Cottonwood Creek Cougar Chronicle

April 27, 2020


While we continue with remote learning, we have begun planning for next year. I am excited to share that we have finalized our 2020-21 Staffing Plan, are continuing to work through the interview and hiring process for next school year, and have officially begun the class placement process.

With the excitement of a new year, also comes the bittersweetness of saying goodbye to some of our Cougar Staff. In the upcoming weeks, I will be sharing with you staffing information as things are finalized. I hope this provides you with an opportunity to say goodbye to staff you and your children have developed strong relationships with over the years. This week, please join me in wishing the following staff the very best in their next adventure: Ann Litschewski, Lauren Alpert and Amanda Jehn. Each of these staff members have written you a message below in this week's CCCC.

In addition to providing a meaningful remote learning experience for your children, our staff is working hard to create balanced class lists for the 2020-21 school year. As I mentioned last week, generating class lists is one of the most important things we do to create the foundation for continued success in the upcoming school year. Our process is collaborative in nature and involves input from staff members from all aspects of our school. Together we are learning to complete this process virtually, and it is off to a strong start.

I continue to be honored and humbled to be the Principal at Cottonwood Creek. Our collaborative efforts to make remote learning meaningful as well as prepare for next year continue to amaze me. I can't imagine doing it with any other staff, community, or students! You make me proud to be a Cougar!

Take care of yourselves and each other!

Katie Johnson


Remote Learning Facts and Myths

Myth: CCSD/COT is providing synchronous remote learning.

Fact: CCSD/COT is providing a remote learning experiences asynchronously. The difference being that synchronous is live, and asynchronous learning opportunities that are accessible at any time of day.

Myth: Teachers are required to have daily face-to-face interactions with their classes.

Fact: Teachers may have optional, live meetings with their whole class or smaller groups. No new instruction or lessons will be taught during these optional meetings.

Myth: Teachers should be teaching lessons live to their classes.

Fact: Teachers cannot teach live lessons. Teachers can record lessons to be watched when students have access to a device. All lessons must be asynchronous.

Myth: Teachers should always be available between 8:00-2:45 (or longer) to answer any questions.

Fact: Teachers will answer questions in a timely manner. Many teachers are caring for others in their homes and are having to adjust work hours accordingly.

Myth: Students should be online or working on schoolwork continuously between the hours of 8:00-2:45.

Fact: All lessons are asynchronous and accessible at any time. Students can do the work at any time that works for the family.

Myth: School is five days a week from 8:00-2:45.

Truth: School can happen anytime that a student can access a computer. Students may turn in their work any time after it is completed. It is recommended that students complete and submit assignments no later than Monday at 1:00pm to give students one full week to complete assignments. This gives teachers the opportunity to provide timely feedback to your children.

Myth: Special education teachers and reading interventionists should be pulling groups of students for instruction or teaching students 1:1.

Fact: Like grade level teachers, the school district requires that these teachers also provide asynchronous learning opportunities.

Myth: Teachers cannot meet with students/families 1:1 or in small groups.

Fact: Teachers can have live check-ins or “office hours”. If these are available from your child’s teacher, they will be scheduled in advance. The purpose is to connect, answer questions, provide assistance navigating the remote learning platforms, provide further direction and encouragement, but not to provide direct instruction.

Myth: Teachers will grade and return all of the work that students turn in.

Fact: Teachers will not place “grades” on work, but rather provide feedback and guidance on certain items to help improve student work in the future.

Myth: Students must complete every assignment, no matter how long it takes.

Fact: Families will decide how much work students will do each day. This includes work from their Specials teachers as well as their regular classroom teacher. Students should not be working to the point of exhaustion or frustration. There is no required amount of time that students should be working on school assignments each day. Mental health is as important, or more important, than finishing school work this spring. Please do what’s best for you and your family.

Myth: Students must complete work from every Specials teacher each week.

