Thursday, August 16, 2018

Our first week in review at PCE!

Good afternoon PCE Parents!

We are off to a great start!  We have great students, teachers and parents that have worked really hard to make this year a good one.

During this first week, we have reviewed and analyzed some of our beginning of the year practices! As we continue to grow as a school we are noticing that we are having trouble fitting the entire student body in one spot (flag raising was a great example) so we will restructure events that are for the entire body to create more room and less chaos!  Thank you for your patience as we work through these growing pains!  Currently our student body is 645 students kindergarten through 6th grade so that's a lot of bodies in one space!

Speaking of students, as you can see we have grown in total numbers, which means we have grown in class sizes.  We pride ourselves on maintaining small class sizes, but as we grow we are running out of physical classrooms.  Please know this DOES NOT mean our class sizes will just grow and grow without support!  We have hired more instructional assistants and staff to support all of our students!  We will continue to watch classroom sizes and adjust accordingly.  Currently our largest class size is 28 and thankfully we only have a couple that high.  Depending on grade level our class sizes vary between 22 and 28.

I want to thank all of our parents that have abided by the right turn only as they exit the driveway during arrival and dismissal.  Being a creature of habit myself,  I know it is hard to break routine but I do feel like this is much safer for our children.  I have noticed that many parents turn on FireBrick and then take a u-turn to get back on Bradbury Ranch.  It dawned on me that parents that do not live in this immediate neighborhood may not understand the side streets!  So... If you choose to turn on Firebrick -- you can continue around the loop and you will come back to the four-way stop at  Auburn Hills and Bradbury or you can turn left and that street will eventually take you out to Jordan or Main Street.  If you choose to take the Night Heron Way--  Night Heron will loop around the back of the school and you will end up at the north end of Bradbury Ranch by the light at Main Street.  Both of these routes circle back to Bradbury Ranch and taking advantage of these loops decrease traffic congestion right in front of the school and make it safer for our students.  Right Turn MAP

I also want to remind all parents that we have many children with food allergies. Due to this concern and our healthy schools initiative we do not allow birthday treats in the classroom.  We know how important birthdays are to kids so we celebrate them in other ways, they are recognized on the morning announcements, within the classrooms, they also get a small treat (pencil/sticker) from the office and have their picture taken for the TV outside the office.  This year we have also given parents the option of "renting" the big electronic sign for a birthday message.  Please know we are not trying to be insensitive but rather keep all kids safe.   Birthday Message Sign ups

This year you also have the opportunity to customize your own PCE spirit wear!  Follow this link to check out what you can create--- flyers will be coming home soon for free shipping code that you can use during the weeks of August 24th through September 10th.  PCE SPIRIT WEAR

On Monday, August 27th we will have a kick-off assembly for our PCE fundraiser  RUN WITH THE PACK!  The actual Fun Run will be held September 6th.  We are raising money  to continue our technology program, playground improvements, and community events.  Last year, PCEA gave us money for a shade area and it was finally installed this week.  It looks great!

Don't forget about Back to School night on Thursday August 30th from 5:30-7:00!  We will have food trucks and lots of information to share!

Save the date!!  September 4th our first PCEA meeting (Prairie Crossing Educational Alliance/ Parent Teacher Organization) will be in the library at 6:30pm.

Thank you for all you do to support Prairie Crossing!

Carrie Rotherham
Principal

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Welcome to the 18-19 School year!

Dear PCE Families,

Welcome to a new school year at Prairie Crossing Elementary!  We are so excited to start this year! As many of you know at the end of last year, we finally had our new electric sign installed and our building has brand new carpets, tile and gym floor!  

Updates/Reminders:
This year there will be some expectations reinforced so that we can keep our carpets and floors in the best shape as possible.  Please remember that we can only have water in any water bottles that students bring into school.  Water bottles must be a “no leak” type of bottle. We are also asking that parents limit snacks to dry, healthy snacks .  Please refrain from sending in snacks that require spoons or that could spill and stain the carpet.

