding.  Please click here for the Fall 2014 Course Offerings.

Through the Neighborhood Center, Skinner offers extensive after-school opportunities to receive tutoring, assistance with homework or participate in chess, cooking, swimming, tennis, hip hop dance, Student Council, pre-collegiate, etc.  Classes are only $10 per semester.

DPS Middle School Sports also take place after school.  Students can participate in: soccer, volleyball, basketball, flag football, cross-country and more.  Click here for more information on Scorpion Athletics.

College Preparation Opportunities:

  • Honors Language Arts & Mathematics
  • Honors Options: Social Studies & Science
  • 8th Grade Algebra
  • Pre-Collegiate: Students visit local colleges throughout the year
  • Hope Scholarship Opportunities
  • Skinner Mathletics
  • Science Olympiad
  • Destination Imagination

How can I be assured that my child will be academically challenged at Skinner?
The transition from elementary to middle school is an important period to keep academic achievement and rigor a central focus. Skinner administration and staff are equipped to provide continuous academic improvement for a range of achievement levels.

Several efforts are made to determine the academic level of our incoming sixth graders including coordination with area feeder schools to understand content and curriculum, review of student academic records and assessment prior to the beginning of the school year. Our ability to meet the individual needs of students include:

  • Intervention and ELL resources
  • Top ranked special programs for students with disabilities
  • District curriculum honors courses
  • Learning families to provide social and academic support throughout the year

Does Skinner offer Honors courses?
Skinner offers separate Honors courses in Math and Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Spanish.  Honors options offer an environment designed to stimulate and challenge learners who have met the criteria for the honors program.

In Honors courses, students will:

  • Strive toward the exemplary standard of assessment rubrics
  • Publish and present their new understanding and insights through use of multimedia (iMovies, skits, podcasts, blogs, etc.)  (Language Arts)
  • Read a variety of higher level texts for new perspectives and thematic connections (Language Arts and Social Studies)
  • Create examples of problems and participate in math competitions (Math)
  • Pursue self-expression within the context of the unit goals
  • Develop productive habits of mind:  building stamina, striving for accuracy, thinking flexibly, generating questions that lead to deeper understanding, etc.
  • Self-assess and set ambitious goals for future learning

Candidates for the honors program demonstrate many of the following characteristics:

  • Is proficient/advanced in subject area
  • Takes initiative for his/her own learning
  • Has a lot of curiosity seeking the answer to “why?”
  • Has a large vocabulary
  • Works well in groups and communicates well
  • Strives towards excellence
  • Is self-motivated and has a strong work ethic
  • Is organized and able to self-assess progress and develop plans toward continual improvement

My child does not have HGT/GT designation, can they access Honors Classes?
All students have the opportunity to take honors courses and honors options. Honors placement is made by subject, readiness, student interest, teacher recommendation, etc.

What programs do you have for children in HGT/GT programs at their elementary school?
Skinner has a GT teacher who works with both teach­ers and children on a weekly basis. Each child has an Advanced Learning Plan to challenge and monitor the needs and potential of GT students. Skinner selects from various DPS HGT/GT programs and is working with area GT teachers from feeder schools

Parents have highlighted Skinner’s culture of learning and nurturing as a valued school attribute that provides confidence and support for their children. How does Skinner provide a safe and caring environment?

Skinner’s school culture nurtures students’ sense of belonging:

  • The Principal and staff greet every student by name daily upon entering the school
  • A culture of learning and across-the-board peer acceptance are the norm for our diverse student population
  • Every student meets daily with their “Learning Family” of no more than fifteen students in the same grade and is mentored by a staff member. The mentor monitors progress, helps develop supportive learning relationships and teaches organizational skills.
  • All students take anti-bullying (RESPECT) classes each year. The Five Bs govern everyday interactions: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Team-Oriented, Be Peaceful, and Be Positive.
  • Students are organized by grades in different wings and have different passing times
  • Restorative Approach Program to support students and families mediate concerns and build relationships.

Why does Skinner have a dress code?
The Skinner dress code is school logo shirts, black or white tops and either blue jeans, khaki or black bottoms. This promotes safety, making it easy for school staff to see who belongs in the building and who does not. It also serves as a reminder that we are at school with a job to do and minimizes distractions with clothing. School t-shirts can be paired with blouses, turtlenecks or blazers…creativity abounds. It is also a means to build Skinner pride.

What are the “5 Bs”?
All Skinner students and staff adhere to the 5 Bs as they are the foundation of a healthy school community. The 5 Bs represent our core values. All Skinner Scholars are expected to follow the 5 Bs to ensure our learning environment is a place where everyone feels safe, welcome, and happy. The 5 Bs also help us make choices that lead to personal and academic success. In order to reach our goals as a school and as individual scholars, we live and love the 5 Bs each and every day!

  • Be Respectful
  • Be Responsible
  • Be Positive
  • Be Peaceful
  • Be Team-Oriented
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