Fact: Students are encouraged to do what they can. Typically the specials schedule is such that students have the same specials class four days in a row before moving on to the next specials class. This schedule is available here. Though all specials teachers are posting assignments each week, it is up to families to decide what work schedule will work best for their individual situation keeping in mind that at this time, mental health and wellbeing are more important than completing all assigned work. This includes Specials classes.

A Message from Ann Litschewski

After 32 years with the Cherry Creeks School District, it is with mixed emotions that I have decided to retire. I would like to thank the Cottonwood Creek community for sharing your children with me. It has truly been my deep joy to work with them over the last 16 years. Thank you too for your support and many kindnesses over this time. I will miss you tremendously!


Anny Litchewski

Puzzle of the Week

Congrats to all of you clever thinkers who solved last week’s brain teaser.

I have cities, but no houses. I have mountains, but no trees. I have water, but no fish. What am I?

Answer: a map!

Here’s a new puzzle for you to ponder this week:

Three doctors said that Bill was their brother. Bill said he had no brothers. How can this be?

Think you know the answer? Submit your best guess here.


Join a Specials Teacher each day on Zoom next week (April 27th-May 1st)! We will be available Monday through Friday from 12:00 PM to 12:30 PM to answer questions, share projects and just to have time to catch up and say 'hi". Students only.

Monday - Digital Media

Tuesday - MUSIC

Wednesday -Art

Thursday - STEM

Friday - PE

Directions for accessing the Specials Google Classrooms by Grade Level

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From our Art Teacher, Mrs. Thompson

Hello Cottonwood Artists and Parents,

This week’s lessons are attached – it’s all about having fun with drawing games and making people smile. Check out the essential worker thank you projects.

Third Grade Artists- Join Ms. Thompson this Wednesday on Zoom! Share a piece of art you have made and be ready for a color scavenger hunt. I look forward to hanging out with you from 12:00 pm to 12:30 pm. I am also available to answer questions and to catch up. Do you have an art lesson you would like to do next?

Art - Ms. Thompson

Meeting ID: 915 449 621

Password: 9Hznfz

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From our STEM Teacher, Mr. Rogers

Greetings from STEM! Welcome to Week 5 of distance learning. I hope you are all doing well! This week I am adding a new choice to the “menu” of activities you can choose from for STEM. We will be learning and creating in Scratch. Many of you have experience here, however, there are always new things to create. Also,you can choose from any week’s activities as long as you are trying and learning new things!

Please reach out to me if you have questions or need anything.

Happy Learning!!

Scott Rogers:

PE Post It

Hello Cottonwood,

Hope all is well and everyone is enjoying this great Colorado weather. This week the weather will be warm and great for everyone to get outside to play! Activities this week will include a way for students to create a fit work out plan and do a family challenge called Rope Knots Game. As always, we have a great idea for a healthy snack to prepare at home. Hope you enjoy the recipe for Baked Apple Chips!

As the school year comes to a close, I will be moving on from Cottonwood and continuing my love for wellness and fitness with other career opportunities. The two-year journey of PE classes and whole school events has been a great joy for me. I wish everyone health and happiness in all the years to come. I am excited to prepare a few more weeks of online lessons for all students at Cottonwood. Go Cougars and thank you!

Please visit Specials Google Classroom for PE Lesson Week Five.

Friday- P.E. Chat with Ms. Jehn for Third Grade- May 1st!

Meeting ID: 381 465 032

Password: 0hcv0Y

Stay healthy and active!

Ms. Jehn

From our Music Teacher, Mr. Pedregon

Hello Cottonwood,

I hope everyone enjoyed singing “This Pretty Planet” for Earth Day! It’s a beautiful song and I was hoping you’d enjoy it. This week we will be exploring Chrome Music Lab, an online “lab” that explores sound and music concepts. There are some fun things to explore there. Check it out! And this week’s Zoom at Noon with the Specials teachers will be for our Third Graders. Tuesday I’ll be available at noon to chat, hang out, and see what you all have been up to, Third Graders!

Here’s the info:

Meeting ID: 912 1993 9601

Password: music

Hope to see you there! And I hope everyone is hanging in there during our week 5 of distant learning!

