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.
The 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!
Josh Griffin, Principal