Take a Trip Around the World with Our Students
Jessica Machetta, Middle School and High School Instructor
 
As you may know, we are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, which is from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. In my middle school social studies and English classes, we are doing this by learning about contributions to art and literature by Hispanic men and women such as Pablo Neruda, William Carlos Williams, Frida Kahlo, and others. We are also trying different foods from Latin countries. Food makes everything more fun, right?
 
Additionally, our middle school social studies students are researching all 50 states and several foreign countries of their choosing. I have promised them we will try foods from the different countries they are studying about, which so far includes Iceland, Greece, Germany, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Romania, Italy, England, and Germany. We are also fortunate to have students here from several other countries, meaning our students learn cultural differences first-hand.
 
I would encourage you to bring cultural diversity to your table, as well. Ask your student about the country they are researching and what foods are common there. Plan a family dinner out at a restaurant that serves food from other countries. Visit an ethnic or international grocery store. Research a recipe with your children that you can cook together. Have an “eat with your hands” night and talk about cultures where that is the norm. Have a chopsticks night or “eat on the floor” night. Netflix also offers a host of cooking shows that can provide insight, such as “Rotten”, “Taco Chronicles”, “Street Food Collection”, “The Final Table”, “Food Wars!”, “Salt Fat Acid Heat”, and “Todo Sobre el Asado (All about Asado)”, all offering a relaxing family night of watching TV and learning, a combination that’s not always so easy to achieve.
 
When you educate your children about the power of food and open their minds to the vastness of how our most basic of human needs are met around the world, you teach them respect and equality. You also teach them that trying something new is a good thing!
 
"National Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off on the anniversary of the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile, and Belize. This month of celebrations commemorates the history, culture, and contributions of all American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America," says Denver.gov, which also has a comprehensive listing of events and celebrations.
Science Learning Update
Dan Richter, High School and Middle School Instructor

I would like to take a few minutes to outline what each group of students is learning this fall in our four subject areas. I won’t bore you with the curricula content but try to share with you some of the concepts. 
 
Sparking Curiosity 
Middle school science usually covers lightly the broad topics of general science, technology, and engineering. While we do this, we discover interesting tangents off the path that drive us deeper into more specific areas of science. We are looking for these while we build our bridges. Bridge building and testing help students develop stronger spatial reasoning and fine motor skills. We also have time in our small groups to talk informally about current events, breakthrough technology, and discoveries in science. Space science is a popular topic and we may do focused research and some writing about it. Medical research is another good topic to explore. Kids like to talk about gruesome diseases and plagues. We may look into that, but we would also study treatments and impacts of disease on society as well as the future treatments on the horizon. We will see where they take it. 
 
Finding Their Future 
High school biology students will also study diseases, disabilities, and injuries with treatment an important part of their study. They learn to analyze scientific articles and published papers on the research. Besides what we used to call “Life Sciences” they also learn to think critically about the findings and to check for peer review where the original findings are challenged. They learn how to find the facts and where more study is needed. Sometimes these interests stick. 
 
Hope in Science 
High school sciences of Earth science and environmental science study the Earth’s natural laws and patterns. They learn about the impacts of nature on society and society on nature and how we might lessen and resolve some problems we can’t leave for our children. In Earth Science, students learn about the powerful forces of natural events, weather, and geological events on the landscape, and in environmental science students learn more about the impact of these natural forces on people and social structures. These students do not only learn of disaster and doomsday. I always try to emphasize the hopeful nature of humanity in pursuing solutions to the problems created by nature so they can see that human impact can be positive and corrective. They learn the contribution we all need to make can and will reduce the suffering caused by natural phenomena.
Annual Trip to Kenosha Pass
Evan Simpson, Dean of Students

