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Second grader Kiara Barney, 8, and fifth grader Hailey Sapanaro, 11, create a Czech Republic flag May 10 at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy in Falcon School District 49. While kindergarten-fourth grade students entered the academy's gymnasium, groups of fifth graders welcomed them to "European extravaganza." They encouraged them to visit their country-themed tables, where they'd present research and stamp "passports." The event started with classroom presentations of slideshows and magazine…

Second grader Kiara Barney, 8, and fifth grader Hailey Sapanaro, 11, create a Czech Republic flag May 10 at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy in Falcon School District 49. While kindergarten-fourth grade students entered the academy's gymnasium, groups of fifth graders welcomed them to "European extravaganza." They encouraged them to visit their country-themed tables, where they'd present research and stamp "passports." The event started with classroom presentations of slideshows and magazine…

Fifth grader Kelsey Brown, 11, explains Cyprus landmarks for second graders May 10 at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy in Falcon School District 49. While kindergarten-fourth grade students entered the academy's gymnasium, groups of fifth graders welcomed them to "European extravaganza." They encouraged them to visit their country-themed tables, where they'd present research and stamp "passports." The daylong event started with classroom presentations of slideshows and magazine projects.

Fifth grader Kelsey Brown, 11, explains Cyprus landmarks for second graders May 10 at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy in Falcon School District 49. While kindergarten-fourth grade students entered the academy's gymnasium, groups of fifth graders welcomed them to "European extravaganza." They encouraged them to visit their country-themed tables, where they'd present research and stamp "passports." The daylong event started with classroom presentations of slideshows and magazine projects.

A student writes down a chocolate pieces guess for fifth grader Oliva Linta, 11, who was explaining Belarus culture, May 10 at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy in Falcon School District 49. While kindergarten-fourth grade students entered the academy's gymnasium, groups of fifth graders welcomed them to "European extravaganza." They encouraged them to visit their country-themed tables, where they'd present research and stamp "passports." The event started with classroom slideshow presentations.

A student writes down a chocolate pieces guess for fifth grader Oliva Linta, 11, who was explaining Belarus culture, May 10 at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy in Falcon School District 49. While kindergarten-fourth grade students entered the academy's gymnasium, groups of fifth graders welcomed them to "European extravaganza." They encouraged them to visit their country-themed tables, where they'd present research and stamp "passports." The event started with classroom slideshow presentations.

Fifth grader Brooke Coleman, 11, explains Ukraine traditions May 10 at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy in Falcon School District 49. While kindergarten-fourth grade students entered the academy's gymnasium, groups of fifth graders welcomed them to "European extravaganza." They encouraged them to visit their country-themed tables, where they'd present research and stamp "passports." The daylong event started with classroom presentations of slideshows and magazine projects.

Fifth grader Brooke Coleman, 11, explains Ukraine traditions May 10 at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy in Falcon School District 49. While kindergarten-fourth grade students entered the academy's gymnasium, groups of fifth graders welcomed them to "European extravaganza." They encouraged them to visit their country-themed tables, where they'd present research and stamp "passports." The daylong event started with classroom presentations of slideshows and magazine projects.

Fifth grader Kaylyn Shay, 10, explains Italy landmarks and Roman history May 10 at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy in Falcon School District 49. While kindergarten-fourth grade students entered the academy's gymnasium, groups of fifth graders welcomed them to "European extravaganza." They encouraged them to visit their country-themed tables, where they'd present research and stamp "passports." The daylong event started with classroom presentations of slideshows and magazine projects.

Fifth grader Kaylyn Shay, 10, explains Italy landmarks and Roman history May 10 at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy in Falcon School District 49. While kindergarten-fourth grade students entered the academy's gymnasium, groups of fifth graders welcomed them to "European extravaganza." They encouraged them to visit their country-themed tables, where they'd present research and stamp "passports." The daylong event started with classroom presentations of slideshows and magazine projects.

