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Vanderbilt Peeks At Creek: From the Smokies to the Rockies, Creative Partnership and Commitment

Peabody College of Education   and Cherry Creek School District

The Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) is working with the Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University to build bridges for the educators and counselors of the future. Cherry Creek chose Vanderbilt Peabody because of their commitment to excellence in developing transformative educators. You can learn more about Vanderbilt Peabody or refer aspiring educational leaders by visiting the website.

Beginning in 2020, the district will host five to eight students from Vanderbilt Peabody for an immersive, 6-day exploratory visit through a new partnership, “Vanderbilt Peabody Peeks at Creek.” Students pursuing their master’s degree in education and those enrolled in counseling programs at the university will be welcomed to the Cherry Creek School District, which spans 108 square miles across the Denver metro area. These students will have the chance to attend an interactive job fair, meet directly with principals and administrators, and tour a district that comprises 42 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, 8 high schools, 1 magnet school, and 3 charter schools. The district also includes the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus, a state-of-the-art facility designed to connect high school students with career and technical education for the 21st century. At the end of their visit to CCSD, Vanderbilt Peabody students will have skills, experience, and personal connections that will help pave the way to a career in education. What’s more, they will head back to the Peabody campus as ambassadors for the Cherry Creek School District and firsthand witnesses to its dedication to excellence.

“We’ve realized that our recruitment efforts need to change,” said Joy Ross, director of human resources for the Cherry Creek School District. “We think that we will benefit from creating real partnerships and relationships. We have the chance to expose Peabody students to the culture of Cherry Creek Schools, and also to Colorado. It’s a chance to let them see our state as a place where they could work, live, and thrive.”

 The connection between Vanderbilt Peabody and Colorado is hardly new. I have been in contact with dozens of Vanderbilt alumni in the metro area, a group that includes former CCSD Superintendent Monte Moses. The partnership with Vanderbilt Peabody aligns with the Workforce Excellence priority in Cherry Creek Future Forward, the district’s roadmap to maintaining excellence well into the future. By working to ensure that Cherry Creek Schools attracts the next generation of diverse, committed and qualified educators, the district is working to maintain a commitment to excellence that stretches back almost 70 years.

“Making these connections with the future educators from Vanderbilt Peabody is an innovative way to keep true to our values. We know the only way to maintain excellence for our students is to recruit dedicated, passionate and skilled teachers and counselors,” said CCSD Superintendent Scott Siegfried. “Vanderbilt Peabody’s legacy of educational excellence aligns perfectly with our goals as a school district. I’m so excited to welcome these students, who can serve as ambassadors for our district and hopefully see themselves as part of our community.”  

The Vanderbilt Peabody students’ visit in February 2020 will kick off with a visit to the district’s job fair, an event that features interactive meet-and-greet sessions with principals and administrators, as well as breakout sessions, roundtable discussions, and representatives from the Colorado Department of Education. Students will follow up with a comprehensive tour of district schools and facilities, as well as a day devoted to fun-filled outdoor activities around Colorado.

“This is very exciting. My seatbelt is fastened!” said Sharon Shields, associate dean for professional and graduate education at Peabody College. Vanderbilt Peabody students will apply for the visit, and those selected will be eligible for financial support. Barnes & Noble bookstore has committed to hosting a book fair to raise funds for the students, and the district will partner with Peabody to provide student subsidies.

According to Ross, the goal is to send off students at the end of the visit with a sense of belonging, purpose, and welcome. “We want to convey the message that there’s a spot for dedicated educators in Cherry Creek Schools,” she said. “We want to make connections.”


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