Steps to Success Montbello in Denver, CO

John Amesse Elementary School and the International School of Denver (ISD) are
in their second year of PATHS® implementation.

Jim McKenney is a PATHS® coach at John Amesse Elementary School in Denver, CO.  Jim says that having worked for several years in the Bronx and Denver and across all elementary grade levels, he has come to believe that social-emotional learning is the missing piece in education. The PATHS® program gives students and teachers a common language to recognize and regulate their feelings while learning valuable problem solving strategies!

Dawn Jackson is a 5th grade teacher at John Amesse Elementary School.  She was part of the pilot year for the PATHS® program last year when she taught 3rd grade.  This year she wanted to take a more active role in ensuring the programs success at her school so she chose to become a PATHS® coach.  Coaching has allowed her to grow as a teacher and mentor in her school.  

Dawn and Jim were recently recognized by Steps to Success Montbello, the organization that helped bring the PATHS® program to their school. They received Positive Recognition Community Awards for their PATHS® leadership. 


Facts about John Amesse Elementary School

Location:  Denver, CO

Mascot:  The Roadrunners

Number of students:  590 students

Public or Private:  Public

Languages taught at school:  English and Spanish

Languages spoken by students:  English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Marshallese 


Observations from around John Amesse Elementary-The Power of PATHS®

Art teacher, Pamela Rojas:   Personalizing the materials that PATHS® offers me is the main way I incorporate them into my pedagogy.  For example, the "Problem Page", I changed the name and have titled it-"Refocus Sheet".  I added lines for students to write their name and date.  Finally, I added a line for parents to sign their name, as an indication that we are on the same team, working out problems and creating next steps, while planning together.    My favorite part about this Refocus Sheet is that students end up with a visual demonstrating a resolution to a problem.  They may be at the "red" level, but after working on the problem, together; we expect students to demonstrate "green" behavior.

Gym teacher, Dave Kersten:  I help students apply PATHS® strategies as problems arise outside of the classroom.  In addition, I make a point of recognizing the PATHS® Kid of the Day and allowing them to be an assistant during class.

Principal, Amy Bruce:  Since coming to John Amesse as a new principal this year, I have been delighted to have PATHS® as a resource and to have a staff that embraces the social emotional development of students as well as their academic development.  Research tells us that achievement can be boosted when we prioritize both academics and social emotional learning but not all folks readily understand this.  The teachers at John Amesse are an exception to that.  They have participated in PATHS® training enthusiastically and begun implementation of the PATHS® curriculum with fidelity because they value what it provides for our students.  On any given week, a visitor to John Amesse would see PATHS lessons happening in our classrooms and PATHS® kids proudly wearing their stickers and enjoying their compliments posters displayed at their classroom doors.   One would also see another tremendous asset that we have supporting ourPATHS® implementation at John Amesse.  That is our two teachers, Dawn Jackson and Jim McKenney,  who have been trained as coaches for the program.  It has been invaluable to have them in the building able to observe lessons, answer questions and lead our work to integratePATHS® into the fabric of our school.  We, of course, have much more to do as we work toward becoming a  model school and having Jim and Dawn as coaches is critical to our success.  Finally, it is definitely worth noting that although we have only just begun ourPATHS® implementation this school year, we can already see a difference in our students.  Discipline incidents have been reduced, student attendance has improved and our learning environment feels calm.  That is worth celebrating!


你好, Hola, Bonjour, and Hello. I'm Kristin West, the Academic Coordinator and PATHS Coach-in-training at International School of Denver (ISD).  My favorite role of being a PATHS® Coach is in watching the small changes in social interactions and emotional growth of our students, parents and staff. Additionally, I love growing in my leadership capacity. Contact Kristin at


Facts about the International School of Denver (ISD)

Location:  Denver, CO

Mascot:  The Dragons

Number of students:  647 students

Public or Private:  Private

Languages:  English, French, Mandarin, and Spanish

Fun fact #1:   ISD is located on an old air force base and has five buildings on 6.7 acres of land.  

Fun fact #2:  The school opened in 1977 and classes, in French, were taught in the basement of students' homes.