Skinner Dominates the Awards Podium at the 2014 DPS District Science Fair

Last Saturday January 25, 2014, Skinner Middle School sent 9 students to The District DPS Science Fair.  Over 100 students from all over the city attended to compete and present their projects.  Skinner Scholars had a strong showing winning 5 of the 9 awards.  The Skinner Community is so proud of the following students:

8th Grade:  Avery Ahern, 3rd Place “The Effect of Light Color on Visibility in Whiteout Conditions”

7th Grade:  Derek Graves, 2nd Grade “Does the Changes in Helmet Type Effect the Force Felt by the Melon?”

7th Grade: Olivia Spetnagel and Kaydee Koch, 3rd Place “The Effect of Sweet and Salty Foods on the Heart Rate of 7th and 8th Grade Females”

6th Grade:  Isla Anderson, 2nd Place “The Effect of Amputation Location on Earthworm Regeneration”

6th Grade: Esther Cornish and Lilli Gregg, 3rd Place  “The Effect of Radiation on the Growth of Radishes”

Debbie Turner, DPS Science Fair Program Manager had this to say, “I give a lot of credit [for the results] to an enthusiastic, cohesive and dedicated [Skinner] science department who have high expectations for their students.”

Agreed, and thank you Skinner Science Teachers for creating an environment of that brings out the best in all of its students.

Science Fair '14





Lady Scorpions Meet the CU Women’s Basketball Team

CU bball3

After a fun night of cheering CU to a win over Arizona, the Skinner athletes were shocked to also meet the players and get autographs. “Not only did the students get to experience a college game in a college venue, our Skinner Scholars were invited to meet the Lady Buffs and talk to them about college and sports!  The trip completely exceeded my expectations,” Skinner’s Coach Frahm boasted.

“Our girls were welcomed onto the court to form a tunnel for players as they were introduced before the game.  During the game, our players watched the action carefully, studying the athletes’ execution of a defensive zone, fast breaks, and half-court offense. They erupted in cheers every time a three point shot launched t-shirts into the crowd,” said Coach Frahm.

After the final buzzer sounded, sealing CU’s 68-47 win over Arizona, a few girls ventured down to the court to ask players to sign posters. To their surprise, the players invited them to wait outside the locker room to meet them after the post-game meeting!  One by one, players emerged and chatted with our girls as they provided autographs.  Our Lady Scorpions asked questions like:  “Where are you from?” “Why did you choose to come to Boulder?” “What’s college like?” and “What advice do you have for improving at basketball?”

Said 7th Grader Amelia Gardner, “It was really cool to watch how well they played.  All of the players were really nice and they gave us great tips.  I’m definitely going to try for an athletic scholarship for college.”

The CU players gamely answered all questions. As for tips, the players suggested honing ball handling skills, practicing every day, and playing with boys as often as possible.  On the drive back to Denver, the girls chatted excitedly about how amazing it would be to play college basketball.

Tickets to the January 25 game were provided by Ralphie’s Kids Roundup, a program that offers opportunities for kids (8th grade and under) to experience college sports at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Doctor or Dentist? Skinner Students Get Hands on Experience at University of Colorado

cu-med2If you think the day ends at 2:45 for Skinner Scholars, think again.  Last Saturday, 46 students who participate in the College 4YOU program traveled to University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus for a day of hands-on health-related activities.  Students started the day with a discussion of college life followed by a trip to the dental school.  Each student had their own lab station, where they learned about dental hygiene and corrective procedures.  Every student had the opportunity to clean, drill, and add sealants to a model tooth.

Skinner 7th grader Carlene Beaton was inspired by this day and can one day see herself in a medical profession.“I got to learn about how to be a dentist, it was so fun we actually got to seal a tooth.”

Next, Skinner students learned about “simulations” and the importance of them in the medical field.  They used this knowledge to play doctor to a series of “dummy patients” who communicated through a walkie-talkie to a frantic relative.  Our Scholars soon understood the importance of making life-saving decisions in a chaotic work environment.


Students were energized, focused, and had tons of fun.  Many expressed interest in medical careers and followed up with staff from Anschutz.   How amazing is that.

Skinner’s Neighborhood Center ‘s College 4YOU Program provides students with an opportunity to learn about prospective careers, understand and experience different post-secondary institutions, and the learn about the college application process.  All of the students gain insight into college life one Saturday per month by visiting various colleges in Colorado.

Skinner Excellence – 6th Grade Teacher Wins Prestigious Coaching Award

imageMs. Frahm Receives the CenturyLink Leadership in Coaching Award

Jessica Frahm, Creative Writing and 6th grade Language Arts teacher, and Scorpions Softball and Girls’ Basketball coach received the CenturyLink Leadership in Coaching award at the Colorado Avalanche game on January 10.  Coach Frahm was presented with a giant $1,000 check for Skinner Athletics and many of the Skinner teaching staff as well as Coach’s Frahm’s mom, visiting from out of town, were able to attend the game to help celebrate her award.

