Wrapping Up an Unusual Year~May, 9, 2020

Message from CES: Keep on Exploring!

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Our staff share the school pledge

Thank you Mrs. Rivera for putting this together!

Battle of the Books

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This last week our Battle of the Books team, led by their sponsor Mrs. Rivera, competed virtually with teams from around the district. I am happy to report that our Explorer team placed second!! Whoo Hoo! That is quite an accomplishment and they have worked hard all year longs reading books and preparing to compete. They showed great tenacity to stick with it throughout this time of distance learning. Good job team!

Message to CES families: Wrapping up the Year

Dear CES Families,

As we are approaching the end of the most unusual school of all time, there a few things you need to know. Distance learning will end next Thursday, May 14th. This will allow students some time to turn in any late assignments and teachers some time to grade. The last official day of school is May 22nd.

During the last week, specifically May 19-21, our staff will be at the school handing out students’ personal belongings and collecting Chromebooks and library books. Your child’s or children’s teachers will make sure you have the schedule and the information you need but there is a schedule posted below too just keep in mind that may change and your teacher is the more reliable source.

Please note the following important information:

  • ALL Chromebooks must be turned in during this week. Please understand that you will be billed the full cost of your Chromebook if you do not return it to school during that week.
  • You may keep the HP Streams that were handed out earlier this year–we do not intend to collect those, they are yours.
  • Please bring back the school’s library books on this date and give to your classroom teacher.
  • Personal belongings that were left at school prior to Spring Break have been bagged up by your child’s teacher and will be distributed to you on the day your community is scheduled to return Chromebooks. Our Lost and Found Items will be available during that time too.
  • We hope to have class pictures to give you on that day as well, but they are still en route at this time.
  • We were not able to get yearbooks orders as the pandemic was ramping up just as we were supposed to do that and the company was shutting down and unable to print.
  • Please remember we must maintain physical distancing protocols including 6 feet apart from one another and the wearing of masks.
  • Please try to limit the number of family members who join you, but we would really love to see all of our students to say goodbye and give them a little treat!
  • At this time, we really don’t know what to expect for the start of next school year. I will continue to update our families and community through this blog. As soon as I know, I will share that information. If you haven’t already, you may want to subscribe to my blog using the button below in the lower right hand corner.

We miss you all sooooo much!! In my 31 years in education, I have never seen anything even close to what we are experiencing right now. We appreciate all you have done to continue your child’s education while at home and perservering through this difficult time. Hopefully, we will all be together again in August–fingers crossed!!

A Message from Molly Merry (Exploratory School Founder):   

Molly Merry - Colorado Springs, Colorado | Professional Profile ...

During this challenging time for all of us, I am so thankful for the many ‘heroes’ who help keep us safe and healthy. Some of those heroes are our teachers who have had to learn a whole new way of teaching to keep your children learning and growing. As usual, CES teachers faced this with dedication, creativity and the same caring they put into their classrooms. The Exploratory way of learning has always been about the world as every student’s classroom. This has never been more true and CES teachers have fulfilled that promise with limited time to prepare but maximum determination to make it successful. I hope every parent has a renewed appreciation for our teachers and the role they play in your child’s life. And I thank all parents who stepped up their role as partners in education. It hasn’t been easy, but your dedication is a significant message to your child about how you value their education and your belief in the importance of continuous learning.
When school resumes back in the building, please remember this experience that the walls do not make the school, it is the people who make the school. I know all CES staff will be so excited to be back in person with kids because the kids are the source of the passion that drives excellent teaching.

Schedule for last week pick up/drop off:

Your child’s teacher will have more details, please look for their communication to you in the coming days.

Tuesday, May 19–11:00-1:00: Wanderers—–>drive through in loop in front of building                                                              Rangers——->drive through in parking lot in front of the                                                             building

Tuesday, May 19–4:00-6:00: Trailblazers—–>drive through bus loop on North End

Wednesday, May 20–11:00-1:00: Voyagers-—–>drive through parking lot in front

Thursday, May 21–11:00-1:00: Scouts—–>drive through bus loop on North End

Thursday, May 21–4:00-6:00: Adventurers——>back area outside of classroom doors.


Thank you for reading! Until next time, 

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

Introducing the Future for CES~April 26, 2020

You’re stuck with me for one more year

You may or may not know by now that I am planning to retire at the end of next year. Actually, I’m retiring this summer but will return on a 110 day contract and still serve as principal of CES for the 20-21 school year. We are fortunate to be able to hire my replacement and have her work along side me next year to learn the special skills the leader of the Exploratory School requires. I am excited to announce that we have hired one of our own, Jessi Hamilton! As you will read in her letter of introduction below, Mrs. Hamilton has worked at CES in the role of Case Manager CES opened. She will split her time next year continuing in the role of Case Manager and as an assistant or co-principal with me, and then will take over as the principal for the 21-22 school year. I love what I do, so deciding to retire was difficult for me but after 31 years in education, I am excited to see what the next chapter holds; and I’m at peace with my decision knowing that CES will be in such good hands! Please welcome Mrs. Hamilton in this new position!

