Cottonwood Creek Cougar Chronicle

January 15, 2021

A Brief Message from your Principal, Katie Johnson

We have had a great first week back to in-person learning. It has been wonderful to see your children in class learning and connected with their peers. As we continue to navigate this unprecedented time, I want to emphasize the importance of our ongoing partnership. Together, we have kept our Cougar community safe. Please continue to follow the 3 W's: Wash your hands, Wear your masks, and Watch your distance. The incident rate for Arapahoe County is important for us to continue to be able to operate our schools and remain in-person.

This is always an exciting time in schools. While we are still deep in the 2020-21 school year, we slowly begin to prepare for the 2021-22 school year. Before you know it, we will receive our staffing for next year. As we begin to prepare, please review the following information:

  • Address Information: Have you recently moved or are planning to? Please remember to update your address. You can submit your new lease agreement or deed of trust along with a current Xcel bill and a copy of our drivers lisence to the Registrar’s office (, and we will send it on to the Admissions Department for verification. It’s extremely important to keep your home address and contact information current in order to continue receiving important communications from Cottonwood and the District.

  • Are You Moving or Switching Schools? If you are moving, and your student will not be attending Cottonwood, or if your student will be attending another school for any other reason prior to the end of our school year, you must withdraw your student from Cottonwood. Please contact the Registrar ( to obtain the necessary withdrawal paperwork. We will be happy to work with you to ensure your student’s records are forwarded to their new school.

Thank you for your continued support of our staff during this school year.


Katie Johnson


Please remember

Please wait until you enter the "loading zone" to drop off and pick up your children. Please do not drop off or pick up your child prior to the first crosswalk. Doing so, causes cars to back up on Orchard. We need you to pull all the way forward, and drop off and pick up in the "loading zone", which is indicated by the yellow arrow on the map below. Thank you.
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Joint District DAC/PASS Meeting

The January 2021 joint district DAC/PASS meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 20th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm has been CANCELLED ​in recognition of National Inauguration Day. We would like to honor the time for our community to be in space with each other and their families on this important day. Our next PASS meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 24th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Information on the next DAC meeting will be forthcoming.


Free meals must include three components, and do not include snacks and/or 2nd servings.
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Saliva PCR COVID-19 Testing

This is a reminder that we are offering random, no-cost COVID-19 testing at school in partnership with COVIDCheck beginning this week. Testing (saliva PCR, NOT rapid) is not mandatory and will only be performed with parent/guardian permission.

If you would like your student to participate, click here: Be sure to click yes on the questionnaire before the consent form.

Please watch this video for additional information :

Parents/guardians will be notified prior to testing each time. We strongly encourage your family to participate as it is a critical strategy in identifying asymptomatic students and staff.

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Mrs. Lynn Baer

Hello Families! My name is Lynn Baer and I am excited to join the Cottonwood Creek team as a fourth grade teacher! I have taught in Cherry Creek for 11 years, mainly in fourth grade but I also had the pleasure of teaching first and second grades. Originally I am from Iowa and am a Hawkeye having graduated from the University of Iowa. More recently I earned my graduate degree in education. I have called Colorado home for 27 years and when I'm not teaching I enjoy hiking and being in the mountains with my husband, two children and two dogs.

Mrs. Heidi Burris

Hello! My name is Heidi Burris. This is my 20th year teaching in the district and my third year teaching 4th grade at Cottonwood Creek. I am originally from Minnesota, which is also where I received my Master's Degree in Elementary Education. I have lived near downtown Denver for the past 19 years, but am soon venturing to Parker. My husband and I are building a house there and hope to be moved in by the end of February. I have two step children who are in their early twenties and starting their careers. We also have a miniature schnauzer, called Lucy. In my spare time I enjoy snowboarding, hiking, scrapbooking, reading, and traveling.