Please remember that many classrooms are nut-free or nut restricted.  Please check with your teacher before sending in any nut-based SNACKS-- there is a seperate table that is nut-free in the cafeteria so children are allowed to have nut-based lunches.

For those parents using the “kiss and go” lane in the morning/afternoon and for kindergarten, please remember that you CANNOT park in this lane.  You must remain in your vehicle to be able to move for emergency vehicles. Additionally, please do not park in the kiss and go lane when checking children out throughout the day.

Fundraising:
We would love your continued support of Mr. Steve Martin with a fun fundraising opportunity.  If you would like to “rent” the electric sign for a special birthday message you can make a donation of 20 dollars to have a special message created for your child. All donations will go directly to the Martin family in our efforts to support them as he fights ALS.

This year we will have a slight change to our fundraising efforts for PCE.  Instead of having many smaller fundraisers, our goal is to have the Fun Run in the fall serve as our main fundraiser for the school.  This year’s Fun Run is scheduled for September 6th. We will raising money for our technology program (to update and maintain it), to continue playground improvements and also for general PCEA funds for community events.  

Technology needs:
  • Purchase new chromebooks for incoming students
  • Upgrade of existing Ipads that are outdated
  • Maintenance of existing chromebooks
  • Maintenance and purchase of  projectors, Smart Boards and Document Cameras in the classroom
Playgrounds Hopes:
  • Extra seating for students  -benches, tables
  • New play equipment
  • New play structure (such as triple hoop game, climbing equipment etc…)

If you own a business or know of a business that would like to donate to our Run with the Pack --Fun Run, please encourage them to donate to PCE.  Businesses that donate will have their logo put on the Fun Run tshirts and PCE keeps 100% of the donation! Please contact the school before August 1st to find out more!  We are ordering over 700 shirts---thats a lot of advertisement!!

Traffic Changes:
Due to our continued growth we are also looking for ways to manage traffic flow and allow for more efficient and safer drop off and pick up for our students.  To help ease the congestion at the exit of the driveway and the four way stop at Bradbury and E. Auburn Hills, we are initiating a RIGHT TURN ONLY as you leave the PCE parking lot.  Parents will be able to have three paths with the right turn.  You may turn right and then turn left on FireBrick, turn right and continue down to Jordan, or turn right and  turn right again on Night Heron Drive bringing you around the back of the school and out to Main Street. Hopefully this will create a smoother flow of traffic, eliminate u-turns in the middle of South Bradbury and keep our students and community safe throughout the year.

Severe Weather:
It never fails that thunderstorms roll in late in the afternoon right in time for dismissal.  Please remember that we are not allowed to release students to walk home or gather outside for carpool when there is lightning in the area (within about 5 miles).  As frustrating as it is to have to walk in to pick up your children, we only do this for safety. If there is a lightning dismissal we will send notifications through the PCE sign, IC notifications and/or Facebook.  Since lightning can arrive quickly we will do our best to notify you in a timely fashion.

Save the Date:
Back to School Night is Thursday, August 30th!  PCE will have their annual BACK to SCHOOL night between 5:30 and 7:00 PM.  Families can come and meet PCE teachers, walk the school and meet some other families.

Saturday, August 25th is a special Zumbathon event from 1:30-3:30!  This day was put together by an outside sponsor to help support Steve Martin in his fight against ALS.  Please come out for an afternoon of fun and exercise to support this great cause.

Please feel free to reach out to the PCE main office with any questions or help as we begin the school year.

Sincerely,

Carrie Rotherham

PCE Principal

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

We are getting in the groove again!

PCE Parents,

      The school year is in full swing!   We have been so busy and SO much is going on at PCE!

      Our Back to School Night was such a fun evening.  It was so great to see how excited all the kids were to show off their classrooms and work they have done so far.  We saw many happy faces filling the building!  Our Parent Organization (PCEA) did a fabulous job of bringing in community resources, such as Mauna Sona Shaved Ice and Going South food trucks to provide some treats for everyone.  We also had clubs and resources gathered in the gym for the convenience of parents.  We hope you enjoyed the night as much as we did!

