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August 2017 Newsletter
The Mission of Two Rivers Community School is to cultivate in every student: Passion for learning and high achievement through creating rigorous, interdisciplinary learning experiences on topics relevant to the students that culminate in original work aimed at engaging and positively impacting themselves, the community and the world.
 We do this by creating opportunities for our students to participate in:
1) A rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum leveraging community resources and partnerships
2) Building global awareness through second language acquisition.
3) Building authentic and respectful relationships within the school and throughout the community.

Welcome Back To School!

 

This is the longest summer we have ever had at TRCS. When you come back to school again, you will see why. We have a lot to celebrate with our new school building, new staff, and new families joining our community.  Please plan on attending our Grand Opening on August 28th beginning at 5:00 PM when we will have tours of the new school and classroom visits, followed by dinner, a mandatory meeting for all families both new and old, as well as the official grand opening.

 

August 28th is also the first day of school.  Unlike past years, only kindergarten and first grade students will have a half- day for orientation and pre assessments. All other grades will come for the full day. School hours this  year are from 8:15-3:30. That is a change from previous years as well. The schedule for Grades Kindergarten and First,  which will explain when your child is scheduled to come to school on August 28th, will be sent out by August 11th.

 

You will also be receiving an email by August 11th with your child’s Unidad or homeroom teacher. Class supply lists and teacher bios can be found on the TRCS website -www.tworiverscs.org.

 

We are  almost ready to rock and roll for the 2017-18 school year. Can’t wait to see you all!

 

Dr. Adriana Ayala-Hire- Director of Business and Outreach

Rebecca Ruland- Director of Education. M.A.  Ed.S


 

Our Reflection on the TRCS  Annual Survey

 

Thank you to all of you who completed our annual survey. This  is one important way we solicit your input each year.   It looks  like 132 people responded to  one or more questions.   Summarized results are below minus questions about homework. Staff will decipher  homework feedback when they return to work. We will provide a reflection/response to your input in the September newsletter. Thank you to Chris Tripp, one of our parents, who provided valuable assistance with this task. As we read through the comments, we thought we should take a minute to update/clarify  with  our families some of what we read.  

You can find the TRCS Survey Results by clicking on this link: 
https://gallery.mailchimp.com/3777fde872ad4a823430866ea/files/77bcfc8f-87f3-4082-b26e-827bab2b4312/Survey_2017.pdf

 

Added Subjects  ( Most  people listed art and music)

 

As you can see from the graph, most respondents listed art and music.   This year we are adding Maker Space as a special. This is a special that covers art but also can include multiple other topics like technology, building, etc.   Students in Grades 1-6 will regularly   participate in  Maker Space and be taught by Terry Muldoon who is a long time art teacher from the Center from the Arts. Read her bio on the TRCS webpage.  The goal is to integrate Maker Space projects with projects connected to  PBL. For example, Grades 5 and 6 will be studying the Aztecs one trimester this year  and will be asked to create an original piece of art  through Maker Space based on their study of Diego Rivera and his paintings of this culture.  Grades 7 and 8 will also have regular Maker Space time and will work with their PBL teacher (s) during this time on projects directly linked to PBL.  Teachers are excited to have this opportunity to delve more deeply into  content through Maker Space. Note: our new building has a FABULOUS Maker Space room designed intentionally for this purpose with a kiln, outdoor deck, a large garage door with windows, and large window, another large window and a door- and amazing views of our mountains!

 

Note:  When we started the school, we consciously chose Movement and Spanish as our two special areas. We addressed art and music through our own enrichment cycle and after school programs. Your kids will still get formal Movement classes at least twice a week and Spanish every day. Now  that we have the new building, we have the space to add art/Maker Space.  

