The Weekly Bulldog

August 30, 2018

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A Letter from Tim: Imagine

Dear Families,

I hope you and your children have settled in well to school routines. For many, and for many of us adults, the opening days of school are both exhilarating and exhausting! The energy on campus over the past couple weeks has truly been infectious and refreshing and we’re very pleased to have our year underway.

Across all our classrooms, we spend a good deal of time in the initial days of school reflecting upon, and re-committing to, expectations of how we are going to treat ourselves and others during the year. Classrooms intentionally build strong smaller communities for children within the greater school community, with guidelines and standards based on all-school values. I’ve noticed many classes talking about our simple “RISK” language in various ways. Students are asked to think about each of the words- Respect, Inclusiveness, Safety and Kindness- and how those words actually show up day to day at Stanley. What does it mean to be “respectful” on the way to lunch? In the lunchroom? What does inclusiveness look like at recess?

During our start-of-year assembly last Friday, I talked with our students about my interpretations of the words, making the point that what’s really important is not necessarily how I define them, but rather the individual meaning they make for themselves. We talked about what Respect means, and I shared that for me, it’s realizing and honoring that everyone comes to school with a right and expectation of having a positive, productive experience at Stanley. Showing respect means that your actions and words support that right. For Inclusiveness, I asked students to repeat after me the simple mantra, “you can’t say you can’t play.” Everyone at Stanley belongs, everyone deserves to be valued, seen, and recognized for who they are, and everyone gets to play.

For Safety, we talked about physical safety, which is largely the responsibility of the adults in the community to ensure children are well cared for. We also talked about emotional safety, which I suggested was largely students’ responsibility. They’re the ones who will moment-to-moment impact how friends and peers feel. For Kindness, I offered that if for some reason all else fails, just remember this one. One of the things I love about Stanley is that there are so many thoughtful acts every day, so many that students don’t even realize they’re doing them, but those simple moments have the power to brighten someone’s day. We all will have challenging times- school, like life, is not always easy. We can embrace the ability we each have to be kind to one another in recognition that we’re all in this together.

We closed the assembly with a customary song, and this year’s was John Lennon’s “Imagine,” led by Laura Gibson and students from David and Laura’s homeroom. With its message of peace and unity, a fitting way to begin our learning adventure together.

Occasionally, local news interjects to remind us of the responsibility we have to create a school culture that not only tolerates difference but celebrates it with the recognition that we all have gifts to bring, we all have equal value, and that it is our differences that make us human and unique. You may have heard about the recent suicide of a nine-year-old Denver boy who attended Shoemaker Elementary. Our hearts ache for the boy’s family and their school community. If you would like some resources that may help you process this event with your child, should you choose to do so, there are two resources in our idea bank on the website at

All the best,



We (teachers, staff, students and a few helpful lost-and-found faries) do our best to return labeled clothing and lunch/items to students cubbies. But always more than a few things make their way to the lost & found bin. These items will be on display in the Hambidge Commons during the first week of every month.