News & Information from the Principal 8/24/20

Getting Closer!

Hello South Park Middle School & High School families! We're getting closer to the start of school and I know everyone is getting excited. Our teachers can't wait to get back in the classrooms and in front of students again. I know from talking to kids around town (and from my own kids) that they are all eager to back to school! The countdown is on!

This newsletter contains A LOT of important information! I wanted to capture all of this information in one place rather than multiple emails and newsletters. So, grab a snack and get cozy to digest it all! Here is what is included in this newsletter:

  • Updated and approved DISTRICT CALENDAR
  • Link to course selection for HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ONLY
  • Info about signing up for ORIENTATION DAYS for in-person and remote learners
  • Return to School Plan with current reopening levels (previously sent from the Superintendent)

New District Calendar Approved

The PCSD Board of Education approved the new calendar for the 2020/2021 school year on Thursday, August 20th at the regular board meeting. We appreciate your understanding. I know that many of us were eager to get the school year started and had to shift gears in a short amount of time. I can confidently say that this calendar will allow for us to have a smooth start to the school year. This calendar includes Orientation Days for students which will be a critical component to a successful opening. See more detailed information below about Orientation Days and to sign up for your time slot.

New Intensive Block Schedule for Middle School & High School!

We laugh every year that creating a master schedule in a small school that shares many teachers between grade levels is like putting together a puzzle with no pictures in the dark. It is a tough task! Covid-19 guidelines recommend creating cohorts of student groups to minimize exposure of students and staff. This sounded like an impossible charge. However, the safety and well-being of our school community has been our number one priority and I knew there must be a way!

After creating a number of master schedules we have landed on a master schedule that will be VERY DIFFERENT from years past. South Park Middle School and South Park High School will be operating on what we are calling an Intensive Block Schedule.

The Intensive Block allows students to engage in 2 core classes and 2 electives for one week, and then a different 2 core classes and 2 electives in another week. Essentially students will engage in 2 weeks worth of content in one week's time. Additional work and/or teaching will not be provided in the "off" week. Students will only be responsible for managing four classes each week. The WIN (What I Need) block is an extra hour of learning each day for the core teachers to engage with students. This WIN block plus the 90 minutes of class each day equates to 2 full weeks of class time on a traditional 8 period per day schedule. During the WIN block all students will also have 30 minutes of outdoor time and their 30 minute lunch time.

This schedule allows for one group of students to stay together all week while only being exposed to three teachers all week. Teachers will only be exposed to one grade level of students each week minimizing their exposure to students. A sample student schedule for both MS and HS can be found below.

This will be an adjustment for everyone! However, I am hopeful that this schedule will allow for increased engagement from students and allow for teachers to focus on quality instruction because both are managing fewer classes in a week’s time.

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Course Selection for In-Person Learners- HIGH SCHOOL ONLY

Cindy Shane and I have worked extremely hard to place students into courses that meet their needs as learners. This year, because of the need to keep students together as best as possible in cohort groups, there will be limited choices for elective classes. Students need to CLICK HERE to complete their course selections for this school year.

Orientation Days for In-Person Learners- ALL STUDENTS

Orientation days for all ETE, MS, & HS students will be held on September 1st, 2nd, & 3rd during specified blocks of time. Safety guidelines require smaller groups of people to gather on campus. Therefore, families will be required to call one of the school offices to reserve your space at orientation and will be required to sit together. All students need to be present and at least one parent/guardian. Important information will be presented about new procedures related to Covid-19, transportation, food service, local services, daily schedules, and device distribution/contracts. Students will also participate in a brief morning routine walk-through so everyone knows what to expect when arriving on campus.

Dates & Times

September 1st, 2nd, and 3rd





*12:30PM & 2:30PM on September 3rd are reserved for remote learners only. The orientation will be done remotely and you will receive an email with the link to access the orientation. if your child(ren) will be remote learners, please sign up for one of these sessions.

Call to reserve your spot!

