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Vista Equity Funds Denver Public Schools’ Newest STEM SmartLab

Written by Bill Laurienti

Denver Public Schools celebrated its newest SmartLab at Montbello Campus with a ribbon cutting ceremony this week. Attending the ceremony were Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova, amongst other dignitaries.

The Montbello SmartLab was made possible with a generous grant from Vista Equity Partners, founded by billionaire Robert F. Smith, a Denver high school alumni. Smith made news this spring when, during his commencement address at Morehouse College, he pledged to pay off all graduating student loans. Funding the Montbello SmartLab continues his commitment to educational equity for minority students and underserved communities. 

Students at Montbello’s three schools, Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS), STRIVE Prep, and NOEL Community Arts School are already excited. SmartLab Facilitator Brent Laracuete said, “As soon as the kids come in their eyes light up … and they’re interacting and collaborating. There’s no time for anything except learning.” The Montbello SmartLab is the fifteenth Creative Learning Systems SmartLab in DPS. 

Bill Laurienti

Bill Laurienti is a Content Marketing Specialist at Creative Learning Systems. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education (English) from Colorado Mesa University and a Master of Arts in Secondary Teaching from the University of California's Rossier School of Education. Bill came to CLS after 10 years in the secondary classroom. He believes SmartLabs are important tools for engaging unengaged students and helping them access careers they might not otherwise have imagined.

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