On 9/23 we took our annual trip to Kenosha to look at the changing leaves. Though I handed off the reins of Activity Director to Kyle last year I’m so happy how this trip has been received since I started it in 2017. Each year students seem to look forward to this trip and each year it’s a little different. Typically, it involves stopping and appreciating the changing leaves while students learn about chlorophyll, photosynthesis, Earth’s axis and rotation, and a few aspen-related survival skills. In past years it has involved some easel landscape painting and photography lessons and sometimes a really motivated group that aims to reach the summit in the limited time we are there, but the bus ride to and from is always a great time to bond as a school with some classic road trip games and music. Despite some setbacks and the leaves not fully changed, this year held a lot of fun moments for students. It is always great to get out into nature and celebrate this beautiful state we live in.
College Corner: The Future of College Application
Liam Murphy, Community Outreach and Enrollment Counselor
 
One application is all it will take today! What began as an experiment to simplify the admissions process has evolved into a global college access movement.
 
Today, The Common Application (Common App) is a non-profit company representing nearly 900 diverse institutions of higher education. It will allow you to connect applicants and those who support them to a wide array of public and private colleges and universities across all 50 U.S. states, and 20 countries.
Every year, more than a million students - a third of whom are first-generation - apply to college, research financial aid and scholarships, and connect to college counseling resources through Common App. Accelerated Schools has been using Common App for years. But the path to higher education has changed. While everyone can go to college, not everyone does. To help all students & families, no matter their learning platform, reach college, Common App is dedicated to:
 
  • Lowering the logistical and systemic barriers to college access
  • Supporting those who support students
  • Serving a diverse group of students and institutions
  • Leveraging data and insight to inform our member institutions
 
Common App is making the application simple, the process logical, and the
experience joyful.

This platform allows a direct path to higher education for all students.
 
Please check out the following link for more information: https://www.commonapp.org
Emotional Wellness Month
Debby Sharp, Middle School Instructor

Just breathe...October is emotional wellness month. Actually, every month should be an emotional wellness month, but October is a good time to reflect on how we can keep ourselves emotionally healthy. It’s a time to disconnect and take a timeout for our brain. I ask myself, why is emotional wellness recognized in the month of October? I couldn’t find a definitive answer, so I hypothesized my own reason. October is the start of fall which means shorter days, colder weather, and more indoor activities. Many people can become depressed and anxious during this seasonal time so what better month to take time to remember what we can do for our emotional needs.
 
Some of the strategies we have been using in the middle school classrooms are learning how to express our emotions healthily. We have a self-care journal where we can safely write down our feelings and our goals on how to remediate any negative feelings. Writing can be such a cathartic process in getting past negative feelings. Both Jessica and I encourage the students to free- write which can be in any form. As teachers and parents, we should always encourage our students/children to be problem solvers. Learning how to solve their own problems can boost kid’s self-esteem and lower stress. If your child is dealing with a conflict, ask how they think it should be resolved. Give your child a chance to resolve it their way and when you follow up, ask permission before sharing your advice. A few more self-care tips are to be physically active, prioritize sleep, step away from screens, make time with family and friends, and do things that bring you joy.
 
Emotional wellness doesn’t mean being happy all the time. That’s an impossibility as we are all human. Emotional wellness means being able to recognize and cope with emotions good and bad. It’s a journey we never leave because new challenges are always being thrown at us.
National Bullying Prevention Month; How Students Can Stand Up for Themselves
Evyn Marsh, High School and Middle School Instructor

What can you do about bullying? Bullying is when someone displays unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Most of the time, bullying is repeated behavior that has the potential to be repeated again and again. Some specific examples include making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Bullying can also take place online or through text, where the cyberbully sends mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles. This kind of behavior can hurt kids and has the potential to cause long-lasting emotional harm.

It can hurt when you or someone you care about is being bullied. Having a conversation with your friends, children, or parents before bullying starts is a good way to lay a foundation of trust. Make sure your student knows they can talk to you if bullying occurs, and that it is ok to talk about. Warn your children that bullies love attention, and feeding into them will only strengthen their resolve. Also make it clear that if your child is bullied, that it says more about the bully’s personality than the victim’s. Practice and role-play scenarios that might happen, and demonstrate appropriate responses. Monitor your child’s online usage, and warn your child that young people are finding new ways to bully online. Make sure your child understands that they can only control their actions and that sometimes bullying will happen to them regardless of how well they might have acted. Learning how to brush off acts of bullying and to stand your ground is tough, but it is an imperative life skill to teach, hone, and reward. 

