Whenever a national tragedy occurs,
such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters, children, like many people, may
be confused or frightened. Most likely they will look to adults for information
and guidance on how to react. Parents and school personnel can help
children cope first and foremost by establishing a sense of safety and
security. As more information becomes available, adults can continue to help
children work through their emotions and perhaps even use the process as a
All Adults Should:
1.Model calm and control.
Children take their emotional cues from the significant adults in their lives.
Avoid appearing anxious or frightened.
2.Reassure children that they are safeand (if true) so are the other important adults in
their lives. Depending on the situation, point out factors that help insure
their immediate safety and that of their community.
3.Remind them that trustworthy people are in charge. Explain
that the government emergency workers, police, firefighters, doctors, and the
military are helping people who are hurt and are working to ensure that no
further tragedies occur.
4.Let children know that it is okay to feel upset. Explain
that all feelings are okay when a tragedy like this occurs. Let children
talk about their feelings and help put them into perspective. Even anger
is okay, but children may need help and patience from adults to assist them in
expressing these feelings appropriately.
5.Observe children’s emotional state.
Depending on their age, children may not express their concerns verbally.
Changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns can also indicate a child’s
level of grief, anxiety or discomfort. Children will express their
emotions differently. There is no right or wrong way to feel or express grief.
6.Look for children at greater risk.
Children who have had a past traumatic experience or personal loss, suffer from
depression or other mental illness, or with special needs may be at greater
risk for severe reactions than others. Be particularly observant for
those who may be at risk of suicide. Seek the help of mental health
professional if you are at all concerned.
7.Tell children the truth. Don’t try to
pretend the event has not occurred or that it is not serious. Children
are smart. They will be more worried if they think you are too afraid to
tell them what is happening.
8.Stick to the facts. Don’t
embellish or speculate about what has happened and what might happen. Don’t
dwell on the scale or scope of the tragedy, particularly with young children.
9.Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate.Early elementary schoolchildren need brief, simple
information that should be balanced with reassurances that the daily structures
of their lives will not change.Upper
elementary and early middle schoolchildren
will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and
what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating
reality from fantasy.Upper
middle school and high schoolstudents
will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence and threats
to safety in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions
about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. They
will be more committed to doing something to help the victims and affected
community. For all
children, encourage them to verbalize their thoughts and feelings. Be a good
10.Monitor your own stress level. Don’t ignore your own feelings
of anxiety, grief, and anger. Talking to friends, family members, religious
leaders, and mental health counselors can help. It is okay to let your children
know that you are sad, but that you believe things will get better. You will be
better able to support your children if you can express your own emotions in a
productive manner. Get appropriate sleep, nutrition, and exercise.
What Parents Can Do:
1.Focus on your children over the week following the tragedy.
Tell them you love them and everything will be okay. Try to help them
understand what has happened, keeping in mind their developmental level.
2.Make time to talk with your children. Remember if you do not
talk to your children about this incident someone else will. Take some time and
determine what you wish to say.
3.Stay close to your children. Your physical presence will reassure
them and give you the opportunity to monitor their reaction. Many children will
want actual physical contact. Give plenty of hugs. Let them sit
close to you, and make sure to take extra time at bedtime to cuddle and to
reassure them that they are loved and safe.
4.Limit your child’s television viewing of these events. If
they must watch, watch with them for a brief time; then turn the set off.
Don’t sit mesmerized re-watching the same events over and over again.
5.Maintain a “normal” routine. To the extent possible stick to your
family’s normal routine for dinner, homework, chores, bedtime, etc.,but don’t be inflexible.
Children may have a hard time concentrating on schoolwork or falling asleep at
6.Spend extra time reading or playing quiet games with your children
before bed. These activities are calming, foster a sense of closeness and
security, and reinforce a sense of normalcy. Spend more time tucking them
in. Let them sleep with a light on if they ask for it.
7.Safeguard your children’s physical health. Stress can take a
physical toll on children as well as adults. Make sure your children get
appropriate sleep, exercise, and nutrition.
8.Consider thinking hopeful thoughts for the victims and their
families. It may be a good time to take your children to your place of
worship, write a poem, or draw a picture to help your child express their
feelings and feel that they are somehow supporting the victims and their
9.Access the school’s resources. Most
schools are likely to be open and often are a good place for children to regain
a sense of normalcy. Being with their friends and teachers can
help. Schools should also have a plan for making counseling available to
children and adults who need it.
Thousands of people in our
community are hurting today after senseless violence struck Sandy Hook
Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Our hearts go out to the victims, their
families and the Sandy Hook Elementary School community, where a day of learning
was so tragically interrupted.
Many of our schools are affected,
as staff members, students and parents question how could this happen and is my
Safety is the top priority at Gold Rush Elementary School. We are always working to improve the
security measures our schools to make them even safer. After the District
learned of the shooting, they notified DCSD security officers and school
leaders, encouraging us to remain vigilant. Law enforcement agencies in Douglas
County including the Sheriff’s Office, Castle Rock PD, Lone Tree PD and Parker
PD have also increased patrols at our schools and in the surrounding
neighborhoods as a precaution.
