Saturday, November 9, 2013

Our Thanks...

Dear Parents,

We want to thank our entire PCE community and especially our PCEA for the love and support you have shown to our entire staff.  This week our teachers have received so many kind notes, comments and emails!  These are the type of gestures that remind us of why we all became educators.  We are all here to create a better future for our students!  Thank you for recognizing our teachers' hard work and determination through your kindness and dedication to our school, our staff and most importantly our children!

Every decision we make keeps what is best for our students in mind.  Together we want to build a community of learners that are prepared to take on whatever the future brings their way!  With this in mind we are starting our library re-design to transform our library into a central hub of learning that includes kid friendly, flexible learning spaces, along with current resources in literature and technology.  This redesign will be done in several stages and will be a joint effort between PCEA and the school.  We are excited to move forward and implement prior plans and be able to expand upon those ideas to create a space where students will love to learn.

We are also continuing our professional learning in the area of meeting math needs for our children.  This is our second year of Math in Focus and we are finding that many of our children are up to a bigger challenge in math.  We are working to find the ways that best benefit our children without creating gaps for them in their learning and providing a deeper level of understanding in all mathematical concepts.

Another goal for PCE students and teachers is to make learning relevant and authentic by cross-connecting curricular concepts with real world problems that create a deeper understanding of the content and move away from the surface level learning.  We want children to know the content, understand the content and USE that knowledge and understanding in their everyday lives.

The features of Deep and Surface approaches can be summarized as:
Focus is on “what is signified” 
Focus is on the “signs” (or on the learning as a signifier of something else)
Relates previous knowledge to new knowledge 
Focus on unrelated parts of the task 
Relates knowledge from different courses 
Information for assessment is simply memorized 
Relates theoretical ideas to everyday experience 
Facts and concepts are associated un-reflectively 
Relates and distinguishes evidence and argument 
Principles are not distinguished from examples 
Organizes and structures content into coherent whole 
Task is treated as an external imposition 
Emphasis is internal, from within the student 
Emphasis is external, from demands of assessment 
(based on Ramsden, 1988)
Read more: Deep and Surface learning

I know it has been said many times but we really are preparing our students for a world that we can not truly define yet.  Career opportunities and demands change on a daily basis.  It is more important for us to teach our children "how to learn" than to just memorize facts.  Education is truly about the journey rather than the destination.  Our children need to understand how to make decisions and choices based on what they understand about themselves and their abilities, so they can reach their fullest potential-- there are no limits on what they can achieve!

Our hopes are to provide this solid foundation and opportunity to ALL students at PCE on a daily basis.


Carrie Rotherham
Principal, PCE

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fall brings some great changes to PCE!

Dear Parents,

Fall break is approaching, bringing with it some cooler weather and some more new faces!!

As many of you know we will have a new music teacher with us after Fall break.  Maegan Petkash is joining our staff all the way from New York!  She is eager to get started and has already been meeting students and staff this week. 
We also have had a change in our Building Engineer position.  Marvin Martinez has left to explore an exciting opportunity in the real estate field!  We wish him the best of luck and will miss him greatly!  We have worked with the district to find a new building engineer that will start the week of Fall Break.  Jairo Avila comes to us from within the district and has most recently worked at Douglas County High School.
After fall break we will also Welcome Back--Mrs. Ashley Mooney who will return to PCE as a Technology Assistant.

Wolf Night was a huge success!  Thank you to everyone that came out to support our wonderful school and kids!  Our fabulous PCEA was able to raise close to 14,000 dollars to help with some teacher grants and library improvements we would like to make to enhance our students' learning!  More information on how the money will be spent will be shared on at the next PCEA meeting that is scheduled for Wednesday, November 13th at 6:30.  We are looking forward to seeing you so we share ideas and opinions together!!

We have made a change to our PCEA Meeting dates.  Due to conflicts with the DAC meetings we have changed our PCEA meeting to Wednesday nights.  The schedule dates coming up are November 13th -Grant Night allocations, No December Meeting, January 15th, February 12th, March 11th.  Please mark you calendars! We would love to have you join us!

We are also in need of a new SAC (School Accountability Committee) member if you are interested in fulfilling this role (or have more questions )please send your name a short paragraph about yourself to by Friday and I will create a ballot for elections!

Dr. Malouff and I will be available during conferences if you have any questions, concerns or comments about PCE!

I hope you and your family enjoy the upcoming fall break!


Carrie Rotherham
PCE, Principal

Friday, September 20, 2013

Music Program News

Dear Parents,

I know that many of of you have heard the new that our beloved Mrs. Holcombe will be soon leaving PCE.  Mrs. Holcombe has been such an important part of the PCE community and she will be sadly missed.  She will tell you that this is one of the hardest decisions she has had to make because she so dearly loves being a part of each and every child's music education! 