Sarah Poellet, 7th grade Math teacher and her co-coach, nominated Coach Frahm for the award.  Below are excerpts from Coach Poellet’s nomination:

When the bell rings at the end of the school day and teachers everywhere are collapsing in exhaustion at another day done, Coach Frahm switches into her mesh shorts and Skinner t-shirt and finds her whistle.  Coach Frahm is outstanding in the way she focuses on each of her players as not just players, but as players, students and people all at the same time.  While most practices start with stretching or sprinting, Coach Frahm starts her practices off in her classroom with all players completing 25 minutes of study hall time.  With Coach, school comes first.  Following that, a practice full of smiles and hard work ensues that leaves her players tired, but asking for more.

Coach Frahm has the amazing ability to not only impart fundamental skills of the sport to her players, but also life lessons.  One student in particular epitomizes the effect her coaching has on the student athletes at Skinner Middle School.  This student in 6th grade struggled to focus in class and often had weeks’ worth of missing homework assignments.  Coach Frahm took this player under her wing and used sports to encourage the student to figure out how to be successful in school AND sports.  There were ups and downs, but through it all she never gave up on the student.  Flash forward two years and the student is now an 8th grader at Skinner.  The 6th grade teachers barely recognize the student as she is the first to get her homework turned in and is the star athlete of the school.  This is all in thanks to the never ending efforts of Coach Frahm.  To Coach Frahm, it’s not about winning every game, but instead getting better every game. 

About the CenturyLink Leadership in Coaching Award:

CenturyLink is excited to team up with the Colorado Avalanche this season to recognize outstanding Colorado coaches with the CenturyLink Leadership in Coaching Program. Students, parents and faculty members can nominate a coach from any public or private school in the state of Colorado.  Monthly winners will be recognized at Avalanche games from January to March.


Science Fair – A Strong Academic Showing for Skinner

skinner sci fair winners 13-14 and staffA hearty congratulations to the 2013 Skinner Science Fair participants.  Participation at the fair was its largest to date with close to 200 students participating. Skinner welcomed over 45 community members who served as Science Fair judges.  As Skinner Scholars explained and defended their projects, judges had the extremely difficult task of choosing winners due to the caliber and quality of the projects presented.

The winning students and their projects advance to the DPS Science Fair Saturday, January 25 at the Denver Zoo.  DPS sixth grade – high school winners will then move on to compete in the Denver Metro Regional Science Fair, held March 5–6, 2014, at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  We will keep you posted if any of our Skinner Scholars advance on to the next level. We wish all of the winners the best of luck!

Please see below for a list of the winners and projects.

6th Grade

1st Place:  Isla Anderson, “The Effect of Amputation Location on Earthworm Regeneration”

2nd Place:  Owen Buffington & Sam Vogl, “The Effect of Different Chemicals on Melting Ice Over 20 Minute Periods”

3rd Place:  Esther Cornish & Lili Gregg, “The Effect of Radiation on the Growth of Radishes”


7th Grade

1st Place:  Derek Graves, “Does the Changes in Helmet Type Effect the Force Felt by the Melon?”

2nd Place:  Dorian Earnest, “The Effect of Different Materials on the Transfer of Energy”

3rd Place:  Kaydee Koch & Olivia Spetnagel, “The Effect of Sweet and Salty Foods on the Heart Rate of 7th and 8th Grade Females”


8th Grade

1st Place:  Avery Ahern, “The Effect of Light Color on Visibility in Whiteout Conditions”

2nd Place:  Max Buchanan, “The Effect of the Boiling Time on an Egg on the Thickness of the Egg White/Yolk (The “Perfect” Soft Boiled Egg)”

3rd Place:  Glenn Holzhauer, “The Effect Quantity of Bucky (Magnet) Balls has on the Distance at Which Another Bucky Ball Attracts – in Centimeters”



Skinner Drama Night: Tuesday, 12/17

Skinner DramaTuesday, December 17 at 6:30 p.m., the Skinner Drama Club will be performing six short one-act plays:

One Apple Short of a Full Barrel,  Tis Not Me She Loves,  Bank Withdrawal Symptoms,  The Bagel Club,  The Celebrity and, Don’t Play Games With Me

This fall’s Drama program, led by Annabelle Allen, one of Skinner’s Spanish teachers, has an impressive cast of 43 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students.  If you have seen a Skinner Drama production in past years this one will not disappoint.

Please show these talented Skinner students your support by attending.   Admission is free of charge.


Spelling Bee is ‘A Buzz’!

Spelling bee 001Today three Skinner students represented Skinner at the DPS 1st Interschool Spelling Bee.

