Meet Skinner’s Social/Emotional Team – Educating the Hearts of Our Scholars

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” – Aristotle

Early adolescence is a time of many physical, mental, emotional, and social changes – and the transition from elementary school to middle school can be stressful and overwhelming. Puberty begins, bringing hormonal, emotional, mental and social changes.

Students start making more of their own choices about friends, appearance, sports, studying, and school. They become more independent, with their own personality and interests. This shift in students’ sense of self is a key characteristic of their social and emotional development.

All this change can cause problems for young people. Without settings – home, school and community – attuned to their needs and emerging independence, they can lose confidence in themselves and slip into negative behavior patterns such as truancy and school dropout.

Here at Skinner Middle School, we know how important these years are for our students, both educationally and developmentally.  We have built an exceptional team to help guide our students through these sometimes-tumultuous years:

Mr. James Duran
Mr. Duran has worked at Skinner for 15 years, first as a science teacher, and now as Skinner’s Student Advisor and Athletic Director.  Mr. Duran also teaches a wood shop class, which is a passion of his.  “I love our kids and I enjoy working with our families,” said Mr. Duran.

Ms. Jaimie Stickl
Ms. Stickl is Skinner’s GEAR UP College/Career Counselor and has worked at Skinner since March of 2012.  Ms. Stickl grew up in Niagara Falls, NY and received degrees from Grove City College in Pennsylvania and Regent University in Virginia.  “I absolutely love the students here at Skinner.  I also love the culture here and the staff is so highly qualified and team oriented.  It is a privilege to be part of this team,” said Ms. Stickl.

Ms. Sandy Stone
Ms. Stone is Skinner’s Restorative Approaches Coordinator, and has been part of the Skinner family since 2007. Restorative intervention guides students to identify their role in a situation/conflict and their responsibility for repairing or resolving the issue, using misbehavior and poor decision-making as opportunities to learn and strengthen community bonds by working through the conflict resolution together. “I love working with this transitional and precarious age group – it is rewarding to see students grow and develop the skills they need to become well-rounded and successful young adults,” said Ms. Stone.

Mr. Joe Waldon
Mr. Waldon has been Skinner’s Social Worker for the past six years and he lived in Kenya, East Africa, prior to coming to work for DPS.  He is from southern Indiana and attended Valparaiso University.  Mr. Waldon said, “Skinner students are amazing – I love how friendly they are.  The same is true for the staff.  It feels like family.”

Some resources and additional reading for the parent of a middle schooler include:

Please Help Feed Our Dedicated Teachers

Skinner student-led conferences will be from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 24th and Tuesday, January 29th. Our dedicated teachers and staff will be there to speak with families and answer questions.

Please help us feed our amazing faculty on these nights! We hope you will consider donating an entree, a side dish, a dessert, beverages or cash so they can stay focused on our students and parents. Thursday 1/24 will be Mexican themed (think enchiladas, tacos, beans & rice) while Tuesday 1/29 will be Italian (break out your amazing lasagna or spaghetti recipe).

RSVP to Assistant Principal Lindsay Meier at or 720-424-1528.

Skinner scholars show off science skills

Skinner Science Fair winnersSkinner scholars showed off their science skills at last week’s Skinner Science Fair. Students submitted some excellent projects and made impressive presentations.  Winners to congratulate include:

6th grade

  • 1st place – Dorian Earnest
  • 2nd place – Clara Fiero and Cindy Fuentes
  • 3rd place – Milena Kilen

7th grade

  • 1st place – Maya Stone & Avery Ahern
  • 2nd place – Ben Waters
  • 3rd place – Hannah Murrel

8th grade

  • 1st place – Kollette Lavoy
  • 2nd place – Dominique Maes
  • 3rd place – Nate Buntin

All of us are grateful to the volunteers who generously gave their time and skills to judge the competition – we couldn’t have done it without you!