Our annual Hardware Hustle Fun Run was Friday, September 8th.  The kids came out ready to show their spirit and excited to raise some money for PCE.  Each year we dedicate part of our fundraising money to maintain and update our extensive technology program.  We are also planning to spend part of the money on upgrading our playground, providing some more choice for our students.
Please remember that all donations are due this Friday September 15th.

We have also had lots going on in the area of safety and students being aware of their surroundings.  We have been very fortunate to have students that have spoken up and reacted well when they feel like something was not right.  It is very important that we continue to encourage our kids to notify an adult if they feel something is unsafe.

I would like to remind our parents to also be aware and follow through with the safety procedures we have in place in various areas throughout the school.

Crosswalks:
Our EAs monitor the crosswalks in the morning and afternoon, please help support them in their jobs by heeding to their direction and following general safety rules on the roadways.  This is for the safety of everyone around, our students, our staff and our community.

Kiss and Go Lane:
Please be sure to pull all the way to the end of the lane before stopping to allow as many cars as possible to be able to load their students.  We are asking that you do not park or get out of your cars while you are in the Kiss and Go lane.  If your student still needs assistance with a carseat or seat belt that requires you to step out the car please park in the parking lot and assist your child.  Again this is a safety concern and we are looking out for the entire community.

Visiting Classrooms/ Volunteering:
All parents that enter the building must sign in and have a visitor's tag on to be in the building. Please stop at the front office to receive a tag and sign in.

Early Dismissals:
When checking your students out for the day please come to the office prepared to show a picture ID. We only allow students to leave with Emergency Contacts that parents have designated in Infinite Campus.  Our office staff works very hard to make personal connections with our families and recognize each of you, but there are times that we will need this verification for safety.

Safety Precautions:

This week we were able to participate in a lightning dismissal.  As a district we use the app Weather Bug to monitor weather and lightning in the area.  When lightning is within 5 miles we will call a lightning dismissal for the safety of our children.  During this time we will ask you to come into the building to pick your child up.  If at anytime the weather is so severe you do not feel it is safe to come in, we will hold your children until it is safe.

We are working to give as much notification as possible to allow parents time to get here.  On Wednesday, weather was moving into the area so we worked to get kids loaded and prepared only to see the weather clear twenty minutes later.  The app is not a perfect science but I would still rather air on the side of caution for our students' safety! So THANK YOU to all of our parents for helping us keep our kiddos safe.

We also experienced a lock-out situation for a reported suspicious activity near our playground. Again for the safety of our children we made sure that everyone was inside so law enforcement and district security could secure the area and ensure us that our students were not in any danger.  It only took us about 15 minutes but it was time well spent to make sure all was OK.

For future reference, we run four safety drills according to our Standard Response Protocol or SRP.
They are:
  • Lockout is followed by the Directive: "Secure the Perimeter" and is the protocol used to safeguard students and staff within the building.
  • Lockdown is followed by "Locks, Lights, Out of Sight" and is the protocol used to secure individual rooms and keep students quiet and in place.
  • Evacuate (Fire Drill )is always followed by a location, and is used to move students and staff from one location to a different location in or out of the building.
  • Shelter in Place is always followed by a type and a method and is the protocol for group and self protection.

LOCKOUT VS. LOCKDOWN

The differentiation between Lockout and Lockdown is a critical element in SRP. A Lockout recovers all students from outside the building, secures the building perimeter and locks all outside doors. This would be implemented when there is a threat or hazard outside of the building. Criminal activity, dangerous events in the community, or even a vicious dog on the playground would be examples of a Lockout response. While the Lockout response encourages greater staff situational awareness, it allows for educational practices to continue with little classroom interruption or distraction.
Lockdown is a classroom-based protocol that requires locking the classroom door, turning off the lights and placing students out of sight of any corridor windows. Student action during Lockdown is to remain quiet. It does not mandate locking outside doors. There are several reasons for not locking perimeter doors during a Lockdown. Risk is increased to students or staff in exposed areas attempting to lock outside doors. Locking outside doors inhibits entry of first responders and increases risk as responders attempt to breach doors.

