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Buffalo Ridge sets bar for academic excellence

The fifth grade teacher team at Buffalo Ridge Elementary School collaborates to build lesson plans rich with rigor and relevancy to promote 21st century learners.

Article and photo by Elean Gersack

Buffalo Ridge Elementary School (BRE) has always prided itself on its talented and dedicated teacher base and warm and caring atmosphere. However, a new bar has been set for the school’s academic future, bringing new meaning to world-class education.

Principal Sarah McAfee has spent her first few months on the job bringing her team together to collaborate ways BRE can be a standout school in the district and beyond. She is passionate about children and wants to see to it that each child at BRE receives an education nothing short of extraordinary… and one they will remember for the next 40 years.

According to McAfee, BRE teachers, together with herself and Douglas County School District (DCSD) Elementary Chief Academic Officer Ted Knight, have been actively participating in professional learning communities to analyze and synthesize district Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum (GVC) and the world-class outcomes.

Teachers at each grade level are working together to build lesson plans that will take students into the future with not only a solid knowledge base but also an aptitude for critical thinking and deeper understanding.

“The purpose of the collaborative grade level learning opportunities is to continue professional dialogue and plan units of study that focus on rigor and relevancy for 21st century skills,” said McAfee.

As McAfee describes it, the foundation of learning is just the beginning. Layers need to be added by experiences and connections. Curriculum that encourages creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication is crucial.

DCSD developed the GVCs with world-class outcomes to allow students to be competitive in the world. “We are excited to give students at Buffalo Ridge an education that goes beyond just core knowledge that is common in the country and move towards providing an education that is going to encourage students to invent the future,” said McAfee.

During the course of this school year, McAfee and teachers at BRE will continue collaboration efforts and each month, one classroom’s journey to the future will be featured here in The Castle Pines Connection.

Buffalo Ridge Elementary School is located at 7075 N. Shoreham Drive in Castle Pines. For more information, visit



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