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Principal's Message

Fort Lewis Mesa Parent Letter - 10.26.20

Fort Lewis Mesa Families- Can you believe we have been in school almost nine weeks? Although school may feel different at times, we appreciate seeing all of our students' faces, whether in person or over Zoom. We thank you for your great communication, patience, and flexibility over this past quarter. Given that it is the end of quarter one, there is some information to share regarding upcoming shifts.
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Principal's Message

Principal Imel's Message About Classroom/Learning Structures

August 20, 2020 Fort Lewis Mesa Families, I hope this finds you well and excited to return to school. We miss you! While our new normal might look and feel different, we welcome the opportunity to create a safe and happy learning environment where our students thrive. With this new normal, there have been changes; I appreciate your grace and patience as we map out these shifts. Our Team Since last year, there have been multiple staff shifts. Over the last few months, we said goodbye to different staff members for various reasons (e.g. retirement, moving schools, staffing allocations in our school). Yet with these farewells, we also get to say hello to our amazing full time social worker, Amy Hackmeier. With her many years of experience across many settings, we feel lucky to add her to our team. Our Learning Models As many of you know, the district offered three choices for learning models for the 2020-2021 school year: In-person, blended, and remote. Even though we value providing our families with choices at FLME, we realized that our school would best support our students by focusing on two models, not three, given our student numbers and current staffing. Therefore, FLME will be offering in-person and remote learning. Like the other elementary schools in our district, providing these models caused us to shift our current learning structure. Therefore, we will be moving to multi-age classrooms (combination classes) for most grades; this too is common across the district. As mentioned previously, we are doing cohort style learning. FLME students will be cohorted with their class; this cohort will learn, eat, and recreate together. Cohorts will have contact with 4 or less adults per day. Here is how our structure looks this year: Kindergarten-Ms. Qualls 1st/2nd- Ms. Harris 3rd/4th-Mr. Servais 4th/5th-Ms. Clements K-5 Remote Learning-Ms. O’Buck What Can We Expect? As we move forward, you can expect to have a teacher and a school community that remains committed to the growth and well-being of your child! Our remote learning cohort is part of our larger Fort Lewis Mesa community and we are thrilled to have all our families as part of our team. With this, please keep an eye out for more information about our Meet The Teacher event. It is tentatively planned for Friday, 8/28 and more details will be shared soon. Over the next week, you can also expect to learn more about how our school plans to keep our students, staff, and families safe as we return to in person learning. We are drafting a Fort Lewis Mesa operational plan, extending from the district’s Return to Learn Plan, that details our daily protocols and procedures across the school. With this, please note that cloth face coverings are required for all staff and students. You can expect to become very familiar with itslearning, our shared learning management system. While this will serve as the main platform for remote learning, all teachers will be using itslearning to upload their plans, instructional videos, tasks, and other resources to support your child in their learning and acquisition of new skills. Again, be on the lookout for more information from me as well as your child’s teacher! Keep reaching out with your questions, feedback, and/or concerns. We are here to help you navigate this time of educational change. Don’t forget that school starts Monday, 8/31 at 7:30 am! Best, Jenny Imel~Principal
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Principal's Message

Fort Lewis Mesa Return to Learn Plan and Meet the Teacher Information

August 25, 2020 Fort Lewis Mesa Families- Are you ready? In only a few days, on August 31, school will begin. While we all know our normal has shifted, I am excited for us to be back together for a new year of learning. As always, please reach out to us with any questions or concerns as we are here to support and guide you; our front office number at Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary is 970-588-3331. Please read these updates and important information:
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Principal's Message

