August 6, 2020
We hope this letter finds you knee deep in summer fun and excitement with a hint of rest and relaxation. The staff at Ponderosa is excited about the upcoming school year (even in the midst of the current Covid-19 crisis) and we anxiously await the arrival of your children. The first day of school is fast approaching, so we thought we would provide you with a list of answers to the most frequently asked questions. Additional information will be communicated as the school year gets under way. Feel free to call our front office to ask questions as well.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW AS THE SCHOOL YEAR BEGINS?
Start of School
To help students adjust to the changes we have implemented to keep students and staff healthy, the Cherry Creek School District has decided to begin the year by providing each grade level with a day to acclimate to the new safety guidelines and procedures put into place at school. The “phase-in” schedule that details the first day of school for each grade level is as follows:
- Monday, August 17 – 5th grade only
- Tuesday, August 18 – 4th-grade only
- Wednesday, August 19 – 3rd grade only
- Thursday, August 20 – 2nd grade only
- Friday, August 21 – Kindergarten and 1st grade only
Please be advised, students will need to remain home during their “non-designated” days. We realize the “phase in” schedule will be challenging for families with multiple children enrolled in a range of grade levels. I apologize for any inconvenience, but ask for parents to only send students on the grade-level designated day. Students who arrive out of sequence will be asked to go back home.
Monday, August 24 will be the first day all grades, Kindergarten – 5th grade will attend school together. Kindergarten students will be scheduled to attend a brief one-on-one assessment with a member of the Kindergarten team at an appointed time during the school day, Monday, August 17 – Thursday, August 20. The Kindergarten team will be reaching out to schedule appointments for students to come take the Kindergarten assessments. Families will not be permitted in the building while they wait and will need to socially distance while standing outside.
Children should arrive at school no earlier than 7:45 a.m. Doors will not open and adult supervision will not be available until 7:45. This year students will be expected to enter the building through their assigned grade-level wing. The main entrance will not be available to students or parents 7:45 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Students will have the option to eat breakfast, which will be delivered to each classroom. Our staff will be on hand to help children as they arrive to school.
The first bell will ring at 7:55 a.m. We hope to have each child in class, ready to start the day at 8:00 a.m. Children arriving after 8:00 a.m. will be considered tardy and must enter the building through the main entrance. Parents will not need to sign tardy students in. Our office staff will let tardy students in through the main entrance and sign them in.
School will conclude at 2:45 p.m. Dismissal will be staggered according to the ways in which students go home from school. Students being picked up by a family member or walking home will be dismissed through the grade-level entrance at 2:40 p.m. Students riding the bus will be escorted to the buses at 2:45 p.m. If riding a bus, students are encouraged to go directly home from their bus stop. Bus routes and schedules will be communicated to parents by the District Transportation telephone messaging system in August. Students who attend the Panther Before and After care program will be picked up by a member of the program. Those students who attend an offsite childcare program will wait to be picked up in our main lobby. During the dismissal timeframe (2:30 – 3:00), our main entrance will be closed to visitors. Parents coming to the building during this time are encouraged to wait for their child at their grade level entrance.
DOES PONDEROSA HAVE A BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL CHILDCARE SCHOOL PROGRAM?
We have a fantastic before & after school childcare program, called the Panther Club, for students who attend Ponderosa. Tysheene Johnson is the director the Panther Club, and she has many exciting things in mind for the 2020/ 21 school year. If you have questions, please feel free to call the program at 720-747-2824 or email Tysheene at email@example.com
WHEN IS THE PONDEROSA OPEN HOUSE?
Due to the Covid-19 crisis, Ponderosa will not host the annual Open House at the beginning of the 2020/ 21 school year. Teachers will reach out to families to inform them of classroom assignments on Thursday, August 13 by 4:00 p.m.
WHO WILL TEACH MY CHILD THIS YEAR?
Class lists are nearly complete, and we are currently adding the names of new students. On August 13, you and your child will learn who their teacher will be for the school year. Classroom teachers will reach out to parents via email to inform them of their child’s classroom placement. Please be sure to check your email at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 13.