You may use the link above to access more information about our SRP.  You may also contact me if you ever have any questions carrie.rotherham@dcsdk12.org

In addition to our safety drills and protocols we are working to be proactive about of students' emotional safety.  You may have heard your students talk about their Health and Wellness class and new teacher Amber Steffan.  Last year we noticed that many of our "discipline" concerns really stemmed from students having difficulty interacting with each other socially.  Many concerns took place on the playground and when we worked through issues with students, we began to realize that there were many misunderstandings taking place between students.  This year we started the health and wellness class to address some of these skills.  Topics such as PRIDE and what that truly means will be a consistent thread throughout the class, as well as, relationships with self and others.  We would like to give our students the strategies and skills to be a good friend, stand up against bullying, and to believe in themselves even when they are faced with a challenge. We want our students to truly understand what is means to have a Positive Attitude, to be Respectful, to show Integrity, to show Determination and to show Effort throughout each day.  These skills are just as important as academics for our children's futures.

But of course, we have not forgotten about our academics!  We have received our preliminary results for standardized testing last year which shows not only do we have high achieving students, they are also showing tremendous growth!  If you are interested in learning more about our school scores please join us at our first SAC meeting on Tuesday September 26th in the PCE Library @ 5:30.

I am so excited to be a part of the Prairie Crossing Community because of how well we take care of each other.  We do have many new families that have joined our PCE Family and I am very proud to be able to tell them how wonderful our students, staff and parents are at PCE!  It has been a pleasure to see familiar faces and meet new students the past few weeks because our kids are just so happy to be here!  Those smiling, eager faces are truly what makes my job worth it each day!

Sincerely,

Carrie Rotherham
PCE Principal




Monday, August 14, 2017

Welcome Back!

Dear PCE Parents,

We have officially made it through our first full day of classes and the kids have been wonderful!
It is so nice to see all of their smiling faces, renewed friendships and love for learning fill the halls today.

We have had a busy day!  This year we have made a minor change to our lunch/ recess schedule.  So that students have the full 20 minutes to eat lunch we have flipped our lunch and recess order.  We hope this will make a difference for students and that they will not feel rushed after coming in from recess.

Next Monday we will have some activities centered around the Solar Eclipse.   We have purchased Eclipse glasses for all students, but it will help us out here at school if you can remind your child that it is never safe to look at the sun with the naked eye.  I know it will be very tempting to many!
The Eclipse will take place over the time frame of our lunch and recess times, so any and preparation would be appreciated.

Please make sure you save the date for August 29th.  PCE's Back to School night will be in the evening between 5pm and 7pm.  We will have the Going South Food Truck and Mauna Snoa Shaved Ice available, along with many community vendors set up in the Gym.  Please make plans to join us!

September 8th is our Hardware Hustle Fun Run.  This is an annual event but this year it has been changed to the fall instead of the Spring.  This is one of our biggest fund raisers!  We will use the money raised to maintain and improve our first rate Technology Program and to help pay for improvements on our playground.  There will be more information coming out soon.

We are so glad to have you all back at Prairie Crossing!  This is going to be a fantastic year and we are all looking forward to sharing it with our community.

There will be more communications soon.

Sincerely,

Carrie Rotherham

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

PCE November Principal Report

Dear parents,

October has flown by and I cannot believe that we are already starting to see Christmas decorations around town!

We have been super busy here at PCE and the kids have been actively learning each day!  Our building is full of activities and I love seeing the excitement each day in the classrooms!

I would like to thank all our families for their participation in our "Believe Kids" fundraiser. We raised close to $15,000  for our school and our students. Soon we will take that money and turn it into resources for our classrooms and students.  PCEA will put out information on how we spent the money when that time arrives.

I also wanted to thank you all for the support and vigilance this past month as we had the challenge of lice in our building.  Unfortunately, this is a concern that is affecting many schools in the metro area this year.  As of now, we feel, we have this concern under control.  I would appreciate if parents would continue to stay attentive so we can continue to be proactive with keeping our school clear.

