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Commissioner's School Visits

Englewood, Mapleton and Cherry Creek

Nov. 19, 2008

Englewood School District

Bishop Elementary School

The first stop in our three district tour was Englewood School District in Englewood, Colo. Superintendent Sean McDaniel welcomed us with a warm smile and even warmer breakfast burritos. He openly shared some of the districts successes―identifying cultures at each school and providing children with choices and some of the challenges―declining enrollment at their alternative school.

Next we followed Mr. McDaniel to Bishop Elementary School, just a short drive from the district offices. Principal Linda McCaslin gave us a quick tour of her office and led us down the hall to meet Kathy Gonzales-West an English Language Learner instructor who is making huge strides with her students. Ms. Gonzales-West was working with three first graders on vocabulary bingo.

Flanked by Sean McDaniel and Linda McCaslin, Bishop Elementary is proud of the foundation they build for their children.

Time for a vocabulary lesson, can you say B-I-N-G-O?

Mapleton School District 1

Enrichment Academy at Western Hills (K-6)

Adventure Elementary at Western Hills (K-6)

Stop number two took us to Mapleton School District 1 where I sat down with Superintendent Charlotte Ciancio, Assistant Superintendent Jackie Kapushion and Board of Education President Norma Frank. After a short discussion, we all jumped in the car and headed to Enrichment Academy and Adventure Elementary, two K-6 schools that share a building.

Principal Lisa Marchi gave us a quick tour of Enrichment Academy beginning with second grade teacher Ms. Allen-Yeager's class. The class was enthusiastically studying the water cycle and students eagerly leaped up from their floor exercise to explain it to me.

Students used water cans to demonstrate evaporation. They then wrote about the water cycle on clipboards.

First grade students practice reading and writing in Mrs. Beckley's class.

After climbing a short flight of stairs, we entered Adventure Academy where Director Erica Branscum greeted us. Even though it is Ms. Branscum's first year at Adventure, she has been with the district for 13 years.

Students in Mr. Robertson's sixth grade class at Adventure Academy stayed on task during their math lesson.

Cherry Creek School District

Campus Middle School

Our third and final visit of the day was to the Cherry Creek School District administrative offices located in the Denver Tech Center. Outgoing Superintendent Monte Moses gave us a quick tour of his offices and introduced us to his successor Deputy Superintendent Mary Chesley, who will take the helm in January.

From left, Superintendent Monte Moses and Principal of Campus Middle School, Jane Miller.

After a short ride past Cherry Creek State Park, we arrived at our destination, Campus Middle School. Moses pointed out that Belleview Elementary, Campus Middle and Cherry Creek High all sit on one campus, a fact not many people know. Principal Jane Miller greeted us and explained the school will soon get a $9 million facelift as a result of the bond that passed in the November election.

Our tour began with a peek in at Ms. Widmann's theater arts class. The students were performing "Hamlet" for their first scenes of improvisation.

Mr. Burnett proudly displays the robot that will send their robotics class to the state competition in December.

A student in Ms. Deshay's language arts class isn't shy when practicing her skills out loud with the rest of the class.

Ms. Deshay didn't keep quiet about her own talents. After declaring she is also a singer, she belted out Bonnie Raitt's "Something to Talk About" at my request.

My thanks to Englewood, Mapleton and Cherry Creek for three great visits!

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