Principal's Message

 Diana Price

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Diana Price

March 2020

Dear Willow Creek Families,

We are heading into the spring months and I couldn’t be happier. While I love all seasons, this winter has definitely reminded us that we live in Colorado!

I am excited about year two of Cherry Creek Reads Week: A Districtwide Reading Initiative. The theme for the week of March 9-13 is “Read Together, Change Lives Together”, and is based on the book Because by Mo Willems, a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator. Because takes readers on a journey of self-discovery, with the realization of how one small event can change your life forever and make one wonder...What’s my Because? Each team has a copy of the book and will be reading it and talking about their ‘because’. In addition to using this book, we are challenged to read for 67 minutes during CCSD Reads Week...one minute for each of the 67 schools that make up our district. Each class has a cool page to mark off each school’s mascot as they read their 67 minutes. I love that it gives each school in the district representation on this page. Another fun celebration of reading is the bulletin boards that feature our staff’s current reads and ‘just finished’ reads. And, finally, there will be a POWER time video reiterating Cherry Creek Reads week and celebrating our beautiful library and all of the reasons we love it!

The staff and I are beginning to receive questions about teacher placement for next school year. First of all, I understand that some parents need to advocate for their children as far as teacher placement is concerned. I also understand that Willow Creek teachers spend an extremely large amount of time, thought, and energy to create class lists. A few of the areas they must consider are: 

  • Male/female ratios
  • Heterogeneous range of reading, writing and math skills
  • Students on IEPs (individualized education plans)
  • Students on ALPs (advanced learning plans)
  • Social dynamics of students
  • Cluster of ELA students 
  • Clusters of GT students
  • Race (new consideration to ensure all students have peers to learn with and connect with that share their culture)

I would like you to feel comfortable in advocating for a specific type of teacher and/or learning environment in which you believe your child would learn best. For example, your child may need a more nurturing teacher, or maybe a super flexible one. Perhaps your child needs structure and a stronger personality to motivate them. Specifically requesting a teacher or requesting not to have a teacher can not be guaranteed based on the factors listed above. While I know that most families and students can work with any of our amazing teachers, I would like to offer

parents the opportunity to submit in writing the characteristics of a teacher that your child needs ONLY if you have a specific concern. I will need to receive your letter by Friday, April 10th.

One more thought. Please do not engage with teachers and support staff regarding your requests. It puts the staff in an awkward place to hear about their fellow peers. The final decision will be mine if there are questions or concerns. A teacher or support staff cannot place your child. Thank you for your support and for helping me maintain a healthy culture and climate at Willow Creek!  

Until next time,

Diana Price, Principal

Phone: 720-554-3900

email: dprice11@cherrycreekschools.org

 

 

February 2020

Dear Willow Creek Families,

I hope this newsletter finds your family healthy and enjoying the winter season. Cold and flu season has been brutal! I, too, have fallen prey to a nasty virus! Winter is upon us, and we certainly have had some cold weather and snow. I’m pretty sure we haven't seen the worst yet! Please make sure your students have appropriate clothing and that you allow for an extra few minutes on the way to school. And, please know we do our best to keep snow and ice cleared, but this is a big campus. District has prioritized for us the front walks and steps, the mobile, and then the grade level doors for order of clearing. The back sets of stairs are extremely slippery and sometimes they are the last to be cleared. I appreciate your patience as our building engineer arrives very early on snowy days to clear the paths. The typical Colorado weather pattern is that we get sunshine that melts the snow and ice, and then cold overnight temperatures that cause everything to refreeze.

Teachers are working hard to keep learning engaging and meaningful. As you may know, the state testing season is quickly approaching. Third through fifth graders will be taking CMAS (Colorado Academic Measures of Success) in March. Right now is the maximum time for learning and preparing for those tests. Please do your part in making sure your children are here and on time to maximize learning and to build confidence in themselves for the spring testing season. We are concerned about the number of tardies we see each day. It is SO important that children are here on time and in class ready to learn with their peers and their teacher. Please make adjustments to your schedules if you are having problems getting your students here on time. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. 