 

PBL and Science  ( Some respondents noted that they wish there was more science)

 

This survey demonstrated to us that one of the core ways we reach our mission is through PBL, and it looks like most people approve of our work in that department.   If you are new to us or are still uncertain of what PBL is, let us clarify.  PBL is Place/Project Based Learning.  It is part of a deeper learning model which allows students to apply what they have learned in some capacity while giving teachers permission to go deep with  science and social studies standards rather than broad.   This is absolutely how we address both science and social studies academic standards.  We spend much of our professional collaboration time working on the various PBL curriculums that  teachers create or adapt to fit.  When they are completed, we call them platforms.  Platforms incorporate opportunities for interdisciplinary work, collaboration, field studies, individual and group projects, formal oral presentations with feedback from live audiences and, sometimes ,  service to the community as a result of what they have learned.  Wherever possible, we use our local community as the learning place. That may include resident experts on the topic and/or field trips to nearby locations for field study.  We aim to use our community as a learning resource and give back if and when we can.  PBL topics have cycles. Since students are in multiage classrooms, we cycle the PBL platforms every two years so that students learn new content every year and do not repeat the previous year’s curriculum.  As a result and as one example, students may learn 5th grade topics in science or social studies in 4th grade.  So they may learn about American history in 4th grade and Colorado history in 5th grade. It depends on the cycle of the years. Teachers refine and more deeply develop their platforms every year ; they are a vibrant work in progress.  Core teachers will explain what their PBL platforms are all about each year.  If you don’t know, please ask.  This is some of the more exciting work we do.

 

Spanish ( What is the plan)

 

Kindergarten and first grade students have had much of their math instruction  delivered in Spanish. This year they will return to taking math classes in Spanish every day as well as an additional Spanish as a Second Language block.  Having math in Spanish is an  immersion strategy whereby students have the opportunity to  learn  math through a second language. It is  cognitively challenging for students whose first language is not Spanish and still challenging for students whose first language is Spanish. By second grade,  students learn math in English and continue with Spanish as a Second Language instruction daily through Grade 8.  Research clearly demonstrates that aptitude for second language acquisition is much greater the younger you are. Suzanne Robin, author of “ Why is it Easier for a Child to Learn a New Language Than an Adult?” writes:

 

Not only do children grow and develop at extraordinary paces, but they learn  information quickly as well. A child who is exposed to multiple languages at a young age has a much easier time processing and remembering the information they received.

 

 

Ultimately, our goal is for students to enter high school eligible for Advanced Placement Spanish classes. These classes are taught in Spanish and, should students pass the final exam with a high mark, it is possible that these classes will also give them college credit for foreign languages.   TRCS has now graduated two 8th grade classes.  In last year’s class, many were placed in Spanish 2 at the high school. The incoming 9th graders, will be placed in Spanish 1, 2, and 3 depending on a placement test TRCS gave them last Spring, student drive or interest in higher levels of Spanish, and student self assessment after visiting the high school and auditing a class at higher levels. Once they enter these classes, they will have to do the hard work to pass; we have confidence they will.  In Grades 2-8, we have had only one Spanish instructor, Señora Loya.  Last year, she was able to work with volunteers to offer Spanish to our native speakers as well.  This year, we have a Spanish faculty that includes five teachers of Spanish in addition to three bilingual staff who will teach math in Spanish in kindergarten and first grades.    We will offer three classes of Spanish:  1, 2 and 3  designed around the World Languages Standards  (https://www.cde.state.co.us/coworldlanguages/statestandards).  There will be a Spanish block for Grades 5-8 in the morning and a Spanish block for Grades 2-4 in the afternoon. Students will be placed in the class  for which they demonstrate readiness.   Dr. Hire, who takes 8th grade students to Mexico every year as their passage onto high school, will teach most of the  8th Grade Spanish students this year to prepare them for this journey.  We are very optimistic about this year as we employ more talented teachers of Spanish.

 

Career Pathways For Grades 7 and 8  ( What is happening?)

