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The RISE Fellows Program brought together educators from Red Rocks Community College, Jeffco Public Schools and Colorado School of Mines to integrate education with K-12 around sustainability, 21st century skills, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). RISE Fellows created a community of practice to share educational practices and to pilot new initiatives that inspire 21st c. learning and problem-solving for sustainability.

The RISE Fellows Program was generously funded by the Community First Foundation, made possible through the Leach Family Donor Advised Fund, from 2010-2013.

Projects and Events organized by Fellows 2010-2013:


Design and Sustainability at RRCC

The Engineering Club and RISE created Introduction to Design and Engineering Applications (IDEA) to introduce students to fields of engineering, design and sustainability. The hands-on course is available for credit through the Engineering Graphics Technology department. Students gain real world experience by designing a product and giving a presentation to a community or industry client. Projects use multidisciplinary teams, technical consultants from industry or CSM, and community or industry partners. Past projects have included an aquaponics system for the RRCC greenhouse, and a new sign for the College.

photo photo

STEM and Sustainability at Jeffco Public Schools

iSTEM and Sustainability at Bell Middle School

iSTEM (innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at Bell Middle School is a pilot program to equip students with the knowledge, skills and experiences that lead to creative problem solving for sustainable solutions through cross-curricular integration using Project-Based Learning Models (PBLs). RISE supports iSTEM in professional development and resource development.

Sustainability and Gardens-Based Education at Green Mountain Elementary

This project develops enrichment activities around science, gardening, food systems, and sustainability. The goal of the project is to connect K-6 students to real-life applications of STEM through place based learning in an after school program. The hands-on activities will engage learning on how food is grown locally and the benefits of it, connecting schools to community, and reaping the benefits of sustainable foods with education that extends beyond the classroom.

Creating a Center for Sustainability and STEM Education at Warren Tech

Warren Tech launched Sustainability and STEM Education by combining programs in Sustainable Energy and Design, STEM Academy and Construction. This project develops curriculum for programs for Jeffco-wide educational outreach on the energy vehicles. Watch video now.

Sustainability Wiki for Jeffco

This project develops curriculum for advanced high school math that will focus on projects involving active learning that relate to sustainability. See progress at

Engineering by Doing and Sustainability at Colorado School of Mines

Aqwatec at Mines Park and Senior Design

This project serves as an Engineering by Doing pilot for the College of Engineering and Computational Sciences at CSM. The goals of Engineering by Doing are to increase the depth of engineering learning via hands-on activities related to course work, enhance collaborations between CSM and RRCC, and create an environment where students from diverse backgrounds to learn from each other. RISE acted as a client for CSM senior design to design a renewable energy source to power 10% of total power to the AQWATEC water treatment site at Mines Park. CSM graduate students mentored, provided assistance by scoping the project and provided tech support to undergraduate students. A solar monitoring system was installed to capture real solar data.

Workshops and Events

Engineering by Doing RRCC/CSM Faculty Workshop
May 15-16, 2013, Colorado School of Mines

RISE partnered with College of Engineering and Computational Sciences to host a joint Colorado School of Mines/Red Rocks Community College faculty workshop on Engineering by Doing: Equity, Sustainability and Hands-On Learning.  This interactive workshop explored “Engineering by Doing,” an alternative curriculum currently being piloted in the College of Engineering and Computational Sciences and at Red Rocks Community College. Engineering by Doing (EbD) is proposed as a hands-on, design-oriented, project-based learning initiative that is inspired by best practices in engineering education.

Solar on Schools Youth Summer Camp, Red Rocks Community College
June 26-28, 2012

Students from Jeffco learned about renewable energy, science of solar, and related math through hands-on experiences as part of Jeffco’s Solar on Schools program.

Youth Summer Camp

Teaching Renewable Energy
April 20-21, 2012

RISE collaborated with NREL, Jeffco Public Schools and Golden Power Partners to provide teachers with hands-on training about solar and other renewable energy. Math and Science teachers from grades 4, 8, 9 and 11 designed curriculum aligned to Jeffco standards for teaching about the science and math applications related to solar energy. The workshop was part of Jeffco’s Solar on Schools, a program that installed solar panels on 30 Jeffco schools.

Teaching Renewable Energy

Funding for Teaching Renewable Energy workshops was provided by the National Science Foundation through RRCC’s Greening the Curriculum grant and Jeffco’s Solar on Schools Program.

RRCC/Jeffco/CSM Teacher Exchange Program and Workshop, 2011-2012

The Teacher Exchange Program facilitated the sharing of innovative educational ideas, strategies, and methods employed by faculty at Jefferson County Public Schools (JeffCo), Red Rocks Community College (RRCC), and the Colorado School of Mines (CSM).  The Program involved observing colleagues in their instructional roles, such as teaching course material, managing laboratory activities, interacting with students, assessing student work, etc. After the observations, faculty met in a workshop to discuss and exchange ideas and instructional strategies for education innovations.

RISE benefitted from the guidance and expertise of the RISE Fellows Advisory Committee. Members included:

John Anderson, Founder, Anderson, Mason, Dale architects

Michele Haney, RRCC, President

Colleen Jorgensen, RRCC, Vice President of Instruction, Instructional Services

Blanche Kapushion, Director of Gifted and Talented Program, Jeffco Public Schools

Dan Leach, Member, Red Rocks College Foundation Board

Ron Slinger, RRCC, Foundation

Roel Snieder, Colorado School of Mines, W.M. Keck Distinguished Professor of Basic Exploration Science
John Trefny, Professor Emeritus, Emeritus President, Colorado School of Mines

RRCC students meet with Colorado Aquaponics at the GrowHaus in Denver to learn about designing an aquaponics system.
RRCC students meet with Colorado Aquaponics at the GrowHaus in Denver to learn about designing an aquaponics system.

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