We apologize if you are receiving this information and you no longer have a student at GMHS. We are updating our database and have not yet removed the Class of 2020 or withdrawn students. Next week's communication will have the updated database.
Dear GMHS Students and Families,
I hope this message finds you all doing well. I officially returned to work on July 8th. Our assistant principals are not scheduled to return until tomorrow, but they have been on the job for the last week to start planning for the school year. Our counselors return on August 3rd and teachers return on August 12th.
My goal in communicating with you today is to introduce myself, our team and provide as much information as I can to help you in completing the district family survey. I know that there are and will continue to be many, many more questions. We have created a Google Form for you to submit your questions so we can respond and include the information in an FAQ document.
Our Leadership Team
Principal: Colleen Owens
Mrs. Owens has been a teacher, assistant principal and principal at GMHS for the last 15 years. This year marks her tenth year as Principal at GMHS. She is a 1983 GMHS graduate and both of her daughters are alum (2007, 2010).
Dr. Lisa Trujillo - Mrs. Trujillo is the Scheduler and will work with the Class of 2021 (Seniors).
Ms. Autumn Sereno - Ms. Sereno is our Athletic Director and will work with the Class of 2022 (Juniors).
Mr. Tommy Craig - Mr. Craig works with Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. He will work with the Classes of 2023 (Sophomores) and 2024 (Freshmen) this year.
Ms. Becky Ketchum - Ms. Ketchum works with Activities. This year she will be teaching half time and an assistant principal half time.
Mr. Bari Abuhadema - Bari as he is respectfully and fondly referred to is our Student Engagement Liaison. He works with Assistant Principals and Counselors to support all of our students.
9th Grade: Laura Oliver
10th Grade: Alicia Kuehn
11th Grade: Erin Slaughter
12th Grade: Kim Angcay
Ed Morgan, CeCe Carpenter, Jeremy Zogelmann
In addition to the above, we have several Teacher Leadership Teams.
Instructional Leadership Team (ILT): Team of teachers, Instructional Coach, ESL Coach, Digital Teacher Librarian, intervention specialists, Administration, and Counselor who collaborate to support instruction, provide professional development and support for teachers.
Department Managers (DM): Lead teacher in each department that manages inventory, supplies, and collaborates with the principal on hiring and school budget.
Academy Leadership Team (ALT): Team of teachers including Career & Technical Education electives, counselors and Admin who collaborate and plan for our Academy Program.
Parent, Teacher, Student Association (PTSA): Parents/Guardians, staff and students meet monthly to support our school. Our PTSA is amazing and you are encouraged to engage with them.
Ram Accountability Committee (RAC): Parents/Guardians, Staff, Students, Community Members who collaborate and provide input to the principal on school improvement, staffing and budget. Meet approximately six times a year.
As always if you have any questions or need any support, please don't hesitate to reach out. I hope you all enjoy the remainder of the summer break! I will continue to communicate with weekly email updates, and on our Facebook and Instagram.
2020-2021 Restart Planning
Families were provided a Survey last week to communicate whether your student will be learning in a full online or in person environment.
Here is a link to the Survey:
The following is the best information I have as of today. I want to thank Dr. Pennell, Principal at Dunstan Middle School for sharing her message with me and allowing me to use some of her words below. Please continue reading our communications over the coming weeks for more updates.
- Online Learning – will be facilitated by some of the GMHS teachers. If the original responses from the initial Jeffco survey that was conducted in June are consistent, 10% of families indicated a preference for online learning and 90% preferred to return to in-person learning. The responses of the most recent survey will give schools actual numbers so they can plan their staffing in terms of how many teachers will be allocated to online learning v. in-person learning. If we assume 10% of our families want online learning that equates to about 110 students for GMHS.
- Online learning will be based on a synchronous model, especially for core classes. So, classes will occur at specific times of the day. For example, math from 8:00-9:00 am on specific days of the week. Teachers will be available via Zoom Meeting or Google Meets to answer student questions and interact with students over the computer.
- In-person learning – includes many facets and systems that we have not previously had to create. We are consulting with our District health advisers and CDC for updated information. GMHS is utilizing our leadership teams and have expanded these teams with more staff to assist us in setting up the school per the health and safety requirements.
- We are scheduling a staff meeting for next week to talk with staff about the latest details and begin organizing the restart. The GMHS Staff have been great at reaching out and offering assistance.
- We will be scheduling a PTSA/RAC virtual meeting (tentatively scheduled for the evening of July 28th) to go over more detail of what we are planning and request input and feedback as we continue to plan.
- We will be scheduling a Student virtual meeting (tentatively scheduled for afternoon of July 28th) to request their input and feedback.
- Look for a virtual link to these meetings in next Tuesday's communication from us.
