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Principal's Message

EMS Community Newsletter 3/12/2021

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, March 12, 2021 With Spring Break right around the corner, we have a few announcements to share with our community. When looking at the national picture, we are in a pretty good place at EMS when looking through the COVID lens. Since we opened, we have had to place 4 cohorts into quarantine, two activities, and two bus routes. While these quarantines certainly are disruptive, it is encouraging that even in our largest spike to date at EMS, we still have twenty-one of twenty-four cohorts remaining in in-person instruction. After spring break, we will start our football and volleyball programs for our student-athletes. In order to begin practicing, students need to submit a current physical form from either their doctor’s office or an Urgent Care. Please be aware that if your child does participate in an after-school activity, there is a greater potential for exposure to COVID and possible quarantine situations. However, after discussing the decision to continue with extracurricular activities with our parent accountability group, it is clear that these programs are valued by our families and students, and that we should continue our efforts to return to normalcy under the guidance of our public health advisors. As the weather warms and vaccination efforts in our community become more widespread, the prevailing thought is that we will return to the Blue category on the COVID dial. If we do not have a large surge of cases after Spring Break, I anticipate that we will return to school five days a week in a matter of weeks after the break. I will certainly share out more concrete information when it’s available. As we move into April, we will also begin our CMAS testing cycle. Coupled with i-Ready results, these assessments will give us valuable insight into the impact of the COVID pandemic and inform adjustments we can make to meet the needs of students. Students currently enrolled in the Remote program will have their assessments proctored at school. If your child is in Remote, please keep an eye out for information about those logistics. Another rite of Spring to look forward to is preparing our 8th-grade students for their high school transition. As we approach the end of the year, it is essential that we build their skills and academic mindsets. The high school will also have access to our students’ assessment information, so it is important that we stress the importance of giving their best effort over the 4th quarter. On a final note, we are attempting to support students who are struggling with grades due to missing work by keeping them after school for tutoring in our modified ZAP program. It is a trickier proposition to organize as we need to retain our cohort system, but we will email and text notices to families requesting that your child stays after school. If you get a notice, please reach out to Administrative Assistant Tami Jantz if you do not want your child involved in the program. Her email is tjantz@durangoschools.org. Here’s to a safe and cheerful spring break. Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

EMS Community Newsletter 2/26/2021

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, Over the course of this year, we have worked very hard to be flexible with families regarding school model choices. However, we will only have one more opportunity for students to switch school models. Please email our counselors, Kim Osby or Ian Lennox, by March 12th if you would like to switch from remote to in-person learning. kosby@durangoschools.org ilennox@durangoschools.org CLICK READ MORE FOR THE WHOLE LETTER
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Principal's Message