Mr. Darren Gaines

What an honor and a privilege to be a fourth grade teacher here at Cottonwood Creek. My name is Darren Gaines, and this is currently my 13th year teaching in the Cherry Creek School District. I have been an elementary classroom teacher for 32 years. In addition to fourth grade, I have taught first, third, and fifth grades during my career.

I grew up in Springfield, Missouri, and attended Missouri State University for my undergraduate degree. While my family and I were living in the Chicago area, I earned a Master’s Degree at St. Xavier University. We have lived in Colorado for the past twelve and half years. We simply love it! When I am not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family. My wife, Marybeth, and I have four children, a son-in-law, and two terrific granddaughters. I also enjoy playing the piano, hiking, bicycling, running, cooking, and reading.

Mrs. Lisa Gelwick

Hello Cottonwood Creek Families! I am Lisa Gelwick and this is my third year teaching 4th grade here and my 16th year teaching overall. I spent thirteen years with Denver Public Schools where I taught 1st, 3rd, and 4th grades. I also had the amazing opportunity to work in a specialized role coaching teachers and supporting them by designing and facilitating professional development and collaborating on their evaluations. I loved the deep involvement at the administrative level, and I learned so much, but I missed my family!

I was thrilled to return to full-time classroom teaching in Cherry Creek when I was hired here at Cottonwood. Classroom instruction is my passion and I find incredible joy and energy in working directly with children. I have a Bachelor's Degree in History and am nearly finished with my Master's Degree in Teaching. I also have a Gifted and Talented Endorsement. I am a life-long learner and enjoy figuring out how educational theory and brain research translate into practical classroom implementation that works for the needs of kids and teachers.

When I am not teaching, I am all about Hygge! You will most likely find me at home with my husband (we are high school sweethearts who recently celebrated 31 years together!), my daughter Charlotte who is a 9th grade Orchestra major at Denver School of the Arts (cello), and my son Henry who is a Kindergartener at Altitude Elementary. We laugh, play, and spend lots of time together. I enjoy cooking, baking, reading, gardening, listening to music (all kinds, but kids know I love the Foo Fighters!), and just generally "nesting" at home. I love Colorado's mountains too, but I am originally from SE Michigan and miss the water! My word for 2021 is "Nature" and I plan to go for more hikes, camp, and visit our State and National Parks safely distanced, of course!

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Share photos of your Cottonwood Cougars for the yearbook! Please use the link below to SHARE and UPLOAD your photos of 1st Day of School, Spirit Wear Fridays, and Spirit Week. Let's embrace this different year and share those remote learning pictures too. Thank you to the parents and teachers who have already provided photos for the yearbook!

Upload your photos here:

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Support in your Native Language

English:Please contact (name of liaison) at (email) for support with this resource in your language.

Amharic: እነዝህን መረጃዎችን በተመለከተ በቋንቋዎ ዕገዛን ለማግኘት ከፈለጉ እባክዎን ተሊሌን በዝህ እሜይል ያግኙዋት

Arabic:يرجى الاتصال بـ (جميعة صباحي أو جاودة العلمي) على ( أو للحصول على الدعم مع هذا المورد باللغة العربية.

Chinese: 如有需要,请经由,与韩馥联系,以您的语言获得此资源的支持。

Korean: 귀하의 언어로 이 자원에 대한 지원을 원하시면 (리아 리) 에게 ( 로 문의하십시오.

Russian: Пожалуйста, обращайтесь к Ларисе Бака по адресу: для получения поддержки с помощью этого ресурса на своём языке.

Somali: Fadlan la xiriir Omar Nur cinwaanka si aad u hesho macluumaad ku qoran luqadaada.

Spanish: Si necesita ayuda con este recurso en su idioma, póngase en contacto con Ilse Chavez Maldonado en, Rosa Han en, Helena Gognat en o Milagro Nuanes en

Vietnamese: Vui lòng liên hệ với Thuý Ngọc tại để được hỗ trợ về tài nguyên này bằng tiếng Việt.

Please note the changes in the 2020-21 school year calendar.

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