-Mr. Pedregon

From our Digital Media Teacher, Ms. Hammershaimb

Hi Cottonwood students and families,

Can you believe that this is week 5 of our online learning adventures? I am so proud of how both Cottonwood students and families are changing and growing. What is something new that you have been learning?

Please visit the digital media website to see the activities for this week, or previous weeks. You can find it here:, or in the Specials Google Classroom.

Read: This week, in honor of April being National Poetry Month, we will be exploring poetry. The digital media website has a link to help you learn more about poetry, find poems to listen to, and creative ways to respond to poetry. I hope you find some poems to enjoy!

Create: This week, you can use paper to make collages. The digital media website has a link to show you how to make a collage poem, or you can use your paper to make a collage picture.

Technology: There are a few different technology projects for you to choose to work on this week. You can use a Google Drawing template to create your own magnetic poem, a Google Sheet template to create your own pixel art masterpiece, or visit poems around the world through Google Earth.

I hope that you have fun with these activities. You can share your creations with me through google classroom, google drive or email.

Hope you have a good week,

Ms. Hammershaimb


Thank you to everyone who submitted a joke of the week entry last week. This week’s selected joke comes from Eliana Berhe in Mr. Wiersma's second grade class.

What country does candy come from?

Scroll down for the answer.

Do you have a great joke that you think other Cottonwood Creek Cougars would enjoy hearing? Follow this link to submit your entry for the Joke of the Week. One joke will be chosen, and will appear in next week’s CCCC. Choose carefully because you can only submit one joke each week. Bring on the laughs!

Answer to Eliana's joke: Sweeten

From our Mental Health Team

Hi Cottonwood Families!! You have officially made it to the 5th week of remote learning!! I don’t know about you, but the weeks are flying by! We are so excited that May is upon us, and that summer is right around the corner. The sun this week also will bring some heat and we are looking forward to getting to spend some time outside!

With the school year coming closer to an end, it always brings a mixed of emotions for me, and this year even more so. I often feel so excited for the summer, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and enjoying life. I also get a little sad. With a school year ending, so many things change and change always brings a bit of sadness for me. However, this year, above all others I find myself feeling sad and yet still so very grateful. I have been offered an opportunity to be full time at my other school in the district and this will be my last year at Cottonwood. I feel so lucky to have gotten to experience Cottonwood first as a student, then as a member of the staff. I feel so blessed to have gotten this experience to give back to the community that had such an impact on my foundation of who I am and the woman and mother I am today. One parts that I am going to miss the most are the kids! Wow, these kids are really such inspiring group of students, and I can’t wait to see the amazing ways in which they shape our future. The students are a great testament to you and the support and ways in which you advocate and care for you kids and their education. I know I leave this school in AMAZING hands. The staff here are some of the most wonderful, bright, caring, people I have ever known, and I feel so fortunate to have gotten this time learning and working with them! I am going to miss the friends and relationships with both staff and families that I have made here.

I just wanted to take this moment to say THANK YOU COTTONWOOD COUGARS you have changed me and I will forever remember my time here!

Lauren Alpert

School Psychologist

From our School Nurse

Stay at Home? Safer at Home? What does it all mean?

There are a lot of questions about the latest executive orders and Colorado’s return to “normal.” My children only hear that the Stay-at-Home order is expiring, but don’t understand what the new orders mean. For most of our children very little has changed. Here is a brief overview and links for further information.

Colorado Help Line for COVID-19 questions in multiple languages: 303-389-1687 or (877)-462-2911

For resources: Call 2-11 or (866) 760-6489 or text your Zip Code to 898-211

Cherry Creek School District Healthline: 720-554-HLTH (4584) to speak with a registered nurse or mental health professional.

For information on school breakfast and lunches distributed Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at ten Cherry Creek School sites:

Patti Rojec, MSN, RN, NCSN

School Nurse

Cottonwood Creek Elementary

11200 E Orchard Rd

Englewood, CO 80111