Principal Cindy Kapeller’s Welcome Letter

Dear Steele Elementary Families,

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year! I would like to extend a very special welcome to our new families! I hope you are enjoying a fantastic summer filled with many adventures, as well as awesome, real-life learning experiences. My husband, Doug, and I are realizing that the options for adventure in Colorado are endless! We spent lots of time outdoors hiking and biking. We also hosted family and friends from Indiana, Nebraska and Kansas throughout the summer. Even though I have enjoyed my summer, I am super excited for our school year to begin!

Throughout the summer, the Steele staff demonstrated their deep commitment to our school and their own professional growth! Here are some examples of how they invested their time and energy on behalf of our school:

  • Members of the ILT, Instructional Leadership Team (Marissa Sarkesian, Natalie Pyle, Betsy Maletz and myself), participated in two weeks of planning and leadership work, one week in June and one week in July. In addition, they each attended a variety of sessions throughout the summer to support their growth as Teacher Leaders.
  • Teachers in grade 3 and 4/5 multiage attended a two day Literacy training to deepen their work with the EL Education Curriculum training in June. The EL Education Curriculum was developed by Literacy experts who are a part of the EL Education network, previously known as Expeditionary Learning.
  • Primary teachers engaged in two days of literacy training designed to strengthen their Reading and Writing instruction.
  • Several teachers attended Bridges Math training to deepen their understanding of this curricular resource.
  • Several staff members worked multiple weeks as camp counselors for Camp Invention.
  • Our teachers who will be serving as Mentors this year attended two days of training to set them up for success in coaching their Residents (previously known as Interns).
  • Our new Teacher Residents attended a week of training designed to prepare them for the classroom. (I will share more details about our Boettcher Teacher Residents in a bit.)
    The strength, commitment and investment of the Steele staff is one the many reasons I am grateful to be the Steele Elementary principal.

Last May, I was able to participate in many of the school-community events, like the Art Show, Dig It Day, the Wash Park Home Tour, Field Day, and the May PTA and CSC meetings. Through these experiences, I was able to see first hand your commitment to our school, which is unmatched by any school anywhere! I believe a strong alliance between home and school is a critical factor in the academic, social, and emotional development of students. I am grateful for your partnership. Through our ongoing collaborative efforts, I am confident Steele Elementary will continue to be the best, most joyful place for children to learn and grow.

Through the incredible fundraising efforts of our PTA, as well as the generous support of our families and community, all of our classrooms will continue to have a second educator working side by side with our teachers. Together they provide a safe environment for learning, as well as high quality, joyful learning opportunities for our students. Our second educators are either paraprofessionals or teacher residents (previously known as interns). Over the years, Steele has maintained a close relationship with the Stanley British Primary Teacher Prep program. Many Stanley Interns fulfilled their program requirements at Steele. In 2015, Stanley Teacher Prep united with the Boettcher Teacher Residency Program to create Colorado’s largest and most effective teacher residency model. This year, we will welcome at least ten Boettcher Residents to our team! Each Resident has been matched with a Steele teacher who will serve as his/her mentor for the full school year. Teachers not matched with a resident will have the support of a paraprofessional in their classrooms. Thank you for your generous support to ensure we have two adults in every classroom.

Looking ahead to this school year, teachers will be working hard to create rigorous learning opportunities for students that will push their thinking in all subject areas. There will be days when students will be met with frustration in the learning process. We will help them see this as an opportunity. It’s important for our boys and girls to know what it feels like to face a challenge, work hard to overcome it, and ultimately achieve success. One of our goals is to help students develop a growth mindset. We hope to do this by providing them with meaningful learning experiences designed to motivate them to persevere in the face of a challenge and inspire them to take responsibility for their learning. I am eager to see the amazing academic, as well as social and emotional, progress our students demonstrate this year!

Effective communication is very important to the success of our school. Keep up with the latest news and events by:

Mark your calendars for these very special beginning of the year events:

  • July 20-August 11: Online Registration- Don’t forget! ALL families must register for the 2017-2018 school year, even if you filled out choice paperwork last year. Click here for information about registration.
    • If you are unable to register online, this link provides the dates for completing registration at Steele.
  • Thursday, August 17 at 5:30pm: New Parent Orientation in the auditorium.
    • This is a repeat of the orientation we had in May. It’s for parents who were unable to attend that evening.
  • Friday, August 18 from 3:00-4:00pm: Popsicle Social on the Steele playground.
    • Meet your classroom and specials teachers and mingle with your new classmates.
  • Monday, August 21: First Day of School and Parent Social hosted by the PTA
    • The first bell rings at 8:10.
    • Teachers will meet their classes outside and bring students to classrooms.
    • PTA will host a gathering for parents on the playground blacktop.
  • Wednesday, August 30 from 5:00-7:20pm: Back to School Night.
  • September 5: Labor Day. No School.

The two most important jobs affecting the education of our children, in my opinion, are that of a parent and an educator. Our impact on children carries an enormous responsibility first to the children, and then to our school, our community, and our world. Working with teachers to create a learning environment where students realize they can achieve more than they thought possible is my mission. I am beyond excited to be serving as your principal.

I hope you enjoy your final days of summer break. The staff and I are excited to begin our new school year. See you soon!