About Our Principal

Dr. Sawyer is a nationally-recognized teacher and veteran principal, honored now to serve as Hamilton’s principal. His passion for education comes from believing that every student has a unique and brilliant gift within them. He is also a firm believer in the transformative power of teacher leadership in schools.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Sawyer graduated Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his doctorate at Vanderbilt in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Organization.

Christian's Corner

  • Christian’s Corner – October 30, 2018

    In Christian's Corner on

    Happy Fall, Huskies!

    I hope that your Fall Break brought rest and rejuvenation to your family.  Our teachers and team worked hard over students’ Fall Break days to learn new strategies to increase student achievement.  For example, our math teachers worked on improving students’ writing about math, a strategy we call “claims, evidence, reasoning.”   We also spent much time preparing for successful parent-teacher conferences.  Many of our teachers and families gave me highly positive reports from our conference nights, reflecting the hard work of our community of educators and families—working together on behalf of our scholars’ success.  I believe it takes a true partnership for our school and our students to succeed!

    I would also like to share with you that we are focusing as a community on being “on-time” to class each day.  We need every family to help us reinforce the message of being on-time to class, as we value every minute of learning time. For example, every class at Hamilton starts with a learning activity called a “Do Now.”  Students must be on-time so they can get full points for their “Do Now” learning task.  Soon, Hamilton’s auto-dialer will be calling each student’s home number on file, whenever a student is tardy to class.  We are doing this because we want our families to know if we are seeing a problem, and this phone-call will help us work as partners in our students’ success.

    Finally, I want to invite you to join us Wednesday, November 14th, at 5:30pm, at Hamilton, for our Hamilton “Math Night,” focused on how to support your middle school student in Math.  Together, we want to accelerate our scholars’ math growth!

    Thank you for your support of Hamilton.

    Christian L. Sawyer, Ed.D.
    Principal | Hamilton Middle School

  • Christian’s Corner – October 16, 2018

    In Christian's Corner on

    Greetings Husky Families and Scholars,

    I hope you are enjoying the Fall weather in Denver! Here at Hamilton, our scholars have engaged in intentional events to build upon our school culture. Recently, we welcomed Mr. Kwame Alexander, one of the most distinguished authors of young adult literature in our country. Mr. Alexander brought with him a musician, who interpreted his literature through song. Besides Mr. Alexander’s message being incredibly inspirational to our scholars, Mr. Alexander raised student thinking around themes in his novels such as justice, leadership, friendship, and courage. On a personal note, it was truly fun to see our scholars so excited about reading and potentially writing their own novels! We ended Mr. Alexander’s visit by surprising all scholars with a copy of his novel!

    Today, I also want to celebrate with our community our progress on the Denver Public Schools’ School Performance Framework. Hamilton moved up a level on the color-coding scale to “approaching” or “yellow.” This progress came in no small part through the incredible dedication of our teachers and staff, as well as the brilliant talents of our scholars and support of our families. Overall, our literacy growth was higher than the State of Colorado’s average, which was a celebration for our school, given our focus on reading and writing. Our English Language Learners’ growth and on-track status also met expectations, representing almost a third of our scholars. We also met expectations with the number of our scholars meeting the benchmark standards in math, science, and literacy, compared to our similar schools.

    Of urgent priority to all of us is accelerating our math growth and closing our achievement gaps.  While our school maintained “approaching” status with our academic gaps indicator, we must close the achievement gaps with our students of color, students in poverty, and students receiving special education services. Additionally, we are focused as a team on improving our student and parent satisfaction rates, measured on official district surveys in the Spring. These are the critical factors we want to improve with and our incredible scholars as we push towards “Green.”

    I hope all of you and your families have a safe and enjoyable Fall Break!

    Go Huskies!

    Christian L. Sawyer, Ed.D.
    Principal | Hamilton Middle School

  • Christian’s Corner – October 2, 2018

    In Christian's Corner on

    Greetings Husky Families and Scholars,

    Happy Fall!  As a faculty and team, we are focused on sustaining the strong momentum from our solid start to our school year. In the beginning of the year, we worked hard to build strong culture expectations that support our middle schoolers feeling safe, supported, and focused in school.  Now, as we approach October, we are deepening our focus on each student’s goals this semester.  We are talking with each student about if they are “on-track” with their minimum grades (a GPA of 2.5), attendance (not missing more than 4 days), and behavior (no referrals to the principal’s office). We are also focused on getting to class on time for each class and ensuring each scholar is reading for 2.5 hours per week independently at home.