- Current Information:
- Mask wearing at all times that 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. This includes hallways, in classrooms when your student or another student has to come in close contact (less than 6 feet), while riding the bus. Mask wearing is how we honor each other and protect each other. Jeffco is providing 1 mask per student. We have several groups in the school who will selling Ram Masks. You may also provide a mask for your student. Bandanas will not be acceptable (due to issues around gang affiliation) and our hat policy will be strictly enforced.
- Student IDs will be required to be visible and we will be providing your student with a clip for their ID. This is due to wearing masks that cover the face and make it difficult for us to identify who belongs and not.
- Daily Before School Symptom Screening – all staff and students will have their symptoms screened and temperature (below 100.4) taken before they enter the school. We will communicate which doors will be access doors for morning entrance. Once the school day has started the main entrance will be the only door to enter for safety reasons.
- Lines for temperature taking will form outside of the doors. Families of students who do not pass the health screening will be contacted for prompt pick-up. We will have a specific area where students who do not pass the health screening will wait for pick up.
- Student items - students must maintain their own personal items and school supplies in their backpack. Please send your students with a full water bottle each day. We will not use lockers or drinking fountains. Our bottle filler fountains will be available for students to fill their water bottles.
- Hallways – all hallways will be marked for traffic direction to reduce the number of people passing each other. During the first few days of school our staff will practice transitioning between classes with your student. Masks are to be worn in hallways at all times. Students will travel between classes.
- School Day Schedule - The CDC and Colorado Health Dept. suggest that staff and students have contact with no more than 4 groups of students per school day.
- Students will be scheduled into classes as we have always done. We will offer core and elective classes. Depending on the final Bell Schedule, students may have 5-6 classes in the semester. This is to keep students on track to graduate. Class sizes will average 25-30 students.
- The Colorado Graduation Requirement of demonstrating competency in English and Math has been waived for the Class of 2021.
- The High School Principals are working on a schedule that all high schools will use. We hope to have the schedule finalized in the next week.
- We know that students will have no more than four classes in a day. It may be less depending on the final Bell Schedule.
- We are struggling with open vs. closed campuses. How we would feed all of the students in a high school, provide teachers time for their own lunch, and not use the Commons for lunch is a challenge.
- The stipulation that each person should not have contact with more than 4 other groups in a single school day necessitates the use of instructional blocks (80 minute to 2.5 hours). Implementing instructional blocks also minimizes the number of transitions.
- We will strive to keep our start time between 8:00-8:30 a.m.
- Stay tuned for the final decision on the Bell Schedule.
- Scheduling: In order to proceed with scheduling we need:
- To know how many students will attend in person
- How many students will attend all online
- How many teachers will attend in person
- The bell schedule we will follow
- Once we have the above information we can proceed with scheduling classes for students. Please complete your family survey as soon as you can.
- A Staff Survey went out last week that asks whether they will return in person. We hope to have this data soon as well.
- We are currently planning to release student schedules in mid-August.
- After school activities and clubs – Sadly, Marching Band has cancelled the majority of their season. All other clubs and activities would be considered another grouping for the students that is not allowed currently. As this changes we will inform you.
- Athletics - CHSAA sponsored athletics are able to operate (for now). Our teams have been practicing for the last few weeks following strict guidelines. We are hopeful that we will have a fall athletic season. Fall Athletic Registration begins on July 24th. Please see more information on GMHSRams.org.
- Transportation – please respond to the survey to indicate if your student needs district transportation. GMHS has one bus that services our school so we believe this is an area that we can manage. Currently, 25 students are allowed on a bus. Prior to COVID-19, 60 students were allowed on each bus.
- The Transportation Department is working on routes and how to divide students to maintain the expectation of 25 or fewer per bus. If you have multiple students who live in your home and take the bus, they can sit together and count as one. Masks are expected on the bus at all times. Bus drivers or their assistants will screen temperatures. Once your student’s temperature has been taken by a bus driver or an assistant, they do not have to have it taken again at school. Instead, they can proceed to a designated entrance for bus riders only and go directly into the school and to Advise class.
- Parking Lot - Due to construction of the new auxiliary gym our parking lot will still have some construction restraints.
- Ram Time class – we intend to maintain our Ram Time class, which serves as a homeroom class for the students. We know that the transition back to school will be difficult. We will utilize Ram Time to reconnect with our students, assist with social emotional learning, community building, and creating ways to maintain a strong school culture.
- Large group gatherings – until further information is provided from CDC and Jeffco, we cannot have large gatherings such as concerts, assemblies, whole grade level meetings, etc.
- Instructional differentiation – based on how last school year ended, our staff anticipates needing to create different instruction more than ever before. If possible, an early administration of MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) assessments for math and language arts will help provide critical information to our teachers regarding which student needs which level of instruction. Our staff is committed to quickly identifying the needs of each student and moving them forward from wherever they may start.
