Author Archives: Mrs. A

Prepping for a Great New Year~Aug. 16, 2019

Back to School for Educators

The first day of school for teachers was Monday where we started with our annual District Kick-Off at CCHS. All staff in our district come together to hear a common message, meet new staff, and find inspiration. This year we heard from our Superintendent, George Welsh, our Assistant Superintendent, Adam Hartman, and Canon City School Board member, Shad Johnson. They shared the new mission, vision, and Core Beliefs of Canon City Schools and the direction we are heading. I have been in the district for over 25 years and I can tell you I’ve never been so excited about the future of this district! I love that we have developed four Core Beliefs that guide our work. CES’s UIP (Unified Improvement Plan) was written for this year centered on the 4 Core Beliefs of the District. The UIP is a guiding document for our plan for continued improvement and growth. Below, I’m including the one-pager of our UIP that is a snapshot of the bigger document. I provide this for teachers so that they can easily  be reminded of the goals for this year.

Screenshot 2019-08-18 at 11.41.41 AM

Our school district’s new mission statement reads:

The Canon City School District is future focused, providing innovative educational opportunities to successfully prepare all students to meet any challenge they may face.

Our district has also adopted Traits and Skills that we believe are important in an innovative educational environment and life. Throughout the year, in this blog, I will bring awareness to how CES is providing opportunities for our students to develop these skills and traits. Take a look at them below and see if you can identify some ways your children have already been developing these here at CES.

TRAIT: A personal quality that can be influenced or developed over time. 

Trait Defined Level Observable Look-Fors By Educational Levels
Knowledge Acquiring understanding through experience or learning. K-5 Students demonstrate an understanding of content and concepts. 
6-8 Students demonstrate and apply an understanding of content and concepts.
9-12 Students demonstrate proficiency in content and concepts on a range of assessments and apply it to real life scenarios.
Innovation Creating and adapting behavior that is fueled by curiosity. K-5 Students  demonstrate curiosity and creativity.
6-8 Students take ideas and new thinking to create something new
9-12 Students apply all traits and skills in the creation of something new.
Tenacity Persisting without exception. K-5 Students consistently put forth their best effort.
6-8 Students persevere even in difficult situations.
Agency  Acting independently, with calculated purpose, courage, and power.                                                                             K-5 Students consistently demonstrate personal responsibility.
6-8 Students consistently demonstrate skills necessary to act with purpose. 
Agility Learning from experience and adapt to new situations. K-5 Students reflect upon and be flexible in their actions and choices. 
6-8 Students reflect upon experiences to adapt to different situations.
Civility  Valuing personal identity and beliefs while honoring those of others. K-5 Students treat themselves and others with respect. 
6-8 Students identify their core values while treating others with empathy.
Integrity Doing the right thing even when no one is watching.   K-5 Students choose right over wrong.
6-8 Students demonstrate independence while making choices for the betterment of all.


SKILL: A useful ability acquired through guided practice. 

Skill Defined Level Observable Look-Fors By Educational Levels
Collaboration Working effectively with others, assuming shared responsibility, and valuing individual contributions. K-5 Students work productively with others while sharing responsibility for specific tasks being accomplished.
6-8 Students work effectively with others, share responsibility, and value individual contributions.
Communication Articulating thoughts and ideas through various means and listening effectively to decipher messages. K-5 Students actively listen and communicate effectively.
6-8 Students advocate for personal needs and listen to the needs of others. 
Solution Seeking Asking significant questions that clarify needs and lead to desired objectives. K-5 Students ask questions to develop and extend understanding to propose solutions.
6-8 Students analyze needs, ask questions, test possibilities, draw conclusions and propose unique solutions to challenges. 
Contribution Enacting a set of intentional strategies designed to accomplish goals and contribute value.  K-5 Students provide input for the benefit of others.
6-8 Students actively engage to achieve a common goal.
Reflection  Evaluating practices and experiences to gain awareness of thinking and learning. K-5 Students evaluate learning experiences with the purpose of improving overall performance. 
6-8 Students accept personal, teacher, and peer feedback to further develop skills and knowledge.
Empowerment Taking charge of your own circumstance through trait and skill development, and by being personally vested in the results. K-5 Students take ownership of their learning experience and the overall product. 
6-8 Students display the confidence to take risks, choose their actions and make decisions.
Leadership Accomplishing goals by building strong relationships, communicating effectively, and modeling expectations. K-5 Students demonstrate personal responsibility and value the strengths in others to increase teamwork.  
6-8 Students model expectations to empower others and increase interdependence. 


We are all excited about a great year ahead!