 

For the past few years, TRCS has been working with YouthEntity  to implement two programs: My Career, My Life  and a Financial Literacy course for grades 5 and 8.  My Career My Life helps students begin to understand what types of careers they may choose to pursue in the future . It also provides a six week enrichment experience related to careers whereby instructors come to the school each week and students take one class. Last year we also transported some students to Glenwood Gardens to intern there. In addition, Dr. Hire, who previously ran the Pre Collegiate program for RFSD, has offered various seminars in college readiness and pathways.  We plan  to  deepen our work in this area each and every year.

 

Volunteerism/Belonging

 

Family participation is critical to TRCS.  When families are involved in their child’s education in meaningful ways,  students thrive. Participation at the school also helps families  connect to each other and to the staff. TRCS is a school of choice based on tremendous parent commitment to the model and to their children.  In the past, we have not monitored the amount of participation each family has contributed to the school. As a result, a few soldiers have done the lion’s share of work. We would like to spread out the efforts and ask/require each family to do a little bit for their child’s school.  More information and a  menu of options will be presented at the  Grand Opening/Back to School night on August 28th.  Our hope is that there will be an option that works for each family. The time commitment spread out over 9 months will range from one to one and a half hours a month. We think most of us can find that time if we plan in advance.  Help maintain and increase our efficacy and uniqueness as a school of choice by becoming part of it in some capacity.





 
Back to School Night/Grand Opening on August 28th is sponsored by our 8th grade class. They will have delicious food and desserts for sale and will also provide tours of the building starting at 5:00PM.  All parents and students are expected at this event- we also welcome grandparents, siblings and our school neighbors- Please mark your calendars and plan to attend!
After School School Programs:

Beyond the Bell is an after school program offered at TRCS every day except on Wednesdays. Crystal Garrison, Director and owner of Beyond the Bell, is also our movement teacher. She will be at our school during our Grand Opening taking registrations but you can contact her directly at beyondthebell.cg@gmail.com or by phone at 707-631-3993.

We will continue to offer the Fine Arts Wednesday Program- Terry Muldoon, our new Marker's Space teacher will coordinate a program that will incorporate art, music, and dance for early release on Wednesdays. This program will start the second Wednesday in September. 

Aspen Music School offers after school music programs at TRCS- Please visit their website for more information: http://www.aspenmusicfestival.com/more/programs-local-youth/

Changes in  Grade Level Groupings This Year
 

 

We have always had multiage groupings and classes.  Our primary purpose for this is multifaceted.

 

1)     Students have opportunities to mix with and learn from new peers each year. In a small school, this allows students to expand their peer group and make more connections. Every year, they have a new group of peers to learn with and teach. Some years they may be learners and other years teachers/mentors. Both roles are equally important. This also builds a  positive school culture which is less fractured and more cohesive.  Grades are less likely to become isolated and more likely to become integrated.

 

2)     For math and literacy, students are placed primarily in classes designed  for their present level within the grade level grouping; however, these groups are flexible.  If a student demonstrates competency as a result of learning, they will have access to any  class right for them. The grade level groups are typically the scope for the levels; however, we have made exceptions for students who perform exceptionally. In more traditional ( grade level only) classes, there are the same  broad levels of students. As a result, teachers must differentiate for skills on a very large scale  in order to be effective. Our approach lessens the scale for teachers and allows them to plan for a smaller scope.  Our challenge has been those few students who perform exceptionally well in one subject and less so in the other. So far however, students have risen to the occasion when placed in both accelerated math and literacy classes.  Wherever they are, teachers will work hard to make sure students achieve and make at least a year’s worth of growth.  Student motivation and determination to achieve only assures their success.

 

 

This year we will group students in this way:  K/1, 2/3, 3/4, 5/6 , and  7/8.   This means that they will have Unidad together, which  is our version of homeroom/team building/ problem solving time as well as PBL. They or they may not have math and literacy together. After three years of doing this, we have found that  students are growing academically and this method adds to our school culture.  We do reserve some activities for specific grade levels only as a rite of passage such as the 8th Grade trip to Mexico each year.
 