I wanted to inform the community of our PARCC score results for last year.   We have earned the level of Performance which means-The school meets or exceeds statewide attainment on the performance indicators.  This is the highest level that can be earned for an individual school.  95% of our students did participate in testing and their scores were recorded. We met expectations both in academic achievement and academic growth. This is only one snapshot of the great work our students accomplish in their years at Prairie Crossing. Our teachers and students work hard each day to reach academic excellence each and every day!

The subject of class sizes and budget utilization was discussed during our last SAC and PCEA meeting.  Last year while planning our budget, the top priority was class size.  In working with the budget for this year, I worked hard to keep classes lower in primary and still keep intermediate manageable. Sometimes enrollment is very hard to predict due to so many factors.  We have done well except for our 5th grade classes, where unpredictable growth in this grade level has brought us to numbers of 31 in each class.  Although this is a pretty typical class size in many buildings, this is higher than we would like at PCE. We will soon post for additional positions to support our 5th grade students and teachers and should have this in place no later than our return from winter break.
To give you perspective on our class sizes currently:

Kindergarten's average class size is 18
First Grade's average class size is 22
Second Grade's average class size is 20
Third Grade's average class size is 24
Fourth Grade's average class size 24
Fifth Grade's average class size is 31
Sixth Grade's average class size is 29

Providing our students with the best opportunity to learn and grow is important to us, as we continue to enroll students, we feel it is necessary to be proactive with support.

I hope to see many of you throughout the next few weeks as there are many activities throughout the building--This Friday is Dads and Doughnuts which is always a popular event!  

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to know more about our PARCC scores or planning for next year.

Sincerely,

Carrie Rotherham

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

PCE Principal Blog September 2016-

Good Afternoon PCE Parents!

We have made it through our first month of school and what an exciting month it has been!

Our sixth graders have just made it back from Outdoor Ed and had an amazing time!  They of course were complimented on their fabulous behavior!  While at Covenant Heights they were able to learn about water ecology, maps and compasses, geology, and Colorado Wildlife.  They enjoyed a hike in the Rocky National Forest, learned how to work as a team through the the low ropes course and challenged them selves on the zip line!  We had an outstanding group of adults supporting them and they worked very well together!

Soon some of our sixth graders will be highlighted on FOX 31 news as a follow up story to the kidney campaign they worked on last year with Mrs. Bennett to help support Mrs. Wright.  The story will give a update on how Mrs. Wright is doing now and also what the kids are still doing to help support her, now that she has received her new kidney.  We are so proud of all their work and passion they continue to show every day!  We will let everyone know when it will air.

Next week our annual fundraiser will start.  PCEA will partner with BELIEVE Kids again this year. Next Thursday we will have a kickoff and students will receive all their information. Please remember this is an optional fundraiser!  If you would prefer not to participate you do not have to! You can always choose to donate directly to PCEA with one donation for the year.  Please email Amy Rickards at rickards91005@msn.com if you have any questions about donations or volunteering for PCEA.

I know that many of you get our email blasts on Thursday and check our website but we are also looking for a different way to communicate with our parents in a quick and easy way.  Many of our parents use an app called "Remind".  It is a texting app that will send out quick messages directly to your phone that you can sign up for.  In order to sign up you can

 text @4k4kb to the number 81010 or use  

https://www.remind.com/join/4k4kb.  I will not have your actual cell phone number or any of your personal information, but you will receive information from the school in a text message form if you choose to opt in to the group.  Again this is OPTIONAL.

We are always looking for ways to improve our communication with our families!  Let me know your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Carrie Rotherham


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Welcome to the 16-17 school year!



I would like to welcome all of our new and returning PCE families to a new school year!  We are so excited to start a new year with all of our wonderful students.  Our staff has been preparing all the classrooms and our enthusiasm is building each day!  I hope that each and every one of you have had a wonderful summer and have had the opportunity to build many family memories to last a lifetime.  

I want to take this time to give our parents some helpful information and reminders for the first days of school and some year long helpful parent information.