Community Newsletter Jan. 22, 2021

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, We are still on track to reopen for in-person learning on February 1st. We have one important calendar change that will impact students next week. The professional development day for teachers that was scheduled for the 25th has been moved to the 27th. There will not be live remote instruction on that day, but some students may have homework to get caught up with so it will be important for them to stay on top of their email communication with their teachers. In addition, we are currently planning to bring back athletic programs for our 7th and 8th graders when we return (middle school athletics does not include 6th graders). We will start with basketball on February 8th for both boys and girls teams. The rationale to start athletics at the middle school level is twofold. Many students are involved in after school activities where they already break our cohort model. Running our programs ensures students have an athletic opportunity that adheres to approved guidelines from local and state public health agencies. The second reason is more obvious - students benefit from structured team activities. The pandemic will significantly change our programs. The bullets below outline the key safety measures. Students will be required to wear masks. Students will be grouped in fifteen athletes to one coach ratio. While in level orange, athletics will be structured more as skills camps to allow for social distancing. Scrimmaging and competition will resume once community spread decreases significantly. It is likely that we will first introduce games with only Miller Middle School to avoid travel when community spread decreases. Barring any unforeseen events, which have been fairly common recently, we intend to bring back the following sports on these dates. Basketball: February 8th - March 12th. Boys and girls will alternate practice times before and after school. If we have over 90 athletes sign up, we will have two practices a week to allow all students to participate and not exceed capacity. If fewer than 90 athletes sign up, we will practice three to four days a week. Volleyball and Football: March 22nd - April 23rd. Track: April 26th - May 28th. In order to participate, there is a $50 fee - families on the free and reduced lunch program have the cost waived, so please reach out to Mr. Voss or Ms. Duce if this is a barrier to participation. Students also need a current physical (within one calendar year) on file to participate. You can schedule a physical for your child with your primary care physician or at an Urgent Care. Depending on your insurance, there may be a cost for physicals. Unfortunately, we could not secure a health agency to offer free physicals this year. Pediatric Partners @ DHS accepts Medicaid and can do sports physicals. Their contact info is Pediatric Partners of the Southwest at (970) 375-0100 extension 2. Pediatric Partners advises that if your student has gotten a well check in the last year that counts as well. As we organize our practice plans, it will be extremely helpful to know as soon as possible if you’d like your 7th or 8th grader to participate in basketball. Please email Ms. Eva Duce at educe@durangoschools.org with questions or to hold a roster spot for your child. In addition, you can formally sign up your child and get the necessary forms by following this link: https://durangoschools-ar.rschooltoday.com. We will be resuming our Tuesday night community meetings this coming week to provide information and answer questions about our return to learn plan. The link is directly below this letter. Thank you for your continued support. These are certainly tough times where I’m finding that well-intentioned plans often change, so I’ll pass along updates as soon as I get them. Throughout this entire pandemic, I’ve always been thankful that I live in Durango and am in a blessed role to serve such a stellar community. Escalante's parents have demonstrated so much grace to me personally and to our staff that I cannot thank you enough. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal For the FULL Newsletter, please see the link below
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Principal's Message

Pivot to Remote Learning 11/11/2020

Dear Escalante Community, Thank you for your understanding as we pivot to Remote Learning due to the COVID-19 surge we are currently seeing in our community. Our intention is to serve students in-person, but the impact on our ability to staff our schools became so diminished with the need to quarantine that we were forced to go remote through December 18th. On December 11th, our school district will make a decision about how we will reopen schools in January; remote, blended, and in-person are all possible options. The rate of spread of the virus will inform the decision. If your family is experiencing technology issues, here are some ways we can help. Contact Mr. Tidwell through email at stidwell@durangoschools.org. He is committed to shepherd EMS through our remote experience, and he can help get you the support you need. If you need help with internet access or receiving an additional laptop, contact Ian Lennox, ilennox@durangoschools.org, or Kim Osby. kosby@durangoschools.org. I understand that technology struggles can be extremely frustrating, but please be kind when you contact them as Steve, Kim, and Ian are working extremely hard to solve problems as they arise. For the duration of the remote closure, we will be conducting weekly Zoom meetings on Tuesdays from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. We will utilize the Zoom translation technology for our Spanish speaking families. The purpose of these meetings is to: Provide updates to the community about remote education at EMS Collect feedback from the community to improve our systems Communicate strategies for parents about supporting your child’s remote instruction. Counselors will lead these portions and rely on Neurosequential Model in Education (NME) research. Watch for IC Messages that will include the Zoom Meeting information. Not getting IC messages? Contact Dona in office 247-9490. Work is also currently underway to get started on projects using funds from our recently passed bond. If you would like to be involved in the planning process, you can apply to join the Bond Oversight Committee by following the link below. On a final note, keep in mind that we have no school from November 21 - November 30. Classes will resume after break on Tuesday, December 1st. I hope to see you next Tuesday night over Zoom, and thank you again for your understanding as we pivot to remote instruction. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss and David Tanaka EMS, Administration
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Principal's Message

