Dawson Summer Initiative

Five-Week Thematic Session June 3-July 3, 2019

For Summer 2019, our theme is Adapt: Thriving Through Change. While the world continuously adjusts to new conditions directly impacting the environment, food, economics, medicine, transportaion, and our digital footprint, how can we adapt and change life on Earth for a better future?

Experts in a variety of fields will share their knowledge and research, looking both at the choices that are impacting our changing landscape, as well as factors that may influence the outcomes in areas that include scientific innovation and social adaptation. Scholars will then be provided resources and an environment where they can combine their creativity, skills, and passion to explore possibilities for the future.


Program Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


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 2018, Dawson Summer Initiative examined the distribution of information in the digital age, both in terms of the opportunities it offers and the challenges it presents. Through discussions with the scholars, expert speakers cast light on the current and future directions of how we access and process the massive amount of information that impacts humans, human connectivity, and our daily lives. Scholars then combined their creativity, skills, and passion to explore themes relating to personal security, artifical intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, marketing, social media and mental health, and "fake news."

In prior summers, scholars explored the following themes:
2017: Fresh Start: Re-Imagining How We Live
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, 2018, through February 6, 2019. (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 2019, and decisions will be mailed to families in March 2019.

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