Second grader Jameson Ferri, 7, receives a "passport" sticker after learning about Sweden with fifth graders May 10 at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy in Falcon School District 49. While kindergarten-fourth grade students entered the academy's gymnasium, groups of fifth graders welcomed them to "European extravaganza." They encouraged them to visit their country-themed tables, where they'd present research and stamp "passports." The daylong started with classroom slideshows and magazine…

Second grader Jameson Ferri, 7, receives a "passport" sticker after learning about Sweden with fifth graders May 10 at Banning Lewis Ranch Academy in Falcon School District 49. While kindergarten-fourth grade students entered the academy's gymnasium, groups of fifth graders welcomed them to "European extravaganza." They encouraged them to visit their country-themed tables, where they'd present research and stamp "passports." The daylong started with classroom slideshows and magazine…

Kindergarten-second grade teachers dance with the West African Dance and Drum Troupe during a cultural assembly Jan. 16 at Evans International Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. The four-person troupe from Dakar, Senegal, exhibited and explained West African traditions, such as songs, dancing, drumming, acrobatics and stilt-walking. During two assemblies, they quizzed the school's kindergarten-fifth grade students about Africa, testing their knowledge of its languages and…

Kindergarten-second grade teachers dance with the West African Dance and Drum Troupe during a cultural assembly Jan. 16 at Evans International Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. The four-person troupe from Dakar, Senegal, exhibited and explained West African traditions, such as songs, dancing, drumming, acrobatics and stilt-walking. During two assemblies, they quizzed the school's kindergarten-fifth grade students about Africa, testing their knowledge of its languages and…

Niancho Sanneh and Sandra Chase of the West African Dance and Drum Troupe dance during a cultural assembly Jan. 16 at Evans International Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. The four-person troupe from Dakar, Senegal, exhibited and explained West African traditions, such as songs, dancing, drumming, acrobatics and stilt-walking. During two assemblies, they quizzed the school's kindergarten-fifth grade students about Africa, testing their knowledge of its languages and countries.

Niancho Sanneh and Sandra Chase of the West African Dance and Drum Troupe dance during a cultural assembly Jan. 16 at Evans International Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. The four-person troupe from Dakar, Senegal, exhibited and explained West African traditions, such as songs, dancing, drumming, acrobatics and stilt-walking. During two assemblies, they quizzed the school's kindergarten-fifth grade students about Africa, testing their knowledge of its languages and countries.

Sandra Chase and Niancho Sanneh of the West African Dance and Drum Troupe dance with students during a cultural assembly Jan. 16 at Evans International Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. The four-person troupe from Senegal exhibited and explained West African traditions, such as songs, dancing, drumming, acrobatics and stilt-walking. During two assemblies, they quizzed kindergarten-fifth grade students about Africa, testing their knowledge of its languages and countries.

Sandra Chase and Niancho Sanneh of the West African Dance and Drum Troupe dance with students during a cultural assembly Jan. 16 at Evans International Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. The four-person troupe from Senegal exhibited and explained West African traditions, such as songs, dancing, drumming, acrobatics and stilt-walking. During two assemblies, they quizzed kindergarten-fifth grade students about Africa, testing their knowledge of its languages and countries.

Sandra Chase of the West African Dance and Drum Troupe dances with kindergarten-second grade teachers during a cultural assembly Jan. 16 at Evans International Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. The four-person troupe from Dakar, Senegal, exhibited and explained West African traditions, such as songs, dancing, drumming, acrobatics and stilt-walking. During two assemblies, they quizzed the school's students about Africa, testing their knowledge of its languages and countries.

Sandra Chase of the West African Dance and Drum Troupe dances with kindergarten-second grade teachers during a cultural assembly Jan. 16 at Evans International Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. The four-person troupe from Dakar, Senegal, exhibited and explained West African traditions, such as songs, dancing, drumming, acrobatics and stilt-walking. During two assemblies, they quizzed the school's students about Africa, testing their knowledge of its languages and countries.

