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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Zimmerman

Focus on the Fabulous

June 27, 2022

Well, to quote Alice Cooper, “School’s out for summer!” I hope everybody is getting the chance to relax and enjoy. Even though we are in the midst of summer break, there are still a number of great things going on in the Center School District!

Summer school is in full swing. Elementary students started up on June 6th and we have completed three full weeks of classes. There are approximately 50 students in grades K-5 attending classes on-site. Brenda Montoya is doing a great job running the elementary onsite program. Middle and high school students are attending online/credit recovery classes at the ARC with Joy Werner at the helm. These students are given the opportunity to catch up on credits lost or have the opportunity to master content that they may have struggled with in previous lessons.

The STARS (Students Teaching About Relationship Success) peer mentoring program took 31 youth leaders in grades 8-12 to the STARS National Conference from June 26-28 at the University of Denver. Of these youth, three were chosen by the STARs program as Youth Staff to help lead the conference. They went up early to prepare on July 25th. STARS teaches youth how to make positive life choices and build healthy relationships. This year’s conference theme was “Just like me,” and focused on acceptance of who you are. Through national speakers, workshops, and engaging activities, our students are learning about being mentors and positive role models to younger youth. The students get to stay in the dorms at DU, eat college food, and hang out with 150 other youth from around the United States. The STARS mentoring program is now being led by Camille Villa supported by Josselyn Duran, Sharon Valadez, Daniel Garcia, and Genesis Escalon. Students can see Mrs. Ruggles if they want to join.

Congratulations are in order for Arazeliz Garcia who was nominated and accepted into this year’s Governor’s School Colorado Student Leaders Institute (COSLI).

This institute supports students as they transition from high school to the rigor and freedom offered at the university level. It is a four-week residential immersion collegiate academic experience that offers students college-level opportunities, visual and performing arts experiences, and the chance to connect with other future leaders across the state. We are proud that Arazeliz was chosen to represent our district and community! The COSLI will take place from July 10th through August 6th.


Our last week of school in May was cut a day short due to all the concerns surrounding the tragedies in Uvalde, Texas. Emotions were definitely running high and as an extra precautionary measure, the decision was made to begin summer a day early. We are taking time this summer to conduct a security assessment on the district and ensure that our buildings are secure and up to safety standards both inside and out. Last week, I met with Chief Meeks, Sargent Fresquez, Steve Martinez, Rich Brandt, and Julio Paez to conduct Phase 1 of our security assessment. This first phase focused on the exterior of all buildings and the campus grounds. We will be taking steps to address any areas that are considered to be vulnerabilities of the district. I will be sharing out throughout the summer on the work we will be doing. Thank you to those of you who have shared concerns. Each of those concerns has been taken into consideration and steps will be taken to address each issue. I will report throughout the process. We appreciate the partnership that we have with the Center Police Department. Sargent Fresquez attended our regular board meeting in June and presented some ideas for the district and department to continue to strengthen our partnership and the possibility of getting a full-time school resource officer and dog on campus for next year. I will be putting together a proposal to present to the town board next month.

The facilities team has been working hard this summer taking care of summer projects. The auxiliary gym floor has been stripped and refinished. It was shiny and in great shape for the basketball tournament that took place June 17th- 18th. The facilities team is working on projects inside and outside the district that include getting the grounds up to par- cleaning out planters, pulling weeds, keeping the grass green and healthy, and waxing and cleaning all floors.

The tech team is working on getting all of the ActivPanels, that we were able to purchase with some of our ESSER money, installed in every classroom. The tech team is also cleaning up and refurbishing student and staff devices so that they are ready to go when school starts back up again in August.

These student workers are helping the tech team perform on all cylinders and get the additional work over the summer accomplished!

Thanks to our summer tech crew- Julio Paez, Teddy Garcia, Ascencion Najeria, Ahyari Fimbres, Yanelli Garcia, Shayla Thompson and

Alanna Garcia.

The students aren’t the only ones taking advantage of learning opportunities this summer. Staff learning continues and administration and staff are using time off to participate in a variety of professional development opportunities to ensure that we are up to date with current research and pedagogy.

Several of our staff attended the At-Risk Youth National Forum in Florida this past week. Misty Lambert, Joy Werner, Katrina Ruggles, Stephanie Hensey, and I had the chance to listen to keynote speakers and make sure that we are up to date with the latest research-driven and practice-proven approaches to supporting our At-Risk students. The conference focused on prevention strategies related to building systemic focus and actions to support at-risk youth, techniques to increase school engagement and graduation rates, and an overview of the trauma-skilled schools' model. This conference helped to ensure that we have the practices in place to help our students be successful throughout their educational careers and that our students have the skills necessary to be successful in life. It was reassuring to hear that we already have solid strategies in place and our district is ahead of the game in a number of these areas.

Monday, Katrina and I attended a Town Hall meeting with UC architect students that are working with the town and district on the park improvement project. The students presented the designs they had created based on the surveys that were conducted by Alexis Varela and Karina Maes.

The town is moving forward with a number of exciting projects for the community and Center Schools is appreciative of the solid partnership with the town!

Fast Forward

There will be another group of Center staff attending a Restorative Justice conference in Chicago next week. Restorative Justice is embedded in our school operations and it focuses on a safe and equitable approach where restorative interactions transform students, relationships, communities, and systems through prevention, repair, and healing of harm.

The administration is busy conducting interviews and getting staff hired for any open positions. Interviews for the high school principal position will be held at the end of the week.

There will be a check-in meeting with the Colorado Education Initiative on Wednesday. They are working on the data review process and putting together the analysis report which will be presented to the district in mid-July. That information will help guide the work of the first retreat that will be held on August 1-3 with the first phase participants.

A Special Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 30, 2022, to approve the final budget for the 2023 fiscal year.

There’s still plenty of summer left! I hope you are having the chance to spend time with your family and loved ones, relax, and recharge.

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