Teachers are Learners Too!

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All day Wednesday, CES teachers were able to continue to improve their Choice Theory (CT) knowledge with our school’s founder Molly Merry. We had a great day learning some strategies to use CT in our day-to-day life in school.  After all, CT is something we live not just do. We recognize that the language and actions of Choice Theory may look different depending on the developmental age of kids, and we also have learned that our teachers are working at different developmental levels too depending on their experience and time spent.  Choice Theory is so important to the foundation of the Exploratory model that we are dedicated to continue to devote time throughout the year adding to our skill set.  We will continue to work  with Molly and on our own to build our capacity to facilitate Choice Theory with our students and with our parents.

On Thursday, elementary teachers spent their morning learning about 6-step Phonics and the Traits and Skills. Middle School teachers worked on getting familiar with their new curriculum resources, and SMARTs teachers met in their content teams with other district staff.

Teachers were able to spend a good chunk of Thursday and all of Friday working in their rooms to get ready for tomorrow. We’re all excited to get kids back in the building!

Our Caring Kids


Last week Erin and Ryan Sallie, Jocelyn Raymer, and Breesyn and Lili Sutton gave up some of their last precious moments of summer to have a lemonade stand at the Splash Park and raised $41 to donate to CES to help other students who might need a little extra to pay for their tech or trips. They also donated a beautiful brand new backpack. How awesome is that?!

Thoughts from Molly…


As the new school year begins it is important to remember that CES has a strong school culture based on William Glasser’s Choice Theory.  A school culture is very different from a school or classroom behavior management program.  Management is a process of controlling student behavior through rules imposed upon them.  Culture is a way of being, an expected set of attitudes and behavior that are motivated internally by a desire to succeed.  Management=controlled by someone else.  Culture=self monitoring and control.  Everyone at CES is part of the school culture; all staff, all students, and all parents.

All of CES is dedicated to helping students make healthy choices for relationships, learning, and responsibility.  Everyone on the CES staff understands the importance of modeling a culture that is collaborative and supportive.  Support does not mean rescuing, it means reassuring students that they can develop skills to solve and prevent problems. It means asking questions, not giving answers.  Growing up is not an easy journey but a school that is nurturing through the inevitable challenges and frustrations is a significant part of any childhood.  Support helps prepare children for the challenges of adulthood.      

At a traditional school, there may be separation of teachers and other staff. At CES every adult in the building is a teacher reinforcing student goals and growth by modeling positive attitudes, hard work, and strong relationships.  CES encourages parents to learn and understand Choice Theory and become part of a team.  When parents, students, and staff at CES work together it greatly enhances student learning and growth.  

~Molly Merry

Thanks for reading! Here’s to a great year ahead!

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

Almost ready for a new year! ~Aug. 2, 2019

School’s out for Summer? Not for everyone!


CES Custodians: David Davids, Alan Hook, and Brian Salameno

School may be out for students and teachers but the work goes on for our maintenance and custodial crews. We didn’t get much done here at CES this summer in terms of big projects, but our custodians worked diligently through the summer to get our building deep cleaned for the new school year. We did get some new carpet in my office, the GATE room, Mrs. Hamilton’s office, and our Story Pit in the Library. We also were equipped with a new Blue Light Alarm system which is a nice upgrade for our Fire and Lock Down drills and events.

In addition, and most exciting (for me at least), we replaced our old decrepit marquee with a brand new one feels more like it belongs to the Exploratory School. Thank you PTO for this generous gift!!

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We also added two compasses to the front entrance–school beautification continues!

New Start and End Times and New Calendar

analogue classic clock clock face

With our new calendar, the start and end times for our school day have changed. Our K-6 students start school at 8:00 and go home at 3:15. Our 7th and 8th graders start at 7:45 and go home at 3:10. Early Release Fridays start at the regular time and end at 1:15 and 1:10 (lunch is served on ER Fridays). We have two half days–the first and last day of school. On those half days, we release at 12:00 and lunch is not served. You should have received a magnet at registration for your refrigerator with our calendar so you keep all of those Fridays straight. If not, you can come by the school to pick up the magnet.


All School “Remind”–Please sign up!


I promise it will help! I just send out things that apply to the whole school. These are different than what your classroom teacher might send out if he or she is using the Remind App too. If you were a part of my group last year, you will still need to go through this sign up again because I start all over every year since our some of our families leave us. It’s easy! Just text @979fc6 to the number 81010. You won’t regret it! Thank you!

We’ll See You Soon!

First day of School is Aug. 19th–dismissal is 12:00. First full day of school is Aug. 20th. Classroom night is Aug. 22nd and Culture Night for new families is Aug. 29th.

