Written by: Josh Griffin, Principal
Great D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School updates this week:
2020 National Blue Ribbon School
On Thursday, United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School was recognized as a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School. D’Evelyn was one of four schools in Colorado and 367 schools nationwide honored this year and was highlighted as an Exemplary High Performing School.
We are thrilled to be recognized with this prestigious award, which has been given annually since 1982 to honor exemplary schools around the country. This recognition is a great tribute to our well-established liberal arts philosophy, our dedicated students, faculty and staff, and our supportive parents and families.
Congratulations to the D’Evelyn community! This is a well-deserved honor and I am grateful to all that have contributed to this prestigious recognition. To read more about the National Blue Ribbon School program and recognition for 2020, please review the following resources:
2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools announcement - Secretary DeVos
US Department of Education Press Release Announcing 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools
Profiles - 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award Winners
National Blue Ribbon Schools homepage
The development of productive learning opportunities and helpful student support on Fridays is a unique challenge for any school, and D’Evelyn in particular. With students in grades 6 - 12, and multiple distinct academic disciplines, our Friday “system” should reflect the needs of students in each of their classes. This means “one size fits all” is not likely a perfect model. Additionally, we will work as a faculty, staff, and administration to adjust Friday plans in a manner that best supports our students and teachers.
Our original asynchronous, remote Friday plan can be found here.
In collaboration with faculty members, we understand that there are benefits to scheduling student assessments on Fridays. The primary benefit is that by remotely assessing students on Fridays, teachers have the opportunity to focus more, if not all, of their time on instruction and student support Monday - Thursday each week. By maximizing instructional time when students are in-person or remote in a synchronous model, students will benefit and learn material more effectively. As a result, with administrative approval, several D’Evelyn teachers have begun administering assessments on Fridays.
While the positive elements of assessment on Fridays are important and valid, we understand that there are drawbacks. First, some of the Friday assessments will be synchronous, which is incongruent with the asynchronous model. However, teachers will schedule their Friday assessments during their established Office Hours, so as to not compete with other disciplines. Additionally, we will maintain an internal assessment calendar for D’Evelyn teachers to schedule major assessments. Students should not have more than 2 major assessments and 1 Saxon math test per day on any school day. In the event that you find your student has more than 2 major non-math assessments in one day, please notify your student’s assigned administrator.
he mastery of a strong remote learning system on Fridays will continue to be a work in progress. We will monitor the decision to allow assessments on Friday as the semester progresses. Ultimately, we hope and expect that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Thank you for your consideration and support as we adjust our Friday learning practices.
I am very happy with how the school year is going overall; however, I also know that there are opportunities for growth and improvement. In the new remote / hybrid learning models, our faculty, staff, and administration will value feedback from students, parents, and families. I would appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete the survey linked below. Please complete the survey by Wednesday, September 30th, so that we can begin the process of thoughtfully reviewing input on what is going well and what could be going better for your child(ren). Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.
September 2020 Parent/Family Survey
I hope that you and your family have enjoyed a restful, relaxing weekend.
Written by: Josh Griffin, Principal
I hope that the second week of hybrid learning went well for your child(ren) and family. I continue to be impressed by the engagement and commitment demonstrated by D’Evelyn students, teachers, staff, and families as we all work together in pursuit of great learning opportunities in the face of the challenges associated with remote and hybrid learning. I am encouraged by the positive attitudes of our students and teachers as we progress through the start of this school year. Thank you for your support of your child(ren) and our faculty and staff.
In spite of the unique nature of our start to the school year, as a faculty, staff, and administration, we have sought to ensure consistency and structure in the learning environment to the greatest extent possible. As outlined in the D’Evelyn Founding Document, we share a belief that an orderly, structured learning environment is needed to support student learning. Unfortunately, in the remote and hybrid learning models, we lose a lot of natural opportunities for order and structure that we achieve in a traditional learning environment.
