SC Zone Community Newsletter

December 2020

A Note from SCZ Leader, Sean Dorsey

Thank you parents and guardians for supporting your learner throughout the fall semester. I know for many of us, the first semester experience was not the one we expected. I am grateful for your efforts in supporting your learner. Support and accountability at home, although not easy, makes all the difference in students' engagement in traditional and virtual learning environments.

The return to learning plan for Spring Semester 2021 for District 49 was just released this week. Check out the D49 COVID Update page for more specific details.

Please enjoy a safe, relaxing holiday season.

Parent Feedback from Fall 2020 Survey

Thank you for taking the time to take our reentry survey in October. Below are the summarized results with action steps initiated to address opportunities for improvement.
Big picture


Kudos to the RES Special Education Team!

Remington's Special Education crew has been working hard to support students and do whatever was needed to meet their accommodations. "They've highly committed to academic success for all of our students" said Lisa Fillo, Principal at Remington. "They've gone above and beyond during these times to ensure our students have a successful year, despite the circumstances."

The department has had kids in the building everyday, with full classes. "This has been a crazy year but we have grown and learned with our students" said Janna Cobern, RES Special Education Resource Teacher. "We have been blessed as special education teachers to have our students in the building and be able to support them in their learning. We have grown as a team and have had to work more closely with each other in order to work out schedules, assure students are receiving all of their services (speech, OT, etc), coordinating buses, completing assessments and observations, and everything else that comes with our jobs."

The kudos extends through the entire department as RES has many paraprofessional in the building to support students and staff. "Our paras are amazing and have gone above and beyond to be sure they are supporting students in person and virtually" Cobern said. "Even though we have had our challenges, we have grown together and are blessed to be a part of this team." Thank you to the Special Education department for all you do, all you continue to do for our kids, and for the unwavering support you provide every day!

HMS' Riker Creates Positive Relationships

Shannon Riker, 7th Grade Individuals & Societies Teacher at Horizon, has been working hard to keep her live lessons interactive and interesting. "She is one of the most positive and friendly people" said Dustin Horras, principal at HMS. "Mrs. Riker is great instructionally, very organized and caring towards our students".

Riker goes above and beyond to make her students feel comfortable in an online venue and to keep the learning environment light and positive. Mrs. Riker allows students to take notes in the form of pictures or drawings, piquing their interest enough to stay tuned in to instruction. "I miss my students" said Riker of the switch to E-Learning. "I am highly relational and I think that is the most important thing for our students right now. I am trying to keep our relationships healthy and positive. I feel confident that if a student needs to talk to someone, they can reach out to me".

Thank You, EES Special Education Department!

The Special Education Team at EES has been working with students in-person since early August. This group of educators has gone above and beyond to make sure the needs of our students are met and they are getting the support they need. Teachers have been providing individualized instruction for students in whatever mode of school they've selected.

"They work incredibly hard to accommodate families whether it's in-person or online" said Principal Marcia Case. "They plan and provide COVID-safe and virtual learning experiences that are creative and meaningful." The team creates new and interesting hands on activities while also maintaining a good routine for the students, inside and outside of the classroom.

Thank you to the entire EES Special Education Team for doing what's best for our students, supporting our staff, and for all of the work you've put in during such crazy times.

JROTC Instructors Coordinate to Support Community

Each year, the instructors and students of Sand Creek's JROTC program collect food and monetary donations to support families that may be in need of a Thanksgiving meal. This year, their help extended beyond SCHS and was able to also help other families in the Sand Creek Zone. 13 meals were picked up or delivered from JROTC's efforts.

"Colonel Pontius and Chief Brown have been instrumental in leading our ROTC program and modeling extraordinary leadership skills, not only for our ROTC students, but for the entire student body at Sand Creek High School" said Audra Lane, Campus Director at Sand Creek. "Colonel and Chief assisted the ROTC Student Leadership Team in providing Thanksgiving baskets for families in need and making a positive impact on our community. They truly make a difference!"

Thank you to Colonel (ret) Pontius and Chief (ret) Brown for coordinating and thank you to the students who helped our families have a great holiday.

SRES Special Education Staff Adapts to All Students' Needs

The Special Education staff at Springs Ranch work as a cohesive unit. They establish good routines and a positive classroom environment for their students, including student choice for educational activities that interest them. "I have described our special ed team as flowing like water because they adapt to whatever each student needs" said Michelle Kelley-Davies, Special Education Teacher at SRES. "We appreciate the ability to continue working with our students in person during these unpredictable times also."