Our Future Principal!

Hi! I’m Jessi Hamilton. I’m a third-generation Canon City local.  My husband Joel and I have three children; Declyn (7th), Abrielle (5th at CES), and Kason (2nd at CES). Our family enjoys hiking, biking, and walking the local trail systems.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work in our wonderful school, in this new capacity! This year marks the end of my 16th year in education. The first eight years were as a special education teacher and the last eight have been as a special education case manager at Canon Exploratory and McKinley. Having worked at CES since opening its doors, I’m already an Explorer who knows, supports, and loves our culture of Choice Theory, Multiple Intelligences,  and Explorations. I look forward to partnering with each of you as we continue to take our motto of, “Together we make a difference,” outside our school walls and into the community!


Our New Middle School Teachers

Bruce Omer and Becky Reed are also retiring. Although we will miss them, we are super excited about our two new hires. I think they will not only be a great team but will bring a lot of wonderful energy to our middle school. I will let them introduce themselves to you too.

Hello to the CES family!
My name is Brianna Heifner, and I am the new 7th & 8th grade Math & Science teacher for the 2020-21 school year! I am so excited to meet
 all of you, and to get this next year started! I was born and raised in Canon City, graduated from Canon City High School, and went to Colorado State University-Pueblo, and earned a degree in Biology Education with minors in Leadership Studies and Communication & Rhetoric. I did my student teaching at CCHS, but have done countless field experiences all over Pueblo. I have worked for the district for 3 years as the speech and debate coach at the high school as well.
Some of my favorite science topics include wildlife management and indoor gardening. 🙂
A few other fun facts about me:
  • I love to be outdoors, specifically camping and whitewater rafting.
  • Traveling to new places is one of my favorite hobbies.
  • I have a Calico kitty named Puddy.


Dear Parent(s) and Students:

My name is Sam Wyss, and I am the new 7th-8th Grade Multi-age Social Studies and English Language Arts Teacher.  I am originally from Westminster, Colorado, and have been living in Spokane, Washington for the last two years, teaching 5th Grade at Saint George’s School. My Bachelor’s Degree is from Gonzaga University, where I studied Philosophy and Elementary Education with an emphasis in Elementary Literacy. My Master’s Degree is from the University of Colorado: Denver, where I studied Critical Pedagogy, with an emphasis in Elementary Mathematics. I started my teaching career in 5th grade at Colfax Elementary, in the Denver Public Schools. After three years of being in Denver, my wife and I moved to Spokane, Washington, where we have been for the last two years.

A little more about me:

  • I am passionate about being outdoors (hiking, hunting, and running)
  • I am currently training for an Ironman (a triathlon with swimming, biking, and running)  this June
  • My wife was my kindergarten best friend
  • Our dog’s name is Chief, which is also Eric Church’s (country artist) nickname. He’s a chocolate lab.

Free On-Line Love and Logic Parenting Classes

As we are learning from home now and parents are thrown into the role of becoming their child’s teachers, you may find yourself needing some parenting advice now more than ever. We often promote and recommend “Parenting with Love and Logic” for our families as the philosophy and approch is very similar and works nicely with Choice Thoery. I can tell you personally, Love and Logic was a game-changer for me as a teacher but even more so as a parent. It saved my life–or maybe, I should say it saved my kids!! The Love and Logic Organization is offering free classes right now–wow! I would highly recommend taking a look at this:  Love and Logic: Positive Parenting


Thanks for Reading! Stay well!

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

Now what?~April 20, 2020

What’s ahead for our CES Explorers?


Now that our superintendent Mr. Welsh, and our School Board have announced that Canon City Schools will continue distance learning for the rest of the school year and our students and staff will not return to the buildings (see link below), what does this mean for our students? First of all, let me say that this was a very difficult decision for Mr. Welsh. I, along with all of our district leadership, have worked alongside our superintendent and I can tell you this was one of the most heartbreaking things he has had to do and probably caused him many sleepless nights. Much thought and planning have been put into place already to provide not only the most high-quality education and support possible for our students now during distance learning but also for their return to the buildings.