While we work to establish consistent routines for our students, we also know that we have opportunities to grow as educators in the hybrid model. I feel fortunate to have had a successful first two weeks in this model; nonetheless, we will continue as a faculty, staff, and administration to sustain and improve our efforts to educate D’Evelyn students this year. We are consistently meeting to reflect, refine, and enhance our hybrid learning program in a manner that supports our students completely.
In order for this school year to continue to improve, I encourage D’Evelyn students, with the support of their parents and families, to continue to seek productive routines to support their academic experience. We have just completed the second week of the hybrid learning model, which means there are still opportunities to learn and grow into this model for both students and teachers. Just as I have encouraged our teachers, I hope that all students will continue to learn from what worked well, and for what did not work well, as they go through each day of school. With that reflection, I am confident we all will begin to gain more comfort with the new learning environment.
In my conversations with students and teachers, I have gleaned the following ideas that I think would be particularly helpful for students in the remote and hybrid models:
A few timely updates regarding upcoming events in the school:
We will not host Parent-Teacher Conferences on September 23rd and September 24th. We are developing a Virtual Parent-Teacher Conference format with the intent of having virtual conferences prior to the Fall Break (October 15 - October 18). We will share more details with our community once plans have been finalized.
The Week of October 12th
We have a unique week scheduled during the week of October 12th. Please review the following schedule plan for the week. If you have questions, you may contact the D’Evelyn Main Office at 303-982-2600.
Monday, October 12th - Green Day (A-K), A Schedule (periods 1 - 3)
Tuesday, October 13th - Silver Day (L-Z), B Schedule (periods 4 - 6)
Wednesday, October 14th:
Thursday, October 15th: No school for students
Friday, October 16th: No school for students, faculty, and staff
On Monday, October 19, we will resume our hybrid schedule with a Green Day (A-K), A Schedule (periods 1 - 3) and follow that pattern throughout the rest of the semester.
Thank you for your continued support! I am very impressed with how well the school year has started considering the very unique conditions we face. Your support is crucial at this time. I hope that you and your family have a great weekend!
Written by: Josh Griffin, Principal
Thank you to all D’Evelyn students, teachers, staff, and families for your support and engagement in our first week of hybrid learning. The success of the hybrid learning model is dependent upon the commitment and dedication to protecting the health and safety of all D’Evelyn community members while we focus on supporting student learning. I have been impressed by the level of commitment I have seen from all areas in our community.
I understand that the health and safety regulations we have in place ask for significant sacrifice from all D’Evelyn community stakeholders. Nonetheless, it is important that we all continue to meet these expectations as we work to ensure that we are able to keep our school open and safe for all.
Within the synchronous hybrid model, we have significantly more opportunity to meet the needs of our students. Students have the opportunity to connect with their teachers in the whole-group classroom setting on a set schedule and individually with 7th hour and Office Hours, whether they are learning remotely or in-person each day. We have enhanced opportunities for social, athletic, and extracurricular activities for students. While we manage the limitations associated with the hybrid model, I am grateful that we are offering expanding opportunities for our students to learn, grow, and engage in meaningful social and extracurricular activities.
I have spoken with many teachers and students this week. I know that all groups are happy to be back in a more “normal” educational setting, but I also know that these first days of school, and this week in particular, have been challenging and tiring in many ways. It is important to remember that we are only in day #4 of the hybrid model, a model that in effect did not exist before late July 2020. We know that we have not perfected the hybrid model, but we will continue to work to improve it to ensure we are best supporting student learning in the face of these very unique, challenging circumstances.
In the spirit of reflection and improvement, we have several important updates/changes to share with our community that we believe will better serve our students, faculty, staff, and families going forward:
We believe that these adjustments will help to reduce the congestion in the east parking lot each day and we will continue to monitor drop-off and pick-up areas as we are able to ensure we are supporting students and families as best as possible.
Thank you for your ongoing support as we progress through the school year. I am grateful to sense such a commitment to optimism, teamwork, and support that I have felt throughout our community. I know that rest will be important for our students, faculty, and staff this weekend - I hope that you all enjoy the weekend!
