Campus & Community

Campus K-8 school seeks to deepen partnerships with DU

Current Ricks Center students congratulate new graduates at the school's graduation ceremony last spring. Photo courtesy of the Ricks Center

Current Ricks Center students congratulate new graduates at the school’s graduation ceremony last spring. Photo courtesy of the Ricks Center

Students at DU’s Ricks Center for Gifted Children take full advantage of their location on a college campus, performing school plays at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, taking gym class at the Coors Fitness Center, researching projects at the Anderson Academic Commons and enjoying access to experts across multiple fields.

When they return to their classrooms, Ricks Center students are encouraged to use their experiences on campus to make connections across subject areas, ask questions and investigate the world around them — all under the supervision of a well-trained teacher.

“Ricks Center students have a deeper learning experience because they are on a college campus,” says Amy Jacobs, admissions and outreach coordinator at the Ricks Center. “Being on DU’s campus allows for expanded opportunities for the students that would not be possible if we were not located at a university.”

Since joining the Ricks Center in 2013, Director Dan Cohen has been working to deepen the ties between DU and Ricks. In spring 2015, an advisory board was established, including a DU Connections committee.

“This committee will reach out, across the University, to bring lecturers to Ricks and identify areas of potential collaboration,” Cohen says. “In the past, [we have had] teachers who hosted guests from different DU departments, depending on what their theme was. We want to ramp up this program, giving students more access to leading experts in the topic area being taught.”

The presence of a K–8 school on campus also means opportunities for University of Denver students, particularly graduate students at the Morgridge College of Education.

“Graduate students in school psychology and teaching are able to go to the Ricks Center and implement the theories and best practices they have been learning in Morgridge classrooms,” says Karen Riley, dean of the Morgridge College. “Morgridge students have student-taught at the Ricks Center, and school psychology students have completed their internships at the Ricks Center in the past. Dan Cohen asked us to use the Ricks Center in our program evaluation course in spring 2015. There are areas for more regular and deeper collaboration that we are exploring for the future.”

Cohen agrees, saying he sees the relationship between the Morgridge College and the Ricks Center getting deeper over time.

“The Ricks Center and the Morgridge College are committed to meeting the needs of gifted and talented students — intellectually, emotionally and socially,” he says. “Through continued collaboration and joint programs, we will secure this expertise for years to come.”


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