At CES, our teachers will continue to do what they’ve been doing for the last three weeks: teach to the best of their ability from home. They are doing everything they can to make sure your children continue to learn, grow, and feel connected and supported. Parents, please make sure to continue to do what you can for your children to access this instruction. The closure of the buildings does not mean we are done for the year and summer is beginning. We will e-learning instruction until May 22. Here are some important things to know:

  • Continuation to next grade: We are all in this together but we know that some of our families are worried about being ready for the next grade next year.
    • K-5: Unless, retention was already in the works prior to the closure, students will advance to the next grade. It’s very important that students stay engaged in their learning for the next 5 weeks which will limit the amount of backsliding.
    • 6-8: Our secondary students are still earning credits as they would if we were in the building. With distance learning, this means that they are completing assignments at an adequate level and staying engaged with their teachers
  • Summer School: For students in 6th-8th grade who need to recoup credits, the plans are to have summer school as normal (although it may be virtual). If your child is going to need to do this, their teacher and I will be in touch in the coming weeks. For younger students, Summer School will take place in early August and will be for our most needy students. However, our district hopes to provide some sort of compensatory program for all students who will need additional support as a result of this extended closure. Although we don’t yet know what they will be, it could be an extended school year (starting earlier than others), after-school tutoring, or something else along those lines.
  • 6th and 8th Grade Continuation Celebrations: Again, we don’t quite know what this will look like but we hope to be able to celebrate together in some way. Your teachers will communicate to you what that will be. For 8th grade students, we do know that CCHS is planning to host a special transition from 8th grade to high school in August. However, we really hope to host something at CES as well since we are a family.
  • Chromebooks: Students will need to return the Chromebooks they are now using in May so that our IT department can perform the regularly scheduled maintenance that takes place over the summer.
  • Retrieving Personal Belongings & Saying Goodbye for the Summer: In late May, we hope to be able to allow for all students and families who feel comfortable to come to the building to retrieve items that were left and say goodbye to their teachers. We will probably do this on the same day that Chromebooks are turned in. We hope this will provide some closure for our staff and families, however, we know that the majority of our students will be back in the fall with their same community so we will see one another again then.

We all recognize that this is very difficult but we are all in this together and we will get through it together. I will continue to write this blog to keep our families in touch with what is happening, our teachers will continue to the amazing work they are doing, decisions and plans for next year will continue to be made, and will still be an Explorer family.

Click this link for a message from Mr. Welsh about virtual learning for the rest of the year.

Continuing our CES Culture at Home

Learning from home is providing many challenges but we are hoping that our CES families have learned enough about Choice Theory that they continue to lean on our culture to do their best. Much of Choice Theory is understanding that we have control over the choices we make and the resulting outcomes. However, as adults, we must remember our job is to provide or take advantage of opportunities for children to learn this.  Below you will find some helpful information from the Love and Logic Institute. Love and Logic and Choice Theory work well together as they share much of the same philosophy. Thanks go to Mrs. Saffold for sharing this information with me so that I may share it with you. I hope it helps!

How can parents best help their children learn and complete work while avoiding counterproductive power struggles?
Much of the answer involves sharing control within the boundaries of firm yet loving limits. It’s an old concept made even more relevant by the current situation. Most of us feel that our lives have been turned upside down. We’re experiencing little or no control over so many things.

Do we all yearn for control? What happens when we feel like we’ve lost it?

Obviously, our kids are also experiencing many difficult feelings, including a sense of losing much of their freedom. That’s why small choices around schoolwork represent one of the most powerful ways of minimizing the chaos during these already difficult times. Listed below are some examples. Please remember that the choices you provide will depend on your unique situation and value system.

  • Will you be starting your schoolwork now or in five minutes?
  • What do you want to start with? Math or reading?
  • Do you want to make a goal of working for 30 minutes before your break, or would 25 minutes be better?
  • Will you be doing your work while sitting or standing?
  • Do you think it would be best to draft something on pencil or paper… or begin your work directly on the computer?
  • Would you like my help or would you prefer working alone?
  • Do you want to learn in the kitchen or in the family room?
  • Will you be working while keeping your body still, or would you rather see how much you can wiggle while still getting it done?
  • Should we start with the hardest part first or the easiest?
  • Would you rather help me with chores or get started on you

The key to success with this technique involves remembering three things:

  1. Give most of your choices before your child becomes resistant… not after.
  2.  With each choice provide two options, each of which you like.
  3. Be prepared to choose for your child if they don’t select an option you provided.

While these ideas can’t solve all of the parenting challenges we face right now, they’ll increase the odds of getting through each day with fewer power struggles.


Thank you for reading! Stay safe and healthy!

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

Exploring from Home–April 10, 2020

Another week at home–how are you doing? I have had the chance to witness more amazing work by our staff, students, and their families this week! It’s not what we want but we are doing the best with what we have. We are hoping that the distribution of new Chromebooks will help our 1st-4th graders. If you missed out and still need one, please let me know at: kelly.albrecht@canoncityschools.org and I will make arrangements to deliver one to you.

I hope the information below will help you as you continue learning from home.

Missing our Field Trips? Here’s an idea:


Rangers at Bear Creek

Field trips are a  big part of being an Explorer, especially in the spring! So, if you are missing out on our many trips, take a virtual field trip from home. Below are links to some great online options.