Message from the Principals 8/05/2020

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, 8/5/2020 As of today, about twenty-five percent of our families have selected a model of learning for the coming school year. Yesterday, we conducted two live Zoom sessions to assist people who had questions about their selection. If you would like to view a recording of the session, you can watch it by following the link below. The first thirty minutes covers safety procedures. The second thirty minutes gives information about the set-up of our schedule and explains the three models: 5 days in person Blended home and remote 100% remote After I viewed the recording, it is clear that I have a long way to go before I’m ready for a television career! While it will be short on entertainment, you will find detailed information on our plans for next year. Sorry, but we were unable to download the chat for some reason. See the 8/04/2020 Zoom Community Updates link below: Once your family has selected a learning model, please complete the school district’s form as soon as possible. The deadline is August 10th. If you have already filled out the form, but have changed your mind, you can fill out the survey again and we will go with the most recent survey. See the link to the form below. As soon as we have all of the information from the selection form, we will begin to build our Crews for next year. Keep in mind that we will be forming all new crews this year due to the strict guidelines set out by the state. The most restrictive safety measure on our scheduling is that students will be with their Crew for the entire day - we will go to great lengths to avoid any mixing of our student cohorts. Because social interaction is so important for our students, we are making attempts to pair each student with at least one friend who they work well with. If you would like us to consider social connections for your child, you can complete the form below to help guide our decisions when we build cohorts. This survey will close on the 10th as well. See the link to that survey below. I have a few other updates to share with our school community. Athletics: The state has postponed fall and winter athletics to the Spring. Depending on the local circumstances, we will have all of our middle school sports’ seasons compacted into our Spring athletic season. As we get closer to February, we will share information about sports. Volleyball and football will not start next week. We will provide updates when we receive clarification on our ability to resume a program on an intramural level. Delayed Start to the School Year: Last night, our school board pushed back the start of our school year to August 31st. Back to School Night Zoom Style and a new School Day Preview Event at Escalante will be scheduled during the week of August 24th. Even though we will be delaying school, we will be using that time to prepare students and families for the school year. As soon as we have dates selected, I will email them out, but your attendance at these events will be instrumental to our ability to have a successful launch for our school year. Thank you for your patience, input, and participation as we prepare for the 2020-2021 school year. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss and David Tanaka EMS, Administration
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News & Announcements

Purchase the 20-21 Yearbook NOW!

The 20-21 Yearbook is on sale now! SEE THE LINK BELOW TO ORDER YOUR YEARBOOK. The cost is $20, and it includes shipping directly to your home. It should arrive in early June. See more.....

EMS Athletics

Hello Escalante Athletic Families, March 12, 2021 We are so excited to put forth our football, volleyball, and track schedules and start practice upon returning from spring break. Please click EMS Athletics to read more.

COVID-19 Testing Pilot at Secondary Schools

Recently, Durango 9-R was approached by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to implement a COVID testing pilot at our school campus that will allow us to avoid sending cohorts into quarantine. In order to avoid cohort quarantines, we need 70% of our student body to sign up for testing.

Community Meet & Greet - Incoming Superintendent Dr. Karen Cheser

Incoming Superintendent, Dr. Karen Cheser, is hosting a community meet and greet on Wednesday, May 12 at 5:30 pm via Zoom. This is a great opportunity to hear from Dr. Cheser on her vision and initial plans when she begins in July, as well as ask her any questions you may have.

School Lunch Hero Day is May 7

Between preparing healthy meals for our students, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile, school nutrition professionals are true heroes.

9-R Public Budget Hearing

The 9-R Public Budget Hearing for the 2021/22 academic year budget will be on May 13, 2021 starting at 5:30 pm via Zoom. Come to learn more about how funds are allocated to schools to determine staffing, resources and services based on school enrollment, as well as other priorities in spending. Translation services available during the hearing.

Smile! It's Picture Day at EMS April 19th - Retakes May 6th from 1:00 - 3:00 PM

Pick out your outfit and practice your best smile, picture day is coming to EMS! All students and staff will be photographed on April 19th (Retakes on 5/6/21) by Allison Ragsdale Photography. Parents/guardians can purchase pictures online after picture day. Watch for informational handouts coming home soon (or you can print from the link below). Remote students who would like their photos in the yearbook and receive a student ID next year are invited to come in for photos on Monday, April 19th from 2:00 - 3:00 PM. Call the office if you have questions. 970-247-9490


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