Chinook Trail Elementary School – 2007 to Present
Chinook Trail opened in the fall of 2007 bringing the total number of elementary schools in District 20 to nineteen, this including one charter elementary school. Chinook Trail is located in the Cordera subdivision at 11795 Grand Lawn Circle, near Powers Boulevard and Briargate Parkway. It is the only school in District 20, and the first elementary school along the Front Range, to create an elementary program offering Mandarin Chinese. Students in grades K-5 receive ninety minutes of Chinese instruction weekly. The Chinese teachers use an innovative combination of music, movement and technology to teach the language.
Chinook Trail Elementary is dedicated to “growing the cross-cultural mind and the international citizen within the neighborhood.” All staff members integrate various world cultures into student activities and lessons. Displays throughout the building include art artifacts and cultural relics from China, Egypt, Israel, Mexico, Japan and Russia, as well as Native-American artifacts which celebrate Colorado’s indigenous people. The school is decorated with ten art panels that either coordinate with curriculum or expand upon the multicultural theme of the school. Floor to ceiling chalk boards are found outside of classroom doors and in the art room, this providing an impressive space for teachers to creatively display student work, post theme decorations, or exhibit chalk art. In the center of the rotunda, there is a mosaic of the world with Colorado Springs identified by a red star. The mosaic is composed of several distinctive elements: a #2 pencil writing the letters a, b, and c represents literacy, numerals symbolize numeracy, and a calligraphy brush is shown creating the Chinese character for knowledge. Two additional six foot mosaics depicting the eastern and western hemispheres, also created by local artist Juanita Canzoneri, can be found outside on the sundial plaza. The entire face of the sundial is circular and is similar to the Chinese symbol for Yin Yang, this complementing the specialty offering of Chinese. The sundial lays claim to being the largest in the country. School-wide assemblies also offer a multitude of cultural experiences. The library contains bilingual materials in Chinese and English, while the district’s character education qualities of respect, courage, responsibility, compassion, hope, perseverance, honesty, excellence, citizenship, and integrity are beautifully written and presented bilingually in English and in Chinese calligraphy on a backdrop of bamboo scenery.
Technology was built into Chinook Trail Elementary from day one. The building houses a large computer lab of 30 desktops with high-speed internet, as well as two mobile labs of laptops that can be wheeled to any room. The PTA has also recently purchased a set of iPads for the students and teachers to use. Most classrooms contain two desktop computers and a listening center, and all classrooms are equipped with a ceiling mounted, state-of-the-art projection system, a DVD/VCR, Mimio technology for interactive, technological lessons, a document camera, and a phonic ear sound system. Staff members are provided with a laptop as well.
The students at Chinook Trail excel academically and socially. Chinook Trail is a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) school and teaches students to G.R.O.W.L. Chinook Trail was named a John Irwin School of Excellence 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 & 2017 by the Colorado Department of Education.