Friday, December 14, 2012

School Safety is our Top Priority

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 child safe?

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 year end.

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.

Top Dog
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 school.

2013-2014 Calendar
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.

Friendly Reminders
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:
·                          Drive slowly. 
·                          Have your child exit your car on the curbside.
·                          Remain in your car.
·                          Look before pulling out of the car lane or backing up.
·                         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 loop.

·      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.