So what can you do about bullying? Learn to control your emotions and actions, even when you feel red in the face. Have a supportive person or persons that you can talk to about bullying if it happens. Know that bullying is not something you can always control, and it is not your fault for being picked on. Have specific lines or behaviors that you can do when bullying occurs, such as: saying, “I’m minding my own business” or counting to 10 slowly in your head to ignore the bully. Here at Accelerated, you can also contact your child’s counselor or any other staff member you feel comfortable having this discussion with. We love supporting and nurturing our students, please reach out if you feel like any kind of bullying has occurred. Practice kindness, compassion, and mindfulness, and keep your head held high!

Sources, further information: 
First Field Trips of the 2021-22 School Year to Dinosaur Ridge and Aqua Golf
Kyle Pepper, Educational Recruiter and Enrollment Counselor

On August 26th, Accelerated Schools went on our first activity of the 2021-22 school year to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, and Dinosaur Ridge. After allowing the students to get some energy out at Red Rocks (a band was sound-checking for the concert planned that night), we got back on the Accelerated buses and headed to Dinosaur Ridge eat lunch and meet our guide for our scheduled “Dinosaur Freeways and Cretaceous Seaways” Bus Tour. Located along Colorado’s Front Range in beautiful Morrison, CO just about a five-minute drive from Red Rocks, Dinosaur Ridge is a National Natural Landmark and it has been ranked the top dinosaur track site in the U.S. The site is world-famous for its dinosaur tracks and bones and unique geologic features. Although we did encounter some rain and thunderstorms that forced our guide to cut our bus tour short by about a half-hour, the students had an amazing time learning about and exploring the world-famous fossil sites. This activity gave students the chance to interact with the bones and tracks of dinosaurs as well as unique geologic features. Students also had the opportunity to learn about fossils/rock layers and how they form, and how ancient climates are different from today and changed over time.
On September 9th, qualifying students had the choice to participate in our second activity of the school year and spend the day at Aqua Golf for a day of mini-golf and fun in the sun. The facility at Aqua Golf includes two 18-hole outdoor mini-golf courses (36-holes total), the Santa Fe course and the Platte River Course. Both courses are complete with water hazards and sand traps. Students had a blast socializing, bonding, and competing with one another. Mini golf and other similar activities are physical and social activities that can have educational benefits and get kids outdoors in a time where screen time and technology tend to overrun their lives. 
 
I very much look forward to continuing to plan and schedule fun, motivating, engaging, and educational activities for our students this school year. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns regarding the Activities Program and your individual student. 
Come Check Us Out!
Valerie Montano, Music Instructor

Music classes continue to be held in the beautifully renovated Carriage House. The music program has a balanced, comprehensive, and sequential design, with developmentally appropriate activities for students of every age level. Students are acquiring musical skills and knowledge through listening, playing instruments, composing, and improvising music. Our digital piano, guitars, percussion instruments, and electronic keyboards are being used extensively by the students. Please encourage your developing musicians to share their music with you by practicing and performing for you at home.
For more than 40 years, concerned parents have turned to Accelerated Schools for individualized learning programs helping students overcome challenges, and excel academically. The fact is, a traditional school system is not designed to meet the needs of every child. When a student is not being successful, or is not thriving in a traditional environment, parents must often look elsewhere for a solution. This is were Accelerated Schools comes in.

Accelerated Schools begins by creating a learning program designed specifically for a student. Our work points are toward changing the ratio of failure to success and by cultivating an environment of accountability. Our students are given attainable goals and are rewarded by celebrating their accomplishments. Once a student starts experiencing success, their attitude, motivation and effort improve dramatically. This ends the negative cycle and leads to positive academic progress and positive self-esteem. 
If you have comments and/or suggestions about our newsletter, email Adam Burnett.