STEMCOMM 2013 | Developing Strong Partnerships for the 21st Century

STEM Leadership

Don Haddad

Don Haddad

Superintendent of Schools

Dr. Don Haddad was hired as Superintendent of Schools for St. Vrain Valley Schools in 2008. During his tenure, voters have passed two mill levy overrides ballot initiatives and a bond for new school construction, existing school renovations and a dramatic expansion of school technology and instructional programming. While Dr. Haddad has been superintendent, student scores and graduation rates have climbed and overall enrollment has grown rapidly. Over the past two years, the District has won the prestigious Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant and it was Colorado's only district to win federal Race to the Top funds. Dr. Haddad has overseen a period of consistently improving test scores and growing enrollment and he was recently named 2013 National Superintendent of the Year.

Regina Renaldi

Regina Renaldi

Assistant Superintendent of Priority Programs

Regina Renaldi is a dynamic force behind St. Vrain's push to close the achievement gap. She has spent her career focusing on school reform. Renaldi focuses on high need student populations, literacy and English Language Learning. She has been instrumental in securing SVVSD's $20 million in federal grants. Her passion for school improvement is unrelenting.

Patti Quinones

Patti Quinones

Executive Director of Innovation Programs

Patty Quiñones spent five years leading change at Skyline High School before recently being tapped to direct the Race to the Top grant programs. The transition to her new post will allow her to impact numerous schools.

"The opportunity to bring cutting-edge innovation at Skyline through the STEM and VPA Academies was exciting," said Quiñones. "I look forward to continuing my work on a larger scale to create student innovators at all levels in the district."

Our Successes

Race to the Top Grant

In December 2012, St. Vrain won $16.6 million in Race to the Top funds. The U.S. Department of Education chose 16 districts nationwide; St. Vrain was the only district in Colorado honored.

According to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, "Race to the Top grantees have shown tremendous leadership through developing plans that will transform the learning environment and enable students to receive a personalized, world-class education."

St. Vrain's application was praised for its plans to broaden STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), expand the school year, and mentor high-risk students.

The funds will support programs in 11 schools in the Skyline High School feeder system by developing STEM programs in all grade levels. Although Skyline already hosts a STEM academy, students in elementary and middle schools will be introduced to rigorous STEM programming, including inquiry-based problem solving, with the goal of improved graduation rates, improved postsecondary readiness and expanded learning opportunities.

The grant will also allow the district to create an Innovation Center at Skyline High where students "will be taking what they learn in STEM and applying that to solve real problems, while working with businesses like IBM," said Regina Renaldi, assistant superintendent of priority schools. This model of engaging students in team-based, hands-on, relevant project learning is a solid approach to making math and science concepts relevant to all learners.

St. Vrain's goal is to eventually develop a sustainable model that can be used district-wide and by other districts nationally.

Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant

In 2010, St. Vrain won a $3.6 million Investing in Innovation (i3) development grant with the highest score nationwide on its application.

The grant focuses on expanding programs for at-risk students in seven schools. This includes augmenting the school year at four elementary schools, targeting math students in selected middle schools and fully implementing the STEM Academy at Skyline High.

As part of the grant, SVVSD secured matching funds from private industry, including RidgeviewTel & IBM. A partnership with CU Boulder engineering department also added to the rich collaboration. These unique and powerful public/private partnerships have played a significant role in implementing real and measurable reform in many of our schools.

The Skyline STEM academy is now nationally recognized and the the unique collaborations with industry are a model other districts can follow.

St. Vrain is indeed seeing higher achievement, increased student participation in high-rigor courses and rising graduation rates. "i3 was the seed money," states Regina Renaldi, the driving force behind both the i3 and Race to the Top grants. "The Race to the Top grant is a way to finish what we started with i3."

Our Programs & Schools

Medical & BioScience Academy (MBSA)

Beginning Fall 2013, the Medical & Bioscience Academy at Longmont High School will offer rigorous college-preparatory curricula that prepares students for admission to post-secondary programs in medicine, research and allied health sciences.

In partnership with state universities, community colleges, and community business partners, students will experience challenging coursework, interact with health science professionals, develop hands-on skills through internships and apply technology to real-life problems.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects the health sciences field to experience significant growth in the next 10-20 years.

Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) Academy

Skyline High School's nationally recognized Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) Academy is designed to prepare students for the 21st century workforce. The STEM Academy is an innovative, technology-based curriculum where students learn to collaboratively solve problems through real-world projects.

Students have the opportunity to interact with professional scientists and engineers, and collaborate with local businesses and industry through job shadowing and internships.

The Academy has a unique partnership with the University of Colorado, Boulder, College of Engineering. CU engineering fellows serve as mentors working side by side with students. High performing students graduate from the Skyline High STEM Academy with guaranteed admission to CU's College of Applied Science.

The addition of a STEM Innovation Center will create an incubator setting as a bridge to industry and higher education. This will strengthen the student's portfolio and prepare students for admission to post-secondary and the workforce.