Written by: Josh Griffin, Principal
Our transition to the hybrid learning model will begin on Tuesday, September 8th. This provides us the unique opportunity to enjoy the “first day of school” twice in just over two weeks. On behalf of the D’Evelyn faculty, staff, and administration, I am thrilled that we will welcome our students back to school for in-person learning beginning Tuesday.
It has been a long few months since our first cancellation of in-person learning on March 12, 2020. I know that our students have lost a lot of opportunities - their academic, social, athletic, and extracurricular experiences have been altered substantially since March.
The hybrid learning model goes a long way to returning the D’Evelyn student experience to normal; however, substantial adjustments to commonly held practices by D’Evelyn students, faculty, staff, and families will remain in place as we begin hybrid learning Tuesday.
As we begin this new phase of our school year, I ask all students and families to join our faculty, staff, and administration in sustaining a positive, optimistic, and pragmatic approach to our new school year. While the limitations placed upon students, teachers, and staff will fundamentally change our operations for the period of hybrid learning, those limitations do not have to ruin the school year.
In spite of the challenges before us, we are able to provide students many opportunities as we would in a typical school year:
The cancellation of the in-person school experience in the spring of 2020 was a huge loss for our community. We now have an opportunity to reconnect and re-establish many of our typical student experiences this year - let’s all work together to capitalize on this opportunity.
For our 100% remote learners, we understand that your experience beginning Tuesday, September 8th will look different from your peers participating in the hybrid model. As a school community, we are committed to providing each of our remote learners an outstanding experience in academic and personal development this school year. Our teachers have engaged in thoughtful professional development, planning, and reflection to design their courses to support remote students. We encourage our remote learners to participate consistently in 7th hour and Office Hours with their teachers, so that they may receive individual support that is needed throughout the year. Additionally, our counseling team stands ready to support individual remote learners during Office Hours and with scheduled appointments.
Remote learners - please note that you will be following the exact same schedule as your hybrid peers, four days per week (Tuesday 9/8 - Friday 9/11 this upcoming week). Teachers will be teaching in-person and remote students at the very same time via Google Classroom and Google Meetings. This will allow all of our students the opportunity to learn synchronously throughout the course of the school year.
We are committed to the success of all of our students this year. While the cours of the year may look different from past school years, we have the essential elements in place to make the hybrid and remote learning models successful for our students and families. If you have questions, or seek additional support for your student, please connect with your student’s assigned counselor or Assistant Principal. You may also contact our Main Office at 303-982-2600 between the hours of 7 am and 3 pm to get support.
Best wishes on a successful start to the “new” school year. Let’s make the very best of it for our students!
Written by: Josh Griffin, Principal
Thank you to all D’Evelyn students, teachers, staff, parents, and families for your engagement in the first week of school. This past week of remote learning has gone very well overall. I know that there have been challenges but appreciate the understanding, resilience, and commitment shown by all members of our community. Thank you for making this a successful first week of school.
In the midst of the launch of remote learning to start the school year, we have been preparing for the start of the hybrid learning model, beginning on Tuesday, September 8th. Below, I have included an array of resources that should support students, teachers, staff, and families as we begin hybrid learning. Please review these materials with your student to ensure that we all understand:
· Hybrid Learning Student Schedule Plans (assigned days, classes, 7th hour)
· Drop off / Dismissal Plans
· Hybrid Learning Bell Schedule
· Hybrid Learning Lunch Schedule
· Asynchronous, Remote Fridays
Thank you to the parents and families that have already reviewed videos for our Virtual Back to School Night. The link to all Back to School Night videos includes recordings from our teachers, counselors, and administrators. We encourage all families to watch the videos from your student’s teachers.
Code of Conduct Presentation
Each year, we present to students and share with families the Jeffco Schools Code of Conduct. It is our expectation that all students, teachers, staff, and families uphold and honor district policies, and the Code of Conduct is a particularly important document outlining those expectations.
