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.

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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

https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/coronavirus-covid-19-educational-internet-offer

Distribution of Devices

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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

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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

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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

 

CANON CITY SCHOOLS EMERGENCY FEEDING PROGRAM 

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 GRAB n GO MEALS AVAILABLE AT NO CHARGE FOR ANYONE UNDER 19 YEARS OF AGE. 

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 MEALS OFFERED EVERY MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, FRIDAY BEGINNING MARCH 23rd AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:

CANON CITY HIGH SCHOOL, STUDENT LOT: 10:45 AM – 11:15 AM

CANON EXPLORATORY SCHOOL FRONT ENTRANCE: 11:25 AM – 11:55 AM

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

LINCOLN SCHOOL OF S&T,  4th AVENUE PARKING LOT: 12:50 PM – 1:20 PM

MCKINLEY SCHOOL, WEST PARKING LOT: 1:30 PM – 2:00 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:

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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:

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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

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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

Fabulous February Fun!–February 23, 2020

I just wish I could capture all of the great things that happen every single day at CES to include in this blog. The reality is that I would need to clone myself 50 times over to do that. Our district conducts annual Instructional Reviews.

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The Instructional Review is part of our district’s evaluation process for each building. A team of 12 people from our district and community toured the building all day, Afterwards, our superintendent, Mr. George Welsh shared in his weekly blog, Echos and to our staff a communication about what they saw. I thought I would share part of it with you and perhaps this will illustrate more clearly what I mean. Here was the team’s main take-away:

  •  At every turn, we saw deep engagement by students, thanks to teachers performing at an expert level.
  • In every classroom, we met kids who can explain what they were learning, and why.
  • We witnessed teachers and kids approaching learning processes by utilizing high-level academic vocabulary. 
  • At every turn, the rigor of instruction was right on target.
  • The quality of instruction offered by paraprofessional support staff was incredible!
  • It is clearly evident CES’s focus on a culture of kindness is clearly taking hold.
  • Support for leadership at CES is at a level we have rarely seen in this district. 
  • From the time we entered to the time we left, we felt a positive energy. As Larry Oddo, one of our Compass Committee members said, “CES is a beacon for the community. We can easily invite everyone in because we would never be embarrassed by anything that is going on here.”
  • I was personally pleased by my observations of how many teachers are clearly taking ownership of the skills and traits we have pledged to develop in our students.
  • We witnessed technology being implemented at an expert level, enhancing CES’s multi-grade instruction and to support blended learning. 
  • We saw a commitment to expanding the depth and complexity of student learning.
  • CES even received high praise from Molly Merry, who said, “I am simply impressed by how this staff does not stand still. They continually strive to improve their implementation of the four pillars of the exploratory model; Multiple Intelligences, Choice Theory, Multi-Grade instruction, and Project-Based Learning.”

I am so proud of the work our staff, students, and families do each and every day to make CES the special place it is for living and learning!

100th Day of School Fun

I missed getting my blog out last week, so this is a bit late, but–the 100th day of school was celebrated here at CES Monday, the 10th. As you can see, our Scouts had lots of fun things to learn about that involved the number 100! IMG_1333Poor Mrs. Rivera–I think this job must be getting to her!

 

 

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PE Buddies!

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We use our Big Buddies all over the building–even in PE!

Collaborative Conceptual Unit Work

Students in Mrs Veatch’s and Mr. Dieckman’s classes working collaboratively to compare and create food webs for each of Colorado’s eight Ecosystems. Next week students will be recreating the plants and animals for display on an interactive bulletin board where they will be learning about their adaptations.  Third and 4th graders will also have a presentation next week by Janelle Valladares from the US Forest Service about animal adaptations.

A Message from our Founder, Molly Merry:

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When kids are making, crafting, building, or creating, they are using some vitally important thinking skills.  Those skills all connect to Multiple Intelligences, and the district’s focus on Traits and Skills.  CES students will be making visual representations of some of those Traits and Skills.  Making these representations is about so much more than drawing!  For most students, their introduction to Traits and Skills concepts is through vocabulary and definitions of terms which is very abstract and difficult to grasp.  By using a Multiple Intelligences approach and creating visual representations, students move into something much more concrete.  For example, lets consider the trait ‘tenacity’.  Most students would not know what tenacity means or tenaciousness.  But by helping students visualize sticking with the hard work it takes to complete something, not giving up, and building a sense of accomplishment, they can begin to visualize and share examples.  They can make illustrations that help not only their understanding, but strengthen everyone’s understandings as their share ideas.Maybe it is an explorer reaching the summit of a mountain, a person with a disability competing in the Special Olympics, an actor who goes to many auditions before getting a part, or a research scientist who continues to work to find a cure for a disease.  There are examples of people in history who have made a difference through their tenacity—Florence Nightingale, Harriet Tubman, John Glenn, Ernest Shackleton, and Jonas Salk, for example.  CES is committed to making sure students experience understandings through approaching complex ideas with concrete and connecting experiences.

Thank you for reading! Until next time,

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

Gettin’ Crafty at CES–February 8, 2020

Family Craft Night

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We had a great time at our second Family Craft night this year. About 70 people of all ages came together to enjoy a Valentine themed night of painting canvases, crafting Valentine door hangers, and enjoying some punch and cookies. Thank you PTO for sponsoring these fun nights and a big shout out of appreciation for Katie France for organizing the event!

Crafting the Traits & Skills

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Throughout the building on Friday students were working on learning about our school district’s targeted Traits (knowledge, innovation, tenacity, agency, agility civility integrity) and Skills (collaboration, communication, solution-seeking, contribution, reflection, empowerment, leadership). Kids were learning what these mean, developing visual representations, and identifying actions of each. The Adventurers community is taking the approach of filtering the Traits and Skills through the lens of our Multiple Intelligences. They will eventually develop an art piece that will represent each.

Highlights from the 1st Semester Animoto:

Please enjoy a short Animoto featuring pictures of some of the highlights of the year so far.

Thanks for reading! Until next time,

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

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