Learning Community P

November/December Newsletter

The P-20 P support team dropped by Vaughn Elementary to give a "High Five" to Lori Large for the work she is doing. It was a great surprise for her and we enjoyed our visit.

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MTSS Partner

Thanksgiving at Laredo Elementary

Fifth grade teachers Amy Scheuers and Hannah Fleming, as well as student teacher Sierra Albin, of Laredo Elementary School, hosted Thanksgiving for their fifth grade classes. Students spent the last hour of Tuesday November 25th, 2014 discussing what they were thankful for and enjoying a meal together. Forty fifth grade students joined their desks to make two long tables. Each of the students shared what they were thankful for this Thanksgiving. Many students talked about being thankful for their family, friends, teachers, food and technology. It was a great classroom building activity where students engaged in excellent discussions about the holiday while sharing a meal together. There are many reasons to be thankful for this time of year. This holiday, Laredo students and staff are thankful for each other and the many opportunities they are able to experience each day at school together.

Student Engagement Advocate

Assisting Sable's Parents in Educating them About the Importance of Attendance

During the Sable informational Parent Meeting on November 20th, the parents from different cultural backgrounds using 6 different interpreters received clear information regarding the attendance process and the importance of working with the school in making sure students attend school more consistently.

Sable's absences and tardies processes as well as academic outcome were pointed out and shared. Distinct truancy policies and state laws were also part or this informational meeting. Sable's administrative Tosa indicated that the parents and translators were grateful of this information. In fact, since the translators work closely with these different communities, they said they could now support the communities in a better way in regard to truancy and attendance. I feel this was a successful parent meeting and our hope is that our parents will support their students by increasing their attendance while collaborating with the school to help them succeed academically.

Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education facilitators are now in their second cycle of Professional Development. We are focusing on specific language modeling strategies that teachers can use to increase oral language with students. Professional Development is based on the needs and desires of each individual community. Community P Sites have chosen to focus on the intentional implementation and use of open-ended questions during choice time in the classroom to support students with their language development. Teachers are posting sentence frames in the various learning areas of the classroom to encourage conversations and support teachers.

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Educational Technology

For this months newsletter I would like to acknowledge the hard work of Jennifer Ponce at Laredo Elementary School. She wanted to take the work of her 4th Grade students even deeper and publish their work on the schools Chromebooks using Google Docs. After a brief conversation with her about the power of Google and all the educational apps that accompany it, she wanted to launch into Google Classroom all in the same day. She invited me into her classroom to model it for one class and then she jumped right into for her next class. Since then she has been using the Chromebooks and Google Classroom for multiple assignments and publishing. Through her hard work and willingness to learn and try new technology she is preparing her students for the 21st Century Learning Skills.

Pictured below is Jennifer Ponce and her students using Chromebooks with Google Classroom to publish a piece of work on “Whole Grains”.

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Erin Stellish from Clyde Miller received the Fox 31 Good Day Gold Star Award and was featured on their newscast. Here is a link to the video - http://kdvr.com/2014/12/05/good-day-gold-star-erin-stellish/#ooid=9jZmQ0cjo-L2rhA8xNNkak4leLj9nzFW

English Language Acquisition

At East Middle School, Paul Reyes is the ELA Teacher Leader of the building. Paul teaches ELD classes and supports many of the teachers in his building around best practices for ELLs. Mr. Reyes is highly adept at assessing students’ skills and strengths to identify next steps in language development. He models the specific language outcomes and gives students ample opportunities to practice the academic language. In addition, he provides his learners with explicit feedback. Many teachers at East and throughout the district have had the opportunity to learn from Paul’s expertise.

In addition, a part of the ELA Consultant role at each building is to provide support via content and ELD learning walks. As we have been visiting classrooms in the month of November, there are many promising practices to highlight. Here are a few examples:

  • · Falling bowling balls and beds of nails to demonstrate the concept of pressure in physics
  • · A sense of community and expectation that allowed students to find purpose and success in middle school ELD
  • · Physical movements paired with visual and interactive supports to ensure student success in CORE mathematics

Our teachers are supporting language and content in the classroom leading to student success!

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Teachers at Clyde Miller K-8 are proud to see students extending their writing and trying on new techniques in their drafts. Their growth throughout the writing process is visible through their final published pieces, and they are proudly displayed in the halls of Clyde Miller.

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Motorcycle Monday

A group of post-secondary students from the Power Sports Technology Program at Pickens Technical College visited Laredo Child Development Center to do motorcycle demonstrations. There were three stations set up for the demos, two motorcycle stations and an ATV station. One motorcycle station was a review of the main parts of a motorcycle and then the students put together a motorcycle puzzle. The puzzles were made out of plywood and they were constructed using a laser engraver in the Precision Machining Program at Pickens Technical College. Motorcycle Monday turned out to be a multi-program effort, students from Power Sports Technology did the demos, and students from Precision Machining made the puzzles! The next station was an ATV station and we covered the main tools that are used to work on motorcycles and ATV’s. The last station was another motorcycle station and we covered how the motorcycle chain is what makes to motorcycle move. This was a great opportunity for students from Pickens Tech to get involved with the APS community and prove that at Pickens Technical College we are, “Education that Works!”


Alternative Cooperative Education (ACE)

The ACE Career and Technical Education program in APS employs 2 teachers and 2 Educational Assistants who provide opportunities for students with special needs to develop knowledge and skills to prepare them for further education and for careers in current or emerging employment sectors. Exposure to a variety of careers helps to provide students with a better understanding of what they need to do to reach their goals.