Middle School: 719-836-4406

High School: 719-836-4409


Remote learners will be enrolled in Edgenuity courses. Edgenuity offers a full suite of curriculum for middle and high school students. Online courses and curriculum are built using an instructional model grounded in research and are aligned to state standards, the Common Core, and the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). Edgenuity combines direct-instruction videos featuring expert, on-screen teachers with rigorous assignments, performance tasks, and assessments to engage students and ensure subject-area mastery.

While students will engage in learning through the Edgenuity curriculum and learning platform, our teachers at SPMS and SPHS will be responsible for monitoring student progress and providing support as needed. All courses are designed to be asynchronous (does not occur at a specific time) and are accessible to a student any time of the day. Additionally, a Concept Coach, or expert on-demand tutor, is available to students six days a week for core subjects.

Since remote learners will not be on campus the orientation for these students looks very different. Edgenuity provides excellent support resources for families and students. We are in the process of developing a specific orientation for our remote learners that addresses the needs specific to using Edgenuity and being a successful student in the remote setting. We have reserved two time slots on September 3rd specifically for remote learners. Please see the section above for information on how to sign up!

We are currently waiting for our online school to be built from Edgenuity. As you can imagine, they are extremely overwhelmed with new schools. We expect it to be completed within the next couple of weeks.

New Year, New Student Information System!

With the start of a new school year there are always exciting changes. Students will be meeting new teachers, making new friends and – most importantly – learning new things!

In addition to these exciting new experiences, there are some changes happening behind the scenes at PCSD. This year we are using Alma, a new software system that will help us better manage school, classroom and student information. Funny it's the same name as a nearby town, right?!?

Alma, is a secure, easy-to-use online system that brings important school information and tools together in one place. We expect this to save school leaders and teachers time, and make it easier to get a complete view of what’s happening with each student’s learning.

In addition to educator tools, Alma offers a parent and student portal to help families stay informed and on track with student learning. The portal provides access to:

  • School Calendar
  • Staff Directory
  • Attendance History
  • Assignments
  • Grades

You can also email teachers and school staff through Alma, so you never have to search for their contact information. If you have more than one child enrolled at our school, you will be able to access all of their information with a single login.

You will soon receive an email from Alma with information about how to set up your account and log into the portal. If you have not received this email by 8/28/2020, please contact building offices.

Middle School & High School Student Handbook

Please review the handbook and share important information with your child(ren). This is also available on the school websites.

2020-2021 PCSD Bus Schedule

Attached you will find the PCSD Bus schedule. Our buses will run as close as possible to this published schedule. Please note that some of these times and routes have changed a bit from last year.

Students should be ready for the bus at least 10 minutes before it is scheduled. Please be aware that changing weather and road conditions may affect the scheduled arrival and departure times. Once your route and bus stop location have been selected you will not be allowed to make a change without first contacting the Transportation Director. Please contact Ben Medina, Transportation Director for additional information or to make changes to your route and or bus stop location. 719-836-4419

MS & HS Cross Country- Starting now!

Coach Bryan Shane is looking for anyone interested in getting fit this fall! Practices include a variety of fun fitness training activities. Practice are held from 4:30PM-6:00PM at the South Park football field and track. Athletes must have their completed athletic paperwork and physicals prior to starting. For more information contact Athletic Director, Kyle Graff, at 719-836-2006 ext.481 or athletics.director@parkcountyre2.org.

Return to School Plan with Current Reopening Levels

The Return to School Plan for Parents with the current levels we will operate under at the start of school was sent in a previous email from the district. I wanted to include here again for your reference. Also, included below is a reminder on mask requirements from the state:

MASKS FOR STAFF- staff members will be required to wear cloth face coverings while at school

MASKS FOR STUDENTS- students in grades 6-12 will be required to wear cloth face coverings while at school

Specific information from the Colorado Department of Education in the Reopening School Guidance can be found HERE.

Gretchen Panicucci, MA, NCC, LPC

Principal, South Park Middle School & High School

"Park County Re-2 Schools shall strive to provide a safe environment, meaningful opportunities and innovative educational programs for all students so that they reach their learning potential, including that they meet or exceed state and district content standards, through a partnership between home, school, and the community." - District Mission