We are expecting three 6th graders, ten 7th graders and twenty-five 8th finalists and science honor students to advance to the Denver Metro Science Fair at the Museum of Nature and Science on February 27th.  Because the participation and transportation costs for each student total $25, we are looking for donations to ensure all of our scientifically minded students can participate – for more information on how to help, please contact Brittnee Kidder-Davis at 720-424-1435 or 303-905-3345.

Many thanks to everyone who made the 2012 Skinner science fair a big success – we’re looking forward to an even better one next year!



Robotics students on a roll at Salvagetti bike shop

Did you know that Skinner Middle School has a “Junk Drawer Robotics” class at the Neighborhood Center after school? And they get to do really cool stuff?

This Robotics class visited our new neighborhood bike shop, Salvagetti, for a demonstration on how bicycles work about a week ago.  Phillip Brown, Service Manager, taught our Skinner Scholars about the different parts and functions of bikes, and gave an in-depth tutorial on gears.

The purpose of the Junk Drawer Robotics program is to expose students to different ways they can build functional robots using household and desk drawer items.  The visitation to the bike shop coincided with a two-week lesson plan about gears and gear ratios.  The students were really excited about the short field trip and are eager to put their new concepts and insight into practical use!

Watch out for these future engineers and more good stuff to come from Heather and the 4-H crew!!!

Wed. is Skinner Arts Night!

On Wednesday, December 19th at 6:30 p.m. Skinner Scholars will show off their many talents at Skinner’s Arts Night.  Please come and enjoy both a drama performance and performances by the band and orchestra.  Student art work from the semester will also be on display.

6:30- 7:15 p.m.: The Adventures of Rose Red centers around Rose Red , Snow White’s lesser-known sister.  All of your favorite fairy tale characters come alive in this modern twist.  This is a play the whole family can enjoy.

7:30-8:15 p.m. Musical performances by Skinner’s Band and Orchestra

We think you will be proud and amazed with the talent and dedication that current Skinner students have to offer. Please come and enjoy the arts this coming Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at your neighborhood middle school.


Skinner Teen Ambassadors set up 2nd Annual Giving Tree for Mount Saint Vincent children

The Neighborhood Center’s Teen Ambassador group has worked for two weeks to set up a Giving Tree for the abused and neglected students at Mount Saint Vincent Home ( just a few blocks from our school.

The Giving Tree – located in the main office of the Neighborhood Center Room 24 – has one ornament per Mount Vincent child identifying needs and wants for gifts. We are asking members of the Skinner community to donate a personalized gift for children in need of a joyful holiday. Please stop by the office to look over the ornaments and see what you can do to help these children.

All gifts MUST be returned with the ornament to the Neighborhood Center office no later than Friday December 14th 2012. Please take an ornament ONLY if you are able to donate a gift. Please make sure to sign out your ornament before removing it. Gifts may be returned with or without wrapping, please make sure ornament is securely attached and visible.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact Heather Versailles at or at 720-424-1450. Please forward this information to anyone you think may be interested in participating.

On behalf of Mount Saint Vincent Home and the Teen Ambassadors of Skinner Middle School, THANK YOU!


Science Fair on Wednesday

You are cordially invited to the Skinner Scholar Science Fair Night on Wednesday, December 12th at from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

We could be nurturing the next Albert Einstein or Marie Curie, so don’t miss our Skinner scholars’ science projects  We’re very proud of the work our students have been doing on projects like:

  • How does elevation effect air pressure? Students measured inflated ballots at different elevations and have findings to report.
  • How does nutrition information on menus effect eating habits?  tudents devised an online survey to select dinners from a menu providing caloric info. at random by the food items.
  • How does throwing technique effect football pass completion? Students used a variety of foot positions, arm techniques and distances to to test the effects on hitting a target.

We fully expect for some of our students’ projects to once again advance to the DPS-wide Science Fair and beyond.

Projects will be set up in the west gym and other places for viewing, so come geek out with us next Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m.!