On December 9, 2014, Jennifer Holland-Caddick, Kindergarten teacher from Laredo Elementary School, graciously agreed to speak to members of an ACE class at Hinkley High School. Several students in the class are interested in pursuing a career as an educator, and Ms. Holland-Caddick outlined the path that she took, the opportunities that she took advantage of, the ways that she needed to finance her education, and tips on how to pursue your goals, making use of every available resource. This is a great example of the dedication of APS teachers not only towards the growth of their own students, but of their commitment to accelerate learning for every APS student, every day!

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In the Heights

Wow! For exactly 10 weeks close to 90 people have been working on the show In the Heights! What an undertaking! The Broadway hit won a Tony in 2008 and only in the last 3 years has been released fro High Schools to perform. Due to it's setting in the New York barrios, the issues revolving around immigration, the hip-hop currency flowing throughout, we felt it would be powerful for the Aurora community, and just as powerful for the kids who performed in, played in, and did the technical aspects of this show. And we were right! Here we have find our family. Here is where our home is. It is in this very place we created, sang, danced, and laughed. Here we are not only aware of our diversity, but we thrive in appreciation of it. We have all immigrated from some where. We are all different, yet we all possess the same ability; to dream. We certainly did!

"When you're home..." is everything clearer? Our lives are reflected in the set; fragments. Pieces scattered here and there making no sense, and yet connecting to the power that we all have within us. Broken lives trying to survive and become whole together. Are we ready to go out and venture on our own? To conquer a world we know nothing about? Or do we stay and continue to build our community and change the lives of those around us. Taking the fragments and connecting them to each other and to the hearts within, knowing that we are going to change the world some day.

It's quite amazing what these students were able to achieve in the show. The singing, acting, dancing, and technical aspects were outstanding, but it was the message of the show that really touched and affected all of us! I for one am one very proud choir teacher of these students!

-Marie Hayden

Bring Your Parents/Guardians to School Day

On November 25, 2014, Vaughn Elementary School welcomed 191 parents and guardians to their annual Bring Your Parents/Guardians to School Day. It was a day for parents and guardians to meet Vaughn’s Principal and staff and members of Vaughn’s P-20 Learning Community. The day was filled with encouraging parents and guardians to become more involved in Aurora Public Schools and Vaughn Elementary.

Vaughn’s Principal, Sangita Patel, gave parents an overview of the school’s current state and future goals, including current data on students’ test scores and the three-to-five year plan for student learning and achievement. Parents and guardians also met Vaughn’s Learning Community Director, Andre Wright, who encouraged parents to setup meetings with the Principal to discuss their child’s individual needs and how they can volunteer and contribute to making Vaughn successful now and in the future.

Parents and guardians visited classrooms and observed whole group and small group instruction; received information on Planning for their child’s future, from Vaughn’s Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Partner, Fayette Augillard; and received information from Aurora Schools Federal Credit Union on financial planning for their child’s future.

Minnie Pescador, Vaughn’s Family Liaison, organized the event and the outreach to parents and guardians. Vaughn plans to have another Bring Your Parents/Guardians to School Day in the spring to continue their goal of building relationships with parents and guardians and increasing their involvement in the school and their child’s education.


We have had two very exciting events this month for Art. The first on was a contest sponsored by RTD. The company wanted to get their message out to more students about the benefits of using public transportation. They sponsored an Art contest that every middle school in Aurora participated in. The winners for APS where from Aurora Frontier and they get their Art work wrapped on a Bus that will travel all around town. Attached is a picture of the winners and their bus! The second exciting event was an Americas Promise calendar contest for elementary students. We had applicants from all over the district. Two of the winners were selected from Elkhart. Included is a picture of the winners from the awards celebration. Congratulations to all that applied.


Third graders at Clyde Miller hosted 35 crayfish first quarter! The students learned about respect for living things. They learned the different structures of crayfish and how they help the animals survive in their habitats. They read and wrote about crayfish and even compared them to other organisms. There was some squealing along the way!

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Financial Algebra is a new course being piloted for seniors in APS. The class helps students apply the algebra skills they learned over their first three years to financial situations. They learn what it takes to be financial sound. Hinkley’s math teacher, Bob Noyes has taken the class a step farther. Bob worked closely with David McConico to create the Hinkley Finance Club. David is from the Financial Education and Economic Transformation Center and worked with his allies to obtain money from nonprofit agencies like the Daniels Fund and the Mountain West Credit Union Association. Students can earn up to $300 for completing the Finance club requirements, including $200 for their engagement in asset development activities such as opening a savings account and interacting with financial institutions; $75 for skills proficiency; and $25 for a finished curriculum binder, which includes the financial math worksheets. The funds are given 25% in cash and 75% in a stock account. The only stipulation is that the student has to graduate. The students invest in the stock market, they choose the stock(s), analyze the data and track their earnings throughout the year. After graduation the stock is turned over to them (or when they turn 18 if that is after graduation). “It was an incentive,” McConico says “Learn to earn – we called it asset development”. Bob believes seeing stocks grow helps students believe they can be successful economically. While many of his students are coming from financially struggling families, Bob wants them to understand that doesn’t mean the students must also struggle financially. He had one student ask her family for money instead of a birthday present because she wanted to invest it in the stock market.

Picture below: Bob Noyes, Hinkley math teacher, working with students in his Financial Algebra Class.

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Learning Community P

Andre Wright, Director P-20 Learning Community P