  1. Visit Google’s Art and Culture site for links to many different art and museum exhibits. They even have an app! Google’s Art and Culture Site
  2. Visit the National Aquarium for a floor by floor tour: National Aquarium
  3. One of the best zoos in the country has live webcams that are fun to watch. You can watch the giraffes, gorillas, elephants and more at the Houston Zoo: Houston Zoo
  4. Visit Orlando’s Seaworld with this virtual tour: Seaworld Orlando
  5. Visit some of the most interesting hidden places of our most beautiful National Parks with these wonderful virtual tours: The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks
  6. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science offers some great at-home activities here: Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Take some fun “trips” and let us know what you think!

Need more to do at home? Paint some rocks!


Our current rock path

I just want to remind you that we would love for you to brighten up our rock path. Click the link below from the Kindness Rocks project page for some at-home activities you can do. Thanks in advance!

Kindness Rocks at home activities




Kindergarten Round-Up



I have been fielding some of the same questions from parents of our CES family, so hopefully this little FAQ will help.

When can we expect to get our class pictures? All of our mail and deliveries are being held at our district’s warehouse until we get back to our buildings. So, unfortunately, that’s probably where those pictures are now, and that means we won’t be able to get them out to you until we are allowed to go back to work. For those of you who will no longer be attending CES, we will make sure to make arrangements to deliver your pictures to you.

Will there still be Kindergarten Buddy Day? Most likely, no. However, we will incorporate as much of our normal buddy day as we can into the beginning of the year when our new little Scouts come to school for the first time.

How will new applications for 1st-6th grade be handled? If you haven’t already submitted your application, you can download and send them via email to our school secretary at shirlee.brule@canoncityschools.org.  If you have already submitted an application, you should expect a phone call from Shirlee soon to set up a virtual Face-to-Face meeting. We will move forward as we always have for potential new students, however, we will do it all electronically.

Will we be refunded our field trip money for trips we weren’t able to take? Yes, but we cannot do this until we are back in the building. If you are staying at CES, these funds could also be rolled over to pay your fees for next year.

Will there be a 6th grade and 8th grade continuation? We hope so! We just don’t know what that will look like yet. Your child’s teachers will let you know as soon as we know what we can do. We want to be able to celebrate the accomplishments of our students together and will do what we can to make that happen.

What should we do with the old HP Stream computers? Hang on to them for now. We will let you know what to do with them when we come back to school.

Will we be able to retrieve our child’s personal belongings they left at school? If we find out that we will not return to school this school year, we will have a plan to get those belongings to all of our families. If that decision is made, you can look for communication from us to let you know how that will be handled.

If you have any other questions that I did not answer for you here, please submit them in the comments of this blog. 

Thank you for reading! Happy Easter!

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal



Exploring From Home–week 1: No April Fools!–April 3, 2020

I hope you are all doing well secluding yourselves to your homes. What a week this has been! Sometimes frustrating, sometimes funny, sometimes discouraging, and sometimes hopeful.  It has definitely been a period of adjustment so far and I’m sure much more ahead. Now that our students are all online and learning from home, we’ve discovered some things that are working and some things that need to change. I’ve continued to be amazed by the hard work and dedication our teachers have demonstrated as they have worked to create the best educational experience possible. I have been able to pop-in to some of the Google Hangout sessions and have loved watching our kids interact with one another as well as their teacher. I have been able to see some art and music lessons as well as some quality Science Fair projects in Mrs. Strong’s class.

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Parents, we know you are also adjusting and doing your best. We all so appreciate the work you are doing and also for your flexibility and graciousness as we are all figuring this out. It will get better and let’s hope we are all back together soon!

Although we have not been in the building, this blog contains quite a bit of information. If you are a CES family, please read to the bottom. Thank you!

Informational Video about CES K-4 Distance Learning

If you haven’t already seen these videos that were posted on social media this last week, here they are for you:


Informational Video about Middle School Distance Learning:

Click link:  https://youtu.be/zHbxutnBqgE

Words of Wisdom from Molly Merry


Molly leading us in CT staff development

Molly is the founder of the Exploratory School. She continues to consult with our staff and contributes to this blog.

Every day children go off to school without necessarily realizing the great gift that school is. They don’t realize the community of people—administrators, paraprofessionals, maintenance staff, nutritional teams, highly qualified teachers and specialists, secretaries, health professionals—that support their growth every day, and often into the evenings and on weekends. As with many events in life, this global challenge is giving everyone a new perspective on the value of public education and the lengths our great professionals will go to to make sure all children have access to quality and meaningful education.

The Exploratory model is one of guiding children to see themselves as creative and motivated learners.  A motivated learner knows how to work with guidance and specific assignments, and they also have the motivation to ‘explore’ on their own, to set goals and work on their own.  The Exploratory model is one of parents working with children, not for them, of encouraging and answering questions with confidence in each child’s unique intelligence and style of learning. Together, whether in the building or at home, the difference is all in mutual support.

Some of the most important lessons for students through this sheltering time of school at home are:

  • thriving in adversity
  • grit and resiliency
  • coping with frustration
  • the satisfaction of work well done
  • self-direction and building a work ethic
  • communication
  • choosing a positive attitude
  • patience

And as always, what significant adults in a child’s life model is what that child will learn.


