- Willow Creek Elementary School
- Principal's Messages
September 11, 2023
Hello Willow Creek Community!
Read to the bottom to get Willow Creek’s BIG CELEBRATION! I am so proud of our students and staff! Please thank your teachers and support staff for making this a great school! We sure do love Willow Creek!
I love this time of year with football, slightly cooler nights, and pumpkin spice lattes (already)! I hope you are enjoying all the things you love about this time of year!
We are off to a great start this school year! Our teachers and support staff are truly the superheroes of our world as they work to educate the mind and heart of this generation. Our word this year is intentional. We are working to intentionally build relationships with students, so we know how to best motivate them and engage them in learning to reach their potential. Our planning with colleagues to meet our students' needs is intentional as well.
News You Need
Social Emotional Learning Screener: Grades 3-5 ONLY
Just a reminder — as part of our effort to support students’ Whole Wellbeing, our school will be administering a social and emotional learning screener with students from 9/25/23-10/6/23. This is an effort to have students share how well we are doing at teaching.
To have your student participate, no action is needed. You also have the option to exempt your child from participating. If you do not want your child to participate in social and emotional screening, please indicate so by completing this online form by September 15th, 2023.
Thank you for your assistance as we work together to educate and support your student(s)!
Drop-off and Pick-up: Thank you for pulling all the way up behind the buses in the front of the building when you drop off and pick up your students. Please do NOT stop at the bottom of the driveway to unload. Pulling up keeps our traffic flow going for everyone and makes it safer for our crossing guards. Thank you also for treating our crossing guards respectfully as they are working hard to ensure all students arrive and depart school safely.
Bus Lane: We have labeled a couple of cones with Bus Signs. Thank you for keeping the areas in front of the signs clear of cars so our school buses can get our students to and from school in a timely manner. They receive a reserved place to park.
Meeting September 14, 5:00-6:00, for P.A.S.S (Partnership for Academically Successful Students): The goal of this group mirrors the district’s goal: to foster an inclusive and safe environment to support the success of students of color. We do this by:
- Engaging community members in meaningful and effective partnerships
- Building relationships between schools and family communities
- Providing parents and guardians of students of color voice and direct access to the administration
All are welcome!
Meeting September 14, 6:00-7:00 for Accountability: All schools and districts are required by state law to convene an Accountability Committee. Statute requires that School and District Accountability Committees are responsive and hear the ideas of their stakeholders. At Accountability, we will be talking about our CMAS data and our School Performance Framework where we were awarded 96.8 points out of 100! This is a major celebration! Big kudos to our students and the staff here at Willow Creek! It is also a great shout out to our dedicated and supportive community. Thanks for partnering with our teachers and staff! Please come and celebrate!
June 28, 2023, Message from Kelly Hynes
Dear Willow Creek Wildcats,
I am thrilled and honored to serve the Willow Creek Community as your Assistant Principal. I am passionate about education and look forward to partnering with you to provide a safe and caring environment that fosters opportunities for students to grow academically, socially, emotionally, and physically.
I received my undergraduate degree in NY and moved to Denver to pursue a Masters in Instruction and Curriculum with an emphasis in Special Ed. Since then I have returned to Grad school to study Administration and Policy Studies and CLDE. One of my biggest educational accomplishments has been becoming a National Board Certified teacher.
My educational career spans more than 20 years during which I have worn many hats. I’ve served as a classroom teacher, reading interventionist, instructional coach, and most recently an assistant principal
Outside of school, my hobbies include running, biking, paddle boarding, skiing, and traveling. My husband Tom is an adventure travel specialist, which has allowed us to travel to some fabulous places around the world. We have two amazing children that keep us busy and inspire us daily. Annecy (Junior in HS) is a Varsity Cheerleader and Miles (8th grader) is a sports fanatic, but his favorite sport to play is baseball. I believe that one of the most important aspects of my work as Assistant Principal is building meaningful relationships with students, families, teachers, and the greater community. I am very eager to get to know all of you and your amazing children
May 26, 2023
Hello Willow Creek Families!
What an amazing year it has been connecting with our students, each other, our community, and our curriculum! Thank you again for partnering with us. Your support of our teachers and partnership with our whole staff is truly what makes Willow Creek special!
Have a wonderful and beautiful summer with your children! We will miss them all!
Below are some words from our staff leaving Willow Creek. We thank them for pouring into our students. We also welcome some new staff members to Willow Creek.