Skinner basketball season is coming

Skinner Scorpion 7th and 8th grade boys and girls basketball season is almost here!  In middle school, 7th and 8th graders play basketball from December 3rd to February 22nd, while 6th grade basketball players’ season is a spring sport, from March 11th to May 17th.

Our student-athletes will work on dribbling, passing and teamwork as they prepare to meet middle school teams from across the district for games. Ms. Goebel is the coach for the girls team and Mr. Duran will coach the boys.

To participate, students must be academically eligible throughout the season, pay a $25 participation fee when equipment is issued and must complete and sign the following documents:

  • Physical (within a year of participation
  • Parent permission slip and emergency contact information
  • Code of conduct
  • Financial responsibility

For more information, please contact Skinner Athletic Director James Duran at 720-424-1433 or or look at the Athletics page on the website at

Flag Football at Skinner

The Skinner Flag Football team finished its 2012 season with a super-close quarterfinal loss in the Middle School Playoffs. After finishing the regular season as Northwest Division Champions, the team played Howell Middle School and was strong throughout the game only to lose by two points.

Eighth grader Kayne Rodriquez who has been playing since he began at Skinner had a lot at stake during the quarterfinal game. “It gets harder and harder as we play each game.

Even though the Skinner Scorpions did not advance farther in the playoffs, they did have an outstanding season according to Coach Dehning. “This was a good season because all of the players worked hard to improve and we got better every week.”

Seventh grader, Austin Young shared that  “Football has been really fun this fall and I have been encouraged to do well in class so I can be eligible every week to play.”

Returning player Ian Spetnagel (7th grade) shared that his football experience has been his favorite sport so far, stating, “Each and every time we play we are reminded how important teamwork and respect are.”

Hats off to all of the boys that played Flag Football this fall. The Skinner Community is so proud!

Fall Sports: Skinner Cross Country

The Skinner Cross Country team finished its 2012 season with amazing sprint to the end! This year we welcomed new runners to the team, who added team spirit and spunk. Our returning runners supported and led the team like solid veterans. Among the highlights of the season was when our athletes participated in the Slavins’ Invitational race, where our team competed with more than 700 other runners, ran a course that consisted of hills and stream crossings and got autographs from Olympians. Coach Winter would like to congratulate all the kids who came out to each practice and gave their all as they set personal goals and made new friends. When Coach Winter asked the team their favorite moment from the season, William Shevlin, 8th grader, stated, “One word describes my favorite moment, everything!”



10/29: Spanish Language Information Night at Skinner

This Monday, October 29th from 6:00 to 7:30 pm is Skinner’s Language Program Information Night. Prospective families who are interested in learning more about Skinner’s comprehensive Spanish Language instruction should plan to attend.

Skinner Middle School has a strong and robust Spanish Language program dedicated to building students’ Spanish language skills whether they are a beginning Spanish learner or heritage speaker.  Skinner offers two different tracks based on individual student placement or prior Spanish language experience.

At the info night, prospective Skinner families will hear from Skinner’s two full time Spanish teachers as well as several current Skinner students enrolled in different Spanish classes.

Hope to see you there!

Halloween Dungeon of Terror – Oct. 30th

Ghosts and goblins, monsters and mummies!  Join the Skinner Teen Ambassadors for their 12nd annual Dungeon of Terror on Tuesday, October 30th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Skinner Middle School Neighborhood Center.

A Halloween party to remember, you’ll find a haunted house, games, a costume contest with prizes, snacks and fun with friends.  This is a family friendly event with activities for kids of all ages.  Adults are free with kids 18 and younger $1 each.

Don’t miss a safe and fun way to celebrate Halloween!

WHAT:   Halloween Party

WHEN: Tuesday, OCtober 30th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Skinner Middle School Neighborhood Center – enter BEHIND the building at 41st and Knox Court

WHO:      Families and kids of all ages


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