Greetings from Ellis Elementary School in Denver,
My name is Matt Brunsvold and I am from Apple Valley, Minnesota. I decided to do my student teaching out here in Denver for two main reasons: just for the change of scenery and to get experience teaching in an urban school environment. I had been completing field experiences at Wartburg in mainly private schools and a couple in neighboring rural public districts. I am originally from a suburban area and wanted to see the entire spectrum by living downtown in an urban area. Wartburg West is about as downtown Denver as one could get. Taking the bus north for ten minutes or around 14 blocks and it will drop you off right at the state capitol.
The school that I am placed at is named Ellis Elementary. I have had two placements in my time here at Ellis; the first being a 5th grade reading classroom and the second a 3rd grade math classroom. I spent seven weeks at my first placement in 5th grade where I was exposed to the diversity Ellis had to offer. Saying that Ellis is a wonderfully diverse school would almost be an understatement. In the school there are around 25 different native languages spoken by the students and the school right now has about a 68% ELL population, which I’m told is lower than in past years. Students that are identified as ELL are English Language Learners who are learning to speak English on top of the school’s curriculum. On top of the diversity of the school, there is the glaring issue of poverty. 93% of the students receive a free/reduced price lunch which is how the school’s poverty level is determined.
On top of all my teaching experiences, there are so many other things to be doing here. I was so excited that I got a chance to see the group Atmosphere perform at the first ever winter concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. The weather was freezing but the snow set against the mountain scenery made it all worth it. Other things I have been able to do include seeing 2 plays at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, going to Rocky Mountain National park and hiking around a frozen lake at 9,500 feet elevation, seeing the Denver Botanical Gardens, and go to a Denver Nuggets game.