Cornerstone High School and Community College Partnerships and Outreach

About K-14 Outreach and Partnerships


Our goal is to strengthen our partnerships by providing teacher professional development to high school and community college instructors, expanding engineering design education into high school curriculum and improving community college transfer options.

We are looking to meet with new and returning high school teachers and community college faculty, school district STEM leaders, community college administrators (deans, department chair, etc.) to offer communities of practice and transparent pathways for  transfer and equivalency requests.

Engineering Design Curriculum Workshop

Pathways to Equivalency

Engineering Design Community of Practice

EcoSphere Innovation Challenge

Cornerstone Design K-14 Outreach Workshop

Workshop Details

Cornerstone Design at Mines hosts a three-day free summer workshop for Colorado high school and community college instructors who are interested in professional development in engineering design curriculum. This workshop is the required first step for instructors who plan to apply for future transfer or exemption credit for Cornerstone I (EDNS151), a required Core Curriculum course for all incoming Mines students.

Cornerstone Design I introduces students to human-centered design methodology to solve complex, open-ended problems using critical thinking and workplace skills, such as collaborative project management and professional communication. Participants in the workshop will be engaged in how to deliver Cornerstone I curriculum to reach the Cornerstone I Learning Outcomes.


2024 Workshop Information

Dates: May 28th – 30th
Time: 9am to 3pm daily
Location: McNeil Hall on Mines Campus
Returning faculty will have a shortened schedule (shortened schedule on May 29th)

For teachers from outside the Denver metro area, some funding is available to cover lodging. Please contact Yosef Allam at

Teachers who are interested in receiving CEU credit for participation, please contact Mirna Mattjik at

Pathways to Cornerstone Equivalency

Opportunities for obtaining equivalency, transfer credit and vetting experiences

Educators from High Schools and Community Colleges can work towards obtaining equivalency for Cornerstone Design I through four key steps outlined below. Equivalency is achieved by demonstrating proficiency in at least 80% of the Cornerstone I Learning Outcomes. Depending on the level of education at which equivalency is earned, students can either receive transfer credit or an exemption from Cornerstone I.

  • Equivalent transfer credit enables students to earn three college-level credit hours for Cornerstone Design I.
  • Equivalent exemption means students are not required to take Cornerstone I at the School of Mines, although they won’t earn degree credit for the equivalent work.

Educators who achieve equivalency for Cornerstone I (EDNS151) will guarantee that students earning a “C” or higher in their approved class earn equivalency through their transcript.

Educators’ Pathway to Equivalency in Four Steps

Attend Cornerstone Design K-14 Outreach Workshop at Colorado School of Mines
See above for information and registration

Create syllabus in alignment with Cornerstone learning objectives

Develop course curriculum to demonstrate alignment to Cornerstone Design I learning outcomes to include:

  1. Course Syllabus
  2. Course schedule demonstrating alignment of learning outcomes to lesson objectives
  3. Final Report
  4. Prototypes
  5. Presentations

Invite Cornerstone Faculty to observe major deliverables to include:

  1. Project proposal
  2. Final presentation

    Throughout the year, collect examples of student work for HIGH, MEDIUM, & LOW examples.

    Teacher submits an application with portfolio of teacher and student work to include:

    1. Teacher artifcacts including:
      • Syllabus
      • Schedule demonstrating alignment of lesson objectives to course learning outcomes
    2. Student artifacts showing high, medium, and low for each item:
      • Prototypes
      • Final report
      • Final presentation slide decks and/or videos
    3. Optional additions
      • Assignment guidelines and rubrics
      • Lesson plans and artifacts for learning outcomes that may be heard to demonstrate through other portfolio items

    Current students planning to attend Mines submit an individual application for equivalency.

    Future students who earn a “C” or better will earn equivalency through their transcript.

    Instructors and institutional leaders continue to engage through the Cornerstone Design K-14 Outreach Workshop and our Community of Practice.

    Defining Pathways to Equivalency

    Transfer vs. Exemption Pathways

    For individual student transfer and exemptions, please see our Course Exemption page. 