"Our special education teachers have been diligently providing outstanding service to students with special needs since August" said Principal Jim Kyner. "Students have received on-line and in-person instruction on a consistent basis. Teachers and paraprofessionals have collaborated with families and each other to ensure great care and support for our students. The kids are being successful growing academically, socially and emotionally! We are very thankful for this group of dedicated educators; they are changing lives!"

Student Success

SRES Hosts Virtual Assembly to Celebrate Students

Principal Jim Kyner hosted a virtual assembly for all grade levels this week to celebrate students who are Perfectly Outstanding Pupils (The Star Pop Award). Each teacher recognized a few students who have worked so hard either in person, or online. Mr. Kyner read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and there was even a special visit from Santa Claus! Thank you Mr. Kyner and the whole staff at SRES for celebrating students in such a fun way!

SCHS Celebrates Virtual Students & Renaissance Qualifiers

Last week, 300 fully virtual students and 600 Renaissance qualifiers were invited to pick up some Sand Creek swag for their efforts over the last few months. Students that were fully virtual were celebrated for completing the first inaugural semester of fully virtual learning; each received a certificate, a Sand Creek bag, and a free lunch from Jersey Mike's or Ice from Rita's Italian Ice.

Students that earned a 3.0 or higher at the end of Spring Semester were also celebrated with a certificate, Creek Nation tshirt and a Sand Creek mask. Congratulations to all qualifiers from the Spring! Sand Creek will recognize a new group of students with their qualifying grades for the Fall 2020 semester in January.

Colorado Promise Gifts Laptops to Students

Students from Remington and Evans Elementary learned of a new gift they would be receiving this holiday season. The Colorado Promise, a program through the Pikes Peak United Way, was able to donate 40 computers to students in need. Each year, PPUW looks for donors to help support students and this year, the computers were funded by Independent Financial.

The program's goal is to "increase the graduation rate in El Paso County" said Elizabeth Quevedo, Director of theColorado Springs Promise. This is their 5th year doing the program and the first year District 49 has been selected to receive the computers. Thank you Pikes Peak United Way and Independent Financial for equipping our students with what they need to succeed!

Red Ribbon Week at HMS

The Red Ribbon Campaign is the largest drug-abuse prevention campaign in the United States. It is designed to be an awareness campaign that gets information to the general public about the dangers of drug use. Red Ribbon Week is designed to get people talking to other people and working on activities that will help rebuild a sense of community and common purpose. Each year, Horizon hosts a spirit week paired with important educational videos to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs.

This year, students wore red on their in-person day to support a Drug Free school and also wore Halloween costumes to "scare away drugs". Teachers showed videos during class and counselors handed out treats for students that dressed up with the theme!

Morning Announcement Fun at Remington

Each day, Assistant Principal Suzy Ancell and Counselor, Row Padilla, post morning announcements for all students at Remington Elementary. Their morning show consists of drop in spots by other teachers, new announcements, weather, and important reminders. Check out one of their episodes below!
Announcements Dec 8th 2020

Healthy Option Week at EES

Evans held some Healthy Choice Days at the end of October. During these days, students learned about and did activities in their classroom to promote healthy choices. Students and teachers talked about the importance of love, empathy, exercising bodies and minds, and eating healthy. To spark interest and excitement for the event, Evans staff participated in a spirit week!

  • Love Day- Pink, red, purple, hearts
  • Be Strong- Superhero clothing
  • Take Care of Yourself- Pajamas, comfy clothes
  • Be Uniquely You- costume day

Innovation & Growth

Lockheed Martin: Women in Engineering Day

Horizon Middle School had 24 female students who participated in the Lockheed Martin Women in Engineering (WIE) Day on Friday, December 11th. This is their second year having this opportunity and Lockheed Martin did an amazing Zoom experience for them. Thank you to Monica Glickman, Alex Hurdel, Toni Lunden, and Kathy Schmidt for supporting this event and participating in the activities!

Students had the opportunity to learn about many STEM fields. They participated in the Hour of Code (first time coding for many students as well as teachers). Many of the girls shared how fun it was and how they planned to share the website with friends and family. They were able to speak with four women in various STEM fields for their panel. It was fantastic to see them engaging and asking questions to the panelists and other volunteers (Lockheed Martin employees). The students were able to ask honest questions about what it has been like as a woman in male-dominated field and were inspired to continue in these fields that interest them. The volunteers and panelists were able to share what they wanted to be as kids and how it developed into their current careers. It connected with many of our students on where they are now and where they could go based upon their interests. They were able to talk about life skills they need to be successful in college and their careers. A huge emphasis they made was working on a team, always being willing to learn, and failure is okay as long as you keep trying.

