Happy July Owl Families!
I am always amazed at how quickly summer flies. It's hard to believe we have already entered into July and are weeks away from starting the 2020-2021 school year. I hope that you have been taking full advantage of the beautiful weather, getting outdoors as much as possible, spending time making memories with your families and staying safe and healthy along the way. As I watch several states start to "reclose" due to virus stressors, the question on everyone's mind is..."What is Aspen Ridge planning to do this fall in regards to reopening?"
The St. Vrain Valley School District recently published their plans for reopening with details ranging from PreK-High School, and most everything in between. If you haven't seen it or are curious, you can find the logistics by going to the St. Vrain website.
At Aspen Ridge, operating as an authorized charter school within the St. Vrain Valley School District, we have the autonomy to make decisions that work best for our families and staff, thus potentially varying from how nearby district schools may operate. You probably read a few weeks back that our Board of Directors, in alignment with school leadership, is committed to 5 days a week of on premise learning, with safe guards in place for all. The first Aspen Ridge COVID Response Team (CRT) met on Tuesday night to begin prioritizing safe guards, scenarios for reopening and reviewing a list of over 20 various logistical issues. Some of these issues include safely entering the building each day, handling substitutes and volunteers on campus, planning for tiered levels of learning within various settings and creating policies and procedures as needed (to name a few).
Our team is committed to using data sources that are available and reliable when making decisions, creating plans and policies for a safe reopening, collectively and confidently making decisions and problem solving for the good of all, emphasizing the best safety and health practices for our school community, and supporting our staff in implementing rigorous academic opportunities for students, in a synchronized setting, whether on campus learning or at home.
The CRT will meet weekly throughout the summer and into the school year, monitoring changes as the occur across the state, to ensure our school is implementing best practices. Members include:
- Randy Drennen, Board of Directors President and Committee Chair
- Liz Locricchio, Board of Directors Secretary
- Charla Salmeron, Principal
- Rachel Miller, Assistant Principal
- Mark Ridenour, Director of Operations
- Tiffany Freeman, Operations Representative with Human Resources expertise
- Tara Anderson, 3rd Grade Teacher/Elementary Representative
- Malyssa Hiskett, 7th/8th Grade Science/Middle School Representative
- Enrique Zuppas, Physical Education Teacher/K-8th School-Wide Representative
- Ashwin Bala, Elementary Parent Representative
- Stephanie Fons, Middle School Parent Representative
- Kristyn Drennen, Elementary and Middle School Parent Representative
- Rhonda Haniford, Associate Commissioner of School Quality and Support (CDE) and Expert CRT Resource
In creating plans and processes for reopening, the CRT will:
- Review plans from nearby districts and schools
- Follow guidelines and recommendations from:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Colorado Department of Education (CDE)
- Boulder and Weld County Health Agencies, including Children's Hospital of Colorado
- The State of Colorado/ Governor's Office
- Analyze and consider input from AR parents and staff (per surveys sent in June)
There is a lot of work to be done with many considerations to make, in a seemingly short period of time. Know that communication will be sent to you in an ongoing manner so that you are as up-to-date with planning as possible and are aware of the policies and procedures that will be presented to our Board of Directors for implementation in the coming school year. Please keep in mind that as a school of choice, and with a lofty goal of reopening as safely as possible, you may be called on to help support and do things that other schools may not be asked to do. In return, we will keep safety and synchronized learning the priority, with learning options for your child as we return for the 2020-2021 school year. The CRT will work collaboratively to create a solid plan for reopening, with various plans outlined depending on which tier Colorado is operating. The CRT is operating with the intent and understanding that most everyone is eager to return to on-premise learning, 5-days a week, with safe-guards and alternate plans for learning (for families who are at high risk) in place. Thank you for the grace and support that has been shown by all.
It has been fun to see many of you this summer and to hear about your adventures, big and small. I've spotted some Owls in action at the ECC, a kayaker (or two) at Lake Macintosh, hikers on fun trails, and even some families getting ready for the 4th of July! I've heard of some fun birthday adventures, visits to the Botanical Gardens and even about a staff member that climbed FOUR Fourteeners...in ONE day! W.O.W. Take a look for yourself! (See below)
Our community, built BY the community to build UP the community, is pretty fantastic. Wouldn't you agree?
Be on the lookout for continued communication through the coming weeks and remember to send in pictures of your family in summertime action.
Be well and Happy 4th of July!
Mrs. Salmeron, Principal