The Pulse

Pikes Peak Early College, March Edition

A Note from Rochelle Kolhouse, Principal

It’s March! Spring is in the air, and spring break is on the horizon! It’s hard to believe we are now half-way through the second semester. We’ve sent out several communications these past few weeks with regard to testing, schedule changes, and temporary day changes in April. If you have not seen these messages come through, please reach out to us.

In summary, the state testing season is upon us. For details on testing days and testing locations, please review the dates listed at the end of our newsletter. Please remember, we are a small school, therefore taking a no-score on a state exam hurts us, so student participation in these assessments is crucial. If you plan on opting out of state testing, please think about what impact this has on a small sample size. We use assessments to help drive our school’s rigor, not define our students. Spring break will be here before we know it, and assessments will begin shortly after we return from break.

In closing, I would like to say how much I’ve enjoyed seeing our student’s biology community service projects this semester. We have some incredibly talented and driven students! Our Mental Health Awareness event this past Saturday was able to raise $200 for Nami (click link to learn more). We have another student who is organizing a dinner with the Colorado Springs mayor to raise money for equestrian therapy in April. In addition, another group is raising funds to benefit dog rescue organizations. It is amazing how, when we give students a voice, we find out just how much they have to say and what they say truly matters! Thank you, students, for sharing your passion and your causes with us! You are making PPEC a better place because you are here!


February was an exciting month in the science lab, and March is shaping up to be even better! Chemistry and Honors Chemistry students have been hard at work, discovering Acids and Bases, as well as studying their properties and characteristics. Students are devising, testing, and refining a method that can be used to classify an aqueous solution as being an acid or a base using the physical or chemical properties of the solution. Then, students will apply their understanding of the properties of acids and bases to the exploration of the causes and effects of acid rain on our environment. Students will collaboratively conduct a debate as members of a factious community faced with the problem of coal power vs. nuclear power.

Biology students have observed and explored organisms found in each of the kingdoms, everything from a Venus Flytrap to ladybugs and even microscopic Anabaena. They explored the complexity of classifying organisms as they wrapped up their Evolution and Classification Unit. In Biology, we will kick off March with an exploration of physiological and anatomical systems. Students will choose a human system problem to focus on, and they will then research and identify wherein the biological system pathway the problem lies. Then, students will need to design a solution to either solve the problem or help manage the symptoms associated with the problem. The final step of the student's project involves building a prototype of their design solution that shows a restored functioning nervous system pathway. The final stage of their body systems project will require them to present their solution in a gallery walk. Keep an eye out for all of the exciting science adventures coming in March!


World Population, exponential growth, and logarithms! In Algebra II and upper-level courses, students have been studying how World Population has grown and how population growth rates have decreased since 1975. Utilizing real data, students examined the world populations and utilized exponential and logarithmic rules to make educated predictions for world populations. Utilizing mathematical ideas to calculate real situations makes the learning of a hard subject interesting. Algebra I has been working on factoring quadratics and the reasons why we factor. The Quadratic formula is right around the corner, and students will begin to tie the ideas of factoring polynomials to the larger picture of utilizing the quadratic formula for equations that cannot be factored. This will enable us to eventually model real-life situations such as rocket launching! Algebra I has also begun to look at PSAT questions as they start to prepare for the test in April.

PreCalculus has been working hard on Trigonometry Identities and utilizing critical thinking to simplifying trig expressions, which is imperative in upper-level mathematics such as Calculus I and II. Students have been outstanding in tackling these new topics. I have been amazed at how students have embraced this topic.

A reminder that students should be at least a 75% in Aleks by Spring Break. If students are not exactly there, they should be working diligently during the break to make sure they are at that percent when we return from break. 85% is the standard for mastery in any mathematics course. Therefore, by the end of the year, they will need to reach this percentage. By pushing hard now, students will have the time to reach that 85% by the end of the school year.


Can I just say...I teach the most phenomenal students! I am continuously amazed by their grit, how they apply their best effort to their work, and how they keep me on my toes with their fun personalities! I am really enjoying this year.

English 1 is in the thick of the Technical Writing unit. They will begin designing their own game this week and will have their peers play and critique their games before Spring Break. This is a fun process because they learn about how each word is important and should be used with intention.

English 2 is still working with our elementary students to design a new toy. They are also working on academic writing to prepare them for college. While academic writing is the most difficult and...well...least entertaining, they are taking on the challenge with grit and determination. I am so proud of them!

World Languages

The more languages you know, the more human you are, by Tomas Garrigue Masaryk

The second month of the year was a month of learning interesting things from the traditions and cultures of the countries in the student’s studied languages, as well as body vocabulary, technology & vacations. In grammar, they have learned comparisons, reflexive verbs, future tense, etc. The field trips to Mexican and German restaurants were a great cultural experience for the students. I plan on taking my students to these cultural experiences again in the future. Students have done a review of the semester as preparation for the mid-semester exam with games and activities that helped them with vocabulary and grammar. The students will take the mid-semester exam on March 4th. For me, it is very gratifying to see how much the students have grown in their second language acquisition. I’m so proud of how hard our students have been working this semester. Good job!

In March, we will start the second stage of the semester, and the students will receive the directions for the final project. March will be a very short month since spring break is coming.

Students, during the break, I recommend you practice the language you are learning; by watching movies, listening to music in your language of study, reading an interesting article on the internet, going to a restaurant or preparing a meal at home. If you chose to prepare a meal at home, make sure you not only enjoy the food, but you also think about how that meal compares to meals we typically have here.

Have a wonderful spring break!

Tech Electives

PPEC would like to congratulate Lisa Aragon in helping Josiah in the design of the 3D baby Yoda from our design contest!!

