Dawson Summer Initiative

Five-Week Thematic Session June 6-July 6, 2018

Applications for 2018 Dawson Summer Initiative are now closed.


Each year, high-achieving current sixth and seventh grade students from Boulder County and surrounding area public schools apply to a five-week, thematically focused summer session.
• Tuition-free opportunities for high-achieving students (currently in grades 6 & 7) to meet and work collaboratively with similarly motivated peers from many different schools
• Intensive, accelerated pace of study
• Extensive technological resources, including laser and 3D printers
• Programs geared specifically toward high-achieving and highly motivated students
• Exceptional teachers
• Introduction and exposure to local and national enrichment resources
Enrolled scholars create innovative and productive work that can lead to positive change in their communities, in the nation, and in our world through project-based, collaborative learning, leadership training, and development of creative ideas and solutions. 

In 2017, Dawson Summer Initiative examined existing systems around the world -- education, technology, government, economics, energy, and food resources -- in order to think about modifying or re-creating these systems for a new way of living. Experts in these fields educated scholars about current practices and where each field is headed. Scholars then combined their creativity, skills, and passion to explore possibilities for the future. Final scholar presentations included Unity in Diversity; a Bio-Barn Project utilizing methane from cows; Rethinking Wages; Robotic Bees; Politics Without Partisanship; Sustainable Underwater Biosphere; a look at aeroponics/aquaponics/hydroponics through Vertical Forms; food sustainability through Edible Insects; and Rethinking a Daily Heart Monitor.

In prior summers, scholars explored the following themes:
2016: Innovation & Impact: Change Through Creativity
2015: On the Move: Transportation, Globalization, Innovation
2014: Exploring the Digital Revolution
2013: Climate: Vital Signs of the Planet
2012: Food: Feeding Ourselves and the World
2011: Energy: Science, Society and the Powering of Our Planet
2010: Epidemic: Past and Present
2009: Water (at Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain, Las Vegas)

A Typical Day

The program runs from 9 a.m.-4 p.m, Monday through Friday. While there is no assigned homework, many students enjoy discussing, researching, and further exploring the themes of the day from home. 

For the first half of the program, students work within a single discipline: Inquiry, Analysis, and Communication. During the day, students collaborate with classmates and teachers, engage with our guest speakers, take a video course, and participate in a daily physical education/wellness class, giving students the opportunity to be outside and move around.  In the second half of the program, students are placed into multi-disciplinary project teams to identify and create projects that examine authentic solutions to local, national, and global challenges.

   CLICK HERE to see 'A Day in the Life of DSI' video created by 2017 scholars.


Applications are available from December 1, 2017, through February 5, 2018. (Please note: All applications will be read at the same time; this is NOT a first-come-first-serve process.) Applications will be due in February 2018, and decisions will be mailed to families in March 2018.

Attendance is mandatory due to the collaborative nature of the program.  The work is dynamic, fast-paced, and fun. Students also have the opportunity to take field trips and build a social network.
Please contact DSI with any questions:

Call us:  303-381-0444
Email us:  lmichael@dawsonschool.org