Our first days of school:

We will have a time on Thursday August 4th for students to drop off supplies between 2:00 and 3:30.

Grades 1 through 6 will report to their first day of school on Monday August 8th.  Buses will pick up at scheduled times and lunch will be served.

Kindergarten students will participate in Assessment days on Monday August 8th and Tuesday August 9th.  You can sign up for assessment days through the welcome letter from your teacher.  Kindergarteners first official day will be Wednesday August 10th.

Our annual Flag Raising

We will once again hold our annual flag raising ceremony on the playground to give us more space!  This year we invite our 1st through 6th graders to join us on Monday August 8th for this long standing tradition.  Kindergarteners will run a slightly different schedule the first two days but all are welcome to attend.  We will begin our ceremony as close to 8:40 as possible to officially welcome the 16-17 school year. We hope to see you there!

Save the Date

August 24th --PCE Back to School Social---5pm-7pm.

Crosswalk Safety:
As you know safety is very important to us and we would like to make sure that we do all that we can to keep all of our students safe--but we need your help too.  This year we will continue to have staff members at the two major crosswalks that service our school.  There will be one staff member on the corner of Bradbury Ranch and Auburn Hills and also on the corner of Bradbury Ranch and Firebrick.

There is NO CROSSWALK in the middle of Bradbury Ranch so we are asking that children DO NOT cross and that parents do not make illegal U-turns in the front of the school on Bradbury Ranch. This is extremely dangerous for our students and families.

Parking by the Bus Loop:

We are also asking that during drop off and pick up times that families refrain from parking along Auburn Hills outside of the bus loop.  This is a very narrow street when cars are parked on both sides of the street and our buses have to make very wide turns in and out of our bus drop off area.  It is also very dangerous for children to cross through the bus loop, we would like to keep this area clear until all buses have left the school in the morning and afternoon times.

Bus Arrivals and Departures:

Staff members will be outside to greet students in the morning and assist them to the busses in the afternoon.  Please remember that all students require a Z-Pass to ride the bus. Click here for more information on Z-passes.
All busses are identified by a bus route number and an animal.  In the first days of school we will create “Bus Tags” for our younger students (k/1) to ensure that they are guided to the correct bus each day.  If your older child is riding the bus for the first time and you are concerned, please contact their teacher and they we will make sure they receive a tag also.

Kiss and Go Lane:

We ask that parents pull all the way to the end of the first mobile when using our "Kiss and Go" lane in the front of the school.  This allows for as many cars as possible to pull in before children unload and helps to alleviate traffic build-up on Bradbury Ranch.  We will have staff members outside each morning to assist children out of the vehicles.  We ask that children exit on the right side of the vehicles due to the left lane being a passing lane for exiting cars.  Cars should never be left unattended in the Kiss and Go lane, you are always welcome to park and come into the school with your child if needed.  If your child still requires assistance buckling his/her car seat, we ask that you do not “park” in the kiss and go lane but rather park in the parking lot to safely secure them in their seat.


Signing Students In and Out

Remember we do have security procedures inside also.  If you are coming into the building you must sign in and be prepared to show a photo ID when signing out a student.  A person must be on the emergency contact list to sign any child out of the building.  Please check and update your emergency contacts for this school year and throughout the year to assist us in keeping our students safe. 

Attendance line 303-387-8202

Pre-School Parents:

This year our pre-school programs will run on slightly different time frames. Pre-School A-AM Drop-off begins at 8:15 and ends at 11:00. Pre-school B-AM drop off begins at 8:45 and ends at 11:30. Both Preschool A and B-PM will drop off at 12:30 and end at 3:15. We ask that you follow the procedures set forth by your teachers as each classroom will have a separate sign-in sheet and sign-out sheet.  


If parents are utilizing our lobby area to wait for students, we ask that you attend to younger siblings and remember that classes are taking place throughout the building.  It would be appreciated if children do not use this area as a play area.

Afternoon Pre-School parents will be greeted by a staff member for afternoon drop off.


We are looking forward to a great year!!!


Carrie Rotherham
PCE, Principal




Helpful websites: