From The Director
Dear PCK Parents,
I think it’s time for some straight COVID talk! Last night, one of the local news stations ran a story about COVID cases in schools. I found the story to be both inaccurate and misleading, so I’d like to clarify some facts with the PCK community.
To start, PCK has had confirmed cases of COVID…as you all know. All five confirmed cases were contained in one cohort, which quarantined for the requisite number of days per Tri-County Health. To date, PCK has no other confirmed cases. The local news story indicated other ‘probable’ cases, and this is the part I take issue with. We have students and staff who may be out for any number of reasons, including, but not limited to:
a.) someone is experiencing minor symptoms and, out of an abundance of caution, remains home until the symptoms abate;
b.) someone has been exposed (or possibly exposed) outside of school and, out of an abundance of caution, self-quarantines;
c.) someone has been exposed or has symptoms on the COVID list, gets tested, and remains home until they receive results;
d.) someone has a family member with possible COVID symptoms and is awaiting test results, so this student or staff member remains home out of an abundance of caution to protect our community;
e.) someone who has major or minor symptoms, had a negative COVID test, but is not getting better/remains symptomatic, and therefore remains home to isolate for at least 10 days.
We cannot and should not assume that because someone is absent from school, or has been tested, that they have COVID. This is just not the case. In fact, we have many students and some staff who have other minor illnesses that resolve on their own and are not COVID. Normal illnesses do still exist. We have students and staff who are absent due to personal days, family trips, or other events that take them away from school for one or more days. In fact, I myself was absent recently for two days to complete a move. It is simply inaccurate and misleading to assume absences = probable COVID cases.
PCK is committed to keeping our community as safe as possible by implementing health and safety protocols with fidelity. So far, students and staff have been doing a terrific job of diligently following our new protocols. Additionally, I am committed to sharing factual information with the community, as appropriate. Please know, however, there are both HIPPA and FERPA confidentiality considerations that must also be maintained. We will never release the names of students or staff members with confirmed COVID cases, but we will contact all individuals or groups directly if we learn they have, or possibly have, been exposed to someone with a confirmed COVID case. In other words, you will be notified directly if your child has possibly been exposed. Our school nurse is very thorough in her contact tracing, however, out of respect for individuals, we will not ‘announce’ each new case, should there be more.
Finally, I just want to add a personal perspective on the reporting of COVID cases: this should not be ‘news.’ This is our new normal. We have 702 students in K-8, another 170 in Preschool/JK, and 100 staff members. We have a large population who will experience various symptoms at some point in time this year, and many who will be absent. Outside of our one impacted cohort (5 total confirmed cases, equalling approximately one half of one percent of our total population), all other individuals within our community that we know have been tested have been NEGATIVE. I find this very encouraging. We need to focus on working within our new normal, focusing less on any ‘count’ and more on getting back to the business of doing school as safely and normally as possible. This is truly what our students need most, and we will deal with the illnesses here and there as they arise.
As always, I am so thankful for the support of the entire PCK community in adhering to our new health protocols. We know keeping kids with minor symptoms home is hard, disruptive, and even frustrating if it happens often, but I so appreciate everyone’s continued vigilance and willingness to work together to keep our community safe and our school OPEN. Please know that it is also hard for teachers to miss school in order to monitor symptoms and exercise caution, but they are doing so this year to help keep everyone safe. We all play a part in the health and well-being of our community and, together, we will get through this current public health challenge. We are, after all, #PCKstrong!
Dress Down Day Tomorrow
Friday, September 25 is an all-school dress down day since it is the last Friday of the month. Please remember the dress down dress code.
When Cold Weather Returns
While it is hard to image with the weather we’ve had this week, the cold mornings will return at some point. Our temporal scanner thermometers don’t work well in the cold, so we may take student forehead scans in the vestibules of the building. If you don’t see carpool workers taking temperatures in the parking lot, it will be because they are scanning in the vestibules. You are free to leave the parking lot when this happens, but please make sure the ringer on your phone is turned on in case your student has a fever and we need to call you back.
Trunk-Or-Treat is On!
We are doing our best to maintain as many of our annual traditions as we can, and we have found a way to safely hold our Halloween Trunk-Or-Treat event. On Friday, October 30, we will need one parent per class (grades K – 6) to decorate the trunk of their car and hand out individually-wrapped candy to our students. Your classroom coordinator will be in touch with information about volunteering, the safety protocols to follow, the schedule, and collecting candy donations from PCK families for the event. Since we will spread out the cars and the students, the event will take longer than in years past.