I would like to invite you to join us at Accountability on Monday, February 10th, especially if you are interested in discussions about how to support your children at home, and how to make sure you are accessing all platforms of communication that Willow Creek offers. Homework is always a topic of conversation and I can definitely fill you in on some new thinking/talking that the district and feeder principals have been engaging in. I also get questions about communication and how to stay informed. We are excited to remind you of all of the many ways we communicate. While I welcome all perspectives, I need to be able to share the vision of the district as many decisions have been made in silos in the past, and Dr. Siegfried is working hard to break down the silos and strive toward academic alignment. I hope to see you there!

Until next time,

Diana Price, Principal

Phone: 720-554-3900

email: dprice11@cherrycreekschools.org

 

 

January 2020

Dear Willow Creek Families,

Happy New Year!  I hope the holidays brought you and your family peace and a time of restoration.  I had some great family and friend time and made some commitments to improving my physical and mental health.  I joined Orange Theory. Ouch! Those workouts are legit!

When teachers returned on Monday they had the morning to reconnect with teammates and plan for the return of your children.  During the afternoon we had professional development around our “racial consciousness”, which is a school goal for this year.  If you are interested, or even curious about what that actually means, please join us Monday, January 13th, in the library from 5:30-6:30 for our P.A.S.S. meeting.  Or, you can always reach out to me via email, my assistant Sandy, or by phone and I would gladly schedule a time to discuss this with you in person or in a small group.

Just yesterday, January 7, we had a POWER pep assembly at the end of the day.  The students and staff enjoy getting together to simply celebrate and have fun!  We celebrated students inside and outside of school, like Math Club, Lego Robotics, Spelling Bee winners, Girl/Boy Scouts, Battle of the Books, and many more clubs!  Our 5th grade band members played for us, too!  Our students are so involved and proud of their accomplishments in these extracurricular activities. Thank you for supporting them as they participate in these activities.  Their participation enhances their school experience in many ways!  During the pep assembly, we gathered in our K-5 grade families.  5th graders modeled leadership as they brought their families to the gym and sat with them.  After some celebrations and conversations within our families, we ended with the Hokey Pokey and dancing to “We are Family”!  The smiles were contagious!

I hope that you continue to watch our POWER TIME videos each week as those are a method of communicating our daily work grounded in developing and maintaining a common, growth mindset across all grade levels, for students, staff, and all viewers.  We also use it as a means to teach and support our theme, Kindness, positive behaviors, and strategies for success in school and relationships in general.  Students enjoy the messages and teachers are great at expanding on the ideas and integrating them into their classrooms.  Students especially LOVE to be in the videos!

There is a new method of accessing important dates and information. Right inside our front door we have a monitor that will be displaying upcoming events and important announcements.  Our awesome PTO purchased this for us and Chris Domino and Sandy Hueser will be assisting the PTO Presidents with the content.  Come check it out!  Please continue to read This Week at Willow Creek that comes via email on Sundays.  There are important announcements and school events advertised in that email.  There are opportunities for you to be involved, such as participating in Willow Creek’s Accountability Committee & P.A.S.S.  Willow Creek Accountability and P.A.S.S. will meet on January 13th, 5:30-6:30 and then 6:30-8:00 respectively, in the library and will include the election of a new Co-President to work alongside Mike Murray.  The next Community PTO meeting is March 24 from 6:30-8:00 in the library.  PLEASE consider participating in any of these parent meetings.  I appreciate your presence and input.

I loved every holiday hug, every plate of goodies, every gift, and every card I received.  It is very special to be thought of during that hectic time of year! Let us enter 2020 with positive assumptions and great expectations for another amazing year!

Until next time,

Diana Price, Principal

Phone: 720-554-3900

email: dprice11@cherrycreekschools.org

 

 

December 2019

Dear Willow Creek Families,

Holiday Greetings to you all!  As we end 2019 and prepare for 2020, I wish you all Peace, Love, Happiness, and Health regardless of the particular holiday you celebrate!

I want to take a minute to let you know how much I enjoy having lunches with students.  I was able to complete the 1st and 2nd grade lunch groups before Thanksgiving break.  I am starting with 3rd grade now and hope to see all 3rd graders over the next two months.  I will end with 4th and 5th grade.  End of year is a great time to get feedback from 5th graders as they prepare to move on to middle school.  These lunch groups provide time for me to sit with 6-10 students and get to know them better, and give them a chance to connect with me.  Student voices are important to me and I look forward to each group.  Unfortunately, I do not have lunch with Kindergartners for two reasons: one is that I can barely fit in grades 1-5, and two, Kindergartners are working really hard to develop lunch routines and I do not want to disrupt those routines!  

