Pikes Peak Early College, May Edition
A Note from Rochelle Kolhouse, Principal
As we close out the 2019-2020 school year, I continue to be awed and inspired by our students’ resiliency and dedication to learning. Even though we had to transition to a full virtual model in March, our students didn’t miss a beat, and their learning was minimally disrupted. While this was not the end-of-the-school-year we had planned, our teachers and students continue to work hard and have fun.
I’ve enjoyed connecting with our students, as well. Each Friday, I’ve had the privilege of hosting a lunch session, and we’ve had everything from an online student talent show, shared our favorite things, had a virtual costume party, participated in an indoor scavenger hunt, and played a riveting game of BINGO, Yeti style! I will most definitely miss our Friday lunch sessions once school is out.
Please be on the lookout for some upcoming communications about how we will end this school year in terms of graduation, computer returns, and yearbook distribution. On May 11th, our Family Engagement Council will meet virtually for the last time this school year. We will have a combined meeting with Springs Studio to discuss the end of year happenings and a construction update on the new addition to our building. We will also be looking for a new District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) representative to start for the 2020-2021 school year. The DAAC representative will need to serve both on DAAC and our Family Engagement Council (FEC). The DAAC representative application is included in a link at the bottom of this newsletter. Serving on DAAC is a fantastic way to stay informed as to the district happenings and have some face time with our district chiefs! It’s also a wonderful way to represent our awesome school.
We wish you all a safe and healthy end to this school year and hope you are able to enjoy the warmer days and whatever fun the summer can have in store for us all.
“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne
One definition for “pulse” is to “ascertain the general mood or opinion of an organization such as a nation or a school.” A pulse might be taken when things are in an upheaval. What is our pulse considering our experience with this pandemic? Since Spring Break, we have continued to pursue our education despite the challenges we have been facing.
History will certainly examine the pulse of our nation for the spring of 2020. However, we do not have to wait for twenty years to assess the pulse of our 2019-2020 school year. As we bring this school year to an end, we can take a peek at it now—review what stood out and will stand out for years to come.
We have spent two months without once coming in contact with each other in our classrooms. With the support of all students, faculty, support staff, technology, and family, we have been able to pursue our education. It is said that one of the goals of education is to “learn how to learn.” These last two months have provided us with the opportunity to put some of that “learning how to learn” into practice. Long distant learning has required that we try something on our own before we turn to someone else to tell us what to do. We were able to demonstrate to others, but more importantly to ourselves that we can be more independent learners than we ever imagined.
There were certainly things that we missed these last months, such as personal contact with each other, Mrs. Kolhouse’s hello’s and high fives in the mornings, Mrs. Bonavita’s calming mindfulness, Mrs. Rylands’ fun English tomfoolery, Mrs. Cummings’ coding shenanigans, Mr. Beadles’ math hoopla, and of course in-person science testing….right????
There were also benefits from the limitations that this pandemic has imposed on us. Some that I see would be the greater independence evidenced by each of you as well as a greater appreciation for the gift of an education and what a joy blended education can be. Another insight gained from this situation is to see the place and need for scientists and medical persons in our world today. I am proud of the growth in learning and personal growth that I have seen in all of you—rather in all of us. Enjoy your summer break, and I am so looking forward to seeing you in the fall!!
We have divided up our class into two classes, All-Algebra, which is Algebra I and II students, and Upper-Level Math, which consists of Pre-Calc and SAT Math courses. The Covid-19 quarantine allowed our students to study exponential growth and logarithms in a practical way. Students first looked at CDC United States Data and calculated Covid-19 daily growth rates utilizing logarithms and then turned around and used Colorado Data to find growth rates (reported) as the stay at home order were made. Data was entered into sheets and graphs made. Luckily Colorado has hovered around 2-3% growth rate the past week or so. I believe that many of our PPEC students that were involved in modeling this data saw potential career paths in data science.
Many students have already reached 85% completion and taken their final knowledge check for their classes, while others are chasing this goal by May 15th. I must say thank you to all the parents, older siblings, family members that have spent hours working alongside our PPEC students and encouraged them to learn math in the past month or so. You deserve so much credit. Please encourage students to keep pressing on and finishing strong. I am available for zoom sessions everyday, don’t ever think anyone is bothering me. Any student interested in earning Geometry Credit during the summer needs to let Mr. Beadles know as they finish their course, and he will move them into Geometry.
Most of all, I would like to say I hope all your family and friends are safe, staying healthy and getting by as well as possible in these trying times. I personally wish everyone only the best and continued health.
What a way to end the year...As I reflect on our time together since August, I am amazed at what we have overcome. We moved to a new space and had to show flexibility with where we work. We had SO MANY snow days in November and December- yet we worked hard and took them in stride. We learned how to work in a blended environment, and wow- it came in handy after Spring Break! We have spent the last few weeks working from home and seeing each other through Zoom- and we’re rockin’ it!
The main point is this- WE did it! WE couldn’t have accomplished our amazing year unless WE were a WE! Parents, friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, and students- WE are a strong community that is persevering through obstacles and looking ahead to our next challenge. I have never been prouder to be a teacher- this group of young adults amazes me each and every day!
I am a strong believer in not saying ‘goodbye’ but ‘see you later!’ So...staying true to my English/nerdy self, here are some synonyms for ‘see you later’ you can start using! Can’t wait to ‘see’ you later!
