Dear Iron Horse Families:
Thank you for an amazing year! There is so much to celebrate and I wanted to take this time to share with you our celebrations for this year, our plans for next year, and our goodbyes to staff.
This year, staff has worked hard in the area of literacy. Iron Horse was selected as part of a pilot program to be a model lab school in literacy. Iron Horse was the only elementary school in Parker to earn this honor. Teachers focused intensely on research-based literacy approaches. Teachers met weekly with Janet Merrill, a professional development specialist from DCSD, to receive individualized support. Teachers also worked at each PLC day refining their practice. Finally, teachers were trained in the Thinking Maps and utilized these during the last quarter of school. It has been amazing to see the growth in all of our teachers and the wonderful work that students are doing.
Looking at next year, staff will focus on writing and the implementation of Write from the Beginning, as well as character education for our students. This training will align and extend the literacy training that teachers have already received. Janet Merrill will continue to work with teachers, focusing on individual coaching based upon each teacher's needs. We will also be the model school for others in the Parker area that are focusing on literacy, with staff observing our teachers and working collaboratively with them to improve their practice. Staff will also focus on different character traits each month with all staff encouraging and reinforcing these traits throughout the day through our character education plan.
Our Learning Commons will see a significant change with a complete overhaul over the summer and into the early school year. This area will now be called The Junction and will feature a combination of library and technology that extends the literacy learning that takes place in the classroom. Pods will also see a change with renaming based upon different train lines (i.e. Union Pacific), and our office will be named the Iron Horse Depot. We are truly embracing our mascot, the train!
Staff worked collaboratively this year to create new behavior expectations and homework guidelines that will be implemented next year. You will be receiving a parent/student handbook that defines these expectations and guidelines, as well as providing other valuable information, for your reference.
As the year comes to an end, we are sadly saying goodbye to some of our colleagues. I'd like to thank the following staff members for their service to Iron Horse. They will be greatly missed!
Sarah O'Rourke (1st) will be staying home with her daughter, Penelope, next year. Amy Svitak (2nd) has accepted a position at a school closer to her home but within the district. Cindy Fazio-Cramer (3rd) has accepted a position at another school within the district. Luke Willis (Art) is pursuing other opportunities in the area of art. Jordan Craig (Music) has accepted a full time position at another school in the district, moving from a 4 day/week position to a 5 day/week position. Lisa de la Pena (Tech) has accepted an Assistant Principal position at another school in the district. Charlie Ghidotti (PE), Ann Dickman (SSN Educational Assistant), and Claire Shadow (Instructional Assistant - Library) are retiring this year. I will be sharing information about our new staff members in our July PTO newsletter.
It has been a tremendous year of learning and growing, both for staff and students! We are so excited to continue this learning next year with our students, both new and returning. Take time to enjoy your summer - we will see you on August 10th for our Meet and Greet Day. Enjoy!