Please continue to take a few minutes each week to watch the Power Time video that we send out.  These videos are a great format for our common language of POWERThey reiterate school expectations, share celebrations, and in general support a positive culture and climate.  I really like to feature classrooms and staff members who positively impact learning and growth.  Most students LOVE to watch the videos, and better yet, they LOVE to be in them!  Our focus this year has mostly been on reviewing the POWER words for new students and reminding the Willow Creek “veteran” students of expectations grounded in a growth mindset.  It is really fun to showcase new programs and structures throughout the year.  We have sent out information about our Willow Creek “Families”, which is a program organized by a group of teachers.  We will be sharing a POWER time video soon with more information and details about this fun and inclusive way to make sure all students feel welcomed and valued here at school.  By creating smaller communities within the larger community of 560, we hope to build more connections between students of all ages, and allow older students to learn how to mentor younger ones. 

In response to some parent requests regarding safety, make sure you read the emails that went out on November 15th.  One was specific to dismissal procedures, and one was specific to the language and definitions you should know regarding safety drills and procedures.  We practice the drills and would implement them in the event of a threat to the school.  Of course we hope that we never have to act on a serious threat, but I feel confident that we take our practices seriously and that we are as prepared as possible.  We appreciate the support of District Safety Coordinators and area School Resource Officers.  They are great at helping us practice drills and understand procedures.  It is important to me that you know our support systems and that you feel confident that we are doing all we can to provide a physically and psychologically safe learning environment for your children. 

We had some joys and sorrows in 2019, and have had multiple opportunities to practice our growth mindset words: Perseverance, Optimism, Flexibility, Empathy and Resilience.  Along with our current theme of KINDNESS, the combination of a growth mindset and this wonderful community make for an amazing school!  As always, thank you for your support, your questions, your partnership, and especially thank you for sending the Best.Kids.Ever to school each day!  Like I tell my teachers each week...I am still in awe…….

Until next time,

Diana Price, Principal

Phone: 720-554-3900

email: dprice11@cherrycreekschools.org

 

 

November 2019

Dear Willow Creek Families,

Happy Fall!  I want to start by saying how much fun the Halloween Parade was!  Outside would have been a much better venue if the weather would have cooperated.  Oh, well, we can't control Mother Nature!

Please ask your children about our new PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Support) assembly where we celebrated our “Families” project.  The assembly was on Friday, November 1st.  Carrie Hogan and a team of teachers worked very hard to make this a reality. The purpose of this project is to create smaller communities within the larger Willow Creek community so that children make more connections with both students and adults.  The structure of a “Willow Creek family” is one student per grade, K-5. Then there are groups of families that come together with a team of adults to become a “household”.  There will be several times throughout the year when the “families” come together to work on a project, or to bond through an activity.  When we have a POWER pep assembly, students will sit in their family groups instead of their grade levels.  This gives our 5th graders an opportunity to lead, and it gives students across grade levels an opportunity to make friends outside their grade.  Our plan is to continue this in the coming years and keep the families intact with the exception, of course, of 5th grade. There will be a POWER time video in December showing highlights and pictures.  You know me and my POWER time videos!  Be sure you check it out.

I have heard some rumblings about drop off in the mornings now that the weather is changing and fewer people are walking or riding their bikes.  Students can be dropped off at 7:45 and go directly to their doors where a teacher will be supervising by 7:50.  Being at school on time is so important in getting the day started on a positive note, and the drop off line goes more smoothly when everyone doesn't show up between 7:55-8:00!  It can truly make a difference if some people can be here between 7:45-7:50.  I see the front drop off every morning and it is rarely full until between 7:55-8:00.  Please have your student ready to get out of the car as soon as you can stop, and PLEASE do not park in the drop off lane, even if you think it will only be a minute.  Every second counts!  Our crossing guards are doing a fantastic job of watching the flow of cars and monitoring the timing of letting pedestrians cross.  When my schedule allows I enjoy being out in the front to greet you and your students and help move cars along. 

Remember to visit our website willowcreek.cherrycreekschools.org for more information about our school and our district.  Upcoming opportunities to be involved at Willow Creek are:  P.A.S.S. (Partnership for Academically Successful Students) Monday, November 11, 5:30-6:30, and Accountability Monday, November 11, 6:30-8:00. 