Kindness Rocks Project

If you are needing something to do while self-quarantining, help us spruce up our Kindness Rocks path. Mrs. Wrona our former Art teacher, now retired, installed this path several years ago and it is showing its age. This year our school theme was centered around rocks: We are Rock Solid, You Rock!, and Kindness Rocks. Halfway through the year, we embarked on the Kindness Campaign and Choose to Be Nice and this dovetailed nicely with our rock theme. Check out the Kindness Rocks Project here: thekindnessrocksproject. I would love to fill our little path and even extend it with beautifully painted rocks that bring hope and joy to all of us. And then, won’t it be wonderful when we come back to school to see how our own hands have beautified our front entrance and demonstrate to all who come to our school what a wonderful place CES is?

You could come by the school and pick up several of the rocks that are there, or you can find your own and bring them when you’ve finished them. Here are some other wonderful examples of ideas you might try from the Kindness Rocks Project page:

Chromebooks Are Coming!

Used Dell 13.3" Chromebook 13 3380 32GB VNPVR B&H Photo

We have discovered this past week that our old HP Streams that our 1st-4th graders have are just not able to handle videos and Google Hangouts from home. So, our district has expedited the shipment of the new Chromebooks that were allocated for the next school year in an effort to improve the educational experience of our students’ distance learning. We anticipate that these will arrive next week and will be ready for distribution by the end of the week. The tentative plan to get these in the hands of our 1st-4th grade students is to hand them out as we did the HP Streams: in the bus loop–curbside (no need to get out of your vehicle) on Thursday from 4:00-5:30 and Friday from 11:00-12:00. If you have a 1st-4th grader, please be on the lookout from me via the All School Remind and the Parent Portal messenger for confirmation of that timeline or the need to change that becomes necessary. If you haven’t already, please join my All-School Remind group by texting @979fc6 to 81010

Thank you for reading! Shelter and stay safe everyone!

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

Dark & quiet at CES but very busy at home!–March 28, 2020


As I sit to write this blog, I’m filled with emotion: sadness, disappointment, anxiety, and a little fear but also gratitude and hope. I’m amazed at how much the world has changed in this last week, and I’m in awe of the ability of people who have shown such amazing compassion, grace, selflessness, and perseverance. I am proud to work in a school district that has not only crafted Core Beliefs but live them. Our district leaders, school board, and staff have all put Core Belief #4 in action and have found so many ways put the needs of our precious students before their own needs and have stepped far outside of their comfort zones to figure out the best way to provide instruction from home. I don’t think many, if any, of our teacher slept much this last week! They have all worked so hard to prepare this new way of learning that our students will begin to experience this week.


An excellent example of work being done by our teachers, Mrs. Brown put together a wonderful parent meeting to get her families ready for the week ahead.

Kudos to parents too who are becoming their child’s academic teacher (we know they have always been their first teacher!). It has been fun for me to see on social media all of the creative ways that parents are already finding to keep their kids learning and also getting back to the basics like cooking, crafting, and playing outside. We hope our halls don’t remain dark for the rest of the year and that we are all together again soon, but until then I will keep up with this blog and keep you informed of what our Explorers are up to as best I can.


Free Spectrum


If you or someone you know cannot afford to have the internet at home, Spectrum is offering free internet during this time of the crisis. You will find the link below with information. Please do be aware that there may be a hookup fee that could run up to $60. Our school district is vested in making sure that every student can access their instruction, so if you need help with this fee, please contact the district office at 276-5700 to let our superintendent Mr. Welsh know and he will help you out. You can also reach him at george.welsh@canoncityschools.org


Distribution of Devices



If you have a student in 1st-4th grade and need a device (computer) at home for them to get their work done, we will hand these out Monday and Tuesday from 11:00-12:00 and from 4:00-5:00. All of our 5th-8th graders and our Kindergarteners have already taken home their Chromebooks. It is not required that you come and get one of the school-issued devices if you have something at home that will work but we want to make sure that you and your children have what they need to complete their school work.

To minimize the exposure, we will provide curbside service in the bus loop on the North end of the building.

I just want to add that we are not cleaning out desks and cubbies like we are going home for the summer. At the time of our dismissal at the beginning of Spring Break, we knew there was a likelihood that schools would be closed due to COVID 19, but we do not know yet if we will return before summer. If it turns out to be the case that we are closed for the remainder of the year, we will develop a plan for students to get their belongings at that time.

Staying Active and Connected to CES from Home

One of our students, Kiarra Kleven, still wanted to run our Spirit Lap that was slatted this spring. Look at the creativity and thought that she put into holding her very own CES Spirit Lap in her backyard. Good job Kiarra!

If you and your family are doing something at home during this time that I can share with others and celebrate your journey, please send to me through my email at kelly.albrecht@canoncityschools.org. Thanks!