2nd semester is always flying at light speed. Teen Leadership students delivered “Most Important Relationship” speech in February. These speeches were thoughtful and represented all of the unique relationships our students have with family, friends, and peers. Being grateful for all the people in our world who help us be better people and leaders. This semester we will continue our focus on leadership and academic skills to increase career and college readiness for the freshman class.

Coding 4 students are working with programming sounds in our games and programs. Utilizing Pygame mixer functions to loop music, sound effects will help enhance our programs and games. Check out twitter for some great examples of student’s learning. Coding 2 students have implemented drawing with code. Elective courses are up and running in Edgenuity and Schoology! If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact me.

Do you know a computer scientist or programmer that is interested in speaking to our PPEC students? I am looking for any PPEC parent or family friend that is willing to give our students an in-depth look into future careers. Please let me know if you have a contact for us (! Thank you!

Spotlight Yeti of the Month

This past month, we are pleased to announce our Yeti for the month of February, Kaylee Erfman, who just joined our school in October after moving to Colorado. Meet Kaylee!

Hi! I'm Kaylee Erfman. I love to dance, paint, and listen to music in my spare time. I am here at PPEC because I saw the amazing things that took place here and was determined to be a part of it. I am seeking a career in Mathematics or childcare sometime in the future after I go to college of course. I may get my associate's degree in mathematics during my time at PPEC throughout my four years. I am incredibly grateful to receive yeti of the month! To me, being the yeti means that the transition was more than worth it, and all of the hard work has paid off. It means a lot to me that my teachers and peers chose me to represent the yeti because it shows that not only I am proud of myself for all of the hard work I've done, but they are as well. I feel I've mastered leadership because of the many projects I've done, along with taking charge and action because of the many speeches and discussions I have been a part of. Thank you for this amazing opportunity!

PPEC Game Day!

On the Friday preceding spring break (March 13), PPEC will be hosting a game day put together by some of PPEC students to raise money for a few non-profit organizations. It starts at 10:30 am and ends at 2:30 pm, but come to school at the routine time because some classes will still be running. If you don’t have any of the ongoing classes, there will be study hall/work time leading up to the event’s start. Two Tetris tournaments, board/card games, and movies will be available to play/watch. Games and movies are free, and the Tetris tournament is $1 to enter with a $5 prize for the victor. You can also buy lunch: Slice of pizza for $2 and $1 for a can of soda. There will be a bake sale and products such as shirts($30), water bottles($18), notebooks($15), canvas prints($18-$22), and buttons($5). Make sure to bring money so you can engage in these fun activities!! There will be a raffle for $2 a ticket; the prize will be two slices of pizza and a can of soda. All the proceed made from this event will be going to two non-profit organizations. The first of which is "MAMCO Rescue", a dog rescue that takes mothers and their puppies out of kill shelters and fosters them until they are adopted. The second is "350" which is an organization that is helping climate change by trying to end the use of fossil fuels. There will be donation jars if you want to make an additional donation to the organization. If there are any questions, please email


About 350:

About MAMCO Rescue:

Lunch Order Form:

Tetris Tournament Form:

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PPEC Yearbook!

The PPEC yearbook is up for sale! It is $20 if you purchase it by February 28th! CLICK HERE to purchase a yearbook online. You can also purchase one at the front desk. Please make checks payable to ‘PPEC.’

Student dedications in the yearbook are available for purchase. You can purchase ¼ page for $5 and ½ page for $10. Please email Mrs. Ryland at for details!

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Counselor's Corner

March is certainly roaring in like a lion! Where has the semester gone? We have a lot going on the next few months and encourage everyone to check the newsletter, emails, and the school calendar to be sure not to miss out on important information.

Testing: Testing season is upon us. Testing will not affect college courses, and they will not be subject to any schedule changes. They will run as normal during the testing window; however, there will be no shuttle transportation from PPEC to Creekside on Wednesday, April 1st, or during the week of April 6th, so please plan accordingly.

Advising: As a reminder, all students who are taking college classes must schedule an advising appointment with Mrs. Bonavita each semester. Please check with your student to be sure they have already done this.

Graduation & Continuation: PPEC will hold their graduation and continuation ceremony for all current 12th grade students and exiting students on May 22nd, 2020. Please see our College Advising page on the website for details and information regarding ordering cap and gown. Additionally, emails have been sent to all exiting/graduating students. Please reach out to Mrs. Bonavita with any questions and be on the lookout for additional details after Spring Break.

Check out the links below for some great information!

UNIGO Scholarships

They have a variety of scholarships that are easy to apply for. Search their website and get $$$$ for college!

Going Merry Scholarship Website

Easy to apply for scholarships that are matched to YOU! They do the work for you. Create an account today!

REMIND Text Messaging for College Students

Sign up to receive updates and reminders for college courses and concurrent enrollment. Follow the prompts.

Upcoming Events

Please be sure to check the website calendar for information

March 6th - Professional Development Day - No Students

March 9th - iConnect Zone Showcase Night at Creekside Campus - 3850 Pony Tracks Drive from 6:00-7:45 pm (New Enrollments)

March 10th - PPEC/SSAE Information Night 5:00-6:30 pm (New Enrollments)

March 13th - Game Day

March 16-27 - Spring Break - No Students

Important Testing Dates

All PSAT/SAT testing sessions will be held at Creekside Success Center 3850 Pony Tracks Dr.

All 9th grade PSAT: April 16, 2020

All 10th grade PSAT: April 15, 2020

All 11th grade SAT: April 14, 2020

11th grade CMAS Science - April 10th

(please contact PPEC for alternative testing just for CMAS)

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