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'Design Manitou' class gives students real-world experience - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

'Design Manitou' class gives students real-world experience

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Students at Manitou Springs Middle School are getting the chance to contribute to the city's community in a different way. 

The projects, which range from creating a city flag to building a giant slide are even catching the eyes of local politicians. 

Students just ended the first trimester of the school year, so a new batch of students will be taking the class in the coming weeks. 

The course is taught by two teachers, Denise Stageman, an art teacher, and Dan Sieck, the teacher for SMARTE (science, math, art, research, technology, and engineering.)

For Stageman, she says she's really seen the students benefit beyond the classroom.

'It's really changed their lives, they [the students] really feel respected and some of them are interested in public service now because of the involvement,' said Stageman.

The teacher added that Mayor Nicole Nicoletta and City Planner Karen Berchtold have been a big part of the course. 

'Mayor Nicoletta has come to our class many times, she calls the kids directly, they email her, and she answers,' said Stageman. 

Stageman believes that the class will become a staple for years to come. 

'We feel like its, in education, it's kind of the way of the future is you give kids real experiences that they're going to have as adults.'

The class was divided into 5 groups to focus on various projects which included: planning a fundraiser for first responders, building a concrete slide extending from a play area in town to the school, developing a community center, and designing a flag for the city- which would involve an additional project of planning a celebration for the flag reveal. 

Stageman, says the class is also teaching the students the challenges that come with proposing and creating projects. 

'It's like the real world, that's the whole purpose of this class is to give kids a taste of the process of making things happen so that they feel like they're movers and shakers in getting things done,' said Stageman.

The teacher hopes all of the projects will become a reality, right now the flag design contest is in the works. 

'The kids just decided that it was one of those things that would unify the town,' said Stageman, 'initially they wanted to do the design themselves, then they discovered that it might be more accepted and bring everybody together if everybody was invovled.' 

If you'd like to submit a flag design, anyone can do so by submitting designs at the city clerk's office or by email at  designmanitou@mssd14.org

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