July 20, 2021
Dear Willow Creek Community,
Welcome back to Willow Creek for the 2021-22 school year! We have proven that we are a very resilient community; a community that sticks together and uses POWER (Persistence, Optimism, We are Flexible, have Empathy, and have Resilience). These soft skills have provided the foundational social-emotional skills to make us stronger, and they will continue to be an important part of our curriculum.
Our theme this year is BELIEVE. I believe this will be a year of reconnection for us all. I believe it will be a year to get back to our new normal. I believe it will be a year of healing from the pandemic and a year of continuing to do what we do best here at Willow Creek, which is challenging our students to grow academically, socially, and emotionally. I am beyond thrilled to lead Willow Creek and continue its legacy of greatness and look forward to connecting with every one of you. Thanks for humoring me as I continue to ask your names and learn about your families. We look different without our masks!
I am posting our superintendent’s letter along with mine so you will hear straight from him the decisions made surrounding safety protocols. As we continue to receive information, I will update you promptly.
As our district continues with its legacy of excellence and its mission “to inspire every student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care,” our district initiatives remain a focus here at Willow Creek. Inclusive Excellence is a goal, and we work to grow our cultural literacy and eliminate achievement gaps by race. The Professional Learning Communities (PLC) structure is built into our days; it is a culture that is alive and strong where teachers work collectively to discuss data and use that data to drive instruction and next steps to help those below, at, and above proficiency levels. We are also introducing a WINN (What I Need Now) time at each grade level. It is a half-hour instructional block at each grade level to provide extra help or enrichment opportunities for our students.
This year, we will now have the time to help us collaborate with each other in order to grow in each of those focus areas. Cherry Creek Schools and Cherry Creek Education Association agreed to dismiss elementary schools one hour early every Wednesday during the school year to create collaboration time. We will release every Wednesday at 1:45. WCCK is available to help minimize the effect on your schedules at no additional cost for that hour.
We are thrilled to announce two more new staff members here at WCE: please welcome Nicole Abdulgasem to our third-grade team and Alex Rodasti as our Social Worker. They are both coming to us with the highest of recommendations and a wealth of experience from other schools in Cherry Creek.
Communication is key between parents and our staff to stay connected at Willow Creek. Please read all communications for optimum clarity.
- Our website http://willowcreek.cherrycreekschools.org
- Teachers have individual sites with valuable information
- Weekly Sunday emails (“This Week at Willow Creek” from PTO)
- Accountability, PTO, PASS meetings to stay connected. Stay tuned for dates/times.
August 11: Email will go out in the afternoon about your child’s teacher @ 2:00 pm
August 12: Back to School Night/Meet your Teacher Open House 5:30-6:30. Very informal, just stop by and meet your teacher and see some friends.
August 12: New families including kindergarten families are welcome to come 4:30-5:30 to get acquainted with other families before meeting their teacher at the 5:30-6:30 open house. This is a great opportunity to meet each other informally on our playground! PTO will make it festive!
August 16: School for Grades 3-5 Only
August 17: School for Grades 1-2 Only
August 18: School for Kindergarten and ALL Grades
Early Dismissal every Wednesday at 1:45
Please be on the lookout for online registration coming out in early August. Also, keep your ears open for anybody interested in Crosswalk duty; greeting our students each morning and hearing about their days in the afternoon makes for a fulfilling job! Please let me know if you are interested in our crosswalk position.
I look forward to a great year serving the community of Willow Creek and am truly humbled to be here. I value a community partnership.
Willow Creek Principal
Letter from Superintendent Chris Smith
SUBJECT: Important Update about the Start of School
Dear CCSD families,
I hope you are having a fun and relaxing summer with family and friends. I am extremely excited and proud to take on the role of superintendent this year. Planning is underway for a successful start to the school year in August.
We are just five weeks away from the start of school and I want to share some important updates.
MASKS AND PUBLIC HEALTH PROTOCOLS
Last week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment allowed the statewide mandate requiring face masks to expire for most settings, including schools. For this reason, we are lifting mask requirements for all summer programs, except for the Extended School Year (ESY) program, which will still require masks to be worn indoors. While masks will be optional for students and staff in summer programs (except ESY), anyone who is not fully vaccinated is strongly encouraged to wear a mask indoors.
We are also hopeful that masks will be optional for all students and staff when school resumes in August. We are planning for that likelihood but will continue monitoring state and local guidance before making a definitive decision. Even if masks are optional when we return, anyone who is not fully vaccinated will be strongly encouraged to wear a mask while indoors. Our partners at Tri-County Health Department will continue contact tracing positive cases next year and will guide the school district when quarantining is necessary. The school district will no longer have a separate in-house contact tracing team starting next year.
As a reminder, all people who are 12-years-old or older can now receive the free COVID-19 vaccine. If you would like to get the vaccine for yourself or your child, please take advantage of the many vaccination resources listed on our website. The COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your family, our students and our community from the COVID-19 virus, including more contagious and potentially dangerous variants that are on the rise in Colorado. It is also one of the best ways to keep our schools open.
If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please call the Colorado COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926).
Many of our students experienced trauma during the past year due to the isolation and stress of the pandemic. My goal for next year is to ensure all students have the social-emotional and mental health support they need to transition out of the pandemic and into a successful school year.
To aid in that goal, we will have a Phase-In start to the school year during the first three days of school in August. That means some grades will come to school on Monday, August 16, and some grades will come on Tuesday, August 17. All grade levels will be back in the classroom starting Wednesday, August 18. Please see the following table for details about elementary and middle school dates. All kindergarten students will receive specific information from their schools. High school students will hear directly from their school about the Phase-In schedule.
Monday, August 16
Tuesday, August 17
Wednesday, August 18
Grades 3, 4, 5 and 6
Grades 1, 2, 7 and 8
The goal of the Phase-In is to allow students to have time with their teachers in smaller settings and a more supportive start to the year. Families will receive details about the first week of school from their student’s school by early August.
I will send updates about the upcoming school year throughout the summer. In the meantime, I hope you are having a safe and joyful summer.