Bus Services- We plan to provide student transportation from South Glenwood Springs and from Silt (and possibly Rifle). We are still looking for drivers to complete our routes so please let us know if you anyone who is qualified to drive a bus. Those who signed up for bus services will get an email with final routes and times the week of August 21st We will test the new traffic patterns after the closure of the Grand Ave bridge to then determine the times and routes. If you didn’t take the transportation survey, please do so by clicking on the following link: https://qtrial2014.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5o4j1Jzty0wX7SZ
Two Rivers Community School Traffic Management Plan for Academic Year 2017-2018
 
Site Improvements
Two Rivers Community School procured a traffic study and design/engineering team to optimize school site for student safety and efficient parent vehicle drop-off and pick-up.  The modified site will allow eight cars to stack in a one-way dedicated drop-off lane that includes a by pass lane. Parents cannot drop off their children or cut the line on the bypass lane.  Vehicles exiting the site will only be allowed to turn right ensuring a smooth flow of traffic through the site.
 
School Busses
TRCS currently maintains three busses. At capacity, TRCS will have four busses.
 
Busses will drop-off and pick-up students on the west side of Storm King Road only. TRCS staff will monitor students loading and unloading at the buses as well as walking between the school and the buses.
 
Start and Release Times
The start time is 8:15am, it was shifted later to avoid early commuter traffic and to avoid anticipated congestion during the Glenwood Springs bridge repair. End times are 3:30PM; although we might adjust the end time for some of the bus routes to avoid traffic congestion during bridge closure.
 
Traffic Management Plan
TRCS recognizes that the key to success to a highly functional drop-off operation is effectively communicating with parents and gaining their cooperation and commitment to ensuring student safety.
 
Hence, TRCS is adopting the following measures, used by other charter schools with successful traffic management plans. These measures will be in practice starting on August 28th 2017.
  • Dedicated staff and community members on site during drop-off and pick-up to guide parents and support students. This includes:
    • Direction of parent vehicle flow through the site in waves: eight cars in; unload; eight cars out. The anticipated wave time is 2 minutes per wave; total drop-off sequence is anticipated to be completed in 20-25 minutes.
    • Three staff members will be dedicated to assist young children exit the vehicle and encourage parents to prepare for exit
      • Goodbye hugs are encouraged at home not in the car
      • Parent cell use highly discouraged while dropping off children
      • Parents do not exit vehicles
      • Friendly, respectful and supportive staff will encourage cooperative and responsible behaviors and reach-out to parents to re-enforcement of expectations if needed
      • Poor treatment of staff by parents is not tolerated
    • Two dedicated staff/community members are present at street corners/sidewalks monitoring that parents are following the drop-off plan.
      • TRCS may request the presence of police during initial operations to monitor and assess behaviors, suggest improvements, be visibly present as part of a coordinated plan for student safety.
    • Staff on site and in the street are able to communicate by two-way radio to expedite waves of vehicles through the site and communicate in an emergency situation.
    • The safety of our children is our number one priority-  TRCS is willing to hold parents accountable for their actions in conflict with this traffic management plan.
 
  • Clear and Effective Messaging: Student Safety is Top Priority
    • Leverage existing positive culture and community values of TRCS to stress student safety is of primary importance and requires cooperation, patience and compliance to the traffic plan. Everyone must do their part to ensure student safety.
    • Embracing the traffic management plan is a mandatory reality associated with the many benefits and community values of Two Rivers Community School. Following the plan expedites traffic flow and creates a better experience for everyone.
    • TRCS recognizes their responsibility to be a good neighbor in this community so we want to expedite this process and be courteous to our neighbors
    • TRCS will hold an on-site traffic logistics orientation meeting during the Back to School Night. 
    • Now, more than ever, TRCS encourages carpooling and biking.  We will have ample bike racks on site.
    • If a parent has a concern with our traffic patterns or with a driver’s behavior, please reach out to us immediately. This is a new plan for our school and the flow can be modified. Student safety is out top priority.
 
