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JUNE 15, 2020

June 15, 2020 - Vol. XXVIII

Grizzly Growl

A Message from the Principal

Dear RMAE families,

I hope your start of summer has been enjoyable.  Since the school year closed, I have been working diligently to stay updated on the latest data and recommendations for school opening and the state budget, as well as learning all I can to ensure the healthiest school environment possible.  As you can imagine things are changing rapidly.  The good news is the outlook is very positive.  

This message is intended to update you on RMAE happenings based on common questions.  I apologize in advance for the length.  

How is RMAE handling the funding cut? You may have heard about the $3.3 billion shortfall in the state budget and some bleak scenarios for k12 funding.  Fortunately with bipartisan support, the legislature prioritized k12 funding.  Although we too are experiencing a cut, it is not going to affect RMAEs programming, staffing, reserves, or educational experience.  With our thoughtful spending approach we are not only going to weather this slight bump, but come out stronger.  Beyond keeping our wonderful staff in place we have adopted an innovative reading curriculum.  A team of teachers for the past 6 months have been researching, talking to and visiting other schools, and digging into highly rated curriculums.  We are confident Wit & Wisdom will support and challenge all of our students.  We will have more information for parents on this top curriculum in August.

What’s the deal with CARES funds? We will also be receiving a proportionate share of Jeffco’s CARES funds. These are one time grant funds to help offset the costs of creating a healthier school.  I am going to highlight three of the many of our investments thus far.   One, is a highly recommended microbial reduction system for occupied spaces.  It treats ambient air 24/7/365. This will impact virtually every corner by treating both air and surfaces.  The benefits go far beyond Corona virus, including Influenza, Norovirus, Mold, Insects and Odor.  At this time, we are the only school in the area making a substantial investment in this arena.  This system will be installed this summer.  The second is another tool for sustaining a healthy environment - an electrostatic sprayer that will be used during the day to disinfect areas in between student use.  The third is technology to live stream classroom instruction.  This will support a seamless transition if circumstances require a remote learning period as well as support students who aren’t in school due to illness or family trips.

What does school look like in August?  I guarantee we are doing everything in our control to provide daily in person instruction while providing options for families not ready to return to school.  The latest research shows the virus doesn’t spread easily from child to child or child to adult.  As such, current forecast is for approximately 20 students in a class with precautions.  Because we already prioritize small class sizes, this means we would be able to provide daily on-campus learning.  This was strongly indicated as your preference on our family survey.  We will need to adjust some of our routines but at this time, the RMAE experience will not be negatively impacted.

This is all wonderful, but what about drop off and pickup?   As the school year draws closer we will finalize scattered morning drop off times.  For the afternoon pickup we have purchased a software system that will support a controlled release.  This will provide safety for all students while reducing the length of the pickup line.  Yes, you read that correctly – the afternoon pickup time will be reduced!  More information will be coming in August for the important role parents play in this.

When does my child return to school? Lastly, we have adjusted our student August start date from August 18 to 24.  The additional staff training days will enable us to assimilate the changes and start the year strong.  The staff will engage in additional training in the new reading curriculum, safety measures, student mental health support, implementation of our Core Virtues, use of technology, reconfigurations of room setups, and much more.  Based on your feedback we will also be streamlining our processes to be consistent and clear.  This calendar adjustment won’t extend the school year beyond Memorial Day.

It’s all good! Overcoming the challenges comes with lots of learning and adjustments for us.  Yet, the end result will only enhance the RMAE experience.  No one knows what the next couple of months will bring.  However, I give you my word we will respond with the best interest of your student, family and school as the focus.

Your Proud Principal,

Dr. Ann Hudson

RMAE Happenings 

RMAE Remote Learning Survey- Thank you for responding to the RMAE survey about remote learning.  Your feedback is being taken into consideration as we plan for next year.  Here are the survey results.


School Supply Kits-Pre-order next year’s school supply kits. If you pre-order your supplies, your student’s supplies will be delivered directly to the school for next year. Go HERE to order and follow the direction this FLYER.