:I am really going to miss working at Willow Creek next year. Everyone made me feel extremely welcomed and supported from the first day I stepped foot in this amazing building and for this I am so appreciative. This is an incredible community, and I will miss this dedicated, knowledgeable staff and my sweet students. Thanks for your flexibility, kindness, and collaboration throughout the school year. While I am sad to be leaving Willow Creek, I am excited to be at Dry Creek three days next year and to be supporting our preschool students there. I cannot wait to be part of these early transformative years and to start my continuum of services even sooner. I hope our paths cross again in the near future!
: After 12 amazing years at Willow Creek, I am excited for a new challenge closer to home. I have accepted a position at Woodland Elementary, CCSD’s newest elementary school which happens to be in my backyard. Willow Creek is an inspirational community: compassionate, successful, and supportive. Although I will miss being a part of this school community on a daily basis, I look forward to investing in my neighborhood.
Dear Willow Creek Community, It has truly been a pleasure to serve as both a third-grade teacher and reading interventionist over the last two years. After much personal and professional reflection, I have accepted the Assistant Principal position at Timberline Elementary for the 2023 - 2024 school year. I am taking with me many wonderful memories of all the amazing things that happened over the last two years, and I will cherish the relationships I’ve built with students, staff, and the community. I will always be proud to say that I was a Willow Creek Wildcat! With heartfelt gratitude, Todd Inhelder.
As hard as it is to say goodbye to staff, we are excited about new staff joining us. We welcome Sarah Purton, who will be teaching third grade with us. She comes with years of teaching experience from another Creek school and is so excited to join us at her own children’s neighborhood school. Welcome Sarah! Your enthusiasm is contagious!
We also welcome Tina Book as our PE teacher. Tina also has years of PE experience and cannot wait to engage our students here at Willow Creek! She already has lots of fun plans for us.
We are thrilled to welcome Carrie Palmer as our reading interventionist! Carrie has a lot of knowledge of how students learn to read and has taught literacy and engaged students for many years now. We are thrilled to have her help all our students reach their reading goals.
Last but not least, I am thrilled to get a thought partner, our New Assistant Principal, Kelly Hynes! She will be sending a letter to community soon. We are beyond excited to have her support Willow Creek!
July 15, 2022
Hello, Willow Creek Community!
Welcome back to a great 22–23 school year! I feel fortunate to be part of the Willow Creek community, where students’ lives are positively impacted each day. I am grateful for each of your children and for your support. I am humbled to continue to serve here at WIllow Creek. I hope you are in the middle of a wonderful summer where you each receive what you need, whether it is a restful break with your children or one filled with adventure. I am looking forward to another great year with your amazing children and this staff. You as a community make us stronger with your support.
We continue to hold dear the five core values of the district: Relationships, Whole Well-Being, Equity, Growth Mindset, and Engagement. We value each of these and know our work is never done in each of these areas. We continue to grow! Our theme this year is connection. Now more than ever, I feel the need for us to connect: teacher to student, parent to teacher, student to student, teacher to teacher. It is essential that we make room for each and every person to feel seen, heard, and valued.
As we begin another year together, I want to emphasize all the ways we stay connected:
- Our website: https://www.cherrycreekschools.org/WillowCreek
- Teachers have valuable information on their websites.
- Weekly Sunday emails
- Accountability, P.A.S.S. and PTO
- Teacher Newsletters
- Family Connection Meetings
This year, in an effort to build even stronger relationships with our families, we will host Family Connection Meetings. Your child’s teacher will be reaching out to you the week of August 8 to set up a time to meet with you about your child. Most meetings will take place later in the work week of August 8-12, but we know some of you will be on last-minute vacations, and for you, we will accommodate by meeting before or after school the first few weeks of school. The meeting is not a conference in the traditional sense, as we are not sharing data. The meeting is truly a time to connect and learn about your child from you, your child’s expert! This meeting is in lieu of a traditional Back to School Night and will give your child’s teacher more time with you.
Staggered Start to the School Year:
- August 15, 2022, Grades 1 and 2 Only
- August 16, 2022, Grades 3, 4, and 5 Only
- August 17, 2022, Kindergarten through Grade 5
New Families to Willow Creek Welcome: August 11, 5:00-6:00 pm
- We welcome our new families to Willow Creek! New families are welcome to meet us on the playground to get acquainted with our school, connect with one another, and take a tour of Willow Creek. This event is sponsored by PTO to help you become familiar with Willow Creek. We are so excited to meet you and your children. We will see you on August 11th from 5:00-6:00 pm.
I’m looking forward to another great year with your students. Enjoy the fleeting moments of summer and every last minute with your children; that time is precious.
Willow Creek Principal
Together we create a lifelong foundation for all students to thrive in a global society. As a diverse learning community, we challenge our students to grow academically, socially, emotionally and physically.
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.