Three Skinner scholars, Ava McCormick, Daniella Couture and Nicolette Couture,  participated in the DPS regional spelling bee on Dec. 12. These students have been practicing at home and after school on Thursday nights at the Neighborhood Center with their coach, Mrs. Davis. Words were chosen from Scripps National Spelling Bee lists.

The Skinner team will compete again on January 30th in the districts second regional bee, then in the city written test on February 12. Elimination rounds begin after this bee. Please congratulate our spellers for having courage to participate in their first bee and for taking their own time to study difficult words.

Good luck to all three of these young ladies in the next stages!

Science Fair Night – Monday 12/9

There is a big event on Monday 12/9  at 5:30…  The Skinner Science Fair Night.

Please join the Skinner students as they practice their presentations the night before the school wide science fair is judged.  Come and view the work our Skinner students have accomplished over the last month.  All of the students have spent countless hours preparing for their final project.  Come if you are a parent, community member or a future Skinner Scholar and want to check out some amazing Science Fair experiments.  Here is a preview of some of the eighth grade experiments conducted:

Light Color vs. Visibility in Whiteout Conditions

Gender vs Precision When Hanging a Poster

Gender vs. Ability to Detect Lies

Type of Athletic Ball vs. the Ball’s Speed

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 Monday night at 5:30 p.m.!

In addition, there will be representatives from the Urban Advantage Institutes which will
offer live animal exhibits and other scientific hands-on activities.






“High Five” Skinner

Kids in gownsHave you heard about the new volunteering initiative at Skinner?  Studies show that the more parents and guardians are involved in their children’s education, the more successful their children will be.  We want to help Skinner students live up to their greatest potential, and we are starting a “High Five” campaign.  Families who participate at least five hours will be recognized at the end of the school year.  Volunteering also takes the form of participation.  You can volunteer/participate in the following ways: attend a student-led conference, bring food for teachers on occasions they stay late at school, help with the science fair, help set up an event and/or work at the event, put student work up on walls for teachers, etc.
Skinner is adopting a program called “Help Counter” that will help track hours and will give you information on which activities are available to you.  If you filled out a volunteer form at the beginning of the school year, your information is now available on Help Counter and you are able to begin clocking hours.  You can do so in the office at Skinner or you can do it from home.  You can access Help Counter from home by going to

Thank you in advance for making Skinner the best middle school it can be.

Eat at Chipotle, Support Skinner

200px-Chipotle_Mexican_Grill_logo.svgEat at Chipotle to Support Skinner Scholars

On Monday, November 18th, you can enjoy dinner at Chipotle while also supporting our Skinner Scholars.  Just come into the Highlands Chipotle on 32nd & Lowell between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm, order your meal and mention Skinner Middle School to the cashier.  Chipotle will donate 50% of your bill to Skinner. Proceeds will go toward sending Skinner Scholars to Washington, D.C. in May.  What a tasty way to support our school!


Cheer For Skinner!

photo 1This year’s cheerleading squad is one of the strongest we have had yet.  Not only do we have a strong team of 13 cheerleaders, but we also have a team of three incredible coaches.  Our head coach, Emily Skrobko, has been coaching Skinner’s cheerleaders for the past 3 years and has numerous years of experience prior to Skinner. Mary Overton has a background in dance.  Her experience includes many years of teaching all styles of dance as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts with a concentration in Dance.  This year, Skinner is lucky to also have the expertise of Cynthia Stockstill.  Cynthia has been coaching cheerleading for seven years with concentrations in tumbling and stunting.  She is excited to be working with Mary and Emily and to see the girls’ skills progress this year.  If you saw a Skinner Football event this fall you had a chance to check out Skinner’s Cheerleading squad in their element.  We hope you agree, they are amazing!

Mary Overton – Spanish Teacher and Cheerleading Coach

Skinner Continues to Make Growth


Skinner SPF and TCAP News

For the 3rd year in a row, Skinner received a Green or “Meets Expectations” rating in the DPS 2013 School Performance Framework (SPF) rating system.  The SPF is a comprehensive annual review of a school’s performance and its impact on student learning.  The SPF takes two years of data into account as well as multiple measures including:  student achievement, student growth, parent satisfaction and student engagement, reenrollment and retention.

Transitional Colorado Achievement Program (TCAP) testing occurs in the spring and is the State of Colorado accountability system.  The data below references achievements of Skinner’s 2012-13 student body.

  • Median growth percentiles in math increased with an overall score of 65, up 5 from last year
  • Skinner’s 6th grade math median growth percentile posted at 72
  • Skinner has posted an increase in the percentage of students proficient in math since 2010
  • 7th grade writing posted an increase in proficiency by 8%
  • English Language Learners increased in writing proficiency by 17%
  • Skinner has posted an increase in the percentage of students proficient in science since 2009
  • Skinner has posted an increase in the percentage of student proficient in writing since 2009
  • Skinner is in the Top 3 of Overall Growth in Proficiency of any 6-8 program in DPS whether traditional, charter or magnet.
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