    NEW Community College Faculty Equivalency Request

    • Community College faculty member designs curriculum for EGT1110 or EGG1040 to meet Cornerstone Design I learning outcomes
    • Community College faculty must complete the exemption tasks and submit an application for review to earn equivalency.
    • If approved, any student that receives a C or better will receive transfer credit for Cornerstone Design I
      • Earn credit towards Colorado School of Mines graduation requirements
      • Do not need to take Cornerstone Design I

    NEW High School Faculty Equivalency Request

    • High School faculty members design a course around Cornerstone Design I learning outcomes.
    • High School faculty must complete the exemption tasks and submit an application for review to earn equivalency
    • If approved, any student that receives a C or better in the approved teacher’s course will receive exemption from Cornerstone Design I
      • No credit towards Colorado School of Mines graduation requirements
      • Do not need to take Cornerstone Design I
      • Students can use space in their freshman schedule to earn credit in topics of interest (ie minor, upper-level design courses, etc.)
    • Equivalency is awarded to the faculty member, not the institution.
    Community of Practice

    Better Together

    The Community of Practice (CoP) aims to maintain the momentum from the Cornerstone Design K-14 Outreach Workshop, providing a platform for workshop participants to continue developing and implementing their engineering design curricula. It fosters community building, information sharing, best practice exchange, and encourages equivalency attainment.

    After the Cornerstone Design K-14 Outreach Workshop, Cornerstone faculty will provide ongoing assistance to support high school and community college instructors who are working on course equivalency or need support towards improved engineering design curriculum. The CoP’s core group includes high school and community college outreach coordinators, our Cornerstone Director, the Director of K-14 Outreach and Transfer Relations, and the CoP coordinator. Please feel free to reach out to any of us with questions about the CoP, equivalency process, or the Engineering Design Curriculum Workshop.


    Community of Practice Coordinator: Mirna Mattjik
    High School Teacher Outreach Coordinator: Michelle Fisher
    Community College Faculty Outreach Coordinator: Cindy Athanasiou
    K-12 and Transfer Relations: Liz Cox
    Director of Cornerstone Design 1: Yosef Allam

    High School EcoSphere Innovation Challenge

    EcoSphere Innovation

    Colorado School of Mines strives to encourage and support future engineers and scientists to become creative leaders who can tackle important real-world problems. The EcoSphere Innovation Challenge is a competition where high school students produce socially conscious and eco-friendly engineering solutions to problems facing our society and planet today. Participating teams will be eligible to receive recognition and prizes for their innovative solutions to these complex problems.

    We invite teams of 3-6 high school students, grades 9-12, to identify a problem that affects the environment and/or society, identify stakeholders and subject matter experts to mentor them, and innovate an engineering solution to that problem. To qualify for the competition, teams must complete the following:


    1. Build a prototype of the solution in a school’s makerspace, classroom, or another supporting educational institution.
    2. Create a digital poster and submit a PDF of the poster to the competition website by May 3rd, 2024.
    3. Deliver a rehearsed seven-minute presentation using the digital poster and physical prototype to several judges and audience members at the EcoSphere Innovation Challenge.

    When: May 9th from 4-6pm
    Where: McNeil Hall on Mines Campus
    1400 Maple Street
    Golden, Colorado, 80401

    EcoSphere Resources for Teachers

    Students Looking at Rocks
    Google Drive Resources

    Teachers, need help with instruction? You can find templates, rubrics, and lesson material to support instruction. 

    Students working on 3D printers
    Funding Support

    Need help with funding for your prototype?

    Email Michelle Fisher to be considered for financial support. Include: School Name, Name of Class participating in EcoSphere Innovation Challenge, Number of students in class(es), Grade Level.

    Students working
    Workshop Support

    Interested in getting help from Mines Student Teaching Assistants in your classroom with things like Solidworks, Arduino coding and circuitry, or 3D printing?

    Email Michelle Fisher to develop a specially tailored worskhop for you and your students.

    Walking in Golden Colorado
    EcoSphere Innovation Challenge Submission

    Student teams must submit their digital poster here by May 3rd, 2024

    Thank you to our sponsors!

    Thank you to GarverUSA, our EcoSphere Innovation Challenge 2023 Sponsor for supporting high school student teams by providing materials and resources to build their design prototypes!

    Garver USA Logo
    icon of half an earth with trees and mountains