Friday, September 14, 2018

Digger Dash Schedule
We are excited to kick off our annual school fun run, known as the Digger Dash, on Thursday,
September 20th. This year we are going to use the money raised for high interest books for students
at all grade levels. We hope that you are able to cheer us on next week. Please send your child to school
with a water bottle with his/her name on it on race day. Please see grade level schedule below.



Digger Dash Schedule
7:30-8:20 Set Up
8:20-8:45 Station Meeting with Volunteers
8:45-9:00 Stretching for Preschool & Kindergarten
9:00-9:15 Race Begins for Preschool & Kindergarten
9:10-9:25 Stretching for Grades 1 & 2
9:25-9:55 Race Begins for Grades 1 & 2
9:50-10:00 Stretching for Grades 3 & 4
10:00-10:45 Race Begins for Grades 3 & 4
10:40-10:50 Stretching for Grade 5
10:50-11:35 Race Begins for Grade 5
11:35-12:35 . Clean Up
10:45-2:30 Pledge Tally - Begins after Grades 3 & 4


Going for the G.O.L.D.
As a school community we strive to foster growth by challenging critical thinkers to take risks, honor differences and care for others.  As you can see from our mission statement, we are committed to supporting students' social and emotional growth as well as their intellectual development.  

One way we teach students to care for others is by talking about what it looks like and sounds like to Go for the G.O.L.D.  Our positive behavior system teaches student what it means to Give respect, Own your actions, Listen and Learn and Do you best.  Students who demonstrate these behaviors throughout the week are recognized with golden tickets.  On Fridays students who win the class drawing are announced as the golden ticket winner and they win the favored elevator pass for the day.  The classrooms with the highest amount of golden tickets are also awarded our stuffed animal mascot Digger for the week.  We believe that discussing and celebrating these positive behaviors helps students develop character and empathy. 





Highlights from the S.T.E.A.M. Lab
In addition to art, music and physical education, all students participate in S.T. E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics).  This week students used the L.A.U.N.C.H. framework to create new objects and tools.  L.A.U.N.C.H. is a step by step process for problem solving.  LAUNCH stands for the following:

Look, Listen and Learn
Ask questions
Understand the problem
Navigate different ideas
Highlight successes and posed questions

Primary students used LAUNCH to create objects for a variety of settings, such as a farm, in a short time frame.  In addition to using the framework to create, students also focused on their ability to  collaborate effectively.  Students were asked to create objects that incorporated all students' ideas.  The picture below shows students sharing the initial creations.  I was impressed with both their  designs and their ability to work together.


Bond & Mill
As you are aware, the Douglas County School District Board of Education voted to place a $40 million Mill Levy Override (MLO) and $250 million no-new-taxes Bond on the 2018 ballot. Additional funding would directly benefit Gold Rush by increasing teacher salaries and mental health support for students. While our building is only 10 years old, additional allocations to our building budget would allow us to update technology, such as classroom interactive SMART boards and classroom and school audio systems. Click here for additional information regarding the funding needs of the District.




Fall Conferences
Fall conferences will be held on Thursday, September 27th, and Thursday, October 4thClick here to schedule your conference using the online scheduler
.  The password is digger.  Click here for information on how to use the conference scheduler.


Electronic Thursday Folder
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Upcoming Events
* September 19 - Picture Retake Day - Lifetouch.com - Picture Day Id: CG878219Y1
* September 20 - Digger Dash & SAC Meeting Agenda @ 4:30-5:30
* September 21 - No School - Teachers' Professional Learning Day
* September 27 - Parent Teacher Conferences
* October 4 - Parent Teacher Conferences

Friday, September 7, 2018

Legend Feeder Schools' Collective Commitments
As one of the four elementary schools that feed into Legend High School, Gold Rush is working collaboratively with the middle and high school to ensure that students are prepared academically, socially and emotionally for all levels of school and life.  This year all of the schools in the Legend Feeder set shared goals.  This year we are all striving to promote critical thinking by implementing the following thinking strategies:  


Monitoring for Meaning
Making Connections and Activating Schema
Determine Importance 
Inferring
Sensory Images
Summarizing & Synthesizing 

These research-based thinking strategies can be taught and applied in all content areas K-12 and they are are often used by adult readers, writers, mathematicians and scientists.  Click here  for more information on these thinking strategies.  

We are also all implementing Marzano's Critical Concepts, which are priority standards for students in math and English language arts.  You can access your child's grade level competencies by visiting your child's grade level website on our school webpage.  

We believe that our collective agreement to teach similar concepts and skills will enhance students' ability to apply their thinking across grade levels and in the real world.  Please view our Legend Feeder video below that speaks to our desire to work across grade levels toward a unified purpose.




