Community Update 4-23-21

Posted 04/23/2021

 

Cori’s Note

Hello dear DMHS community,

Earlier this week we received news of the verdict in the murder trial for George Floyd. While the verdict represents justice for George Floyd, it is just one small step on a long path toward racial justice. Throughout this week we’ve processed through additional acts of community violence and tragedy across our nation and  I am left without words. Even at the loss of words, I remain hopeful for our future. Our students shine brightly with their compassion, care and loving spirit. I am joyful in seeing those moments come alive in classrooms and across the campus. That being said, if you, your family or your student are struggling to process this event or any of  the events of this last year, there are resources available to assist. In the Updates/Reminders section below we have included links to several resources.

This morning we shared a letter containing some very concerning information regarding TikTok and other social media apps being used to promote sexual violence. Please be sure to read through this communication, and reach out with any concerns. It is disheartening to know that our students may have exposure to this type of information, and we encourage our families to be vigilant in talking about social media use with your students. www.commonsensemedia.org offers many resources for supporting conversations with your child about responsible use.

Thank you to our Farm School In-person families who filled out the survey regarding schedule.  We heard from approximately 60% of you!  After many conversations with our community, CSC and staff we’ve made the determination that it is most equitable and appropriate to maintain our current hybrid schedule for Farm School. The primary factors in making this decision are:

  • Health and Safety. 
  • Equity. 
  • Mental Health and Well-being.

After reviewing the data it’s clear that offering as much stability as possible through high quality instruction in the hybrid environment is what our community will benefit most from. We are confident about closing out the year strong and eagerly  anticipate more ‘normalcy’ in the coming school year. We will have transportation back for our families and are planning for a more typical schedule to include in-person learning every day of the week. Thank you, again, to the families who completed the survey and provided us with thoughtful feedback. Should you have lingering questions, please reach out to Carol, Annie or me at any time.

HS Director, Leah Bry,  has been hard at work on coordinating Graduation with our Seniors and their families. On Wednesday she sent a communication home regarding an important date change and to include some additional details for our Senior families. If you have not yet reviewed that information, please click here to access that letter. The DMHS class of 2021 graduation date is Monday, May 24th and is scheduled for noon. To ensure that our staff, many of whom have been working side-by-side with this class of seniors since they were in 7th grade, has the opportunity to participate in the ceremony we will hold an asynchronous learning day for both Farm and High School on May 24th. More details regarding this will come prior to that week.

Last week we shared the bittersweet news that Carol and Leah would be moving on from DMHS. This week I have exciting news to share, and that is that the role of HS Director will be filled by Katya Thronweber. Katya has been with DMHS since the beginning and brings amazing vision that will support the further development of our high school and sustain the thriving foundations on which it is built. Please join me in celebrating Katya’s move into this role! Please rest and enjoy the weekend. Cori

 

Updates/Reminders: 

North High Football Futures:  North is still looking for 7th and 8th graders to join their futures football program.  Please click here for information on how to register.  The program will start Monday, April 26. 

North Season D Registration (Baseball, Lax, Girls Soccer, Boys Swim and Dive, Girls Tennis, Track and Field) 

ends on Monday, April 26 this is a hard deadline! 

Covid Vaccines available for DPS students ages 16 +! 

For more information, please see DPS’s Covid Vaccine Resource Page.

2020-21 Yearbook Deadline has been extended until April 30!  

There is still time to order your yearbook if you have not yet done so!  Please place your order before April 30. Please see  Yearbook Flyer for ordering details.  

City of Denver Youth Opportunities:  The City of Denver is offering some opportunities for young people.  Please click here for more information.  

Ultimate Frisbee for Middle School Students Opportunity:  Altitude Youth Ultimate is offering opportunities for Middle School Students to play this spring.  Please click here for more information. 

The Farm School  Micro-Economy class is making candied citrus. To order, please use this form.

Please continue to check out the DMHS Newspaper/Blog! 

Mark your calendars! 

Monday, May 24:  Graduation at noon 

Thursday, June 3: 9th Grade Continuation

Friday, June 4:  Last day of school 

Covid-19 Health and Safety Protocols Guide for Families  Thank you for following! 

Farm School Schedule Notes and Decision Making Rationale:

  • Health and Safety. DMHS has not, to date, had a single incident of school based Covid transmission and we’ve not had any instances that required close contact quarantine due to in-school exposure. We’ve maintained small cohorts, limited cross-cohorting and adhered closely to the recommended health and safety guardrails. To bring all students back four days a week would require us to increase the exposure of our cohorts and, in essence, would eliminate the ability for us to maintain the small cohort sizes.
  • Equity. Nearly 40% of our families said that transportation would be a barrier and that they would not be able to make it to school in person for four days.  To offer equitable education for all our students is a priority. Balancing virtual instruction while also teaching live in-person is not ideal and impacts the quality of the learning experience. We want our students to receive high-quality instruction whether they are remote or in-person and believe that our hybrid schedule allows teachers to focus on one modality of instruction at a time. 
  • Mental Health and Well-being. Our students, and our staff – the entire community has experienced over a year of constant and intense change. In addition to surveying families, we asked students their thoughts. Many shared a sincere desire to return to a ‘normal’ school schedule AND also shared that experiencing yet another change in schedule and courses this year felt overwhelming and exhausting. To return to in-person learning would require schedule adjustments and many changes for most of our students. Additionally, we want to honor that many of our families noted in the survey that yet another change this year felt overwhelming and many of you expressed concern about that. Finally, our staff has met every challenge with grace and we also want to honor that another change would have impact on them as well.

Resources for Mental Health Services

The following Suicide and Depression Hotlines and websites are available 24/7:

Mental Health Agencies (Therapy/Counseling)

  • Mental Health Center of Denver: 303-504-6500. Services have moved to remote teletherapy. Offered services include a 24-hour Walk-in Center, pharmacy fulfillment, primary care, co-responders, food box programs, and residential facilities that continue to operate in the community.
  • Jewish Family Service: 303-597-5000. (Services offered include mental health, Russian mental health and refugee mental health.

 

Health Updates 

From Nurse Tracy: 

This week, I came across some good information about screen time that I thought was worth sharing with our community.   The short article has some good information as well as links to additional resources.  I am seeing that this issue is very much related to some of the sleep problems that our students are having this year.     

https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-And-Watching-TV-054.aspx

DPS Free Covid Testing 

DPS is pleased to announce we are expanding our partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado to offer our free COVID-19 testing for students to support a safe return to school.  Our full community of students and staff will now be able to take a baseline COVID-19 test before coming  back to school, and then we will be able to offer an ongoing COVID-19 student screening test every other week.

Registering for testing can be completed at any of COVIDCheck Colorado’s testing sites via this link.  We encourage everyone, unless you have tested positive in the last 90 days, to take a baseline test in the new year. The tests are free, fast, and reliable. You can see an updated list of testing sites here including sites at DPS schools at the Montbello campus, Abraham Lincoln Campus, North HS Campus, All City Stadium and a new site at George Washington HS. The test will be completed via nasal PCR test or SalivaDirect™, and results will be returned within 36-72 hours.

At any time, your family and your student can schedule a test at existing CCC sites. Any DPS student or employee should use our district link, while family members can continue to use the community link (https://www.primarybio.com/l/cdphe). 

Please take a moment to check out these Resources from Lauren our School Psych 

Lauren’s Newsletter full of information and resources