Can you believe it is already November?  Our school year is flying by!  In the spirit of “Thankfulness”, I want to reiterate how blessed and thankful I am to be leading this school!  The staff, students, and community amaze me each and every day!  I truly love being here and am thankful every day for this opportunity.  It has been an amazing first trimester and I couldn't be more proud of the hard work and success of the teachers, staff, and students.  I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving break and are able to reflect on what you are thankful for.

Until next time,

Diana Price, Principal

Phone: 720-554-3900

email: dprice11@cherrycreekschools.org

 

 

October 2019

Dear Willow Creek Community,

Fall in Colorado is beautiful!  It is my favorite season. Football games, fall foods, and fall foliage in my favorite colors catch my attention.  It’s a nice time in the school year because we have established our routines and schedules, and teachers and students are able to engage in meaningful learning.

As you may know, teachers spent time with students collecting baseline data in literacy and math at the beginning of the year.  Now they are progress monitoring and adjusting instruction to meet the needs of their students. If you were at the September Accountability Meeting you heard my presentation, Willow Creek’s Data Story.  To summarize, according to grades 3-5 CMAS Literacy and Math assessments,  Willow Creek has around 70% of students who met or exceeded grade level standards.  For those who haven't met them yet, there are instructional adjustments, accommodations and modifications according to IEPs or 504 plans, and sometimes it is simply that a student needs a little extra time.  I share this with you so that you are aware of our celebrations of how many students perform at grade level, and our care and concern for those who don’t.  

We really believe that it takes a village.  The fundamental skills that our primary grade teachers teach in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies lay the foundation for the success of our students throughout their entire elementary experience and beyond.  Every skill, every lesson, every goal that teachers and students work on are important to the foundation and growth of learning. Each year as the content levels and the expectations increase, teachers continue to challenge students and set even higher learning goals.  I am proud of the hard work and determination that teachers and students exhibit every day.

There will be an opportunity to discuss your child’s progress with their teacher soon.  Parent Teacher conferences are quickly approaching. They will be the week of November 4th-8th.  If they haven’t already, teachers will be reaching out to parents to schedule these important conferences. As always, if you have questions or concerns about your child’s progress, please do not hesitate to contact either their teacher or me. 

One last thought, I invite you to join our joint PTO/Accountability meeting on October 7th at 6:30 p.m. in the library.  The topic will be school safety. Steve Wallisch, Safety Coordinator for the Cherry Creek High School Feeder, will be joining us.  If you have questions or concerns about safety, this would be a great meeting for you to attend.  For your future planning, the November 11th Accountability meeting will include Norm Alerta, Director, Office of Assessments and Performance Analytics, and the topic will be the UIP (Unified School Improvement Plan) that all Colorado schools are required to submit to the State.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership!  Every day I am thankful and blessed to be a part of this wonderful community of learners.

Take good care!

Diana Price, Principal

Phone: 720-554-3900

email: dprice11@cherrycreekschools.org

 

 

September 2019

Hello and welcome to school year 2019-2020! As I have begun year four as your Principal, I continue to learn about this community and I feel more and more connected. It is awesome to see familiar faces as well as meet our new families. Willow Creek belongs to all of us!

The theme for this year is KINDNESS. While we continue to embrace POWER as the foundation for learning, interactions with others, and a growth mindset, we will focus on KINDNESS. KINDNESS to self, and KINDNESS to others. A growth mindset is not a trendy notion or a passing phase. POWER was born out of the understanding of growth mindset and is truly a lifelong skill that is valuable for everyone! As we check ourselves to make sure we are being KIND to ourselves and to others, the hope is that we are building upon and modeling practices for a happy, successful life beyond Willow Creek. Engage in conversations with your students about the weekly POWER videos which will be emailed to parents through the “parent 1” email provided in PowerSchool. You will receive the weekly POWER video so that you have an awareness of our weekly focus, a common language to bridge school and home, and one venue for principal-parent communication. More and more students are directly involved in the creation and the production of the weekly video. There is a description of POWER on our website if you would like more information. 