Eleventh grader Nathan Sleeger, 16, provides a building tour Oct. 12, after a ceremony at Falcon Virtual Academy in Colorado Springs. The academy’s kindergarten-twelfth grade students can access more collaborative activities, such as tutoring, lessons and labs, due to renovations that transformed a 21,000 square-foot manufacturing warehouse into a blended learning center.

Eleventh grader Nathan Sleeger, 16, provides a building tour Oct. 12, after a ceremony at Falcon Virtual Academy in Colorado Springs. The academy’s kindergarten-twelfth grade students can access more collaborative activities, such as tutoring, lessons and labs, due to renovations that transformed a 21,000 square-foot manufacturing warehouse into a blended learning center.

Takuro Miyaschita, 15, of Fujiyoshida, Japan, selects foods from a school cafeteria during a cultural exchange Aug. 7 at Skyview Middle School in Falcon School District 49. Nearly 20 of the school’s eighth graders welcomed 17 students from junior high schools in Fujiyoshida. The Mount Fuji community formed a sister city relationship with Colorado Springs in 1962. This year, social studies teacher Gary Heaston helped connect students from both countries within a public school.

Takuro Miyaschita, 15, of Fujiyoshida, Japan, selects foods from a school cafeteria during a cultural exchange Aug. 7 at Skyview Middle School in Falcon School District 49. Nearly 20 of the school’s eighth graders welcomed 17 students from junior high schools in Fujiyoshida. The Mount Fuji community formed a sister city relationship with Colorado Springs in 1962. This year, social studies teacher Gary Heaston helped connect students from both countries within a public school.

Kindergarten teacher Shayna VanKooten greets new students Aug. 1 at Woodmen Hills Elementary School in District 49. Kindergarten teachers greeted parents and lined up children as everyone approached the building to start the 2014-2015 school year.

Kindergarten teacher Shayna VanKooten greets new students Aug. 1 at Woodmen Hills Elementary School in District 49. Kindergarten teachers greeted parents and lined up children as everyone approached the building to start the 2014-2015 school year.

Air Force Cadet Victor Lopez describes space travel for kindergarten-second grade students Feb. 22 at Evans International Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. More than 50 cadets arrived from the U.S. Air Force Academy to explain careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Lopez, a senior who plans to begin pilot training this summer, majors in astronautical engineering, one of six academic concentrations covered during the school's STEM Day.

Air Force Cadet Victor Lopez describes space travel for kindergarten-second grade students Feb. 22 at Evans International Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. More than 50 cadets arrived from the U.S. Air Force Academy to explain careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Lopez, a senior who plans to begin pilot training this summer, majors in astronautical engineering, one of six academic concentrations covered during the school's STEM Day.

Third grader Aiden Stephany, 8, helps his sister, Alana Stephany, 4, start her first day of kindergarten Aug. 1 at Meridian Ranch Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. At the elementary school's front door, faculty quickly greeting new and returning students, welcoming everyone to the 2013-2014 school year.

Third grader Aiden Stephany, 8, helps his sister, Alana Stephany, 4, start her first day of kindergarten Aug. 1 at Meridian Ranch Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. At the elementary school's front door, faculty quickly greeting new and returning students, welcoming everyone to the 2013-2014 school year.

Kindergarten teacher Elba Rushing, updates safety pins on a clip chart, moving them from green to blue, signifying a transition from "ready to learn" to "a good day," Aug. 1 at Meridian Ranch Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. The students had just arrived for their first day of the 2013-2014 school year. Rushing, previously a college professor for math, computer science and information technology courses, was starting her fourth year teaching at the elementary school.

Kindergarten teacher Elba Rushing, updates safety pins on a clip chart, moving them from green to blue, signifying a transition from "ready to learn" to "a good day," Aug. 1 at Meridian Ranch Elementary School in Falcon School District 49. The students had just arrived for their first day of the 2013-2014 school year. Rushing, previously a college professor for math, computer science and information technology courses, was starting her fourth year teaching at the elementary school.