Spark! Discovery Preschool

Spark! Discovery Preschool is the first-of-its-kind early childhood school in St. Vrain Valley Schools. Opening in the former Frederick Elementary, in August of 2013, Spark! uses comprehensive preschool programming, with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

The mission at Spark! Discovery Preschool is through effective collaboration; we ignite creative thinking, innovation, problem solving, and discovery to encourage every young learner's curiosity and joy of life-long learning in order to influence an ever-changing world.

We envision our school to be a place where we:

Spark! is committed to the active engagement of children, as we believe all children must have opportunities to collaborate, grow, play, and explore. We believe that children, with their unique talents and gifts, have the potential to positively impact the world. Spark! Discovery Preschool is a place where creativity and risk-taking are encouraged, modeled, and celebrated.

Spark! Discovery Preschool, where we "illuminate young minds"!

Complete list of St. Vrain STEM related programs


  • Spark! Discovery Preschool – STEM


  • Timberline PK-8 – STEM


  • Alpine – STEM
  • Blue Mountain – Science, Technology, Inquiry
  • Centennial - MESA
  • Columbine – STEM
  • Erie – STEM
  • Fall River – STEM
  • Indian Peaks – STEM
  • Northridge – STEM
  • Rocky Mountain – STEM


  • Trail Ridge – STEM
  • Westview - STEM


  • Longmont – Medical & BioScience
  • Skyline – STEM Academy

Some of our Partners

University of Colorado
Boulder, CO

Engineering TEAMS Program

Phd Fellows work hand-in-hand with Skyline High School upperclassmen.

City of Longmont
Longmont, CO

SVVSD's Innovation Center Partnership

The city hires SVVSD students to develop apps for ongoing city functions.

Boulder, CO

Innovation Academy

As a co-sponsor, IBM's smarter planet initiatives propel elementary and middle school aged students' creativity and problem solving abilities.

Redlands, CA

Student Resource

Provide student internships, presentation opportunities, professional development, resources for GIS and business contacts.

University of Colorado
Boulder, CO

Computer Science Program (ECSITE)

Phd Fellows assigned to a teacher to provide professional development and projects for students in computation.

National Renewable Energy Lab

Innovation Center Partner

Working with students to transition "portal" software to use at the Innovation Center and will provide project ideas & mentoring.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Research Projects

Collaborating with students and teachers in scientific research projects.


Hackathon Sponsor

Facilitated a two-day Mobile App “Hackathon” for students in the St. Vrain Valley. Programmers from across the nation attended to mentor SVVSD students.

Boulder, CO

Hackathon Participant

Creator of "smart toy", Sphero, Orbotrix has participated in hackathons within SVVSD

  • Alliance for Climate Education (ACE)
  • Amgen
  • Boulder County Parks and Open SpaceBoulder Valley & Longmont Conservation Districts
  • Center for ReSource Conservation
  • Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education
  • CO State Forest Service
  • Cottonwood Institute
  • CU Biological Sciences Initiative
  • CU Science Discovery
  • DigitalGlobe
  • Eco-Cycle
  • Elevations Credit Union
  • Encana
  • Estes Institute
  • Front Range Community College
  • Green Schools Alliance
  • Growing Gardens
  • JILA Lab NIST/CU Boulder
  • Keep it Clean Partnership
  • The Kitchen Community
  • Longmont Area Economic Council
  • Longmont Power & Communications
  • McKinstry
  • NewMark Merrill – Village at the Peaks
  • NOAA
  • Pachamama Organic Farms
  • Red Idea Partners
  • Seagate
  • SparkFun
  • St. Vrain Manufacturing
  • Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch
  • Thorne Nature Experience
  • Time Warner Cable
  • UNC Monfort College of Business
  • University of Colorado School of Medicine
  • Up-a-Creek Robotics
  • VEX Robotics
  • Western Digital
  • Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center
  • Xilinx

"We love our STEM partnership with St. Vrain Valley Schools; especially working together to create engineering opportunities for youth. Engineers create the things that drive our quality of life and health of our planet; our future and state's economy will be brighter in the hands of your STEM students!"

Jacquelyn F. Sullivan, Ph.D., Associate Dean, CU Boulder College of Engineering

"The work being done in St. Vrain Valley School District is a great example of how schools and districts can build partnerships that create world-class education and training programs,"

Cecilia Munoz, Assistant to the President, Director of White House Domestic Policy

"IBM and St. Vrain Schools continued to grow their partnership during 2012 and 2013, in what has become a mutually beneficial relationship. We're looking forward to creating additional opportunities together in the coming years to prepare St. Vrain students for future success."

Pete Lorenzen IBM Colorado Senior Executive

Our Events

AT&T/SVVSD hackathon

In December of 2012, Silver Creek High School hosted the nation's very first high school invitational mobile apps 'hackathon'. The event was sponsored by AT&T and a number of other state and national corporate partners.

Hackathon - /haka, thän/ An event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects.

Get Involved