Stay safe and well! Until next time,

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

COVID-19 and CES: some information you may find helpful–March 19 , 2020

I wasn’t planning to write and share a blog this week since it’s Spring Break, but I am hoping this is a good way to get information out to the community and especially our CES families some important and helpful information. I imagine my blog posts going forward will all look different than ever before, and I will continue to use this platform to keep our families and the community informed to the best of my ability. Please help me by sharing this blog post in any way that you can: Facebook, Twitter, email, word of mouth, etc. Thank you!!

Upcoming Face-2-Face meetings for Kindergarten


We have heard from several parents who are concerned about their Kindergarten Face-2-Face meetings. Please know that we will develop a plan this next week and let all of our prospective new families know as soon as we can. We may choose to just put these off until later in the year–assuming we will be able to come back together in late April and May OR we may do these remotely through Skype, Hangouts, FaceTime, or by phone. Please be patient and know we will get info to you as soon as we can. We are looking forward to meeting all of our prospective Little Scouts!!

CES Event Cancellations


Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

It probably goes without saying that there are many upcoming events that we will need to cancel or postpone. If we are able to get school back in session this spring, we will send out information about any of these events we are able to postpone and try to do before summer. Until further notice, these events will not take place:

  • Book Fair
  • Fine Arts Night
  • Compass Academy
  • PTO’s Spirit Lap
  • Battle of the Books
  • and possibly the Variety Show, All City Band, and District Science Fair



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HARRISON K-8, WEST PARKING: 12:10 PM – 12:30 PM 



             Look for our “Eat Right. Live Right. Mobile Food Truck!

Beginning on Tuesday, March 24th, distribution of non-perishable food items will be available to families who are in need. Bags of food will be available at Canon City High School from 11-1 on Tuesday and Thursday each week on a first come, first serve basis. As a requirement of the grant supporting this program, students must be enrolled in Canon City Schools and will  be asked to provide their name, date of birth, and the school they attend.

What to expect in the coming weeks:

sorry we re closed but still awesome tag

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

As you probably know, Governor Polis has ordered all Colorado schools closed through April 17. Although we were anticipating some sort of closure, this created a whole new ballgame for us.

Next week our entire instructional staff will meet via Google Hangout to brainstorm and plan. Then our K-4 teachers will spend the rest of the week planning and preparing for distance or e-learning. Our 5-8 teachers will also plan and prepare but we hope to have a “soft start” on Thursday the 26th with some sort of lesson that will ease kids into e-learning (keep in mind that we may have to amend this plan). All students will begin this type of learning on March 30.

There will be a time for students’ families to come to the school to pick up their devices (if they don’t already have them) and materials that might be needed. Staff will not be in the building except for limited periods of time as they may need to come and get supplies or do something that can be only be done in their classrooms. As soon as we have a schedule and a plan for this, we will send out communication. This communication may come through Infinite Campus so please continue to check your Parent Portal. We will also utilize the sources I’ve listed below.

Please be patient with us and we are forging uncharted territory. Our staff is highly committed and passionate to continue to deliver a high quality education for your children and are truly saddened to not be able to seeing their students’ beautiful faces on Monday. We are in this together and are living our school motto more than ever before–Together We Make a Difference!

Stay informed!

Please continue to check our district’s websitewww.canoncityschools.org

Our school website: Canon Exploratory School

If you haven’t already join my All-School Remind: text @979fc6 to the number 81010

Follow this blog by entering your email after clicking the “follow” button which is usually found in the lower right hand corner.

The Fremont County COVID-19 Information HOTLINE phone number is 719-276-7421

Other Notes:

  • If your child is 5th-8th grade and did not take home their Chromebook before break, we will be in touch to arrange a time for you to come and pick it up.
  • We will have time for all students to come and get their devices and chargers to take home–again, we will be in touch with those times.
  • If you have a need, question, concern, contact me at 719-276-6051 or kelly.albrecht@canoncityschools.org

Please do your best to enjoy the last of Spring Break and your weekend!

Thank you for reading. Stay well and take care!

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

Almost Spring!–March 13, 2020

Here we are at the end of 3rd quarter with only one left to go! As we left yesterday to begin our Spring Break, we are all anxious about what may happen as a result of implications of COVID-19. Of course, we are all concerned for our families and our personal well-being but also thinking about the possibility of school closures and what they means for us. Please see Mr. Welsh’s statement below. If you have children at CES or in Canon City Schools, you can stay informed through my All-School Remind or at https://www.canoncityschools.org/  Yesterday a packet with an informational notes went home with our K-6 students and the note and students’ Chromebooks went home with 7th and 8th. All that being said, it was business as usual at CES this week with lots of parents in the building to watch their children’s presentations, field trips taking place, and plenty of high quality learning.

