Monthly Archives: August 2017

Week in Review: August 21-25, 2017

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First Full Week of School

We had a great first week with kids! It’s amazing how much can happen in just four and a half days! Eclipse viewing was interesting—especially dismissing right during the peak of it! Our new playground is awesome! All of the kids (and even the teachers) have enjoyed playing on the great new equipment. We are still learning what we can and cannot do to make good choices for having fun and yet being safe. There is still more work to be done on our playground.  The shade structure and full size basketball court are yet to be finished and we are waiting on the mechanism which will allow our the super cool zip line to work. Classroom night was a success with a very high participation rate. Lots of positive energy could be found in the building as teachers excitedly shared with families the coming year and everyone got a chance to meet our new staff. Thursday we had our first assembly of year. Our Middle School students were wonderful leaders as they escorted classrooms down to the gym and showed students where to sit for our new assembly seating. They also had a role in leading activities that taught students about our culture and our Thriving Tree theme for the year. Friday our middle school students got to go on a hike in the Hogbacks led by former CES librarian, Monica McGowan and learned about trailblazing–connecting it to their own work as CES Trailblazers. Throughout the week all of our students were busy familiarizing themselves with their new teachers, new routines, school culture and expectations, and all about each other.

This Next Week

This week brings an important event on Thursday, August 31: Culture Night. You will learn how best to support your child to become their best selves while participating in 3-30 minute rotations of school culture, project-based learning, and “The Overindulged Child”. We believe this is an important event which leads to success for your child by providing you the tools and understanding of how best to support him/her.

This year we have a new component for our returning  and middle school families. We are excited to provide a “refresher” for those who have been a part of CES before this year. Some of you attended Culture Night for the first time when your students were kindergarteners and now they are “big kids”. Choice Theory and Project Based Learning look a bit different for kids as they grow and change. For those families who may have only been here for a year or two, we will also share how students who have come through our program have benefited from what they learned during their years at CES.  The refresher portion of our evening will begin with a wonderful presentation by Adam Hartman, our director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, on the “Resilient Child”. Followed by a panel discussion that includes our founder, Molly Merry, former CES principal, Beth Gaffney, and some parents of those children who have benefited from our model over the years.

Child care will be provided from 5:30-7:00.

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Above and Below the Line–part of our culture–displayed in Mr. Dieckman’s classroom.


School Beautification Projects


When our Trailblazer sign was installed for our Middle School, it made it all the more obvious that there are some other things we really need to do to beautify the front of our building so that it more clearly illustrates to the community just how wonderful our school is and also to foster more pride from our families and students.  This year we hope to add another sign like the Trailblazers sign that says “Explorers” on the elementary portion of the building. Additionally, we would like to install a sign over the front entrance with our school name. Have you ever noticed that we don’t have one?  Among other things, we hope to add some planters to the front entrance, murals around and in the school, refresh/update the marquee, install benches and tables in our front “courtyard” area, and add some landscaping to the parking lot area.  Our PTO will work on fundraising  but we welcome sponsors and/or donations to help us achieve our dream of creating a more beautiful and inviting school setting and community gathering place.


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We have two benches added this year. They were made and donated by Wanda O’Dell and her family.

Conceptual Units

As you know, Conceptual Units are an integral part of the learning experience here at CES. Our teachers develop units with an overarching theme through which they teach most of the content and standards required by our state. Every year, our elementary students participate in 4 units—one per quarter. Here are the conceptual units for first quarter:

  • Kindergarten=Me, Families, and Community
  • 1st/2nd= Insects
  • 3rd/4th=Geography and Landforms
  • 5th/6th=Structures

Conceptual Units look different in our middle school, but one of the yearlong projects they are working on is Community Gardening and developing our little garden (on the back side of our building) into one that is used by our neighbors.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!!





Week in Review, Aug. 14-18, 2017


Educators Officially Return

Although most of our teachers have been working prior to August 15th, that day was our first official day back.  Our new staff participated in New Educator Orientation the week prior with the district.  All of our educators, from classroom teachers to custodians, participated in the “All District Kick Off” on Tuesday and a day of getting know one another and building our culture on Wednesday.  As they delved into our Thriving Tree theme, they learned about what we need to thrive as a school and as a staff family.   We had a good time participating in an inquiry project, much like we provide for our students, while learning about each other, discovering what we need to make this a great year, and developing a plan to move us forward. One of the things we did as we were learning was to go out on a tree scavenger hunt where we took “tree selfies” (see just a few of the pictures above) as evidence of finding the different types of trees on our scavenger hunt list. We walked away from the day energized and ready for a great new school year to begin.