Thanks for reading! Until next time,

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

It’s come to an end!~May 26, 2019

Multiple Intelligences through the summer…..

by Molly Merry, Madison/CES founder


Summer is a wonderful time for kids to grow and learn. Through the summer, parents can keep your kids connected to how they are using their intelligences:

*Body Smart—outside playing, doing chores, hiking, just being physical

*Nature Smart—whenever they are outside paying attention to nature, feeling the wind, temperature changes, shadows, longer days, stars, the moon, plants, animals, rocks, bodies of water—it is all around them

*Art Smart—sensitivity to the visual world through nature or cultural experiences, shapes, textures, colors, darks and lights, close and distance perspective, nuance in the visual world

*Word Smart—keep reading anything and everything, discuss new words to expand their vocabulary, be aware of place names, read maps and signs

*Number Smart—let your kids be aware of everyday math: the cost of filling up the car, distances, prices for food and lodging or tickets for events

*Interpersonal—keep using Choice Theory language, teach manners and role model positive interactions and problem solving with others

*Intrapersonal—give kids time to reflect on experiences and become aware of their emotional reactions to experiences, help them learn identifying language (tired, frustrated, nervous, anxious, bored, impatient, excited) and coping strategies to develop ways of dealing with all kinds of emotions

*Music Smart—encourage listening to music and finding rhythms, listen to the sounds in nature, attend music/dance/theater events


And best of all, connect the intelligences—grow vocabulary while listening to music through lyrics, grow body smart by tapping out rhythms to music, grow word smart reading signs and having kids describe what they see in new places.

You get the idea!  Parents are a child’s first and most important teachers. Please continue that role because your child is soaking in learning all the time!  Limit time on devices and remember the power of personal interaction outside of the virtual world.

Nutrition Class from Wellness


We had a record number of students and families participate in our last nutrition class. 35 students and several parents joined us for an afternoon of fun. Way to go, Voyagers! We learned how to make delicious nutritious snacks for summer: strawberry/blueberry ladybugs, fruit pizzas, and watermelon slushies. The slushies were a huge hit and were so easy ~ just watermelon, ice, and a little water! We experimented adding blueberries, bananas, and strawberries as well. Thank you to the teachers and parents who helped out!

Animoto: 4thQuarter Fun: highlights from our final quarter

Animotos from 1st-3rd Quarter: Check out the rest of the year’s highlight’s


Staff “Talent”

Click on the link below to see our fun staff video we created for the Variety Show. We got to use the green screen and take advantage of being in costume on Barnyard Day. We had a lot of fun and laughed a lot making this video. Thank you Mrs. McLaughlin for putting it all together and to Ms. Janitell for the idea.

On the CES Farm


I will continue to publish this blog over the summer although it won’t be weekly. Thank you for a great year! I hope you all have a wonderful summer!

Thank you for reading! Until next time,

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

It’s time to celebrate!~May 18, 2019

We only have 4 and half days of school left! Can you believe it?? As we wrap up the year, we are celebrating all of the accomplishments we’ve made and just appreciating being a CES family. There are lots of fun events, field trips, and project presentations–we are tired–but happy! I just hope we can all enjoy these last few days before Summer and end the year looking back with fond memories of this school year.

Second Annual Bike Parade

This is one of my favorite events of the year! After having to postpone due to inclement weather, we had a beautiful evening this last Monday night to enjoy the creatively decorated bikes, Kona ice, and just visiting with each other. Lots of our CES families showed up and even a few neighborhood kids who don’t go to CES. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good picture of it, but we even got to watch our librarian, Ms. Reed show off her unicycle skill! Thank you Krystal Saffold for organizing this fun family event!

This inspiration for the CES Bike Parade: Mrs. Saffold circa 1987. Her fond memories of participating in her local bike parade led her to organize ours and we are so happy!


The Adventurers Seussical the Musical

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The Adventurers treated us to a wonderful production on Tuesday of Seussical the Musical. They spent this last quarter putting this together and rehearsing during their Friday MI Mash time.All of the kids got to shine in one way or another. It was an impressive production and very enjoyable.

All-City Band

Our 5th and 6th grade band students spent two days a week going to CCMS after school for this last quarter practicing for  All-City band. This week they toured all of the schools and gave an evening concert. This is a great experience for our students to get to play with a large group and to get to meet students from other schools with whom they will someday play in band at the high school. All of our kids represented CES well and we are very proud of them!

