Final MindSpark Update

NWBOCES Final MindSpark Update
Posted on 08/02/2022
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At our April meeting, all of the participants were divided into two groups and each group was sent on two field trips. One group was sent to Warren Tech in the morning and the CSU Spur Campus in the afternoon. The other group was sent to Farmbox Foods and Embark Education.

image is of the inside of a greenhouseWarren Tech is a Career and Technical School, spread over 3 campuses serving Jeffco Public Schools but it is far from

image is of student using 2 screens to design a video game

your average public high school. It encompasses 11th & 12th grades only  and students are accepted via a lottery system. Students who attend Warren Tech must continue attending their regular high school for half of each school day to complete the standard graduation requirements. During their half days at Warren Tech, students spend their time earning industry certificates in their chosen

image is of model of human used for practice in medical scenariosimage is of doll heads used for practice by aspiring cosmotologists

field, from which there are over 35 programs to choose.

They range from Aircraft Maintenance Technology and Horticulture to Cybersecurity and Video Production.

The members of our team who toured this school were thoroughly impressed with the school and the students we met who embodied the spirit of independence  and agency over their own futures!

Image is of tour group at Spur Campus

The Colorado State University Spur Campus is located in the reimagined National Western Center which is best known for

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hosting the National Western Stock Show. At CSU Spur Campus, the name of the game is community engagement and

image is of giant model cat at the Spur Campuseducation. By showcasing the ingenuity, technology and culmination of effort from the students and teaching staff at CSU, the Spur Campus is a place for learning and experiencing the advancements in horticulture, agriculture and veterinary medicine. We toured the Vida: Animal & Human Health division of the campus where visitors can watch routine veterinary surgeries, equine physical therapy and hippotherapy sessions (human physical and occupational therapy using horses).


FarmBox Foods is a company that builds climate-controlled container farms for the purpose of providing sustainable food sources for communities in need around the world. Their options for container farms include vertical hydroponic farms, gourmet mushroom farms and the soon-to-be released hydroponic fodder farm. During our tour of the facilities we were invited to handpick some of their gourmet mushrooms to sample. The technology they use to grow the maximum amount of food in a minimum amount of space is cutting edge. Many cities and rural communities in drought-ridden areas can use this technology to grow sustainable food and fodder for humans and livestock alike. It’s very exciting to imagine how this innovation will help solve the food scarcity issue the world is facing. 

The School at Embark is a micro middle school in North Denver that is embedded in two small businesses. The students learn hands on, the ins and outs of operating a coffee shop and a bike repair shop. Their curriculum is integrated into the businesses so they can apply what they learn in real time. Students use the bike and coffee shop businesses both as jumping off points for problem based learning and to learn business and work related skills.  

The point of these field trips during MindSpark was to consider how innovation and risk taking in businesses and schools can lead to better results for all.  As BOCES moves through our recent transition and is evolving to better meet the needs of our community, these entities helped showcase how creative thinking and innovative problem solving can move an organization forward. 

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