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Unique Academic Programs at John F. Kennedy High School

Marine Biology: JFK is the only high school in Denver to offer marine biology, a course about the factors that influence the incredible marine environment. Students analyze the chemical properties of seawater, review the classification of organisms and examine plankton and other marine invertebrates. Additionally, students will learn about marine vertebrates, with a focus on the study of marine ecology, the interrelationship between marine organisms and their environment. Students will also learn about waves, tides and currents, and plate tectonics. Throughout the course, students will set up, monitor and maintain a saltwater aquarium.

JROTC: The mission of the JROTC program is to motivate young people to be better citizens. Students receive instruction in leadership theory and application, wellness, fitness and first aid, geography, earth science, citizenship, American history, firearm safety and rifle marksmanship. JROTC provides students with opportunities to be members of competitive drill and rifle teams, and to achieve success in various levels of leadership positions within the program. JFK’s JROTC unit is an Honor Unit with Distinction, limited to the top 10% of schools in the nation. JFK’s program is currently the largest in the state, and three of its drill teams are ranked regionally and nationally.

Career and Technical Education:  The school offers 3 CTE programs:  Construction Technology, High School of Business, and Energy and Engineering.  Kennedy was selected to be a part of the Youth Career Connect grant given to Denver Public Schools.  As such, a new pathway combining the Energy sector and Engineering fields is being created to meet the needs of the workforce needs of the state of Colorado.  This year, students in the program will be participating in Job Shadow experiences with local engineering and energy companies.

Performing Arts: JFK’s performing arts department is proud to offer drama, stagecraft, choir, band, orchestra, guitar, and choreography. Each course is constructed to teach music, theatrical and movement skills, and individual discipline, along with artistic and aesthetic knowledge in line with the current content standards. JFK also has a recently updated state-of-the-art auditorium. Parent involvement is critical to the success of the program, and is strongly encouraged.

Visual Arts: JFK’s visual arts department offers a rigorous, professionally led standards-based curriculum to all students. Classes provide meaningful and significant experiences that foster critical thinking, inspire creative self-expression, and develop a lifelong appreciation of the arts. Students have the opportunity to explore a variety of artistic mediums including ceramics, drawing, painting, and sculpture through beginning, intermediate, advanced, AP, and IB Diploma Programme Art classes. In addition, student artwork is proudly exhibited within the school and community throughout the entire school year.

American Indian Focus School: As an American Indian focus school, we are proud to offer support to enhance academic success for our American Indian students by bringing together students with a shared heritage and culture.

Wrap-Around Services at John F. Kennedy High School

ELA Programs: JFK is committed to, understands and ensures educational access for learning opportunities for English Language Learners. Our focus is to ensure access to effective curriculum and resources as students’ development English proficiency. JFK High School is a designated English Language Learner Focus School, which in turn allows us to build the school’s capacity to better serve the needs of English Language Learners and increase student achievement.

Special Education: Special Education services are available for students who have an up-to-date Individual Education Plan (IEP) and who have been identified with having learning, cognitive, emotional, physical, speech/language, hearing, vision and students with multiple disabilities. All students who receive special education services are eligible to attend regular education classes with modifications. Special education also offers the following classes in a modified setting: American Literature and Composition, Reading, Geography, Civics, American History, Algebra, Geometry, Earth Science, Work Experience and Study, Vocations and Transitions, and Resource/Study Skills.

Unified Sports: Similar to Special Olympics, unified sports pairs students with disabilities with typical students in various sports throughout the school system. JFK currently fields unified soccer, flag football and basketball teams. The Commander Unified Flag Football team has finished the last two seasons in second place statewide. Our basketball program also had a unique opportunity in 2012 to play a game at the Pepsi Center before a Denver Nuggets game. In addition, JFK participates in numerous Special Olympic events including track and field, basketball and soccer.

Denver Health School-Based Health Center: The JFK clinic allows students to receive care at no cost for any physical or other medical needs.

Sound Body Sound Mind (SBSM) Fitness Center: SBSM Fitness Center at JFK is open daily for student and employee use. Students can use the Fitness Center, and enjoy personal training, at no cost. Adult community members and DPS employees may join for
$40 per semester.

Parent Organizations: Commander Connection is JFK’s Parent-Teacher Organization. The group meets the last Tuesday of each month during the school year. Commander Connection provides all academic and athletic letters, bars and pins for letter jackets. They also sponsor the drug-and-alcohol-free After Prom Party and numerous staff appreciation activities. In addition, they give away over $3000 a year in scholarships to seniors. In general, the Commander Connection serves the school in countless and valuable ways.