Christian’s Corner: August 17

Christian’s Corner: August 17
August 18, 2020 Madeline Janicki

Hello Hamilton Families,

I hope you are safe and healthy.  I am writing to update you this Friday from my desk.   Apologies for the lengthy update, but I want to share a lot of information with my families!

Strong start with our Hamilton team and staff:   We have had a strong and inspiring start back with our teachers and entire team.  While we are all working remotely as a staff through virtual platforms, our Husky teachers and teammates have returned with a passion and dedication to our students!

Registration:  It is so important that every Hamilton Family registers ASAP by following the instructions on our website.  We also can help in any way.  If you need help with registration, please call 720-423-9505 with your name, the student’s name, and ID number.  Or you can email esther_blackmon@dpsk12.org.  We need to get an accurate count on our students and plan for their needs.  We also need every student registered so we can protect our school’s funding.

Virtual or Hybrid choice:  I know this is confusing, as DPS and Hamilton have been focusing so hard on launching the first quarter virtually for all students.  DPS will be making an official announcement, sharing more information with you about this choice in the coming weeks.  For now, your choice is not final at all.  Your indication only helps us think about where families are initially  I believe you need more information to make a final choice, and we will be delivering that information to you as soon as possible, through our collaboration with DPS.

Technology distribution:   We are working with DPS to understand the details of our technology “refresh,” and we have very limited supply of Chromebooks, chargers, and hotspots to distribute at this time.  Please complete our technology needs survey if you need a Chromebook, charger, or hotspot.  Here is the survey in Spanish.  We will, of course, work with every family in need to figure out a way to help if your student needs a new Chromebook, charger, or hotspot.  At this time, here are the distribution dates and times next week:

  • 7th and 8th grade on Thursday 8/20, 2-4pm
  • 6th grade on Friday 8/21, 2-4pm.

Hamilton will be calling next week:  In the coming week, you should be hearing directly from our Hamilton teachers, as we will be endeavoring to call every Hamilton household to hear how our students are doing, building relationships with our families, and support you with the start of the new year.

Town Hall on Wednesday Evening:  My leadership team and I will be holding another Town Hall for families and students this Wednesday evening at 5pm.  Please check the website for log-in information.  We will have translators, too.  In my Town Hall, my team and I will go over the daily learning schedule and other key information for families.   We will also answer questions.

School Supplies:  Students need their Chromebook (computer), charger, working internet, graph paper for math, loose-leaf paper, notebooks or journals for each class (at least 4 to start the year), pens & pencils. Teachers will also go over these with their students in the first week of school and help students get set up.   We will monitor needs as a school and support our students and families to get started!

Highlights of our daily learning schedule:

  • All scholars will be on the quarter model and have morning meeting, two core classes; one elective; an Advisory; a special interest class, aligned to the MYP Community Project; independent reading; and Office Hour time, each day.
  • There are many engaging learning opportunities each day!  Such as Advisory, where we build relationships and support the whole child through social-emotional lessons; and the MYP Community Project, where students will get to engage in a special-interest exploration for the quarter and do virtual service to improve our world.
  • In addition to themed special-interest classes, such as novel-writing, robotics, video game engineering, and more, we are planning for some of the specialty classes to be super-advanced math. We want our Huskies to get excited about coming to school each day!
  • Every Friday we will have Husky Clubs, starting in the third week of school.

Our Learning Model: 

  • Core classes are 80-minute “blocks” of time.  However, all 80 minutes are not “synchronous,” or “live and on-screen.”
  • Each class starts with a synchronous “ignite,” involving social-emotional learning and goal-setting.
  • Students will then experience a synchronous lesson with their teacher and move into small-group learning.
  • After small-group learning, students will draw conclusions with their teacher and preview their “asynchronous” assignments, independent work.
  • Students will then be given time to do their asynchronous work right then.
  • The day includes lunch time and independent time, too.
  • Each week’s lessons will include a specially-designed acceleration sequence of deeper and faster-paced curriculum and tasks, for example in accelerated math.
  • Teachers are focusing on infusing culturally-responsive teaching into each week’s lessons.
  • Each lesson is designed to differentiate and accelerate for students receiving IEP supports; 504 accommodations; English Learning differentiation, and ALP differentiation.

Daily Office Hours:  In addition to their daily classes, students will have access to their teachers for daily support through Office Hours, held every day at the end of the day.  This will be a chance for students to get additional support and guidance from their teachers.

Student Schedules:  We are working as fast as possible, but really need all families to register so that we can accurately build student schedules.  Please, please register your student so that we can accurately build our schedules.  We are aiming to have them ready for each student to review by Thursday of next week.

Finally, as a bright-spot, I want to update you that our building is moving forward with its construction.  Classrooms and hallways have been painted and upgraded; the library is in process of renovation; the lobby is being refreshed; new learning furniture has arrived; outdoor solar shading and gardens have been planted; and a new basketball court has been freshly repaved and painted, among other exciting improvements for our community to return to when we can rejoin in our building. I want to say a special thanks to our facilities crew, who is working so hard under the direction of our Facilities Manager Dustin Worthington.

Please know that we want to support our families in all ways as we navigate these challenging times as a Hamilton community and family. Please reach out to us and know we are thinking of you everyday as we approach the start of the year.  We are here to help.  Please don’t hesitate to call Hamilton at 720-423-9500 or reach out via email to

 Hope you’ll be able to join my TownHall Wednesday evening, when I will review all of this for our community.  We also will have a series of supports for all students and families next week, including video messages and visuals for all students and families to learn how the daily learning schedule will work and be set up for our first day of school on August 24th!

We are stronger together as a Hamilton community! 

Sincerely,

Christian