Innovation Scholars Program

Explore. Apply. Pursue!

The Kent Denver Innovation Scholars program empowers students to pursue self-directed exploration and learning as they prepare for life during and after college. Students are surrounded by a high-quality network of outstanding teachers, mentors and professionals who provide personalized coaching and encouragement.

"There are three types of student learning goals that our Innovation Scholars program supports: exploration, application and deep pursuit," says Michael Ehrenfried, Chief Innovation Officer. "Exploration is about exposure, for students wondering, What is this field all about? Application is about accomplishing a specific project, for students asking, How can this field help me accomplish this specific task? Deep pursuit is about immersion, for students asking, How does my interest in this field shape what I do?"

The Innovation Scholars program offers extraordinary educational experiences to Kent Denver students in grades 6–12.

A Different Approach to Learning

In the Innovation Scholars program, students are the initiators, architects and managers of their learning. They choose what to pursue and how deeply to engage. Students can participate in the program through our established tracks, or by developing their own.

Advisors help students begin their journey, explore initial projects, connect students with mentors, and draft an initial personalized learning plan. Currently, we have established tracks in technology, entrepreneurship, design and experimental research.

Students developing their own track are supported by divisional coordinators to achieve their learning goals.


A Framework that Empowers Students

Students participating in the Innovation Scholars program work with their track lead mentor to find an Institute advisor who supports the student as they develop personalized learning goals. Additionally, advisors advocate for students as they seek to find projects and experts inside and outside of our community.

For students whose learning goals include a deep dive into the field, Institutes in the Middle and Upper school offer an Innovation Scholar certificate at Middle School continuation and Upper School graduation. While certificate requirements vary in the different established tracks, an approved personal learning plan and a completed portfolio/presentation of learning should bookend the student’s experience.

The Innovation Scholars program does not have traditional assessment methods or grades. Instead students demonstrate their accomplishments through the creation of a portfolio covering five different areas. This portfolio contains artifacts representing five competencies: (1) engagement with fundamental concepts, (2) an established professional support network, (3) demonstrated impact in a community, (4) developed expertise in a focus area and (5) ability to narrate learning journey and personal learning style.

Innovation Scholars Staff

Michael Ehrenfried
Chief Innovation and Information Officer

Nick Weingardt
Upper School
Innovation Scholars Coordinator