Our New Playground


Our new playground is nearly complete.  We hope to have kids playing on it the first week of school.  Not only do we have an amazing new BIG toy, we have a rock climbing wall (that’s what the big crane is installing), lots of spinny toys (brain research has found they are good for development), and Frisbee golf!  Some pieces are still to come soon:  the lines and baskets for our new full size basketball court, the shade structure, and the mechanisms to make the wonderful zip line work.  Another big shout out and thank you to, PE teacher, Mrs. Hanenburg and, district maintenance director,  Jeff Peterson and his crew for all of their hard work to make this happen!!

Open House

On Thursday, many of our families came to meet their new teachers, drop off their supplies, and have ice cream.  It was so much fun to see everyone!  We are excited to get this year going!!

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Aug. 1-4, 17

Choice Theory Training


This last week, our extremely devoted teachers (and by this, I mean all staff–all of the adults who work in this building are teachers in some way) spent two days with Mr. Jerry Noel and Mrs. Beth Gaffney learning about Choice Theory, the foundational behavior system and philosophy of our building.  It was a wonderful opportunity for our returning staff to get to know our new staff, for us to ground our beliefs, and reenergize our mission.  I so appreciate the willingness of our staff to give up some of the last few days of their summer break to do this work!


We had a very successful registration that ran smoothly.  It helped to have families enter via the middle school/gym entrance and make their way up to the front which provided a much more streamlined process for all involved.  The majority of our families came in and we had make very few reminder phone calls. I enjoyed getting to connect with parents and students and see their excited and happy faces as they look forward to a wonderful new school year.

This Week:  August 7-11, 2017

Our new teachers begin their orientation and training on August 9th.  They will work with the district and our Induction Coordinator, Jamie Davis,  to learn the ins-and-outs of working for the school district, the instructional resources they will use, and get to know what they need to be successful this school year.  New classroom teachers will meet with me to become familiar with the things that pertain to CES on Wednesday and Friday.

This week will also include a few more “Face-to-Face” meetings with potential new families,  meetings about data, Leadership Team meeting, training for our new phone system, and Mrs. Brule’ and I will finish up plans for the staff and students this last week while we have no students in the building.


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“Legacy is about life and living. It’s about learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future.

Where do you think it’s best to plant a young tree: a clearing in an old-growth forest or an open field? Ecologists tell us that a young tree grows better when it’s planted in an area with older trees. The reason, it seems, is that the roots of the young tree are able to follow the pathways created by former trees and implant themselves more deeply.”–The Legacy Project by S. Bosak.

There are many people around us who are carving the pathways for the young roots to grow and thrive. People from our past and present who continue to build our future. We don’t always see and recognize this work, however we have physical evidence to remind us of a few legacies here at CES. There is a beautiful metal tree in our front entrance commemorating Molly Merry, the founder of our school. She continues to inspire and mentor our educators. Another amazing person who still influences and energizes our work is Beth Gaffney who was the principal here when Madison grew into Canon Exploratory.  She was the driving force of the creation of our middle school and has been a huge part of CES’s success since moving to this site. This summer the middle school sign Trailblazers and a commemorative plaque to Mrs. Gaffney was installed on the wall of our middle school entrance area. Although both Molly and Beth are now retired, they still have such passion for CES that they continue to mentor our staff and students.

These two physical signs of legacy would not exist were it not for the man who created them and  who recently passed away, Mr. Brandt Bradbury.  In his typical way–with a servant’s heart–not expecting any accolades or appreciation, he gifted his time and donated materials because he wanted to contribute something meaningful and beautiful to his community.  His attention to detail, craftsmanship, creativity, and generosity are part of his legacy along with leaving  an example of how to live a good life, treat people well, have fun, find joy, and love.  We will truly miss you, Mr. Brandt Bradbury!!  Thank you for all you have done for our community and schools and the beautiful legacy you leave behind.



We have a cleaned up garden and  rock that is ready to spread in between the beds.  Middle School students better get ready to work!

Thank you Paula Trameer for coordinating, Shirlee Brule and her youth group for the manpower (or should I say, girlpower?), and John Paul Ary for making this happen.   Fremont Paving & RediMix THANK YOU for the very generous donation of the gravel!!garden

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