Coding Choice Board

Erin Bedell, from Springs Ranch Elementary, has created a Choice board for students interested in Coding! If your child is interested in doing something a little different, access the google slide and click on resources that interest them!

Parent Academy: Resiliency

On November 19th, Dr. Mark Mayfield, Founder and CEO of Mayfield Counseling Centers and David Galvan, Director of Education for a Lifetime put on a webinar around Resiliency: Learning New Ways for our “New Normal” in Schools. This event gave ways to navigate students' mental health and emotional well-being through building resilience as conditions in our world continue to change.

Check out the recording of the event below! Did you attend the event or watch? Leave us your feedback here:


Woodmen Valley Gifts Meals and Presents to the SCZ

Woodmen Valley Chapel has had a long history of supporting our families in the Sand Creek Zone. Each week, WVC delivers over 40 bags filled with snacks and dry good items to both Evans and Horizon. WVC generously donated and delivered over 50 Thanksgiving meals along with a Walmart gift card for families to purchase a turkey.

This past weekend, Family Engagement Liaisons and Counselors coordinated wish lists with students and those families were able to drive thru and pick up toys for each child, a cookie decorating kit, a gift for the parents, wrapping paper and bows and a gift card to Walmart.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported our families and a HUGE shout out to Woodmen Valley Chapel!

Big picture

Drive Thru for Foster Families

On Saturday, December 5th, The JOI Club from both Horizon and Sand Creek hosted their 7th annual Christmas Event for foster families. This year, the event took place in a drive thru style where families could pick up gifts that ranged from infant age to high school. Students from both HMS and SCHS JOI Club, senior nursing students from UCCS and local volunteers helped to coordinate the event. Not only were gifts handed out but they also had speakers set up for music and even Santa and Mrs. Claus attended the event! "We were truly blessed by all the people who helped" said JOI Club sponsor at Horizon, Kittrie Glen.

Brian Newsome, Director of the Fostering Hope Foundation, had his staff put together the thank you video below for everyone who helped support the event!

Hats off to Horizon

Papa Murphy's Donates Pizza to Hardworking Students

Stephanie Peterson, 2nd grade teacher at Remington, partnered with Papa Murphy's off of Constitution and Powers to reward students who are consistently showing up for their live zoom meetings, working hard and actively participating. For the last three weeks, Mrs. Peterson has delivered a large Papa Murphy's pizza, cookie dough and a 2 liter of soda to the family of the selected student. Thank you to Papa Murphy's manager, Brittany and district manager, Damir, for donating each week to support our students and thank you Mrs. Peterson for going out of your way to ensure student success.

Famers to Families in the SCZ

Each week, the Family Engagement Liaisons of the Sand Creek Zone host a food box distribution at Evans Elementary and Remington Elementary. The event is open to all families in the Sand Creek Zone and its community. Each week is a little different but each box typically contains a gallon of milk, a pound of cheese, sour cream, yogurt, a bag of apples, a bag of potatoes, chicken or hot dogs, and onions. The last distribution of the year will take place this week!

Volunteers from around the zone help put boxes in cars and fill out paperwork for Care & Share, the organization that delivers boxes to each school. Students from Sand Creek High School have volunteered as well as principals, Community Engagement Advocates, D49 personell and individual school staff that are available.

Link to story:

RES Donates Mask Proceeds to the Phillipines

Tess Davis, from Remington Nutrition Services, has proudly been serving her kids. Wanting to help raise money for her village in the Philippines, she decided to make and sell face masks to Remington staff. "Her masks are hands down the best" said Sadie Russell, Family Engagement Liaison for RES. "We were happy to purchase them, especially for a good cause!"

Her designs and comfort won the hearts of her co-workers and she used the profits to purchase meals for families in her native country. "Together, we distributed 3 meals each to 71 families back in my neighborhood in the Philippines" said Davis. "It was a total surprise for them just in time for the holidays."

Upcoming Events

12/19-1/6: Winter Break. NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS

1/7: E-Learning & Virtual First Day for Students


1/21: Sand Creek Zone Partners Meeting via Zoom (look for an invite from your school)

Big picture