Celebrating Summer in the Compass Cafe’

Our kitchen staff always go way above and beyond and this is just another example! Ms. Alisa and Ms. Christina have decorated for summer and made special “dirt cups” for the kids on Friday. They have planned several special events this year to encourage students to eat school lunch and breakfast but also just to make our Compass Cafe’ feel welcoming and friendly. Our students can always count on a big smile and happy greeting to make them feel special from both of these special ladies. Unfortunately, we are going to have to say goodbye to Ms. Christina as she is being transferred to CCMS next year where she will bless many other children, but we will miss her greatly here at CES!

Celebrating our 8th Graders!

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It has become an annual tradition to celebrate our 8th graders as they leave us for high school by going on a fun trip together. This year, Mrs. Mac and I took them to Colorado Springs where we went to the mall, had lunch at Olive Garden, and then played at The Summit. The next night we celebrated again with their 8th grade continuation ceremony where we were treated to our keynote speaker Mrs. Wrona, a really fun video compilation of baby pictures and CES memories, and an ice cream bar. Our 7th graders worked hard to set up, decorate, and serve the ice cream. We will miss our 8th graders but know they will do well in high school and are so proud of who they’ve become. Good luck to you Trailblazer class of 2023!

7th Grade Biking in PE

Mrs. Hanenberg wrote two separate bike grants and won enough to purchase 10 new wonderful mountain bikes from Red Canyon Cycles.  Scott Eckstrom helped us purchase these bikes!  He has also put thorn proof tubes in them. Some kids brought their own bikes to help with the big numbers of Middle school kids in PE.  We had a few crashes.  But all ok!

Thank you for reading! Until next time…

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

A week of music and animals–you never know what to expect at CES!~May 11, 2019

Every week, I try to find a common thread that comes through for the title of my blog and this week it seemed to be music and animals. You just never know what new and interesting things will come our way here at CES! As the weeks of the school year wind down, we still have so many things to accomplish and participate in–it will be both exciting and exhausting. One of the fun things coming our way is our Family Bike Parade on Monday the 13th. Please come and invite friends even if they don’t go to CES. We would love for this to become a community event–the more the merrier!

Barnyard Day

Because our students raised over $10,000 during our Spirit Lap Fundraiser, all of our staff dressed up as farm animals and I got to the farmer. What great sports our staff is and how impressive that our kids can raised that much! We are so appreciative of all of the community support that allows this type of event to be so successful.

Canine Project


Two of our middle school students who are both in NJHS developed a service learning project to benefit the Canon City Police Department’s K-9 Unit. Rachel Geiger and Hannah Worthen held a family Bingo night and raised over $200 to assist the department in the purchase of drug effects countering medication. Dogs that are in the K-9 unit can suffer from opioied exposure that can make them very ill or even die. The money the girls raised will go toward the purchase of a spray the K-9 police officer can use on his dog to counteract the effect. As a thank you, Officer Nish came and provided a whole school assembly about what the K-9 unit is and how he trains his dog. We learned a lot and have a whole new appreciation for the work they do. Thank you Hannah and Rachel for going above and beyond!


Blossom Parade

Our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade band students participated in the Blossom Parade in the middle school marching band which was a combination of kids from CCMS, Harrison, and CES. They all did a great job and the band received a silver award for their performance.

Band/Choir Concert

Monday night we were treated to an evening of music from our CES bands and choirs. Students from 3rd to 8th grade presented a variety of music. They sounded terrific and it’s wonderful to see such a high percentage of our student body participate in the music program. A big thanks to Ms. Janitell our new music teacher this year for doing a great job getting everyone ready and spending lots of extra time helping kids feel confident to get up on stage!

Thank you for reading! Until next time,

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

Learning on Display~May 4, 2019

I missed writing my blog last week for a various reasons, so as I was putting this one together, I realized that over the last two weeks we have had many opportunities for students to display their learning in a variety of ways. Perhaps this is because we are nearing the end of the year and things are coming to a close, but demonstrations of learning are not an uncommon sight at CES. On any given day, you can walk the halls of our building and see and hear examples of students learning and growing. One of the things I love most about CES is the buzz of activity that takes place in all classrooms and around the school. So many happy learners thanks to our wonderful educators!

Bridge Building

Our middle school students have done a variety of projects that have allowed them to explore something in which they are deeply interested. Recently, they learned about DiVinci’s designs and inventions which inspired Ben Slabaugh to build a bridge that required no hardware and could be easily un-assembled and moved to another location easily, and it needed to hold a lot of poundage. As you can see in the picture, it was a success! Mrs. Lowther and Mrs. Mac, I’m not implying you weigh a lot! 🙂

Family Night: Bike Parade!!


