Return to Headlines

Martinez Wins Award for Project-Based Learning

Billie Martinez Elementary School was recognized as a PBL Champion School by the Buck Institute for Education at its PBL World conference in Napa Valley, California on June 20.


Billie Martinez Elementary was the only school in the nation to receive this award.


“Your strategic and ongoing approach to implementing and supporting project-based learning the last few years serve as a valuable example for other schools around the country,” said Brandon Wiley, chief program officer for PBL Works – Buck Institute for Education, in the notification letter for the award.


Billie Martinez began implementing project-based learning in 2017 as part of its Innovation Plan with the Colorado Department of Education. Since implementing, the school’s performance rating has gone from one of the lowest to the highest rating given by the CDE.


“This is the hardest work we have every loved,” said Principal Monica Draper, who accepted the award in California. “Education at Martinez used to be about answering questions. Now, it’s about us asking questions.”


Project-based learning is a hands-on approach to learning and problem solving that is implemented across subjects and grade levels at Billie Martinez Elementary School. It uses technology, science and art-based projects, language and mathematics to help students solve problems and answer questions. It is aligned with the Colorado grade-level standards.