August 15, 2014

Dear Parents and Guardians,

It’s that time again, back to school! You all probably have already made your runs for school clothes and supplies and are eagerly waiting to drop your student(s) off at school on September 2.  Below are some important items for you to review before the start of school.

Mr. Kohler: We are very excited to welcome our new 7th/8th grade teacher, Mr. Dan Kohler. Mr. Kohler has been teaching for the last 7 years in South Routt and we are very lucky for him to bring his skill set to our school. He is engaging, energetic, and very knowable in how to push each one of his students.  He started some amazing programs (Model UN and National History Day) back in South Routt and he looks forward to implementing these great programs here at NRCCS. Stop by and introduce yourself to Mr. Kohler.

Internships: We are very lucky to have two internships taken place this school year at NRCCS.

First, is the Ameri-Corp Teacher Program Internship, through Routt Country Partners. This internship will comprise of Ms. Annika Torbenson coming to our school two days a week to work with kiddos who are in need of academic, social or emotional support. In addition to having Ms. Torbenson here during the school day, she also will be teaching after-school on those two days that she is here.

Our second internship is something that started with a passionate college graduate that fell in love with our school and community. After a summer long discussion, we were able to secure a full-time internship for Ms. Sarah Johnson.  The goal of this internship is to provide extra support to our students and teachers, while enriching Ms. Johnson’s school experience.  She is passionate about teaching and extremely excited to be a part of the community. She will be here 5 days a week and for the whole school year. We are extremely lucky to have such a great school and community that individuals want to come here for an experience and to learn from this great school/community system.

Ski Coach: Oh, did I mention that Ms. Sarah Johnson was a collegiate Nordic skier?!!!! It’s was the goal of the parent volunteer ski coaches to one day have a paid coach to manage all aspects of the team. It has always been difficult to hire an individual that can come two days a week to coach our kiddos after school. Now with Ms. Johnson here—and her excitement to coach our Nordic skiers—we are now able provide more skill based instruction and possibly attendance at more events.

After-School Study Hall: In support of you and the teachers here at NRCCS, our staff has expressed the need to have a method of mandatory homework support. So, if a teacher sees a trend of a student not doing their homework or a younger student not completing their expected amount of reading each night, we now have a cost-free resource (through the 2-day a week Ameri-Corp Internship); that a teacher can assign a student “supervised after-school study hall”. When a teacher finds that a student needs this support, the teacher will personally call you and explain the situation and that they have been assigned after-school study hall for the next possible day. The student will be asked to spend approximately 1-hour with the Ameri-Corp Intern.

We will continue to have a short study hall as part of our fee-based daily after-school program.

Adventure Zone: In memory of Ben Zamzow- The school has been busy over the summer constructing the NRCCS Adventure Zone. The final plan for the adventure zone is to construct an area that will allow our kiddos unique experiences through the use of low-ropes course, mountain bike course, rock wall (bouldering shed) and eventually a frisbee golf course on school grounds. The purpose behind this adventure zone is to honor and remember our Ben Zamzow, and to allow our kids the opportunity to work on team building activities and to support our OEW curriculum.

School Bus: As many of you many have heard, NRCCS purchased a new 28-passenger school bus. Below are the three priorities that that teachers, administration and school board created with this purchase of this support service.

  • To give the opportunity to current students to be able to access Steamboat Springs after-school activities (SSWSC and SSMS); additionally to provide the option to parents to have their child transported to town for an appointment or lesson.
  • To support Colorado’s “School Choice” with our growing population of Steamboat Springs residents who choose to attend NRCCS.
  • To support our placed-based Expeditionary Learning model, giving the access to teachers to take students on field trips and expose students to more placed-based education. This also includes savings to parents and school by not renting a full size bus (e.g. Denver trips).

(* Pricing and plans will be available for you to review and purchase at the Open-House Night.)

Habits of a Learner: Based on last year’s staff retreat, we came to the conclusion that while our character traits do a wonderful job of introducing and supporting our kids with regard to proper character qualities, we realized that we are missing those traits that will support the child in the academic arena. Over the course of many meetings and discussions, our staff has agreed to implement our four “Habits of a Learner”: Craftsmanship, Collaboration, Responsibility, and Grit.

The goal of this program is to bring these learning habits to our kids, so no matter where they are academically, they will have four important skills that support their life long journey of learning.  A goal is to also remove Character Trait evaluation from report cards and to assess and report to you regarding their progress on their “Habits of a Learner”. A committee is still working on how we are going to reflect and communicate these four traits to parents and students, thus supporting areas of improvement. Look for more about this in the near future.

Open House: Our open house night is planned for Thursday, September 4th from 5:30-7:00pm. It’s important that all parents attend. It’s a great way to learn about parent volunteering opportunities, 6th grade science camp, EL curriculum, and to meet the new and returning teachers! Look forward to seeing you all there!

Apology:  I wanted to apologize to all parents for a lack of communication on my end. I didn’t clearly communicate the reason for the testing week before school. The reason for this new approach to testing is because of the increase of significantly more State testing that is mandatory this school year. So instead of having students officially return to school the week of August 25th (which would have been necessary), it was support by all teachers, SST and NRCCS School Board to try the new approach of having kids come in to test before school starts. Hopefully allowing teachers and students to get into the swing of things in the classroom, not testing. I am sorry for not clearly communicating this to all parents.

Yours in Education,

Brandon LaChance