- Signage and Health Expectations – each classroom and bathroom will have multiple signs to serve as reminders about social distancing, appropriate and frequent hand washing, and mask wearing. Every classroom will have a large bottle of hand sanitizer.
- School Facility Adaptations – our office staff will have Plexiglas installed at their desks to protect everyone.
- Parent drop-offs/deliveries for students. We ask that parents drop off items in the drop box which is located outside of the school and then call to notify that an item has been dropped off for a specific student.
- Parent/family pick-up – we are working on a system for parents to pick up students for appointment, etc. We are trying to create a system to have minimal physical contacts, but will maintain checking parent identification prior to releasing student(s).
- Cleaning procedures – all frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned each day. Items that are difficult to clean, such as bean bag chairs are being removed and stored. Bathrooms were cleaned daily prior to COVID-19 and will continue to do so under these conditions.
- Face shields and Masks for staff members – Staff will receive masks, face shields, gloves, hand sanitizer, and any other health supplies needed. We are looking into voice amplification technology as well.
- Academy Pathways - We will be working with students individually to assist them in Pathway endorsements and Capstone Projects. We want to make sure that our students are treated fairly in every aspect of returning to school. We encourage you to communicate any concerns you have throughout the school year so we can support your student.
Whew! We know this is a lot to digest. Please keep your questions coming (use the form link above). None of us have tried this before so we know we will make mistakes. Please know that we are approaching this school year with positive intentions, prioritizing student and staff safety, and with the best attitude we can. We know this sounds, feels, seems a bit crazy at times. The key is for us to work together, communicate, and support each other. Below is what we shared with our staff last week:
"The next few months promise to be some of the most challenging we have experienced professionally. I encourage you to stay strong, self-monitor your feelings, and seek balance in your life. We are not in this alone, we have each other. We will collaborate, communicate, and support each other as best as we can. None of us is perfect and we certainly do not have an ideal situation in front of us. Collectively, we will make it through this, we will be stronger for it, and I strongly believe our students and school community will continue to face these challenges with a respectful and positive approach. We are RamNation!"
Leadership, Equity, and Action for Diversity - LEAD Team
Like you, we have been saddened and worried about the social unrest happening in our country. I feel a huge sense of urgency and responsibility to help lead positive change. We cannot be naive to think that these issues will not be part of our return to school. We are creating a LEAD Team at GMHS. The LEAD Team will include students, staff and community members to identify equity and diversity issues and act on influencing a safe and positive school culture for all. If your student or you are interested in being part of this work, please complete this form.
We will start by reviewing the "Guide for Administrators, Counselors and Teachers: Responding to Hate and Bias at School;" and "Speak Up At School: How to Respond to Everyday Prejudice, Bias and Stereotypes: Guide for Teachers" from Teaching Tolerance at Tolerance.org.
GMHS is a diverse and caring school. We are not perfect, yet we do try to be the best we can be. It is healthy to take an objective look at our processes, procedures, and curriculum to ensure we are providing a fair and equitable learning environment. We encourage anyone interested in helping to use the link above. Multiple staff members have already reached out to be part of the LEAD Team.
Please follow the above link on our GMHSRams.org website for updates and pictures of the construction this summer! You won't believe the in-progress photos - take a look!
Our construction projects are moving along well. Much of the work has been accelerated over the summer, yet our construction crews will be working right up to the last minute on several items. Most schools are able to start planning how to set up their schools now. Unfortunately, we do not expect full access to our building until mid-August. For this reason, we may need to request for GMHS to start with students a few days after August 24th. We will keep you posted if this change happens and expect to know by the first week of August.
We are still planning to hold an in person graduation for the Class of 2020 on August 5th at 7:00 p.m. at Jeffco Stadium. Continue to look for updates on GMHSRams.org.
We are pretty certain at the moment that we will need to limit guests to four per graduate. We will also be live streaming the event.
As we look back, we wanted to re-share the video below. If you need to take a moment to remember what it's all about, this video is a good reminder.
Congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2020! We have enjoyed getting to know you! We are Proud of you and will miss you very much!
Communication with GMHS
- GMHS Restart Questions form
- firstname.lastname@example.org - use this email for any questions and concerns. Multiple staff members are tracking communications to this email via spreadsheet to ensure your inquiries are addressed.
School Counselors return on August 3, 2020.
- Counselor Contact Information
- Alicia Kuehn - 10th grade for 20-21
- Erin Slaughter - 11th grade for 20-21
- Kim Angcay - 12th grade for 20-21
- Laura Oliver - 9th grade for 20-21
- Dr. Lisa Langerman - School Psychologist