Principal's Corner #11

"I am not a teacher, but an awakener." ~Robert Frost

The message: Any teacher can awaken a student’s belief in themselves. Frost encourages the idea of inspiring curiosity and sparking the desire for knowing in students. As a teacher, you are the best guide for your students in the move towards this kind of illumination. Get students curious about discovering knowledge for themselves, and focus on their interests and inherent skills and natural talents.

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Veterans Day

The Veterans Day Assembly will be on Wednesday, November 7 at 8:15am in the gym. This is a great opportunity for our students to show gratitude to our Veterans, and the assembly is only for Veterans and their immediate families.

Our students are encouraged to wear the following colors on Wednesday, November 7th.

Kindergarten and 1st Grade: Wear RED

2nd and 3rd Grade: Wear WHITE

4th and 5th Grade: Wear BLUE

Immediately prior to the assembly, we will be holding a reception for our Veterans and their families. This reception will take place starting at 7:30am in our innovation space.

Please be sure to see the email Matthew sent out last week about the songs being sung during the assembly.

We are asking students, who are interested, to write a short essay about one of the following:

  • Veterans Day and what does it mean to you?
  • What does freedom mean to you?

Please give your students the opportunity to complete this during the school day prior to Monday, November 5th. This can be an optional writing assignment or something you choose to do with your class. If you have students who choose to complete this assignment, please turn them into the folder labeled VETERANS DAY just outside of my office by the end of the day Monday, November 5th. Be sure they include their first and last name, grade level, and classoom teacher name. We will select a few to be read aloud during our Veterans Day Assembly.

A message from Matthew Pedregon

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to let everyone know exactly what performances will look like this year. I have expressed this with some of you but want to make sure everyone was in the loop. As my first year here at Cottonwood, this is a bit of a transition year as far as the music program is concerned. This year each grade level (except for Kindergarten, whose performance opportunity will be during continuation) will be putting on an “informance”. What is an informance you might ask? Well it’s kind of like a music class show and tell where we will stage what we’ve been working on in music class and inform the parents what we’re doing and why, what concepts we’re working on, and how what they are seeing and hearing came to be. This way the community will have a better understanding of what they will be seeing and hearing during future performances. (And give me a chance to transition into this position without the craziness of full on grade level performances for everyone across the board!)

My blurb in this month’s CCCC explains what informances are to the parents and so I wanted to let you know what’s up before that went out. Here’s this year’s informance schedule:

Nov. 29 5th

Feb. 7 4th

Mar. 14 3rd

April 18 2nd

May 8 1st

Right now, I don’t foresee needing a whole lot of support from you all other than maybe to come and check out what your students are learning and enjoy their presentation. I may ask for small things like suggestions for readers or narrators and maybe pull them from regular instruction to go over lines when I have my planning and prep, but nothing major. If you have any questions or concerns about this let me know.

Many of your students may have shared with you that we do mindful breathing and listening as part of our opening routines in music class. Just to give me a better understanding of students’ experience with mindfulness, I’ve concocted a three question survey (that’s right…only 3! …and one of them isn’t even required!) that will help me figure how to go forward with mindfulness practices. This is IN NO WAY meant to shame anyone who doesn’t do mindfulness in their classrooms!!! Where I came from at Sunrise, mindful practices were essential to survival on the day to day. However, here at Cottonwood, it’s a totally different story and students seem much more able to self-regulate and self-soothe without any guidance or training from us and so I imagine there isn’t as much of a need for mindful practices. Please take the survey whenever you can.

Thanks for taking the time to get to the end!

The start to our Problem Solving Team Process is here!

The PST has been working hard to revamp our Problem Solving Team process. Below is the link the Google Form to schedule a "Pre-Referral Meeting". Prior to completing this form, be sure you have communicated your concerns with parents/guardians. Once you have completed this form, you will be contacted with a scheduled PST meeting time.

The "Pre-Referral Meeting" will consist of the classroom teacher, administration and the PST committee members. The purpose of this meeting is to brainstorm possible interventions and/or accommodations to support the student. We will also determine appropriate data to collect in order to progress monitor and determine the effectiveness of the intervention.

Finally, I'd like to thank Emily, Jackie, Brooke, Ann, Sally, Kori, Sarah and Ashley for your hard work and extra time. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and intentionality around this work.