Establishing Good Reading Habits & Setting Goals 
Students in all grade levels are learning how to build life long, positive reading habits.  In all grade levels students are talking about choosing "good fit books," which are books that are captivating and allow students to read and comprehend with 98% accuracy.  Primary students are also studying multiple strategies to read unfamiliar words and comprehend.  These strategies include previewing the book, keeping track of and revisiting their thinking and reading on.  

Students in all grade levels are also setting personal goals for themselves.  In the intermediate grades students are using detailed rubrics to evaluate what they do well as readers and areas where they can improve.  In fifth grade students created an infographic, or a visual, that identifies their reading goal(s) and explains how these goals help them become better readers.  


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Bond & Mill
As you are aware, the Douglas County School District Board of Education voted to place a $40 million Mill Levy Override (MLO) and $250 million no-new-taxes Bond on the 2018 ballot. Additional funding would directly benefit Gold Rush by increasing teacher salaries and increasing mental health support for students. While our building is only 10 years old, additional allocations to our building budget would allow us to update technology, such as classroom interactive SMART boards and classroom and school audio systems. Click here for additional information regarding the funding needs of the District.



Student Leadership
At Gold Rush we strive to create students who are leaders in our school and the greater community.  There are several ways in which we encourage this.  All students, for example, participate in a No Waste food initiative where they donate prepackaged food that would have otherwise been thrown away to the Parker Task Force.  Last week several fourth and fifth graders ran for student council office positions.  We were proud of all students for their risk taking and desire to serve!  We congratulate the following students:


Silas Meuli - President
Peyton Corley  - Vice President 
Gavin Dalcerri - Secretary 
Cooper Flowers - Treasurer 



Procedures for Delayed Dismissal
We had the opportunity to practice a delayed dismissal last Friday.  Just a reminder that in the event that we need to hold students at the end of the day you need to come in and check your child out from his/her classroom.  Please note that we are cannot release students to siblings who are not 18 years old.  In addition to receiving our school email, you can also opt in to receive a text message.  Click here for instructions on how to opt in and receive text messages.

Electronic Thursday Folder
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Upcoming Events
* September 10, 12 & 14: Cogat Testing - Grades 3 & 5
* September 19 - Picture Retake Day - Lifetouch.com - Picture Day Id: CG878219Y1
* September 20 - Digger Dash & SAC Meeting @ 4:30-5:30
* September 21 - No School - Teachers' Professional Learning Day
* September 27 - Parent Teacher Conferences
* October 4 - Parent Teacher Conferences

Friday, August 31, 2018

World Class Writers
Students in grades K-5 learn the unique craft and structure of narrative, informational and persuasive writing.  In their current narrative unit, students are sharing their favorite memories with great detail.  They are also using transition words and descriptive language to capture the beginning, middle and end of their own stories.  In the upper grades, students are drawing on their favorite books while creating realistic fiction titles of their own.  Students use student friendly rubrics to edit and revise their work throughout the writing process.  Sometimes this is done with the teacher and sometimes this is done with a writing partner or independently.  We know that students become better writers by writing so we allocate the majority of daily workshops to student creation.




Educating the Whole Child
We believe that it is essential to expose our young learners to a board curriculum.  We therefore offer art, music, physical education and S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) classes to all students K-5.  We believe that early exposure introduces students to different disciplines and develops the whole child.  We hope students build an appreciation of the arts, technology and students' physical well-being.




Procedures for Delayed Dismissal
A delayed dismissal is most likely result of unsafe weather conditions such as lightening.  We ask that you come into the building and sign you child out when this occurs.  You will automatically receive the following email if this were to occur:

Gold Rush Elementary will have a delayed dismissal today. If you are picking your child(ren) up, please come into the building at 3:30PM and sign his/her out from his or her classroom.  Students who are attending BASE or after school activities that are the located in the building will go to
their intended location.  Bus riders will be called to the gym and will be loaded onto bus when it is safe to do so. Transportation will ensure a safe arrival.  They will drop off to waiting parents at stops or hold students until it is safe.

Walkers and bikers will be dismissed when the weather is clear.  If the weather does not clear by 3:45 PM, please come in and sign your child(ren) out in the gym.  All students must be picked up by parents and/or adults listed on your emergency contact form.

You can also opt in to receive a text message.  Click here for instructions on how to opt in and receive text messages.


Thank You PTO!
Thank you PTO for an incredible Western Night!  We all had an incredible evening because of your efforts!



2018 Mill Levy & Bond
On August 21, the Douglas County School District Board of Education voted to place a $40 million Mill Levy Override (MLO) and $250 million no-new-taxes Bond on the 2018 ballot. Unlike our neighboring school districts, Douglas County School District has not passed a MLO or Bond since 2006.


If passed by voters, these new funds would be used at our school to:


  • Increase teacher and staff pay
  • Add counselors for our students
  • Enhance safety and security systems


Douglas County School District would also evaluate our building for additional needed repairs that would make our learning environments as safe and productive as possible for our students.


New MLO/Bond funding would also be used to upgrade information technology (such as classroom computers) and transportation (such as aging buses), and offer more student programming opportunities, including additional career and technical education options.


The average Douglas County homeowner, with a home valued at $470,000, will pay an additional $17.33 per month ($208 per year) if both measures are approved. If neither are approved, the average homeowner would see their school property tax bill decrease by approximately $67 in 2019.


You can read more about Douglas County School District’s funding challenges at www.dcsdk12.org/funding.


Thank you for continuing to be an engaged and informed member of our school community!

Electronic Thursday Folder
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Upcoming Events
* September 3 - No School Labor Day
* September 5 - Legend High School Homecoming Parade @ 5:00
* September 20 - Digger Dash & SAC Meeting @ 4:30-5:30
* September 21 - No School - Teachers' Professional Learning Day
* September 27 - Parent Teacher Conferences
* October 4 - Parent Teacher Conferences

Friday, August 24, 2018

Digger Dash Kick Off
We were excited to kick off our annual school fun run called the Digger Dash. The Digger
Dash will be held on Thursday, September 20th. This year we are going to use the money raised for
high interest books for students at all grade levels. Research confirms that all children need to read
books that are interesting and ones that they can accurately decode and comprehend. For
elementary readers this requires many many titles. Our school's book room is 10 years old and adding
more engaging titles for all students is an exciting cause that will benefit all children.

The staff kicked off the Digger Dash by competing in a relay race dressed as some of our favorite
storybook characters. Cat in the Hat, Fancy Nancy, Thing One and Thing Two were all represented.
Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Bergner also revealed the prize for the fastest boy and girl in each grade level.
They thought it was only fitting that the winners this year had the opportunity to throw Dr. Seuss' famous
green eggs on them!

Your child should have come home with an envelope for fundraising. We thank you for supporting
our school and students' desire to read, read read!


Western Night
We hope to see your family at Western Night tonight! Students will be able to enjoy games, a hayride
and food trucks. We thank our PTO in advance for what we know will be a great evening.




Assessment Hour - Tuesday, August 28th
In an attempt to gain more targeted information regarding your child’s academic strengths and need
each child will come to school for one hour only on August 28th to complete reading and math
assessments.  The assessments administered allow educators to alter their instruction to meet your
child’s individual needs and learning style. Please bring your child to the front vestibule and teachers
will escort him/her to his/her testing location. Students will conclude their assessment hour in the gym
where your child take his/her school picture.  Our Before and After School Enrichment program
(B.A.S.E.) will be available on August 28th.  Please contact B.A.S.E. as soon as possible as spaces are
limited.


COGAT Testing - September 10-14
CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) testing will take place at Gold Rush Elementary for all students in grades 3 and 5 during the week of September 10 - 14.  This assessment indicates the level and pattern of cognitive development of a student in comparison to his/her grade and age mates.  The results of these tests will serve several functions. First and foremost, the scores and reports will be used to inform instructional practices in the classroom. The scores will guide efforts to adapt learning opportunities to meet the needs and abilities of the students. The scores are also used as ONE component of the body of evidence to determine areas of strength and possible identification for gifted programming.


Students in grades 1, 2, and 4 can also be tested during this week.  This testing is administered if a referral is made by a teacher or parent.  This referral and testing initiates the process of identification for Gifted and Talented programming and should be done only if there is a belief that a student has need for significant differentiation.  Please contact Kristi Barta, Gifted and Talented facilitator for GRE (kristi.barta@dcsdk12.org or 303-387-7711) by Friday, September 1, if you would like to refer a child in grades 1, 2, or 4 for testing.  


Reminders for Drop Off & Pick Up
The following reminders help keep all students safe during arrival and dismissal:

* Please do not park in the handicapped parking unless you have a permit.
* Please do not move into oncoming traffic to pass cars. You will be ticketed for this.
* Please always cross at a crosswalk that is staffed with a crossing guard.

Electronic Thursday Folder
Click here

Upcoming Events
* August 28 - Assessment Hour
* September 3 - No School Labor Day
* September 5 - Legend High School Homecoming Parade @ 4:45
* September 20 - Digger Dash
* September 21 - No School - Teachers' Professional Learning Day
* September 27 - Parent Teacher Conferences
* October 4 - Parent Teacher Conferences

Thursday, August 16, 2018

What Matters Most? Small Things You Can Do At Home That Make A Big Difference
It was great to see many of you at Back to School Night!  I appreciated the opportunity to share key research-based strategies that you can do at home that significantly impact your child's achievement.  In reading the following three T's are recommended:  Time, Text and Talk.  There is a direct correlation between the amount of time students read at school and at home and their performance.  Every minute counts, so engaging your child in a text of his/her choice that he/she can accurately read and comprehend is key. Also talking with your child about what he/she is reading and modeling your excitement for reading goes a long way.  

In math it is essential to build students' math fact fluency without using a timer.  Removing a timer helps send the correct message that math is about thinking, not speed.  Having students practice with flash cards that visually represent the answer to an addition, subtraction, multiplication or division problem, similar to the ones used by our Investigations Math series, builds a conceptual understanding of what the operations stand for.

Finally, parents are able to promote students' academic and social emotional growth by honoring mistakes and promoting a growth mindset.  Using more positive phrases such as, "I don't have this concept yet" instead of "I can't do this" promotes resiliency.  Brain research also shows that the brain grows synapses when mistakes are made.  Because the academic and social learning that results from making mistakes is great please encourage your child to take risks. 

Click here for questions you can use when reading with your child at home and ways to shift your language with students.







Must Have Parent Resources
Several important parent resources were shared at Back to School Night that are also linked to our school website.  If you click on the class website link and then your child's grade level you will find several of the materials that were shared (see below). 





Math and English Language Arts Proficiency Standards are the outcomes your child will master by the end of the year.  The standards are grade specific and an example of second grade outcomes is listed below.  The Investigations Math Words and Ideas site provides examples and videos that explain how mathematical concepts are taught in the classroom. The link to Investigation Math games is a great resource for students to practice math concepts. 

Math Words and Ideas

Math Games (K-5)

Second Grade Math Standards

Second Grade ELA Standards




Building Stamina and Routines For Readers' Workshop
Students have done a tremendous job settling into their classrooms! Students in all classrooms have
been talking about their stamina, or ability to read for a prolonged period of time. Students have
also been talking about selecting just right books, or texts that they can comprehend, read fluently and
enjoy. Our school resource officer even jumped in to read with second graders this week! See pictures
of students working hard below.









Assessment Hour - Tuesday, August 28th
In an attempt to gain more targeted information regarding your child’s academic strengths and need
each child will come to school for one hour only on August 28th to complete reading and math
assessments.  The assessments administered allow educators to alter their instruction to meet your
child’s individual needs and learning style. Click here for the online conference scheduler to select
an assessment time for your child.  The password is digger.  Because we value the information we
obtain on these days, it is mandatory that all children complete their assessments on August 28th.  
Please bring your child to the front vestibule and teachers will escort him/her to his/her testing location.
Students will conclude their assessment hour in the gym where your child take his/her school picture.  
Our Before and After School Enrichment program (B.A.S.E.) will be available on August 28th.  
Please contact B.A.S.E. as soon as possible as spaces are limited.



Reminders for Drop Off & Pick Up
The following dismissal reminders help keep all students safe during our arrival and dismissal time:

* Morning supervision begins at 8:20 AM. Please do not drop students off prior to this time.

* Please move your car seat to the passenger side of the car so students can exit on the curb side.
* Please do not bring dogs on school grounds.

MySchoolBucks

As part of the Express Check-In process, Douglas County School District transitioned all required and optional fees over to one payment system called MySchoolBucks. If you previously paid for school lunches, then you are already familiar with this system. The District has run into a couple of challenges during the transition that are outlined below.


Free and Reduced Lunch Fees
If your student qualifies for Free or Reduced lunch, fees that would normally be waived may appear as a balance due in MySchoolBucks. The District is currently working to get this resolved. In the meantime, please ignore any balance due. These fees will be removed from your account within the coming weeks.


Processing of Partial Payments
Some families have reported that they are unable to make partial payments via MySchoolBucks. The District is working with the vendor to get this corrected. The District hopes to have this glitch fixed by the end of August. The District asks that you wait to pay these fees until September. The same applies to partial refunds. These are expected to be fixed next week.

Preschool Fees
There has been some confusion regarding whether or not preschool tuition fees can be paid via MySchoolBucks. At this time, this system is only available to families with students enrolled in grades K-12. If you need to pay preschool-related fees, please contact your preschool directly, or call our preschool information line at 720-433-0025.


Review of Cart at Check-out
It is taking several seconds for the system to add your optional store selections to the cart.  If you click the item while it is still processing, there is a chance you will have more than one of the same item in your cart.  Please review your cart before making payment so you do not unintentionally pay for something more than once.


The District is working diligently to fix these issues. They apologize for any inconvenience. It is their goal to have all glitches corrected by the end of August. If issues are not resolved within that timeframe additional information will be provided.

Upcoming Events
* August 24 - Western Night @ 5:00-7:00 PM
* August 28 - Assessment Hour
* September 3 - No School Labor Day
* September 20 - Digger Dash
* September 21 - No School - Teachers' Professional Learning Day