Volunteers Needed on August 18th- and 19th 

No heavy lifting necessary- Just come help us re-organize our school so that our teachers can focus on creating curriculum and lessons and not so much on unpacking books, materials, or assembling tables and chairs. Sign up on the following link: http://signup.com/go/HJToARP
 
Teacher Assignments and Daily Schedule
You will receive an email with your child’s Unidad teacher by the end of this week. Students will each get their daily schedule on their first day of school. Everyday, all students will take a Spanish class, PBL, literacy, and math. They will take Maker’s Space/Art and Movement twice a week.
Hair Cuts-
Next Monday August 14th, Vanessa Portillo, one of our parents, will donate "Back to school Haircuts" for any of our TRCS students. In her own words, Hello, my Name is Vanessa Portillo and my two sons attend TRCS. School is starting and I want to offer fresh haircuts to our kiddos. I am  licensed cosmetologist. I will be set up at Gregory Park from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. There will be a journal where you can write your child's name, and I will call them for their turn. Kids can play with friends they haven't seen in a while. There will be snacks while you wait.” Parents, take this opportunity and get your children a fresh haircut!
First Lego League Team-
Interested in helping us start our own TRCS First Lego League Team?- Please email Adriana for more information. FIRST LEGO League gives elementary and middle school students and their adult Coaches the opportunity to work and create together to solve a common problem. Challenged to research a real-world problem, then create an original solution for that problem, plus design and build a robot using a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® kit within a common set of rules to accomplish “missions” on a playing field, brings out the best in students and adults alike. The theme changes each season, requiring teams to be extraordinarily creative. FIRST redefines “winning” by rewarding teams for achievements not necessarily gained on the field of play − excellence in design, demonstrated team spirit, gracious professionalism, community outreach, and more are recognized with awards. Winning is always secondary to the quality of the overall experience.

 

Fees-
We encourage parents to start making payments for their school yearly fees at: https://smartpay.profitstars.com/express/TRCS
You can find fee information at: http://www.tworiverscs.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/FeeSchedule17-18.pdf
Food Services
 
We hired Danielle Evans to be our new Kitchen Director. Danielle is coming to us from GSES where she fed hundreds of kids for the past 14 years. We are exited to have Danielle join our team!
 
We will be able to prepare meals in house but have chosen not to participate in the National School Lunch Program, as we believe that we can offer our students and staff better-tasting, local, healthy food. We plan to start offering food services after Labor Day on September 5th  

Prices and menus will be provided the first week of school. Only online payments are accepted. Here is the link for lunch payments https://www.schoolpaymentportal.com/Default.aspx

Every NEW family will be given an email address and password for their child/ren lunch account. This will be the only form of payment for lunch balances. This account will also send reminders when a child's lunch balance is low.  We remind you that lunch accounts must be paid beforehand. If you have any questions regarding your child's lunch account please email Christina.Prebble@tworiverscs.org. 

*For parents who already have lunch accounts set up please continue using your same accounts.
 
All students and staff must bring their own lunch and snacks the first week of school- 
School Supplies List
Please follow this link: http://www.tworiverscs.org/supply-lists-sy-2017-18/
 
Remind App
This year we will only be using the Remind App. We used this app last year to communicate with parents via text and it worked very well.  This is a great way for parents to communicate with their child's teachers directly.  TRCS takes care of all the set up! You will start receiving text and email notifications via Remind. 
     
     
Two Rivers Community School opened in August of 2014 and  is a public school chartered through the Colorado Charter School Institute. Presently, we have 300 students enrolled in Grades K-8. Check out our website for more information www.tworiverscs.org We are the first charter school to serve the Glenwood Springs to Rifle area.
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Our mailing address is:
PO Box 188, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601

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