WHAT PROCEDURES ARE IN PLACE FOR HANDLING VISITORS AT PONDEROSA?
Our building policy has changed for visitors. Parents and family members will be permitted in the front lobby only. In an effort to maintain the health and wellness of our students and staff, visitors will be required to wear a mask at all times. Visitors will need to remain in the lobby and will not be permitted to move beyond the lobby deeper into the interior of the building. Visitors will not be able to volunteer, visit classrooms or eat lunch with students. Access to the playground during recess will also not be permitted. Parents and family members can access the main lobby to pick up students from school or to attend building meetings. If attending a meeting, visitors will need to have a previously scheduled appointment. All appointments must be scheduled by phone and in advance. As we begin the 2020/ 21 school year, we want to remind you of our safety and security procedures. In an effort to provide a safe environment at school, we will continue to check visitors in using the Raptor ID system at Ponderosa. Raptor is a visitor registration system that scans and reads a driver’s license and/or valid ID, checking the visitor’s information against the National Sex Offender data base. If no match is found, the system will print a visitor’s sticker with a picture identifying that individual as an approved visitor. Every visitor, parent and/ or family member will be expected to check in at the front desk every time they visit the building. Please have your ID with you each time you come to Ponderosa.
*Raptor only scans the visitor’s name, date of birth and photo for comparison purposes. No other personal identifying information is saved. If the system raises a question about a visitor’s background, the school administrator(s) will take the necessary steps to ensure the appropriateness of each individual’s visit. Upon your initial visit, the process will take approximately 30 seconds. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
HOW DO I REGIISTER FOR FREE AND REDUCED LUNCH?
Unless a 2020/ 21 Free and Reduced Lunch Application is received and approved, free and reduced meals will not be provided. This application is available on the Food and Nutrition Services Website: www.ccsdcafe.org. Please follow these steps to submit an application:
- Click 0n the link above
- Click on Free & Reduced Meals
- Select the Meal Application button (to the right) and complete the application
HOW DO I CREATE A LUNCH ACCOUNT OR ADD CREDITS TO AN EXISTING ACCOUNT?
Families can create a lunch account or add credit to an existing account through the new Titan Parent Portal. Click on family.titank12.com to access the portal and create and account or add money (credit) to an account. For the 2020/ 21, school year lunch will cost $3.25 and breakfast is free for all students.
HOW CAN I SIGN UP TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PONDEROSA PTCO?
Members of the Ponderosa PTCO will be reaching out to the Ponderosa community to provide information regarding future meetings. All PTCO meetings will happen remotely this year, due to social distancing requirements and restrictions. PTCO meetings provide opportunities for parents to share ideas about enriching the school experience for Ponderosa students. Please sign up to help your PTCO support the students and the staff at Ponderosa.
WHAT CAN I DO BEFORE SCHOOL BEGINS?
- We must have your child’s immunization records before the first day of school. Please drop off forms at our front office.
- It is essential that every parent fill out and complete the online district forms. Please log on to my.cherrycreekschools.organd complete all parent forms and information sheets. These will need to be filled out prior to the first day of school. Should you not have a computer or have difficulty filling out the parent forms, please contact the main office at 720-747-2800 for assistance.
It is important that parents are aware that students will be expected to wear a mask for the entire school day. There are only three reasons a student can remove his/her mask:
- To eat breakfast and lunch or to take a drink
- During a socially-distanced recess
- After extreme physical exertion
Students must otherwise wear a mask throughout the school day. In the interest of keeping everyone healthy, these expectations will be strictly enforced. Students will be held accountable to these expectations.
Please take this time to enjoy the remaining days of the summer break. We are all looking forward to seeing our hallways and classrooms filled with children and the noise and excitement of learning. If we can be of help to you in any way, please contact us in the Ponderosa main office at 720-747-2800.
Mr. Chad M. Gerity Mrs. Bridget Contreraz
Principal Assistant Principal