It is hard to believe that the 2019-2020 school year is winding down—a school year with many challenges for everyone. I am giving back to your children, and I say giving back because all this year, they were dedicated more to studying than to anything else, but you will notice the difference. These young people are not the same ones that you put in our hands in the fall, they are now more mature, more independent, with more judgment and analysis, and they have had to go through a very big and different challenge, such as taking their classes via Zoom, and they have done very well.
In the world language class, we have already finished the lessons, and the students are preparing to take their final exam on May 6, I am sure they will do a very good job and end this year with many successes as always.
It only remains for me to wish you a happy and healthy summer as a family. Remember to wear a mask when you are in public and keep the social distance.
See you next year!
The perseverance and grit our students have shown through these unprecedented times have been outstanding. Students have not missed a beat, and we could not be more proud of the hard work they have put in during the last quarter. Teen Leadership students are working on their final video speech of explaining 2020 to future generations. Students will also continue to develop an e-portfolio showcasing their hard work and accomplishments from their first year at PPEC. The e-portfolio is designed to continue along their educational career to show their growth and development and serve as an artifact to the learning and mastery. Coding students have been working hard to continue their development of the Python coding language. Coding 2 students focused on program structure in the last unit, and Coding 4 students have been working on JSON libraries and finishing up the semester with a final game project. Keep working hard to finish up all of your elective coursework, and please reach out if you have any questions or need any support.
Stay well, and be safe this summer! We miss all of you so much and cannot wait to get to some sense of normalcy.
Spotlight Yeti of the Month
This past month, we are pleased to announce our Yeti for the month of April, Abigail Troup. Abby is a very hard worker. She helps both her teachers and her fellow classmates whenever she can. During this shift to full virtual, Abby has attended every lunch session, serving as a positive and friendly face for students in need. She has assisted with planning some fun lunch activities and enjoys reaching out to others to help motivate them during these difficult times. We are proud to introduce you to our amazing Yeti, Abby!
Hi, my name is Abigail L. Troup. I go by Abby or Trout. I am a native to Colorado. Some things I like to do are read, sew, spend time with family, and dogs. My family and I foster for a dog rescue called MAMCO. I came to PPEC for a challenge. I wanted to go somewhere that would challenge me and have a great environment. I love that PPEC has a small number of people, and we all respect each other. I am planning to get a master’s in teaching. After I graduate PPEC, I want to finish my masters and become a teacher. I probably will stay in Colorado. It means a lot to me that I got Yeti of the Month. I feel honored that my peers and teachers chose me to represent our Yeti. One Yeti trait I feel I have mastered is “embrace their journey” because I have loved every part of my PPEC journey, and it has helped me improve in many areas. Another trait I feel I have mastered is “never quit” because I have had a lot going on at home and school, but I persevered and made it through.
Zoom! Facebook! Instagram! Twitter! Who thought these would be our go to’s for communication this semester? What a crazy whirlwind of a month it has been. I have been thinking about all of you: our upperclassmen who are graduating and are unsure what college will look like, our concurrent enrollment students wondering if college classes will be online, and our high school students who can’t wait to get back into the building to see their teachers and friends. I hear you! I understand your worries, your concerns, your fears. I am here to support you; however, I can. By all means, please reach out to me via email, text, or zoom. Likewise, we are a family and a community, and we are here. Check out our Instagram account for daily posts, log onto our Facebook page for daily reminders that PPEC cares!
With all of that said, stop what you are doing for just 5 minutes. Breathe, look around, take a walk outside, or simply just sit and do nothing! The silver lining in all of this is the gift of time. I have enjoyed watching families walk their dogs together, ride bicycles around the neighborhood, teach their young ones how to bike. Heck, we have adults howling every night at 8 pm as a tribute to the healthcare workers. My point? There are some amazing things happening in our community, and I hope you can embrace the good in all of this.
I will be contacting students regarding course registration if they have not yet selected courses for the next school year. Feel free as well to reach out and schedule an appointment with me if you have any questions whatsoever.
In the meantime.......
Check out the links below for some great information!
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Family Engagement Council
Our final meeting for the year will be May 11th (rescheduled from April 27th) from 5:00 pm-6:30 pm (virtual via Zoom invitation). This final meeting will be a combined meeting with Springs Studio for Academic Excellence’s FEC. During our final meeting, we will be wrapping up the school year and naming a new DAAC representative for PPEC starting in the 2020-2021 school year. If you are interested in applying to serve on the DAAC committee as PPEC’s representative, please click on the application link below. If you are interested in learning more about some of our past FEC happenings, please click on the FEC Additional Information link below. Thank you for your time and dedication to our school!
Please be sure to check the website calendar for information
5-6 - World Language Final Exam
5-11 - Virtual Family Engagement Council
5-12 - Virtual Meet & Greet (new enrollments)
5-15 - All course work due
5-19- Computer check-in, medication, and yearbook pick up
5-22 - Graduation and last day of school
5-25 - Memorial Day
5-27 - Teacher’s Last Day
State Testing Update
Message from CDE regarding 2019-2020 State Assessments:
The administration of end-of-the-year assessments, including the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS), will be paused for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year due to extensive school closures throughout Colorado to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes announced today.
“With the extraordinary actions we are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it’s clear that we need to press pause on our CMAS tests this year,” Commissioner Anthes said. “Students and educators need to feel a sense of stability and normalcy before state tests can be administered and produce valid results. This also means we plan to pause our school and district state accountability system as it relates to state assessments for a year.”
CDE is working with The College Board to generate possible solutions for the administration of the PSAT and SAT tests, which offer unique roles in Colorado’s system in terms of scholarships and college entrance. Additional information will come from CDE as it becomes available.