Character Dress Up Day

Cottonwood Creek Elementary School will host a school-wide Storybook Character Dress Up Day on Wednesday, October 31st. Students are encouraged to dress up as their favorite storybook character and bring the book to school. Students may choose any character from a book they enjoy as long as they follow the guidelines below.

To support students’ feelings of safety and security in our building, violent or frightening costumes are not acceptable. No weapons, masks, blood, or dangerous-looking items will be permitted to accompany a costume.

Please talk with your students about how he or she would like to participate in this event, and mark your calendars.

From our Science Liaison, Darren Dennstedt

Science Liaison Updates

  • June 2018: Colorado adopted new Science standards. These standards were adapted from NGSS Standards (NGSS), meaning the NGSS Standards were modified to meet the needs of Colorado school districts.

    • All districts must transition to the new standards by 2020-2021

  • The district is in the process of replacing the Lions FOSS science curriculum

    • K-8 curriculum vetting will begin this school year with piloting programs in the 2019-2020 school year.

  • A representative sample of teachers will be chosen to participate in the pilottng of new curriculum. Representatives will need to commit to 2 days of professional learning (subs will be provided) and worktime outside of the contract day (curriculum pay will be provided) during the 2018-2019 school year along with piloting of the curriculum during fall of 2019-2020 school year.

    • More information to come-

STEM Resources

We want to share our Elementary STEM and Innovation resources for teachers.

K-5 STEM and Innovation toolsets available for checkout

This is where teachers can go to checkout innovative toolsets we have available.

Schoology STEM and Innovation Resources Group GROUP CODE: HMTTZ-H8Z69

This is where teachers can go to view K-5 STEM and Innovation Pathways resources, Sample STEM projects, PBL resources, and K-5 LAUNCH resources.


The best way for principals and teachers to schedule us is by email.

Please share our email addresses with teachers in your building

Jon Pierce:

Adrian Neibauer:

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We will have our first lockdown drill on Friday, November 2nd at 2:00. Please take time prior to Friday to discuss our lockdown procedures. It is extremely important that each and every student knows what to do when there is a lockdown drill announced. If you have any questions, please ask!
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Looking at Professional Work

PLC teams analyze student achievement data to identify the learning strengths and needs of students. These learning teams determine which problems educators have the most difficulty addressing, investigate what they need to know and do to be more successful in helping students overcome learning challenges. Team members may work with knowledgeable person from the District Central Office to extend their learning, with another teacher in the school, with an expert from the local university, or with a consultant. Team members might also engage in self-directed learning such as reading, conducting research, observing effective instruction perhaps at another school or attending a conference or workshop. Regardless of the activity, PLC teams recognize the importance of learning from other professionals to improve their practice which in turn improves the learning of all students.

--Adapted from Why Professional Development Matters.

Hayes Mizel. Learning Forward, 2010, p. 10-11.

Important Dates

  • Tuesday, October 30: Para-Educator Meeting 1:45
  • Wednesday, October 31: Character Dress Up Day
  • Wednesday, October 31: Principal Advisory Committee Time 3:00-3:40
  • Thursday, November 1: ACT Aspire Proctor Training at 3:00
  • Friday, November 2: Report Cards go home
  • Wednesday, November 7: No Staff Meeting or Committee Time
  • Wednesday, November 7: Veterans Day Assembly 8:15am, AM Assembly Schedule
  • Monday, November 5-9: Conference Week and Scholastic Book Fair

Monday: 7:30-5:00

Tuesday: 7:30-5:00

Wednesday: 7:30-5:00

Thursday: 7:30-7:00

Friday: 7:30-4:00 (No School)

  • Wednesday, November 14: Cultural Connections, Holiday Potluck at 6pm
  • Wednesday, November 21: Non-Contact Day
  • Thursday, November 22-23: No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • Wednesday, November 28: Differentiation PD in Amy Bainbridge’s room: Depth & Complexity icons

  • Wednesday, December 5: Differentiation PD in Amy Bainbridge’s room: Kagan Silly Games – how to incorporate play into your classroom!

  • Thursday, December 6: School Spelling Bee
  • Monday, December 24-January 4: No School, Winter Break
  • Monday, January 7: Non-Contact Day
  • Monday, January 7, 8:00-12:00: Emergenetics is coming to COT