    Next week, all students will take an “interim” assessment in Math and in Literacy.  These assessments help us diagnose areas where our students are exceeding in their learning and where we need to improve.  In both Math and Literacy, students will be expected to write short answers explaining their answers.  In Literacy, they will be expected to write several essays.  All students will be getting a grade on their interims and all students who try their hardest will earn a fun reward!

    Finally, I want to share an update on our school funding.  Due to the fact that enrollment was lower than projected, we had to make the extremely difficult decision to reduce our staff.  In collaboration with our CSC, areas were selected to reduce, none of which are in any way an easy decision.  Unfortunately, we must reduce our IB Coordinator role to 0.5 and our School Nurse to 4 days a week rather than 5 days per week.  We are absolutely committed to our future in becoming an IB school and are transition planning now.  These staffing changes will take effect at the end of October.

    In conclusion, I want to give a shout out to our athletic coaches and Husky athletes.  I had fun cheering on the Huskies last week at our cross country event Hamilton hosted as well as home softball and soccer games.  Above all else, I am proud of the leadership I’ve seen our Huskies show on the field in representing our school values at all times!

    Go Huskies!

    Christian L. Sawyer, Ed.D.
    Principal | Hamilton Middle School

  • Christian’s Corner – September 18 2018

    In Christian's Corner on

    Greetings Husky Families and Scholars,

    I hope this email finds you well.  We are hard at work at Hamilton as we enter into our second month of teaching and learning with our scholars and teachers.  We have had many inspiring moments in this last two weeks, including a special visit by Andrea Davis Pinkney, a New York Times bestselling author of young adult literature that has civil rights and global themes.  Ms. Pinkney offered an inspiring “author’s talk” to each grade-level.  This is an example of our efforts to become an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program school, as we expand our scholars’ global connections.  Many scholars got autographed copies of her books and shared how they want to grow in becoming authors!

    After our solid start to our new school year’s culture, we now are focused as a faculty and staff on reaching our first academic goals with our scholars.  You should be receiving a progress update on your scholar’s grades, behavior, and attendance in the coming week.  Your scholar will be given a letter explaining if he/she is “on-track” or “off-track,” according to our Hamilton minimum expectations for college-readiness.  To be “on-track,” students need to have obtained a 2.5 GPA (mostly all As, Bs, and Cs), have demonstrated good behavior, and cannot have missed more than 4 days of school.   If you have any questions about your student’s “on-track” status, please work with your student’s grade level Dean of Culture (Grade 6 –  Lorraine Hess;  Grade 7 –  Michael Kitch; Grade 8 – Laura Visintine).

    Finally, I also want to share that we are awarding “Hamilton Badges” this year for scholars to earn in classes for demonstrating leadership of our Hamilton “PACK” values, reflecting the IB Learner Profile.  Scholars who earn these badges will then be able to use them to select privileges and rewards in our Husky Store.  We already have scholars earning many badges for their excellence!

    Go Huskies!

    Christian L. Sawyer, Ed.D.
    Principal | Hamilton Middle School

  • Christian’s Corner – September 4, 2018

    In Christian's Corner on

    Greetings Husky Families and Scholars,

    It is with gratitude that I begin my opening letter of our Husky Herald, which I hope you enjoy reading every other week.  Today, I share gratitude with each of you and our entire team at Hamilton for all of the hard work everyone has put into opening our new school year with positive energy, high hopes for a great year, and relentless effort.

    We opened our year with an intentional focus on setting the foundation for positive school culture and safety, essential ingredients for a good year.  Specifically, we have emphasized with our students “The Hamilton Way,” Hamilton’s expectations for safety in our hallways, lunchrooms, classrooms, and open spaces, including our aspirations and non-negotiables for student behavior.  As an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme candidate school, we are using the language of the IB Learner Profile, such as being “good communicators,” in all that we do.  In my non-negotiables with students, I expect students to follow staff instructions at all times; that headphones and cell phones are not to be seen or used on campus except at recess; that fighting, racism, bullying and discrimination will not be tolerated; and that conflict should be solved by talking with our staff to help students find peaceful means.  Academically, I reviewed my expectations that students remain on track with all As, Bs, and Cs; read for 2.5 hours at least every week at home; do not miss more than 3 days of school per semester, and work diligently on their National History Day Project this year. Please review these expectations with your scholars and help support our positive school culture.

    I believe it is important for all middle school-age students to understand clear expectations and to feel safe on our campus, both physically and psychologically.  In my overview to students, I also introduced them to our full team of counselors, social workers, and staff here to support them.  Once students feel safe, their learning can sky-rocket!  On a final note, I want to welcome to our new team of Deans of School Culture and Restorative Practice Coordinators, all working in support of a positive, safe, and meaningful school community.  I hope you get to meet them at this week’s Back to School Night!

    Go Huskies!
    Christian Sawyer