Sierra Middle School's January News

January 2016

Dear Sierra Families,

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday break and were able to enjoy time spent with family and friends.

As we begin third quarter, I want you to be aware of some changes to our counseling team. Ms. Swanson has retired to move closer to family in California. She will be greatly missed. However, we are pleased to introduce a new counselor, Tiffany Anderson. Tiffany graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2015 with Master's Degrees in School and Clinical Counseling. She obtained a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration also from the University of Northern Colorado in 2011. Tiffany is passionate about helping students succeed in all areas of their lives. Additionally, Matt Amerlan, who has been interning with our counseling department during fall semester, will be with us full-time this spring. Because of these new additions, our counseling team assignments have shifted to following:

Tamra Maupin - Vail Osprey, Snowmass, Telluride

Matt Amerlan - Phoenix, Gryphon

Tiffany Anderson - Wolf Creek, Falcon

It’s hard to believe, but we’re are halfway through the school year and well into planning for next year! Thank you to those who responded to our parent survey last month. Approximately 200 families shared their thoughts with us. Overall, feedback was positive! The three topics mentioned most often were access to technology, communication from teams, and concern over the weight of backpacks. We will work to address these topics over the remainder of the year and into next year.

Finally, registration for next school year is rapidly approaching. Be on the lookout for school communication later this month with specific information.

Warm Regards,

Kathryn Teel


Big image

Some fun from our winter assembly - our students doing "the whip and nae nae." (above)

The Parking Lot and Safety during Drop-off and Pick-up

We realize that our parking lot can be a little hectic both at drop-off and during pick-up. Thank you for helping us to keep the flow of traffic “moving right along!” With the help of our amazing security guards, Nancy Root and Jay Molina, (and of course all of you) know that we are doing our best to keep everyone moving. We would like to share with you a few these guidelines we feel will keep the flow of traffic moving as well keep everyone safe.

  • If you arrive prior to 2:35, you must pull into a parking space and not in the firelane in front of the school.

  • Try to help your child be prepared to exit the automobile in the morning.

  • Do not leave your car unattended if it is not in a parking spot.

  • Student pick up and drop off is not permitted on East Pine Lane or North Dixon Drive.

Thank you for keeping all of our SMS students safe during these busy times of the day.

THANK YOU for your continued support!!

Thank you to everyone who came out to support our school at our community fundraisers last month. To everyone who came in to Chick-fil-A for a chicken sandwich or some delicious Cold Stone ice cream - we sincerely appreciate your support.

Congratulations to some amazing singers

We would like to recognize the following students who made it into the Colorado Middle School All State Choir:

Sydney Brown, Sierra Valentine, and Jenson Zaugg

Congratulations students!!

Reaching your child's teachers and counselor

If you need to meet with a teacher or your child's guidance counselor, please make an appointment with that person via email!! Please allow 24 hours for that teacher or counselor to get back with you once you contact them. Thank you!!!

Shadow Days at Chaparral High School

This year Chaparral will be hosting shadow days for 8th grade students. There are two final days to go: February 9th and March 8th. Shadow days provide an opportunity to have non-Chaparral students interested in becoming a Wolverine visit our school and experience the variety of academics and activities we provide. The shadow day visit is a full seven period day which allows students to see as many classes as possible. Each shadowing student will follow two of Chaparral's finest students throughout the day and enjoy a lunch provided by the school. Spaces for this opportunity are limited.

If you know of any eighth grade students who would be interested in participating, please contact Lauri Echer at 303-387-3524 or via email to make a reservation.

An Update on Assessments

Please remember that per HB 15-1323 you have the right excuse your child from State Mandated Testing. Assessments included are PARCC and CMAS. If you have questions on whether this is something you should consider feel free to contact Chris Stairs at

PARCC and CMAS Testing will occur during the month of April. An internal building schedule will be communicated prior to winter break.

For more information regarding State Mandated Testing, please review our State Mandated Testing Website.

Dates to Remember:

January 4: Beginning of 3rd Quarter

January 14: "Listening" event for parents with Dr. Jim Fish

January 15: Teacher work day (No School for Students)

January 18: Martin Luther King Day (No School)

January 20: "Listening" event for incoming parents with Dr. Jim Fish

January 21: School-wide Spelling Bee

February 3: National History Day

February 4: National History Day

February 11: Student Led Conferences

February 12: Teacher work day (No School for Students)

February 15: Presidents Day (No School)

February 22: SAC meeting

Did you know?!

Did you know that we have the Eagle's Nest Homework Club offered at Sierra Middle School? Each Wednesday from 2:45 to 4:15 this homework club is offered to all students. It is a great way for your child to get some extra help right here, right after school. For more information please click here or contact Sadie Levine at

Also, something new for the second semester!! Advisement Enrichment classes in the library. Each week the Library will be hosting two activities during Thursday Advisement: Chess club and 3D Design. These activities are geared towards students who are "not playing academic catchup" on Thursdays; they have a lower priority than anything they need to do for their regular teachers during advisement time.

Chess is free, while 3D Design will only charge for materials used, which will likely be $5-$10 and students will keep what they print. For more information have your child reach out to Mr. Swiryn or Mrs. Meurer in the library. Mr. Swiryn can be reached at and Mrs. Meurer can be reached at

* Chess Club, NO FEE, starting Jan 14
* 3D Design (and 3D printing), 8 weeks starting Jan 21

Watching the weather on snowy days...

As you know the weather in Colorado is a bit unpredictable at times so it is important for families to be aware of the DCSD Weather Closure Policy.

School delays and closures will be announced on the DCSD website or you can call the district weather hotline at 303-387-SNOW.