Catamount Institute Field Trip

Yesterday the Rangers and the Wanderers took a trip to the Catamount Institute in Colorado Springs. This is a wonderful outdoor field trip experience with the Rangers going to Sodermann Park and the Wanderers going to Rock Ledge Ranch. Both programs are sponsored by Catamount Institute and each group did different things. They got to build windmills and learn how they work. They identified rings on tree cookies and used their senses to observe trees blindfolded while using the tree field guide to identify Colorado’s Native trees. Kids also used binoculars and went birding, studying the characteristics of birds using a field guide to determine species. They compared and contrasted the field and forest ecosystems by making observations. And, they studied skills of different animals comparing the qualities of carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores in animals of Colorado. A lot of learning and a lot of fun!

Voyagers’ Exploration Exhibition

Voyagers continued the year long exploration into learning about other countries and held an exhibit to show off this quarter’s worth of learning. They work across grade levels with bigs and littles’ working together during their MI Mash time with their focus this time on innovation that has resulted from that country. The kids presented to each other, students in other communities, and families showing off their own creativity and knowledge and once again demonstrating our targeted Traits and Skills. Good job Voyagers!

Important Announcement from Superintendent Mr. Welsh:

Image result for canon city schools

Many of you may have noticed a number of school districts have shuttered their doors for the next few weeks due to the COVID-19 epidemic poised to spread throughout the country. Perhaps you’ve also noticed the Cañon City Fremont RE-1 School District is not on any of those lists.

Thanks to the commencement of our annual Spring Break, we’ve resisted making a quick decision. Instead, we’ve chosen to take a few days to follow events, consider our options, and huddle with Fremont County’s public health officials before determining our best course of action.

We promise to communicate our plan for the week of March 22-28 by the end of the day Wednesday, March 18th. In doing so we’ll place core belief number one at the forefront of all our decision making, we meet the social-emotional needs of all students, putting Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs before Bloom’s Taxonomy. We’ll also keep in mind the following:

  • The health and safety of our children, staff, and all of their families.
  • The educational needs of our students.
  • The social, emotional, and nutritional wellness of our children.
  • The financial security of our staff and the economic well-being of the greater community.
  • The facilities access needs of our many valued community partners.

On March 11th the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued minimum guidelines about when a school MUST close should a verified case of COVID-19 emerge.  They are as follows:

Upon the first verified case of staff or student infection in a particular school, a 72-hour closure is required.

Upon the second verified case of staff or student infection in a particular school, an additional 72-hour closure is required.

Upon the third verified case of staff or student infection in a particular school, a 14-day closure is required.

Finally, any district with 3 verified cases in a 30-day period = a 14-day closure.

As evidenced by yesterday’s announcements, many school districts, despite not yet having a single verified COVID-19 case, seek to support their communities in staving off a rapid escalation of the virus that could place undue stress on their local health provider system. This strategy of lengthening the time span during which the virus spreads is referred to as “flattening the curve.” Please know, if our local health officials advise us to take such a measure, we will certainly comply.

In the meantime, parents of our Kindergarten through 5th graders should note their children came home yesterday with a packet of schoolwork they can use if we have to extend our spring break. Please, please, please, set this classwork on a shelf at home for now and let your children run, play, and break away from traditional learning while we are on spring break. We’ll communicate with you if and when we need you to support your child’s learning by turning their attention to it.

For grade 6-12 students, thanks to the community’s kind support of our mill override ballot question in November 2017 our teaching staff is ready to continue instruction in an online fashion. This won’t replace the many wonderful person-to-person interactions that take place in our buildings on a daily basis. However, we believe it will keep each student moving forward academically.

On a related note, if you know a grade 6-12 child who has no internet access, please reach out to us at 719-276-5700. We’ll do all we can to ensure each one has an equal opportunity to learn. As a citizen of our community, you might also assist us by requesting our local internet service providers offer free or low-cost access during this crisis.

We can’t thank you enough for trusting us with your most precious commodity, and we look forward to working with you as we navigate this challenging situation.

Sincerely,  George S. Welsh

Thanks for reading! Be well,

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

–March 6, 2020

Parents as Partners

A weekly feature highlighting the many ways our parents are involved and partner with us here at CES.

The pictures above represent just a small sample of the parents who come in every week to work with our students in small groups to support literacy, science, and math among other things. We are so fortunate to have such dedication and commitment from these parents who we can rely upon to show up and run these groups. We have moms, dads, and grandparents some of whom are retired and some who aren’t but take the time from their busy schedules. We are so appreciative!

Dr. Seuss Day

We celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday and reading on Monday with many different activities that were fun but also educational. Some students had to use their Depth and Complexity skills to follow the directions for making a Cat in the Hat hat with specific directions. Others created Seuss inspired poetry and stories. Of course, there was lots of reading and literacy connections made. AND, you know how we are at CES–any excuse to dress up in costume!

Book Fair

Our book fair is coming and we could use some help. If you are willing to volunteer to set up, tear down, run a cash register, or just assist, please click the link below to sign up. Thanks!