She will be very hard to replace! 

We have already started receiving applications for this position and will be very thoughtful in our selection of a new music teacher.  Once we have made that selection we will make an announcement to the community.

Mrs. Holcombe's last day will be the day before fall break.  We all wish her the best of luck with the great opportunity that she has been given!



Monday, September 9, 2013

September already?

Hello again PCE Parents!

Time is flying by and we have now completed our first month of school!

This month will bring many adventures for us!  Hopefully it will also include some cooler weather!

We successfully completed our first fire drill of the year!  The students and staff did a fabulous job! We were out of the building and safe very quickly!
We also welcomed our 6th graders back from a very exciting Outdoor Ed Adventure!  All went well and the students had many stories to share!  We received many compliments on how great they were!
Looking forward we have some important events coming up soon!
  • Our first PCEA meeting will be Tuesday September 10th at 6:30--This is a new year, with new administration and a new board--we would love to have your support!
  • Friday, September 27th is our first staff development day --so students are off of school.
  • Friday October 4th is our 2nd annual Wolf Night--we are looking forward to see everyone for this great event!
Drills and Safety:
This month we will practice two drills ---another Fire drill and a Lockdown drill.  Please let your child's teacher know if your child has any anxiety around these two drills.  We want our children to be prepared but we do not want to cause in undo stress.

Interim Testing:
Our other big event for the rest of the month is Interim testing.  We are assessing our student to obtain a baseline of learning.  This is important information so that we can accurately measure the growth of each student BUT this is only one data point.  We will work to make sure that testing is performed as quickly as possible so that our learning is not interrupted for long.  Our most important job is teaching and our students most important job is learning, we want to maximize these learning adventures every day! 

As always please let us know if you have any questions, we would be glad to hear from you!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Safety and Security at PCE

Dear Parents,
It has been such a busy start to the year!  In the midst of getting everything ready for the children academically, I forgot to update you on the security measures we have in place!
We will continue to keep our front door locked and you will have to be “buzzed” into the building.  We are asking that all parents please help us by ensuring that the door closes behind you when you enter or exit the building and be aware of allowing other adults entering the building with you.  Please also remember to check in with the office anytime you are in the building, we know that this is an extra step but the safety of our students is top priority for us!
We have also had some upgrades to our general security at PCE, including increased "visibility" of our supervising adults.  Adults that are outside supervising children will have a very bright orange vest on so children will know who to go to for help.  They will also be equipped with Walkie-Talkies that will call directly into the office if assistance is needed.

We will conduct at least one safety drill a month throughout the year.  Our drills consist of fire, severe weather, lock-down and lock-out drills.  
The difference between lock-out and lock-down drills:
Lock-out:  this takes place when there is a "threat" outside of the building.  For example: a gas leak, police activity or a wild animal sighting.  This will include all children coming inside and it will be business as normal until all is clear outside the building.
Lock-down: this takes place when there is a "threat" inside the building.  We will announce Locks, Lights, Out of Sight!  Teachers will lock their doors, turn out their lights, and all children will be gathered together away from doors and windows so they cannot be seen.
Teachers will be aware when we practice ANY drill.  They will review rules and procedures ahead of time and prepare the children for all types of drills.  When the actual drill takes place we will clearly state that it is time to practice the "type of" safety drill.  When we practice drills there will be no "reenactments" or "actors" pretending to be bad guys.  Our drills are not intended to scare our children but rather to prepare them for emergencies.  
Other safety procedures we want to remind everyone about are morning and afternoon drop-off and pick-up. 
·       There is NO SUPERVISION on the playground before school---PLEASE do not encourage your children to play on the playground before school.  Walkers, bike riders and car riders can go to either the front door or the "bus loop" door and wait for the bell.  Those doors will be opened at 8:30 for student arrival.
·       Morning Drop-Off:
o   Parents using the drop-off in the morning must drop their child off along the curb.  This area is two lanes wide so that parents can stop along the curb and then pull out into the left lane when exiting.  Students should only exit the car on the passenger side.  Parents using this area should always drive as far forward in the lane as possible before stopping. 
·       Afternoon Pick-Up:
o   When picking students up in this area, parents SHOULD NOT double park NOR leave the car unattended.  Students should, again, only enter the car on the passenger side from the curb.  There is to be NO PARKING in the drop off lane as it is an emergency vehicle access lane.
o   Please remember to pull all the way up in the drop-off zone to pick up your children.  It is a safety concern for our teachers and our students to cut in the line, or to pull in against traffic flow.  We know that the line can sometimes be long but the safety of our children is worth the wait!
·       We are also encouraging our students to only use the crosswalks when crossing from the parking lot; please do not walk across the rocks in order to take a “shortcut” to the main school sidewalk.  Please help us by setting this example when arriving or leaving the school parking lot.  We also do not want children crossing the parking lot by themselves, please make sure that an adult sees them and can cross them safely.
Keeping our children safe, healthy and happy is very important to every staff member of PCE!!  Please let us know if you ever have any questions or concerns!
Carrie Rotherham
Principal, PCE

Friday, August 16, 2013

The first week of the new year is complete!

