Principal's Corner #13

November 25, 2019

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A message from your Principal, Katie Johnson

Thank you....

  • for showing up.
  • for advocating for kids.
  • for providing a safe space for our students and each other.
  • for your endless amount of energy.
  • for the smiles you bring to work, even on the hard days.
  • for giving our students opportunities to engage, connect and learn.
  • for allowing me the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • for being vulnerable.
  • for listening.
  • for challenging me.
  • for being you.
  • for giving it your all.

I am humbled to be your principal and truly appreciate the work we have done together over the past 15 months. We are making a difference and what we do matters.

Please take the time this week to enjoy your family and friends, or even just some time to yourself. Turn off your computers, and maybe even put your phone away and BE THERE!

Much appreciation,



  • To my friends, my colleagues ~ Tis the season and I am really grateful to come to work with all of you everyday. Thanks for the support, conversations, and laughs. Enjoy this season with your students, friends and family! Thanks for being awesome.

From Erin Wehrle


  • To my amazing specials team for being so flexible the weeks leading up to the Third Grade Performance. Thank you for letting me totally wreck your schedules on those days and for helping wrangle students during rehearsals!!! I'm lucky to have such awesome teammates!
  • To the 3rd grade team for being so so supportive every step of the way when preparing and planning for the Third Grade Performance. Thanks for being so flexible with your schedules and for getting students into costumes and shuffling students to places during the performances. It could not have happened without your support. Thanks a bunch!!!
  • To the helpful folks that set up chairs after the Third Grade performance setting up chairs after the performance! I was in the middle of pep-talking the third graders when I peeked out into the gym and noticed several folks setting up chairs. I didn't catch exactly who you all were, but thank you!!!

From Matthew Pedregon


  • To Amanda Jehn for letting digital media students join your PE students in the gym when the innovation space was used for the bookfair and assemblies. I so appreciate your flexibility!
  • To Matthew Pedregon for your boundless energy and creativity in preparing 3rd graders for an amazing performance. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us, and for helping others to develop their gifts!

From Sarah Hammershaimb


  • To Heidi Burris, Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your book club introduction! What a fun way to model book clubs for your students.

From Lois Vaughan


  • To Michele O'Brien for welcoming not 1 but 2 new English Language Learners to your classroom in the same week! Your flexibility, positive attitude, and patience helped make a smooth transition to a new school experience for these students.
  • To Scott Rogers for greeting our 2 new ELLs in such a kind and gentle manner.! They arrived to STEM wide eyed and left with huge smiles!

From Glenda Cole


  • To Dana Schwartz, Thank you for taking charge preparing and organizing our new indoor recess materials on the cart. It is because of you that it was ready for this week’s wet weather.
  • To Lois Vaughan, Thanks for being such a valuable voice at the table during MTSS. Your thoughtful data analysis and strategic planning are so helpful in the process of designing targeted intervention.
  • To Kathy Jansen, Thank you for all of your hard work scheduling and coordinating information for MTSS.

From Alison Berner

Literacy from Lois

Thank you to everyone who has completed the Literacy Survey. The information gathered from this survey will be instrumental in planning optional literacy professional development opportunities after Winter Break. If you haven’t completed the survey, it’s not too late!

With the short week, I plan to be at COT all day Tuesday.

Below is a screen shot of a document from School Pace. Similar to the aim lines used with DRA2, this document shows the expected growth of students throughout the school year. This document is very helpful for students in the yellow to red bands. It also shows how the exclamation marks that we see in IRLA are determined. To view this document for grades K-5, follow this path:

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From the desk of Alison Berner

Pueblo Veterans’ Field Trip

Thank you to everyone who submitted a name for the district CAV/Veterans Day field trip to Pueblo. After thoughtful consideration, Luke Monahan from Mrs. Litschewski’s fifth grade class was selected to represent Cottonwood. He will be attending with his father, who has just finished his final tour and retired from the Navy.

Differentiation Download

Kameron Riley and Amy Bainbridge are Cottonwood Creek’s Differentiation Coaches! This year Kameron and Amy will be hosting professional development at Cottonwood Creek on Monday, Jan. 13. The goal of this day is to get some ideas on how you can provide some differentiation in your classroom. Instead of giving up your plan time, you will have the opportunity to have Kameron or Amy provide a 30-minute mini-lesson in your classroom.

This will allow you to observe differentiation live and in person.

If you are interested, please check out the Sign Up Genius link.

Once you sign up, Amy or Kameron will touch base with to discuss ideas and you can decide what you would like us to do with your class. Ideas can include Kagan structures, Depth & Complexity icons, Content Imperative icons, etc.

We will provide debriefing in Amy’s room afterschool on Monday, Jan. 13 from 2:45-3:45.

In addition, we will also offer some PD on Feb. 18. More information to come regarding that day.

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  • Monday, December 2: Katie Out in the AM, Solutions Based Leadership
  • Wednesday, December 4: Staff Meeting, Literacy
  • Thursday, December 5: Safety/PBIS Committee
  • Thursday, December 5: 6:00-8:00PM MultiCultural Pot Luck, Gym HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
  • Friday, December 6: Katie and Aliso Out, EPC
  • Tuesday, December 10: Katie Out, ADCO
  • Wednesday, December 11: 3rd/4th Grade Choir Concert @ 1:45, PM ASSEMBLY SCHEDULE
  • Wednesday, December 11: Principal Advisory Committee
  • Thursday, December 12: Spelling Bee @ 1:30
  • Thursday, December 12: Cottonwood Creek Advisory Committee @ 5:45pm
  • Thursday, December 12: 3rd/4th Grade Choir Concert @ 6:30
  • Thursday, December 19: Staff Party (invite above)
  • Monday, December 23-Friday, January 3: Winter Break
  • Monday, January 6: Non-Contact Day - Staff Meeting 9:30-11:30 Breakfast will be provided
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Cottonwood Creek Elementary School