Principal Welcome Letter 20-21

August 7, 2020

Dear Steele Families,

Welcome to the 20-21 school year, one that is sure to be remembered! We have been on quite a wild ride since last March. I hope you and your family were able to find some peace among the chaos this summer and are relaxed and ready for our new adventure.

As you know, all students are beginning school remotely on August 24th. This is a change to the original district calendar which had students returning the week of August 17th. Instead, the week of the 17th will be used to build relationships with students. Teachers will be reaching out to all of their students to have “get to know you” conversations so students feel more comfortable starting the year remotely. Look for a communication from your homeroom teacher.

We will also be distributing Chrome Books and school supply kits the week of the 17th. Look for more information in next week’s Steele Stallion.

There has been a lot of changing information about in-person vs. virtual school this fall. Here are some of the major changes you should be aware of:

  • Your decision about whether your child will attend virtual school or in person school is non-binding. You may change your mind at any time. (This will likely change as the year progresses)
  • All students will start with their previously assigned homeroom teacher. This is a school specific decision. At Steele we believe that the most important thing we can do to support our students through these challenging times is to provide them with a strong sense of community.
  • If you choose virtual learning your child may be removed from their homeroom once we return to in person learning. We do not want to do this, however, the logistics of running an in person and virtual school simultaneously may necessitate the change.

Daily Schedule: We received a lot of feedback about remote learning this past spring and have done our best to incorporate that feedback into our remote plan for the fall. Our daily schedule has been created to ensure that students in all grades have similar learning experiences and consistent daily schedules. As we work on our schedule some of the things we considered were: consistency across grade levels, flexibility in learning, and balanced screen time. Here are some of the changes we made:

  • All students will have live literacy, live math and lunch at the same time.
  • We created large sections of time where students can work on independent work on and off line. This time also has flexibility so kids can take breaks and get outside.
  • Kids will have specials every day but it will look different. Classes will have the same special for 2 consecutive weeks. One week will be a live lesson with the teacher and the other will be pre recorded lessons. The reason for this change is to limit the amount of students with our specials teachers once we return to in-person learning. We are trying to keep remote and in person schedules as similar as possible to create consistency for our kids.
  • Teachers will send a recommended daily schedule for work completion and when to have breaks and recess, but families will have the flexibility to adjust based on their needs.
  • Ms. Patty will hold daily office hours for tech related issues. Our 2nd educators will hold daily office hours to support with classwork related questions.

To get a better sense of what your child will experience each day, you can review sample daily schedules here:
primary sample schedule intermediate sample schedule

You can also review the master schedule here. We will go over the schedule in more detail during our virtual Back-to-School Night on Thursday, August 20th.

Beginning of Year Information: Due to COVID restrictions we will not be having an in person popsicle social this year. Instead, we will host a virtual Back-to-School night on Thursday, August 20th. The night will be a mix of prerecorded information and a live Q&A session. More information will be shared in the Steele Stallion next week.

Family Resources for Remote Learning: All students in grades K-5 will be using the same learning management system this year, Seesaw. We will have a family Seesaw training during Back-to-School Night. In addition to this platform, your students will be using a lot of other features on their Chrome Books. Here is a handy Technology Tutorial Resource that may save you a headache or two.

Over the summer, we’ve had some staffing changes. Sara Nath and Julia Talen have moved on. Sara moved to Arkansas to be closer to family and Julia is pursuing a master’s degree in writing. We wish them all the best in their new adventures. Please join us in welcoming our amazing new staff:

Sarah Johnson- Senior Team Lead, 4th/5th intervention
Hello Steele families! My name is Sarah Johnson and I am excited to join the Stallion family as a Senior Team Lead and interventionist for 4th and 5th grades! I have been an educator in DPS for 12 years in teaching, coaching, and personalized learning roles. I believe that experiential learning is the best way to both engage students in important real-world topics and grow their love for learning. I also believe that building strong partnerships with students and families is crucial as we are an extension of the hopes and dreams you have for your children. When I’m not at school, you can find me in the mountains hiking and biking with my husband, 2 children, and Golden Retriever, Baxter. I am excited to be a part of the Steele team and can’t wait to meet you all!

Kristin Lacaria- ESL Resource
Hi! My name is Kristin Lacaria and I am so excited to be joining the Steele team as your ESL resource teacher. I am proud to have taught in DPS for over 10 years, with children and families from all over the world. I believe that children learn and develop best in the context of trusting relationships, where they have the chance to learn through experiences and realize achievable goals. In my free time I like taking care of my plants, hiking and traveling. I am looking forward to getting to know you this year at Steele!

Tiffany Stone-Special Education
Hello All! I am so excited to be starting my 3rd year as a special education teacher. After staying home with my daughter, I decided to go back to school and become a teacher. I have a Masters degree in teaching from MSU Denver, as well as an English Literacy Degree from CSU. This is my first year with DPS and at Steele Elementary and I am thrilled to be a Stallion. In my free time, I love to hike with my daughter and husband, I am an avid seamstress, and am very involved with Girl Scouts.

We also had a few internal staffing changes:

Natalie Shah will remain in her role as a Senior Team Lead but will be teaching 2nd/3rd intervention.

Lane Miller will be teaching drama part time three days a week.

Dates to Remember:

  • Steele Elementary 20-21 Calendar: Please check out our Steele specific 20-21 calendar here. Dates highlighted in purple are non-student contact days specific to Steele.
  • Thursday, August 20th-Back-to-School Night Remotely at 6:00pm
  • Friday, September 4th- Steele Specific Teacher Planning Day- No School for Students
  • CSC/PTA- The 2nd Tuesday of each month we will hold our CSC and PTA meetings. CSC starts at 4:30 and PTA starts at 6:00. These meetings will be held virtually until further notice. Links to the meetings and an agenda will be sent out in a Stallion Extra the day before the meeting.

What’s the best way to get connected at Steele?

  • Log on to our Steele Website to stay current on all of our community events and needs.
  • Subscribe to the Stallion Press, our weekly newsletter, on our website.
  • Join our Steele Facebook page for general school information.
  • Join our Steele Elementary Private Group on Facebook for engaging discussion, updates, requests, news, etc. Click “join” on the page and your request will be reviewed by the social media coordinator.

We have the BEST PTA ever!
We would not be able to do our best for our students and school without the dedication and investment of our PTA and parents. I encourage you to join our Parent Teacher Association! Our PTA continues to amaze us with their fundraising efforts which provide incredible support for our staff and students. The PTA helps to fund things such as:

  • Second Educators in our classrooms
  • Financial support for technology upgrades, curriculum resources, and staff professional development
  • Funding for supplies, materials, and equipment for our Specials teachers
  • Grant funding to grade-level teachers and individual classrooms who seek additional funding for special projects and classroom resources, and much, much more!

I hope you enjoy your last couple of weeks of summer! The staff and I are eagerly waiting to welcome you to another wonderful school year and look forward to seeing families and students very soon!


Marti Rosenberg