Cottonwood Creek Cougar Chronicle

April 2, 2021

A Message from your Principal, Katie Johnson

As I reflect on my Cottonwood journey, I want to share a story with you, our families.

Three years ago, shortly after my arrival, I was emailed a list of "Cottonwood Creek Value Statements" and was asked if the statements were an accurate reflection of our school. When I asked around, many of our staff members did not recognize the statements; therefore, I came to the conclusion they were outdated and no longer represented our Cougar Staff values. These statements should convey the values and priorities of the school, company, organization or team it represents. In other words, these statements should reflect the core values of the staff at Cottonwood Creek. So, there is where our journey began.

This journey began with WHY? I asked our staff to reflect and write their own personal "Why Story" with the following in mind: When thinking about the work you do everyday, who has impacted the person you are today? What did this person do that changed you? What drives you? What keeps you coming back everyday? What gives you purpose? All these questions helped guide staff in writing their stories.

From there, our staff had the opportunity to share their story aloud at staff meetings, during team meetings and/or with a trusted colleague throughout the remainder of the year. As stories were shared, staff identified themes/topics. We also sent a survey to you, our community, asking "What do you value most about Cottonwood Creek Elementary School". You may see both of these results below by clicking on the images.

The following Fall, those themes/topics where categorized into broader themes, and then those themes became statements - 38 statements to be exact. As a staff, we began to digest these statements. For the next several months, at least until we had to shift some of our efforts to remote learning, teams and committees spent time prioritizing, combining, and rewording these statements. The work was intentional and focused.

Finally, in March 2021, we finalized the Cottonwood Creek value statements. These statements represent the values and priorities of our staff. These statements will help guide our future conversation, decisions and behaviors as a staff. These statements help ground us in our WHY so we can focus on the what, how and when that provides the foundation for our school.

Through this journey, I have been humbled by our staff. Their dedication and commitment to your children is at the heart of everything they do and say.

At Cottonwood Creek, we value...

  • Differences. We recognize and celebrate each individual for their diversity.
  • Authentic and relevant learning experiences that promote independence, curiosity, creativity and critical thinking for ALL.

  • Perseverance, patience and relationships built around empathy and kindness.

  • Collaborative learning for both staff and students.

  • Physical and psychological safety.

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2021-22 Preparation

While we are still deep in the 2020-21 school year, we slowly begin to prepare for the 2021-22 school 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 your drivers license 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.

  • 5th Grade Families NOT Continuing to Campus Middle School: For students that will attend either a private or another school public that is not our feeder (CMS), please email the Registrar’s office ( with the name of the school your student will be attending so we can ensure records are sent to the appropriate school this summer.

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Don't forget....

  • Cottonwood Creek Spring PTO Online Auction: The Online Auction will open on Friday, April 9th and conclude during the Live VIRTUAL Auction Event on Friday, April 16th. "Attending" the auction this year is FREE and easy! All you have to do is dress up in your favorite Roaring 20's costume and log-in to the Zoom link to participate! There will be door prizes, special shout-outs, and a short live auction. The zoom link will be shared Auction Week.

  • Virtual General PTO Meeting: Please join us at our next General PTO Meeting (held virtually) on Friday, April 9th from 8:30-9:30am. Everyone is encouraged to attend. In addition to the slated candidates, nominations will be accepted from the floor for our PTO Executive Board. If you are unable to attend the meeting, you may ask someone to nominate you from the floor, with your consent. RSVP HERE to let us know that you plan to attend. Please join the meeting using the Zoom link HERE.
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Class Placement Input Reminder

We are working hard in our preparations for the 2021-22 school year. While we have many decisions to make around scheduling, staffing, and professional learning, generating class lists is one of the most important things we do to create the foundation for continued success in the upcoming school year.

The process of generating class lists is collaborative in nature and involves input from staff members from all aspects of our school. The integrity and professionalism of our staff is the foundation of our wonderful school. We feel that we know each of our students well. We know their learning styles, relationships with peers, academic strengths and challenges. Our intention is to create groups of children who reflect heterogeneity and cohesiveness. Student placement is based upon many considerations. Some of the influencing factors in this process include:

  • Balance of male and female students

  • A heterogeneous range of reading, writing, and math in each room

  • Consideration of emotional needs, giftedness, and other special needs

  • Separation of social conflicts

  • Balance of students with strong leadership qualities

  • Balance of students with good study habits

You may notice that I did not mention the older siblings’ teacher as a factor to consider. I understand the value of relationships and the consistency that this offers. However, this factor does not supersede the overall goal of creating groups of children who reflect heterogeneity and cohesiveness.

Due to the complexity of the class placement process, we are not able to honor specific requests for a classroom teacher. Requests for specific teachers will not be granted and should not be part of the information you share. If you would like to add to our knowledge of your child’s social, emotional, or academic needs, you may do so via email to me no later than Monday, April 12th. Please title the email 2021-22 Student Placement. This is an opportunity for you to have a voice. The needs you share will be treated as part of the process in making assignments for next year. We ask for this information in advance so that we can consider it throughout the process of creating our lists. A lot of work goes into this process during the Spring, so I do encourage you to email me before Monday, April 12th versus waiting until the Fall.

Thank you in advance for respecting the integrity of this process. I am excited about next year and look forward to your partnership as we work together for the success of your child.


Katie Johnson


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