Students are welcome to dress up that day, but everyone must wear a cloth face covering during Trunk-Or-Treat. Please note: costume masks are not allowed during the school day, and are not recommended during Trunk-Or-Treat because it may be hard to breathe with a costume mask over a cloth mask. Scary, gory, revealing, or otherwise inappropriate costumes are not allowed. There are no classroom Halloween parties this year – all festivities are done outside at Trunk-Or-Treat.
If you are available to take pictures of the event for our yearbook, please contact our yearbook coordinator, Sarah Gustashaw.
Connecting With Character
Here are this week’s Home Links for students in grades K – 4 doing the Second Step program in Character Coaching. Home Links give you a framework for talking with your student about the skills being learned in class, and they are tools for reinforcing the skills at home. Please disregard the line asking for your signature. You do NOT need to sign and return these. Just enjoy doing them as a family while talking about character at home.
Kindergarten (for weeks starting 9/21 and 9/28)
First grade (for the week starting 9/21)
Second grade (for the week starting 9/21)
Third grade (no Home Link this week)
Fourth grade (for the week starting 9/21)
It Pays To Read At PCK
Congratulations to Josh Neill (7th grade) and Levi Brzuziwski (8th grade) who won the Middle School Summer Reading Challenge drawing for $100 Amazon gift cards. Way to go, PCK readers!
Meet Meghan Henderson
Our REO teacher for grades 1 – 4 is Meghan Henderson. She has been excited about PCK since her daughter (who is now a PCK kindergartener) was born. Mrs. Henderson was drawn to the wonderful community and high academic standards at PCK. When the opportunity to work here came along, she just couldn’t turn it down. “I love that I get to work with such talented teachers and supportive staff members who put kids first,” she said.
This Colorado native started her teaching career in Denver Public Schools. She spent the last six years raising her two daughters, loving every minute of it.
Mrs. Henderson enjoys spending time with her family, exploring new parks with her children, and finding the hidden gems of Parker. We are glad to have you at PCK, Mrs. Henderson!
Welcome Gaudy Jimenez
Please join us in welcoming Gaudy Sadighian Jimenez to our Spanish department. Mrs. Jimenez is originally from Peru, and has lived in Colorado since 2009. Her son is a 4th grader at PCK.
Not only is she a Spanish teacher, but she also has a degree in marketing, and is a pediatric certified nurse aide.
When she’s not working, Mrs. Jimenez likes volleyball, traveling, spending time with family and friends, and eating seafood and Mexican food.
Welcome to the team, Mrs. Jimenez!
News For REO Families
It is time to start thinking about your plans following fall break. REO students have the option to return to in-person learning the week of October 19, or continuing in REO through the end of the school year. Please let us know your decision using this form. A separate form needs to be completed for each student you have in the REO program, and they must be submitted by September 30.
Character At Home
Enjoy these Second Step character lessons with your students:
We have a Spirit Night tonight at the Chick-fil-A in Parker. Mention PCK when ordering, or put “Spirit Night” in the Special Instructions for curbside and drive-thru mobile orders via the Chick-fil-A One app. Purchases of gift cards do not count for PCK credit. Our PTA will get 30% of all PCK purchases tonight, so go enjoy some chicken!
News From Our Littlest Learners
PCK is a National School of Character, and developing character begins with our littlest learners. This month we have been exploring the character trait of courage. It takes a lot of courage to come to a new school, new classroom, and make new friends. Our students have read books about courage and talked about what it can look like at school and at home. We also send home Character Cards with activities families can do together to reinforce each month’s trait. Next month we will learn about patience.
Thank You, Safety Dads!
Thank you to Greg Howell, Neal Dermer, and Richard Downing for being this week’s Safety Dads. We are so thankful for the time you took to serve our school.
We are excited to continue our Safety Dad program this year. Get more information and sign up to volunteer here.
A big thank you to the Sharpe family for the Monday morning doughnuts. What a great way to start the week!
Thanks also to the Lewis and Anderson families for thinking of us and bringing in goodies. Those special snacks really keep us going.
Valor High School brought us popcorn and cookies, and we thankfully appreciate those sweet treats!
Our staff is so grateful for our PTA. You take such good care of us, and we loved the Chick-fil-A lunch you provided this week. Thank you for everything you do for our staff, our students, and the entire PCK community. A special thank you goes to Angie Jackson, Kelly Zappanti, and Karen Langton for setting up this week’s lunch. You truly are the best!