Kudos to the Snowmass team!!

Seventh grade students on team Snowmass successfully held the school's 12th annual bazaar last Friday, raising $3,100 for multiple charities.

The students of Snowmass lined the cafeteria with tables selling all-homemade items such as Christmas tree ornaments, t-shirts, cookies, perfumes, and games. (One table even sold freshly made waffles for the early morning bazaar.) In addition to the charitable spirit and civic responsibility the event provides to students, the process is an excellent learning opportunity as students learn about creating a business, pitching product ideas, creating and revising business plans, evaluating their work, and more. Students worked collaboratively to create small businesses and developed a prototype for a product they think will sell well to raise money for charity. They develop plans, set projections for the amount of money they think they will earn, and revise their products and plans based on teacher feedback.

The students are also charged with proposing local, national, and international charities that they would like to assist with the proceeds. This year, the beneficiaries were a field trip scholarship fund for Sierra students and families in need, Project Education South Sudan (Sierra's sister school in Sudan) to help provide school supplies, books, water, and other necessities, the International Red Cross, the Wounded Warrior Project, and the Dumb Friends League in Douglas County.

Each year, the event is open to the community. In the 12 years that Sierra students have run the Bazaar, more than $25,000 has been donated to charities.

Check out some great moments from this event below:

Student absences and tardies

If your child will be absent or tardy, please call the attendance line first thing in the morning. Leave your child's first and last name, spelling the last name. Notify us of the day(s) your child will be absent as well as the reason. If your child is out due to illness, please specify what symptoms your child has. This allows us to monitor illnesses in our school. Please do not call the Attendance Line and leave a message if you need to take your child out of school early, call the main office @ 303-387-3800. You can also send your child with a note for an early release. Click HERE for DCSD Attendance Policy.


If your child is interested in taking things apart and putting them back together encourage them to check out Robotics. This club will begin again in two weeks, on Monday, January 25th. To learn more about this club, click here or contact Kelly Swiryn at

A great job spreading holiday cheer...

Ms. Ballinger and the music students at Sierra recently went on a tour of Parker spreading holiday cheer. The students of choir, band, and orchestra began their day at Pine Lane Elementary, then visited the residents of the Lifecare Center of Stonegate, the students of Pine Grove Elementary were next, ending their day at Parker Adventist Hospital. It was a beautiful day filled with music for all.

DCSD Night @ the Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets (DCEF Community Event)

When: Sat, January 23, 7:30pm – 11:00pm

Where: Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Cir, Denver, CO 80204, United States

The details: Denver Nuggets vs. Detroit Pistons TICKETS: Lower/Club Level: $35 (regularly up to $130 +fees) Upper Level: $15 (regularly up to $30 +fees) A portion of every ticket purchased will benefit the Douglas County Educational Foundation and the DCSD school of your choice. Order tickets online at: Follow the link and select Sierra Middle School.

Dropping off items to your child at school

If you are dropping off something for your student, please put your child’s name on it and leave it on the Drop Off Table located in the main office. Students can pick up item(s) between class periods.

Out of Bounds: A Must-See Family Program on Cyber Bullying

When: Wed, February 3, 5pm – 7pm

The details: DCSD and the Town of Parker encourage families and their children, in grades five through nine, to attend this arts-based approach to help deal with cyber bullying. In this honest play about cyber bullying, a 14-year-old girl and her peers open a discussion about bullying, friendship, past mistakes, and forgiveness. Out of Bounds explores the vicious world of cyber-bullying and the complicated choices young people make when navigating the politics of friendship. After the theater performance DCSD's Ann Walton and other experts, will participate in a short panel discussion which allow families to ask questions on the topic. Over a dozen resources will be available throughout the PACE Center foyer that evening to help families navigate cyber bullying, and offer their educational expertise on bullying, counseling and suicide prevention.

For more Information please click here.

Cyber tip of the month: SnapChat

Ever wonder about your child and his or her usage of SnapChat?

Snapchat is a photo- and video-sharing app with a twist. The media you send disappear seconds after they’re viewed—you get to decide how long a photo will “live,” from 1 to 10 seconds, after it’s viewed. Users love the spontaneity of that—it feels like socializing that’s (digital) footprint-free—but, there are ways to capture and recover images, so no one should develop a false sense of “security” about that.

Snapchat runs on the Apple iPhone and Android phones but it also runs on iPad, Android tablets and iPod Touch, which are often used by very young children. It was developed as an antidote to “traditional” social networking services, where images can stay around forever and people have to worry about self-presentation and reputations. Snapchat users feel like they don’t have to worry if they’re having a bad hair day or just want to make a silly face.

Snapchat is one of thousands of media- sharing apps that kids use and it’s not even the 6 only one with disappearing pictures (Facebook, for example, has a similar app called Poke). New apps are popping up all the time, and parents can’t possibly be on top of all of them. That’s why it’s important for kids to develop critical thinking skills. But know, too, that the values and social skills you’re teaching them help them stay safe in digital media and other aspects of their lives. It’s important to keep the lines of communication with your kids as open as possible and work together to figure out what’s appropriate for them, in terms of safety, privacy, reputation and time management.

It generally just works better to talk with our kids about their favorite tools—with genuine interest, not fear—because they’re more likely to come to you when they need help and you’re much more likely to be kept in the loop about all the cool technology they use and you get to learn about. To read more about Snap Chat please click here. To learn more about some other popular social media apps that your child might be using (including SnapChat, Tinder, Vine, Whisper, and 9Gag) please click here.) It is always best to stay one step ahead of your child when it comes to social media.