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Coronavirus Update

With heightened concerns around communities preparing for and preventing the spread of COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus, there have been several considerations regarding school trips, spring break travel, and travel in general. Currently, there are not any travel restrictions within the U.S. For the latest information on CDC travel recommendations and restrictions see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

While there are several trips for both students and staff for competitions, trainings, and trips, the district will continue to follow local and state recommendations for travel restrictions, quarantines, or otherwise. We are closely monitoring the situation within our community and our schools with our local health authority.
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March Principal's Message

Happy March to you all!

As spring approaches, it is an ideal time to reflect on the first semester. At Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary School, our staff has had ongoing professional development opportunities focusing on building a safe, supportive environment for our students. As we move forward, we will continue to strengthen our learning environment so that we best support students academically, socially, and emotionally. As shared previously, we do this through the PBIS lens which is a proactive approach to improve school safety and promote positive behavior. The aim is prevention, not punishment as well as proactive, not reactive.
To ensure student growth and success in all areas, it is key that students come to school. We have noticed a pattern, especially during the winter months, of lower attendance. Excessive absences mean missing school work. Not only is work difficult to make up but also this time out equates to learning gaps and poor grades. Please continue to reinforce good attendance habits with your child.
Here is some additional information around the importance of attendance:
“Attendance Works” (http://www.attendanceworks.org/research/ mapping-the-gap/) has substantial information on attendance and its impact on student achievement. Below is some of the research on why attendance matters.

Start Strong
Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict frequent absences later in the school year. Nearly half of all students that missed more than two days of school in September went on to miss almost a month of school.
Chronic absences: An estimated 5 to 7.5 million students in the United States miss almost a month of school every year. This adds up to over a year missed by the time of graduation.
Early Absences Lead to Attendance Issues in Later Grades
Absenteeism starts early. One in 10 kindergarteners and first graders are considered to be “chronically absent.” Chronic Absence = Missing two or more days per month.
Research shows students who miss 10% of school, or two days per month, show negative academic progress. In some schools, that adds up to 18 days a school year and is considered to be chronically absent.
Third Grade Reading Level
Poor attendance can keep children from reading proficiently by the end of third grade, which is shown to negatively affect their chances of graduating on time.
Dropout Indicator by sixth grade: A chronically absent student is shown to have a significantly higher chance of dropping out of high school.
Every Minute Matters
If a student is 10 minutes late to school each day, this adds up to missing more than 33 hours of class time. A student with a 90% attendance average for kindergarten through12th grade will miss over a year of accumulated time in the classroom.

A few reminders for this month…
Spring break week is Monday, 3/16 to Friday, 3/20
There is no school Monday, 3/30.
CMAS testing begins Tuesday, 3/31.
Please follow this survey link, FLME Survey, and share your thoughts with us!
We thank you for being our partners!

Jenny Imel, Principal
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After-School Activities Cancelled 3/12 and 3/13/2020

The following is a non-emergency message from Durango School District 9-R for all parents and staff. 

Following the direction of the Colorado High School Activities Association, the district is cancelling all after-school activities today, March 12, 2020, and tomorrow, March 13, 2020.  This does not include Kids' Camp however; that will run as normal.

Additionally, today's walk from DHS to Buckley Park, planned by our local DEA and DESPA associations to show community support to fund public education, has been postponed. A new date will be announced once set. 

If you have any questions or concerns about these cancellations, please contact your school office.  Thank you.
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Meet the New Board Members

The two newest board members, Kristin Smith and Andrea Parmenter, want to hear from you! They are hosting a coffee at College Durango Joe's on Wednesday, March 4, from 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm.
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Farm-to-School RFP

The Farm-to-School RFP has been posted and is available on the District website at durangoschools.org in the Finance section under Bidding Information.
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Understanding the Truth About School Lunch Regulations

Over the past few weeks, misinformation has been circulated regarding our school lunch policy and our community deserves the facts. Firstly, no student has received a partial lunch during the 2019-20 school year. No member of the 9-R team has employed shaming tactics toward students. And, the District maintains compliance with National School Lunch and National School Breakfast program federal guidelines.
In 2015, the district faced a critical issue as it ended the school year with over $18,000 in meal charge debt. Because school district Food & Nutrition Services departments are an independent enterprise, they are intended to be self-supporting. When a deficit occurs, the District needs to use general funds to offset losses, funds that should be designated for classrooms. It has been 9-R’s focus to minimize impacts on educational funding to maximize programs and educational resources for our students.
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