Principal Imel's Message 8/3/2020 ~ Return to School Information

August 4, 2020 Fort Lewis Mesa Families~ As you know, we are in the middle of a widespread public health crisis. Despite a shared want for normalcy, we cannot expect things to be like years past. As we move forward into a new school year, the planning I am witnessing is some of the most complex and thoughtful work I have ever seen in education. The requirements are challenging yet important. Please recognize that any in-person learning this year will be unlike what we have considered typical in years past. At Fort Lewis Mesa we continue to aim at engaging all students in learning with a strong focus on supporting them academically as well as social-emotionally. Given the current situation with COVID-19 here in La Plata County, our local public health agencies feel it is possible to open schools so long as we ensure students stay in consistent, socially-distanced cohorts. Our school is committed to following safety recommendations per the Colorado Department of Education; our teachers look forward to meeting their new students. As a reminder… fall registration is Wednesday, August 13 from 8am-3:30pm. We will be doing this out front of the school. As you may already know, there are three different learning models that you can choose from. Choices will be made for Semester 1 (school starting date through winter break). With this, Fort Lewis Mesa’s administration will give an opportunity for feedback on your child’s learning model and will consider making changes to placement after the first quarter. Any change for the 2nd quarter will be dependent on availability and need. Below are the three options: 1) Remote Learning Model: In this model, students participate in home learning. They will typically have opportunities to check in with their teachers virtually on those days, but will largely participate in assignments that can be completed independently. Students will have access to live lessons and home learning will be connected through the itsLearning platform. Durango 9-R will support students with access to technology tools where needed. We strive to provide students with an opportunity to continue to interact with their school community while meeting their need to stay home. We will work to ensure an engaging and rigorous experience that meets the needs of our students. 2) Blended/Hybrid Learning Model: Students will attend school two days a week in a classroom. For this option, students will receive in-person instruction a couple of days a week and remote, at-home structured learning activities on the other days of the week. These at home learning activities will provide opportunities for students to practice, apply, and continue their learning while solidifying skills and knowledge. FLME will work with other schools to ensure alignment with families. 3) In-Person Learning Model (five days a week): Students learn in a classroom, on-site at FLME, five days a week as long as permitted by public health orders. Students who choose to participate in in-person learning will be required to go through passive health screenings on the days they go to school and take health precautions throughout the day. In the classroom, students will be spaced with as much room as the class size allows. Students will have limited access to areas in the buildings, including designated bathrooms. There will be a strong emphasis on washing hands, maintaining distance, and wearing face coverings. If more information is needed, please read through the district’s Return to Learn plan HERE. Family Engagement Sessions: Join one of the district’s two family engagement sessions regarding the plan on either August 6th or 7th, at 7:30 am, 12:00pm and 6:00 pm on both dates. These Zoom sessions will also be available in Spanish. Please visit the district’s webpage to access the meetings and participate in the engagement sessions. You may also provide feedback to the district through our online feedback form HERE. Shortly after the feedback sessions, parents will receive a digital selection form to choose the model most appropriate for them. We are shooting for August 10th as a deadline for families to make their choice so that administration has time to create the master schedule and assign staff appropriately. School Funding: School funding is allocated on a per pupil basis in Durango 9-R. Each student enrolled in ANY of our 3 models will bring with him/her approximately $8,000 to our school budget. The number of dollars a school receives is based on how many students enroll by October 1st (we do not receive additional funding for students who enroll after this point in the school year). If you are considering having your child engage in a remote model, we hope that you will give FLME the opportunity to provide this programming. This will ensure that our school can weather the pandemic while still providing the necessary resources for our students. Recess: Students will have an opportunity to play outside and on the playground; they will stay in their groups (cohorts). Recess times will be spread out over the day to ensure each group remains separated from each other. Lunch: Students will eat lunch together in their cohorts, in the classroom. Meals will be provided, per usual, at a cost for families. If you will need a free or reduced lunch, please fill out the free and reduced application HERE. While we are in this together, we are all in different situations; I respect each of your decisions on how to provide learning for your child. If you have any questions or need more information, feel free to reach out to me at jimel@durangoschools.org. As a parent, I too feel the weight of the decision of which model to choose as it is tough to decide what is best for your child/children and family. Ultimately, the decision you will make is the right one. I thank you for the continued support and look forward to a wonderful, safe school year. With so much gratitude for this amazing community... Jenny Imel~Principal
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News & Announcements

Virtual Coffee Chat with the 9-R Board of Education

Greetings 9-R Families, this is Andrea Parmenter and Kristin Smith from your 9-R Board of Education. We would like to invite you to meet us and to discuss everything about education. This is the first of our planned monthly coffee chats between board members and the community.

9-R 2020/21 Capital Budget Guide

Included in this article is a comprehensive, easy to read PDF that breaks down the details of how schools and the district are funded, how the money is allocated to schools, and impacts of legislation and mandates. This year's guide has a focus on capital needs to try to bring to light the deficit due to the negative factor and the current needs across the district.

Itslearning Parent Logins

Dear families, Thank you for your patience and perseverance as we’ve migrated to the world of online learning. Today you should receive an email from itslearning that will contain your username and password.

9-R Update for the Community - 10.20.20

Dear 9-R Community, We have officially made it through the first quarter of the school year, and have thankfully had minimal COVID-19 impacts on students and staff. We thank all the staff, students and parents who have made this possible through their diligence and support of the issued guidelines. The cohort model is allowing continuation of school when a small population is impacted. And also we are appreciative that we have only had one positive case in the district, which was at the very beginning of the school year.

Schools Closed/Student Enrichment Days

The district has identified an additional two days where schools will be closed to allow teacher's additional work days to continue to plan and adjust to instruction under the guidelines of COVID-19. The two days are October 30 and November 2; these are in addition to the already identified teacher work day/school closure of November 30. Enrichment opportunities will be available to families of students in grades k-6 at no cost to the families allowing them to be supervised during regular school hours. Children with significant needs will also have an opportunity to be served at the middle and high school grades. Parents of such students will be contacted in the coming week.

Indigenous Peoples' Day

Monday, October 12, 2020, is recognized by many as Indigenous Peoples' Day. This recognition signifies honor and respect for the Indigenous Peoples of this land we call the United States of America. As we honor the Native American students and families that are part of our Durango 9-R community, we wanted to share with you the words of Michael Watchman, Chairman of the district's Native American Parental Advisory Committee (NAPAC):

School Bond Initiative 4A

On August 25, 2020, the Durango Board of Education passed a vote to move forward with the bond campaign, which has the potential to bring in over $90M, with no tax increase, for capital projects to the school district. Monies from a bond must be used for capital projects, which may include deferred maintenance, new HVAC systems, upgraded technology and safety measures etc

COVID-19 Tests with Cedar Diagnostics

Durango Schools has a partnership agreement with Cedar Diagnostics for students and staff to receive expedited COVID testing. Cedar Diagnostics has updated their scheduling system specifically to support Durango School District 9-R.


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Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary is a community of learners including students, staff, parents, and community members committed to working together collaboratively for the success of ALL!!!

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Have you heard the Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary Ukulele Club? They are AMAZING!
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