Don't forget to learn over summer! Here is a link to RMAE's Summer Homework

Board Meeting Summary

Family Summary of June RMAE Board of Directors Meeting

The Board of Directors once again held its June meeting virtually.  First we swore in our two new elected members, Kjersten Ostrom-Condojani and Sarah Sailor.  Then we heard from three candidates to fulfil our three spots open for appointments, all of whom have wonderful potential to contribute.  Congratulations to Guy Greenbaum, Janelle Herrera, and Scott Jones, and thank you for your service to our school.  The three newest members were subsequently sworn in and contributed as voting members to the remainder of the meeting.  Additional adjustments to the board makeup followed at the conclusion of the meeting, as the officers for the 2020-2021 school year were voted in: Janelle Herrera - Secretary, Tiffani Packer - Treasurer, Kjersten Ostrom-Condojoni - Vice President, and Jamie Richards - President. 

Thanks to the hard work of our administrators and finance committee, the 2019-2020 budget is on track as we near the end of this Fiscal Year, June 30.  The 2020-2021 budget should be available soon, as state legislators continue to plan for the impacts of COVID.  RMAE continues to plan for a 10% cut in the interest of conservative budgeting, even though reliable sources indicate cuts could be less severe.  We are grateful to be able to execute this plan without cuts to staff or programs! 

At the same time, various opportunities under CARES, Emergency/Secondary School Emergency Relief, and other COVID relief supplemental funding programs have provided both a catalyst and the means to implement some long-term improvements that will also assist in RMAE’s resilience to COVID-related changes.  For example, this funding has enabled small-group summer assistance for at-risk readers, clinic expansion to include adding an isolation area, purchase of an electrostatic sprayer to clean common surfaces such as in specials rooms between classes, a Synexis microbial reduction system air cleaner, and a smart student release software to facilitate pickup times without creating a mass gathering in our circle.  We are proud of the staff's leadership and grateful for our flexibility as a charter school to be able to take quick action on these opportunities.

In addition to the detailed budget discussions, the meeting also included a full agenda of administrative votes such as approving this year’s staff handbook and a paid time off policy for instructional aides.  Of note, please look for an important announcement from Dr. Hudson regarding minor changes to the beginning of the school year schedule for students.  The Board fully supports these changes in the interest of starting the year strong and ready to manage whatever comes our way. 

We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer!

Reminders

Reminder of Resources for Families: 

  • Mountain Backpack Program – If you are in need of a hand up to meet the nutritional needs of your family, this program can help. There are no qualification requirements and only contact information is requested. Mountain Backpack Program Enrollment Form
  • EChO Food Bank: Anyone who needs food is welcome to come to the food pantry at 27640 Hwy 74 Evergreen and you will be given a box of food for you and your family.  Individuals who are ill or self-quarantining may request to have their order delivered. Check out their Website for details.
  • COMCAST ESSENTIALS - Comcast Waives Outstanding Balance Restriction for Internet Essentials Package Comcast is offering their Internet Essentials program to families who are eligible (most families who qualify for free and reduced meals, Medicaid, or SNAP benefits), live in the Comcast service area, and have not had Comcast service in the past 90 days. Apply Here.
  • Jeffco FOOD SERVICE - Sites will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from: 10:30-1:00pm
    • Lakewood High School 
    • Arvada K-8
    • Alameda High 
    • Colorow Elementary
    • Edgewater Elementary
    • Foothills Elementary
    • Lasley Elementary
    • Parr Elementary
    • Wayne Carle Middle 
    • Welchester Elementary 
    • West Jefferson Elementary
    • Wheat Ridge High
  • DOLA:  https://cdola.colorado.gov/housing-covid19
  • Benefits in Action can help families with Medicaid and SNAP (food assistance) applications over the phone 720-221-8354  https://www.benefitsinaction.org/

After School Activities

RMAE's own PE Teacher, Lisa Best is hosting the BEST Summer Camp this Summer. The Deadline to sign up is May 20th. See FLYER for details.

Upcoming Events
 

 

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