At Compass, we utilize a human-centered design approach to Venture Project design. This process offers our students a chance to deeply understand the communities we wish to serve, to truly understand what is at the heart of a given problem, to design with those who may face the challenges we attempt to solve, to dream up scores of ideas, and to create innovative, thoughtful solutions that are grounded in our community’s needs.
The CCC Difference
Individualized, community-engaged learning is at the heart of the Compass Community Collaborative School difference. Our model puts students in the driver’s seat of creating work that matters to them and their community, while challenging them to apply their knowledge and creativity across many subjects.
Each school year students complete at least eight ventures (two per quarter), which are deep academic explorations with real-world applications. These may be a combination of teacher-designed, student-designed, and community-inspired ventures. All are interdisciplinary and meet state academic standards for a variety of core disciplines, including art, health, and physical education. Students are challenged to continuously reflect on their mastery of the seven Compass Competencies (future-ready skills) as well as Colorado and international academic standards. Presentations of Learning (student-led conferences) are evaluated by the student’s 360 team once or two times per year, but students are given regular feedback over the course of each Venture. Each quarter of the school year students and staff host public Exhibitions of Learning.
Newer students work in and around the school and choose from among teacher-led ventures to develop the skills to manage their learning. Experienced CCC students who have demonstrated required academic and skill competencies take the lead in designing ventures, take college-level classes, and intern with local businesses in career fields in which they are interested.
Community Partner Projects
Additional ways that we are breaking down barriers between school and community include monthly Community Conclaves, on-site seminars, and our monthly “Lunch and Learn” programs. Community Conclaves are special evening events in which businesses, students, and citizens with ideas for Compass ventures, or particular problems they are concerned about solving, pitch their ideas to the Compass community to develop opportunities for collaboration. On-site seminars are weekly opportunities for students to explore interest areas and are hosted by staff, student groups and community members. “Lunch and learn” presentations focus on various topics of interest to students and their families and are open to the public.