I appreciate your mindfulness about the flow of traffic and the use of crosswalks for safety of all of our community members. Please do not leave your car unattended in the fire lane. Your parked car causes a delay in the flow of cars using the ‘kiss and go’ drop off. I know that parking is tricky at the peak times, but it’s important that everyone honor the rules and follow our safety guidelines. I greatly appreciate how many of our students are making it to school on time this year! Remember that you can drop off by 7:45 so that your student is in line at 7:50 at grade level doors. For the safety of your student, please remind them that they have the blacktops to move about on when they go to their respective doors. They may not play on the playground equipment as we have no supervision on the playgrounds at that time. We won’t let students in the front doors until the first bell rings. This helps spread the students out across the campus and avoids a cluster at the doors. Dismissal is going well and most students are off the school grounds by 3:00, which is the expectation unless they are supervised by a parent or in a scheduled activity. Again, the safety of the students is a priority, therefore playing on school grounds before school or after 3:00 is unsafe as there is no supervision. Thank you for doing your part to follow our school expectations.

Here are some ways for you to stay “in the know” at Willow Creek! PTO will send out the weekly Sunday blast which contains the schedule for the week. Please make sure you are reading it and referencing it if you have questions about clubs, school events, etc… I encourage you and invite you to be involved in our school through volunteering and attending scheduled parent meetings. P.A.S.S. (Partnership for Academically Successful Students) and School Accountability will meet Monday, September 9th: P.A.S.S. will meet at 5:30 pm; Accountability at 6:30 pm in the library. Dates for Community PTO meetings will be forthcoming as well. Looking ahead to October 7th, there will be an Accountability/PTO meeting and we will have our Safety and Security Coordinator from the Cherry Creek Feeder to present and answer questions in regards to safety and security. More information about the parent organizations can be found in this edition of “THE PEEK”. 

Thank you for your continued support and for sending such lovely children to school each day. Please know that I love to visit with you about your children’s school experience, and I encourage you to contact me with questions, concerns, or to receive clarification on anything school related.

Diana Price, Principal

Phone: 720-554-3900

email: dprice11@cherrycreekschools.org

 

 

May 2019
 

Dear Willow Creek Families,

Welcome to May in beautiful Colorado!  I am not sure where this year went, but I am certainly amazed at how quickly it flew by.  It has been a full year with many opportunities to support one another as a school community.  Whether it was mourning together as a community, supporting illness, learning new strategies to support ALL students, or sharing joy and hugs, we are stronger and better for you and your students!

I appreciate your support as we fully implement district procedures for safety.  Many of you have not only been patient with us as we implement the use of the Raptor system, but you have been positive and appreciative!  We are still working on the procedures for larger events, but we know during the day when students are transitioning throughout the building, that every visitor is a safe visitor.  We will not assume anything that could compromise the safety of our precious children.  

I would like to thank those of you who wrote emails, letters, dropped by to visit, or called to talk about the best placement for your children (child) next year. My staff has been working really hard with intentionality about best placements for students.  I appreciate your support as we work through this important process. Please know that teachers work together to make the best recommendations, and then I work with them to make the final decisions. In order to maintain professional relationships, I ask that you reach out to me if you have additional questions about placements.  As we learned this past summer, there were students moving in and moving out, and we needed to adjust some classes last minute to keep the balance the best we could. CLASS LISTS will be emailed and posted on grade level doors at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, August 7th.  So, speaking of next year, I want to share some changes that I know of at this point.

Staffing changes:

Misti Black is moving to Kindergarten.

CCSD will have FULL DAY Kindergarten…..Kindergarten parents will be communicated with via the district, so please wait for questions until we hear from district!

Many of you know that Mrs. Clark is retiring. (sad face)

We will hire two additional Kindergarten teachers to work with Mrs. Black and Mrs. Thomas.

Taylor Symons will join the second grade team.  She is currently teaching 2nd grade in Windsor, CO.

Courtney Blume will be an "Instructional Coach" for us next year.

We will hire a new third grade team member soon.

After the successful completion of a "one year only" contract, Katie Hlavka is officially a member of the first grade team.  

 

And finally, in closing out the final PEEK for this school year, I would be remiss if I did not continue to thank you for your love, your gracious outpouring of support, and the best part of Willow Creek...your amazing children!  I close weekly emails to my staff with "Still in awe…", and I say the same to you as parents and partners in your children's education.  I am humbled every day to be your leader at Willow Creek.

Have a fun, safe, and healthy summer! :)

Respectfully,

Diana Price, Principal

Phone: 720-554-3900

email: dprice11@cherrycreekschools.org

Last Modified on March 4, 2020