NJHS Induction

Last Friday night we held our 4th annual National Junior Honor Society Induction Ceremony. This year we welcomed 4 new members: Elias Hunter, Dustin Kletke, Benjamin Monroe, and Keenan Cooper. It is quite an honor to become a member as it requires not only good grades but excellent character and citizenship. NJHS members are required to complete community service hours and serve as role models to their peers. Four may not seem like many but considering the fact that we only have 42 middle school students, that’s 10% of our student body. It was a lovely evening of the ceremonial lighting of candles, a wonderful keynote speaker, Mr. Bruce Omer, and delicious cake baked by Mrs. Brule’. Congratulations to all!

Science Fair

Eleven of our CES kids placed in the top three categories at this year’s District Science Fair. The winners of their various categories are as follows:

1st Place Winners:  Heidi Numsen–2nd, Silva Valladares–1st, Kade Saffold–2nd,

2nd Place Winners: Micha Mintz–2nd, Zane Valladares–4th, Camille Medford–3rd, Lorelei VanIwarden–4th, Isabella Greene–3rd,

3rd Place Winners: Jace Cornwell–4th, Carson Foster–4th, Nina LeDoux–1st

Congratulations to all and thank you Mrs. Lowther for being our CES Science Fair Coordinator!

Fine Arts and Book Fair Night

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We had a very successful First Annual Fine Art and Book Fair Night on Tuesday. Those in attendance were treated to a variety of experiences including drawing lesson, pottery throwing, instrumental music performances, Tininkling, and of course our Book Fair and Student Art Displays. Thank you Terri Wrona for coordinating this wonderful evening!

Thank you for reading! Until next time,

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal





A Spirit-Filled Week~April 20, 2019

We are done with state testing–yay!! But, we are far from done learning all that we need to for the year. Spring can be challenging in schools as students and teachers are getting tired, and kids are ready to play outside and have some time off. It’s also a time when we seem to have more student conflict–probably because they are so comfortable with one another they are like family, and they get grumpy with each other. Please support us in having conversations with your children about how they might use their Conflict Resolution strategies to work out these issues (see graphic below), and please remember that there are always two side to the story.


It’s easy to want to believe your child completely but they often leave out key details unless questioned. Sometimes kids just need to vent and don’t need and adult to step in, sometimes they need advice, and sometimes they do need an adult to help with their conflict. Please make sure to ask your child if they have talked to their teacher when they can’t work out the problem, and if they haven’t, encourage them to do so. Often, conflict allows us to learn some valuable life skills and kids just need to be coached through it until they can handle these things on their own. That’s a big part of who we are at CES. Here’s to Spring!

Mrs. Saffold’s Forest


Mrs. Saffold has made it her personal mission to add trees to our playground to provide shade, wind breaks, and beauty. Last year, she was able to acquire four Ash trees that were planted close to the building. They survived the winter and are currently budding out nicely. We are so anxious to see them grow this summer! This last week, we were able to add 11 trees to the back part of our playground and next to Explorer Park. These ornamental pear trees, known as Cleveland Pear, were all donated by Mrs. Saffold, our PTO, and several amazing CES families. Preston, Daniel, and Chris from our district grounds crew spent 3 entire days digging holes and planting the trees. Thane Seufer of Seufer Tree Farm not only gave us a really great deal on the trees but also provided his expertise in the type of tree we could plant that would do well here. We are so very fortunate to have all these vested parties in CES who are all helping make our school a wonderful place to be. Thank you all!

Alpha Delta Kappa Teacher of the Month: Mrs. Wrona



Every month the Alpha Delta Kappa sorority for retired educators honors an outstanding teacher with a teacher of the month award. This month our very own Mrs. Wrona was chosen. Mrs. Wrona was nominated by Mrs. Bryan and Ms. Reed who aptly wrote of Mrs. Wrona’s loving, warm, and generous spirit as well as how she works tirelessly for the benefit of our students, teachers, and school. We are so going to miss her next year as she is retiring but know that CES is a better place because of all Terri Wrona has done for and given to our families and school. Congratulations, Mrs. Wrona, on this well deserved honor!

CES has Spirit!


Friday we had our Spirit Lap FUNdraiser and it was a great way to end two weeks of state assessments! The weather was beautiful and it felt great to be outside and moving. I would like to give a big shout out to Krystal Saffold spearheading this event and to our amazing PTO and parent volunteers who are always so generous with their time. We don’t yet know how much the kids raised, but I’m pretty sure you’re going to see me dressed in a silly costume in the near future! Any suggestions as to what you would like to see?

Thank you for reading! Until next time,

Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

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