Volunteer Sign Up

Learning our Traits and Skills:

If you’ve been reading my blog, you may remember that I’ve highlighted our district’s targeted Traits and Skills that make up the graduate profile. The Traits are: Innovation, Civility, Agility, Agency, Tenacity, Integrity, and Knowledge. The Skills are: Collaboration, Reflection, Communication, Contribution, Leadership, Solution Seeking, and Empowerment. We believe we teach all of these things on a regular basis here at CES, but I will take some blog time to specifically highlight a few when I can.

Creative Minds in PE: Creativity Collaboration, Innovation, and Solution Seeking

Students create their own games and teach them to each other. Through this they learn collaboration, creativity, solution seeking, and innovation.Some of the name of their games include: Jumpshot Bowling, Hopscotch Points, Save the Sea Turtles, Dip Dip Potato Chip, and PH Funhouse. They have so much fun teaching these games to each other and playing each other’s game creations. Learning should be fun and it certainly is thanks to Mrs. Hanenberg!

Thinking like Engineers: Tenacity, Agility, Agency, Collaboration, Solution Seeking, and Communication

Mrs. Hartman’s class has been working on thinking like an engineer. They are using their collaboration,  solution seeking, and communication skills to make marble mazes together.  They are also developing tenacity, agility, and agency.  Witnessing this work was inspiring as every child was completely engaged and using such important life skills at such a young age!

Learning for Life



The Wanderers created these visuals to learn the Traits and Skills and developed an understanding of how these help them become life long learners.

Solo and Ensemble: Knowledge, Tenacity, and Reflection

Band students participated in the annual Solo and Ensemble Competition today. Through the process of preparing their solos they use many of the Traits and Skills. Of course, they are increasing their knowledge and understanding of reading music, playing an instrument, and performing. They must reflect on their progress and receive feedback to improve their performance of the piece. And they have to demonstrate tenacity to persevere through the difficult times of learning a challenging piece of music and working with an accompanist for perhaps the first time. Many thanks to Ms. Janitell, Mr. Nolan, and Mrs. Brady for providing this wonderful opportunity to our students.


It’s been a great week! Next week is the last week of the quarter so I’m sure I’ll see many of you parents in the building as you come to watch your students present and take part on end-of-the quarter activities. After that, it’s already Spring Break!

Thanks for reading! Until next time,

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

Finishing February with Flair–February 28, 2020

The last week of February was full of great learning, fun events, and memory making moments. What a great way to end the shortest month of the year! We’re ready for Spring!

Middle School Dance: Celebrating the Roaring 20’s!

Our Student Council helped our middle school celebrate the 2020 year by throwing a day that paid tribute the Roaring 20’s. They did a wonderful job decorating the Community Room, preparing snacks, and planning a fancy and special dance. Our 7th and 8th graders came dressed in their best including some special 20’s outfits. It was a lot of fun to see them just come together to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. A special thank you to our STUCO sponsor, Diane Rivera who always puts in a lot of time and energy to make student council a successful organization!

An Operatic Experience!

Ms. Janitell, our music teacher, put together a wonderful trip for students so they could have an experience not very many students, or even adults, get. On Tuesday, eighteen students from the 6-8 bands and choirs went to a dress rehearsal of the opera Pagliacci. During the field trip, students were able to briefly experience downtown Denver with several generous chaperones and get some delicious food before the performance. They were blessed to have seats right by the pit orchestra, which allowed the band students to watch the directing style of the conductor. The opera was fantastic, and every student had the time of their lives! Thank you Ms. Janitell for the special experience!

Tigers Come for Lunch

Before Christmas several of our students were able to get to know a CCHS Tiger through the Shop with a Tiger event. Continuing to foster this very positive experience and relationship, Mr. Marushack, the sponsor of Tiger Pride, organizes a follow-up lunch with the Tigers and their little buddies. Many of the Tigers who came over were alum of CES and it’s so fun to see our Explorers all grown up. The connection they make in such a short time with younger students is a special thing to witness. This is a memorable moment of our students!

Parents as Partners

Parents as Partners is a new feature of my blog where I will highlight our parents as they partner in many ways with CES. We have always had the philosophy of being a 3 legged stool: School/Parents/Child and we work together to make sure that the “stool” is stable. This happens in many ways at CES but one way we see the partnerships is in how our parents serve our students as teachers in and out of the 4 walls of CES. We are blessed to have so many difference kinds of expertise and talent within our ranks.

This week I would like to highlight a presentation that took place this last week as part of the 3rd/4th grade unit about ecosystems and adaptations. Janelle Valladares, who is a parent in the Wanderers community, works for the United States Forest Service. She taught our students about animal adaptations. The kids were able to see and touch skulls and pelts in her engaging presentation. This valuable knowledge helped the kids to understand why adaptations are important for animal survival. Thank you Janelle for not only teaching our students in such a meaningful way but for giving of your time so generously!

Thanks for reading! Until next time,

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

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