This year, Assistant Principal Mr. Tim Schmeckpeper has organized the Code of Conduct presentation to be viewed remotely. Below, please find the link to the Code of Conduct materials, which includes a video presentation, as well as a required online submission form for families allowing them to acknowledge the review of the Code of Conduct.
Code of Conduct materials
We ask that all D’Evelyn families complete the review of the Code of Conduct by Tuesday, September 8th.
I hope that you all have a restful, relaxing, and enjoyable weekend. We look forward to week 2 of remote learning beginning Monday, August 31st.
Written by: Josh Griffin, Principal
On Monday, my wife Fran and I dropped off our 3-year old daughter Josie for her first day of preschool. As you know, the apprehensions of first-time school parents are numerous, and at least in our case, are not all particularly rational. Will she have fun? What will she learn? Will she listen to her teacher? Will she make new friends? Will she be safe? Questions raced through our minds as we prepared for Day #1.
On the night before school started, as we were trying to get Josie geared up for her first day, I asked her, “What is it about school that you are most excited about?”
She said, “Uh, I like to eat dinner, is my favorite choice … and, learning coloring is my favorite, and reading about numbers is my favorite.”
I found her answer to be a refreshing reminder of the insightfulness and earnest nature of children, as well as a reminder that I should probably lighten up a little bit. Josie wants to learn, she wants to have social interactions with her peers, she wants to make friends, and she wants to listen to and learn from her teachers. She is curious and wants to understand her world as best as she can as a precocious three-year old.
The traits I describe in Josie are common in children. Children want to learn, they want to spend time with their friends, and they want to connect with teachers, coaches, and mentors. However, at times, children will struggle with challenges in their lives, and have to persevere to overcome those challenges. During this school year, there will be plenty of challenges for our students, our teachers, our staff, and our parents and families. In fact, we face a historic combination of challenges - the Covid-19 pandemic, economic hardship, and questions of justice and racial equality in our nation.
In the midst of these great challenges, we are tasked with reinventing our school. The health and safety guidelines placed upon our school are going to create an entirely new model for the D’Evelyn education, one that will limit many of the commonly held practices and routines of students, staff, and families. We are asking each of these groups to fundamentally change the way that they engage in school, based upon a plan that was finalized just over four weeks ago. This is no small task. There will be challenges, struggles, frustration, and anxiety among all groups in our school.
With that in mind, it is important as a community that we all work together to:
· Ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of all D’Evelyn students, staff, and community members
· Address all members of our community with care and respect
· Commit to a sincere, acute focus on student learning
The purpose of our school is to provide our students a rich liberal arts education that will prepare them for happy, full, and successful lives. We seek to educate children in a manner that they will be informed citizens and good people. I am abundantly confident that as a school, we can deliver on the promises laid forth in the D’Evelyn Founding Document, in spite of the challenges we face, if we focus on safety and health of all community members, treat each other with care and respect, and commit a strong emphasis on student learning.
There will be bumps in the road, and at various points in the school year, the bumps may become severe. I hope that we can all commit to keeping our focus simple - let us all ensure that we are supporting our students as well as we can so that they can learn, grow, and develop during this academic year.
In my time as a teacher, coach, and administrator, it always seems to be the kids that make the most out of the potentially challenging circumstances that they face. Fran and I are fortunate that Josie reminded us of this truth just this last week. While we were concerned about 100 things, Josie kept her focus on learning and making friends. As principal, I have many concerns and thoughts on my mind as we set out to launch our new school year, but I know our students will get us through these challenges.
I am inspired by the resilience, grit, and optimism our students showed to complete the 2019-2020 school year, and I know that if we allow those important traits in our kids to shine, this will be a successful year.
For those still wondering, how did Josie’s first day of preschool go, she and I can both assure you it went well.
When I picked her up after her first day of preschool, a nearly 8-hour day, I asked her, “What did you do today at school?”
She said, “we ate lunch and played.” A successful first day, indeed.
On behalf of the D’Evelyn faculty, staff, and administration, please accept my sincere best wishes on a successful start to the 2020-2021 school year.
Written by: Josh Griffin, Principal
Josh Griffin, Principal