Our first few days have been busy! Thank you to all the families that have come in to meet Dr. Malouff and myself!  We are beyond excited to start this school year!  As we are talking to parents we are getting a few questions that I would like to address.

Arrival Procedures--Please remember we will only have two doors monitored and supervised in the morning.  All children and adults entering the building must use one of these two doors.  The front main door will always be supervised and the "bus loop" door will also be supervised in the morning.  We will direct all students to the correct doors.  Parents please remember to sign in if you will be visiting or volunteering in the classrooms.

We have also had some inquires into band and orchestra for the upcoming year.  Band will be occurring on Wednesday afternoons from 3:35 to 4:35 and on Friday mornings from 7:30-8:30.  Orchestra will occur on Tuesday and Friday afternoons from 3:35-4:35 and every other Monday in the afternoon from 3:35-4:35.  We will have assemblies for 4th and 5th grade students so they can see and hear the instruments available.  There will also be a parent information and instrument rental night that is tentatively planned for the night of August 28th at Chaparral High School.  

Our back to school night will be next Wednesday evening between 5:00 PM and 6:30 PM.  We will start with a meet the staff and new administration in the gym at 5:00 and then our official classrooms visits will continue between 5:30 and 6:30.  Come and see some the great things that are already happening at PCE!!

Our theme this year is "Learning is an Adventure!"  We are off to a great start of that adventure!  I have seen so many smiles, excitement and laughter coming from classes as they are presented with challenges in the classrooms!  

This year we will also introduce PBIS to PCE!!  PBIS stands for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (  The philosophy behind PBIS is to provide a
"decision making framework that guides selection, integration, and implementation of the best evidence-based academic and behavioral practices for improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students."  One of the structures put in place is common language for the staff and the students--usually in a format that is easy to remember for kids.  Our behavior acronym is to show our Wolf PRIDE. Positive attitude, Respect, Integrity, Determination and Effort.  Throughout the year teachers and staff will reinforce positive behaviors in choices students make with something called a "WOLF PRIDE TICKET"

As children earn these tickets at school they will be recognized over the intercom and become eligible for a "monthly drawing".  This is our way of recognizing great choices and outstanding behavior!

Have a great weekend!!!  

Carrie Rotherham
PCE Principal

Friday, August 9, 2013

Welcome to a new year at Prairie Crossing!  We are all so excited to have the students' energy and laughter fill the halls again!  Dr. Malouff and I have been working hard to make sure everything is perfect for the students to return to classes.  As you know we have a new administrative team this year including myself as principal and Dr. Jennifer Malouff as Assistant Principal.  We would also like to welcome a few new staff members to our PCE family! 
  • Mrs. Kimberly Bennett joins our 5th grade team this year.  She most recently taught as a 4th grade teacher and interventionist at Sage Canyon Elementary in Castle Rock. 
  • Mrs. Mandie McQueen joins the 1st grade team this year.  Most recently she worked as an EA right here at PCE!  Don't recognize the name??  That is because Mrs. McQueen is a newlywed!! She celebrated her wedding this summer and changed from Mandie Fahrenbruch to Mandi McQueen!  Welcome back, Mrs. McQueen!
  • Mr. Brett St. Germain joins our specials team as our new art teacher!  Brett recently graduated from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design.  This is his first of teaching.  He has many great ideas to engage students!  We are excited to have him join our staff.
  • Mrs. Jennifer Kendall will be our new librarian!  She is very excited to start the year and make the library a "hub of learning for students".
  • Ms. Kimberly Bowen will support our classroom teachers as one of our newest EAs. 
  • Mrs. Brenda Holmstedt will join us as an EA support for our 5/6 combo class.

  • Mrs. Fran Fuller is returning this year to continue supporting our Special Education Department!

    Our entire staff has been preparing this week for the students' return!  We have made a few changes to some of our routines.  Please note that we will now only have two doors open in the morning when students arrive.  We will have our main entrance doors and the northwest doors (between the green and blue pods) near the bus loop open and supervised by staff every morning.  We are making this slight change to increase safety and security for our students.  Thank you in advance for your help in this change!
Remember to come out to our FroYo social on Monday night! Dr. Malouff and I  are looking forward to meeting everyone!