We also know that this tragedy
will have an emotional impact on many of our students and staff members. Counselors
at each school are working closely with those who need help coping with today's
events. We recognize that the impact will be felt for a long time to come.
I trust that our school community will
join me in offering our sincerest condolences and our support to Sandy Hook
Elementary and the Newtown community.
Many counseling services are
available and I urge anyone with a need to contact me.
Progress Reports – Live Next Thursday
We believe that sharing your
child’s progress with you is essential and one way that we do this is through
progress reports. Next Thursday you will
be able to access your child’s progress report via your parent portal. As was true in the past, students will be
rated on the Colorado Academic Standards using a numeric scale that uses the
same language found on the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP),
formally known as CSAP (1 = unsatisfactory, 2 = partially proficient, 3 =
proficient and 4 = advanced).
Students are expected to
obtain mastery on each of the standards by the end of the year. The main difference with the scale is that
your child’s score represents how he/she is performing on the academic or
behavioral standard at this point in the school year. Students who receive a “2” on this report
have met some aspects of the learning targets, but are behind in meeting the
expectations at the time of reporting.
Students who receive a “2” or less may need additional support to ensure
these end-of-year expectations are met. Students who receive a 4 are advanced
in meeting the end-of -year expectations and are working on targets beyond
where they are suppose to be at this time. A student who receives a “3” would
be demonstrating that they are on track to reach all of these expectations by
A student who has an “*”
next to the number on the report card has a learning plan that differentiates
his/her instruction and learning targets.
It is important to view this
report as only a mid-year summary of your child’s academic progress when
comparing his/her performance to the Colorado Academic Standards. There are many other tools and multiple data
sources used to ensure that students are making adequate progress.
We also want to recognize
students who display outstanding behavior on a daily basis by awarding them
with a Top Dog certificate in next
week’s Thursday folder. Because the
learner characteristics on the progress report have changed from past years we
are currently using our school’s positive behavior matrix as our rubric to
identify children (click here for
our school behavior matrix). Receiving
the Top Dog acknowledgement is
extremely difficult as we are identifying only those students who display what
it looks like to Go For the Gold in
every place in the school every single day.
Please remember that students who do not receive a Top Dog certificate
can still be demonstrating positive behaviors for a majority of their time at
The community survey regarding the school calendar for 2013-2014
school year closed today. We thank you for the feedback. 82% of parents
voted to have all schools in the feeder move to the split fall break modified
calendar. We are therefore moving to this calendar next school year. Click here to view the calendar. Thank you again for your input.
Drop off and Pick Up
Your cooperation is essential in ensuring the safety of each
and every child during student drop off and pick up. Please remember the following:
·Have your child exit your car on the curbside.
·Remain in your car.
·Look before pulling out of the car lane or
·Use the car loop and not the parking lanes to
pick up your child.
·Do not talk on your cell phone while in the car
·Students are not in session on Friday, December
21st due to the winter holiday.
·Teachers are not in session on Friday, December
21st, as we met one
additional day prior to the start o the school year.
·Students will be off for winter vacation from
Friday, December 21st,
through Sunday, January 6th.
·Dogs are not allowed on school grounds at any
time during the school day or before or after school.
We enjoyed meeting several
of our future Gold Rush students and their families at Kindergarten
Registration this week! The children were
so excited that we wished we could welcome them well before August! If you were unable to make it to registration
this week please contact the school office.
Please remember that you need to provide a copy of your child’s birth
certificate, proof of residency and immunization record.
We are continually educating
students about how they can help create a safe learning environment for all by
reporting bullying. Bullying is defined
as a repeated pattern of behavior or a single significant act towards
another. We work with students on how
they can help protect themselves and others by reporting bullying to an
adult. We talk about how bullying can
take several forms, including verbal, social, physical or cyber bullying. Click
additional resources to use when talking with your child about this topic at
Calendar for 2013-2014
In response to parental concerns regarding the difficulty of
having students on multiple school calendars, the Legend
Feeder Leaders explored moving to one calendar for the 2013-2014
school year. After extensive conversations regarding the educational
needs of students at all levels, the feeder principals determined that the
split-modified calendar was a compromise among the three calendars approved by
the District. Once each of the schools received majority support for the
split-modified calendar from both the staff and School Advisory Committees,
they gathered additional input from the community in an open meeting on
You are being asked to provide input regarding
whether all feeder schools move to one calendar next year (Option 2 the
split-modified calendar) or whether the feeder schools remain on two different
calendars (Option 1 – elementary schools remain on the modified calendar and
the middle and high school remain on the traditional calendar).
Please complete the calendar survey by December 11th.
The Legend Feeder leadership will share the outcome by winter break. As always your feedback is appreciated!