Sunday, November 10, 2019

November Principal Update

Dear Families,
October was a busy month!  This month's blog highlights the following events and information from the past month.

  • We are deep into the first-year implementation of our new writing program and continue to be impressed with the quality of our student's writing.  We can't wait to share with you at our upcoming winter writing celebration (details to come!).  
  • We are continuing to strengthen our security in regards to building access and have made some additional changes after observing students sign out after the Halloween parade.  Please take a minute to read our updates on building security below.  
  • New FSE website
  • Kindness Week
  • Update from our Counselor
  • Powerful video on pre-teens and social media: a MUST watch
  • EPR (elementary progress report release date)

Building Access During School Events/Dismissals
  • For any events, you will be required to sign in at the office and wear a sticker. If you do not have a visible sticker you will be asked by staff to return to the office to obtain one.
  • Please remember to sign in on our Raptor kiosks and get a sticker if we have already scanned your driver's license this year.  If you have not had us scan your ID yet this year please stop by the front desk to have us get you a sticker.  
  • Also, if you are needing to pick your child up early today please do so by 3pm.  We will not be able to call them down and dismiss during assemblies.  Feel free to call the front office at 303-387-5225 with any questions!
  • If there is a school event please plan to come early to get signed in prior to being able to attend the event.  There WILL be lines so please prepare!
  • Please remember that these policies are in place to keep our kids safe!
FSE NEW Website
Please click HERE to see our new website.
Now you can have Flagstone alerts and information at your fingertips!  With the launch of our new school website (, we are now part of the Douglas County School District mobile app. Stay up-to-date on news and events from our school and the school district via the official Douglas County School District mobile app. 

Simply download the DCSD mobile app from the Google Play or Apple App Store, then, find and select our school under “settings.” You will then have up-to-date access to our school’s calendar events, news, and notifications regarding weather delays or closures.  Download the DCSD App today!

Kindness Week
Our 6th-grade Kindness ROCKStars are putting on a school-wide celebration to promote kindness around FSE.  They have decided to celebrate World Kindness Day on November 13th. Please see the below dates for dress-up/celebration information!

Kindness Theme days

    • Tuesday, November 12th: Krazy for Kindness Day
      • Dress in crazy clothes, crazy socks, crazy hair
    • Wednesday, November 13th: Aloha Kindness
      • Dress up for a Hawaiian getaway
    • Thursday, November 14th: Cozy up with Kindness
      • Wear your PJs to school
    • Friday, November 15th: Dress for Kindness
      • Wear the colors pink or red to promote kindness

From the counselor….

Hello, Wonderful FSE Families!

For the month of November, we are focusing on empathy as part of our Second Step curriculum.
Students will work on identifying their own and others’ feelings by noticing someone’s face and
body, along with the situation they are in. They are also working to understand that people may
have different feelings about the same situation. Finally, they are putting their knowledge of
empathy into action by showing compassion for others.
As the holiday season approaches, I am also emphasizing the importance of gratitude with our
students. Studies have shown that children who are taught to be grateful receive health and
social benefits such as reduced stress, increased happiness at school, better performance in
school, fewer stomachaches and headaches, improved relationships and reduced materialism.
Being able to put themselves in another person’s shoes allows children to care for and relate to
others. Gratitude shows people that they have benefitted from the kindness of others, and so, in turn,
they are more likely to perform kind acts themselves.

Here are some ways to help your child learn about gratitude:

1) Model gratitude in your daily life. Small examples of everyday thankfulness can make an
impression on your child.
2) Encourage generous acts. Perhaps donating clothes and toys. Explain to them that some
children don’t have toys, food, or clothes. Your child may surprise you with how much they are
willing to give.
3) Say no from time to time. If a child is always able to do or get what they want, they begin to
learn that life is about endless rewards. Thankfulness is all about understanding that life’s rewards
are not something to take for granted.
4) Teach them that things aren’t most important in life. Talk about less tangible things you’re
thankful for, such as family mealtimes, having enough food to eat, or spending time with a friend.
5) Connect the act of giving with the meaning behind it. Whether your child receives a physical
gift or an experiential gift, it’s important to help him or her understand the kind thought behind it.  
6) Ask for help around the house. Whether it’s putting away their toys or helping you to mix
ingredients in the kitchen, age-appropriate chores can help children develop a sense of thankfulness.

In gratitude,

Patti Roberts
(303) 387-5243
Follow me on Twitter @MsPattiFSE

EPR Release - Saturday, Dec. 21 at 8 a.m.
Families can access all released student EPRs for 1st semester via the EngagED Parent Portal ( on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 8 a.m. Please take a minute to read over these progress reports, our teachers spend a lot of time communicating on student progress monthly and this on one of the opportunities to understand where your children are performing. If you need help getting in your portal account please do so PRIOR to winter break since our office will be closed.

Social Media and Our Pre-Teens and Teens
During my 25 years as an educator and 15 years as a principal, I have never seen an impact on
students as profoundly negative as that of social media, texting, and access to the internet. Our
pre-teen and teenage students are too young to understand how to navigate the power that these
applications and smartphones have and, therefore, get in trouble, trouble that can have a life long
impact. Please take a few minutes to watch the below link to understand the impact of cell phones
on our students.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

October Principal Message

October 1st, 2019

Dear FSE Families,
The last month has been busy for students and staff at FSE. We are gearing up for conferences next week (please make sure you sign up if you haven't already), and your students are so excited to share everything they have been working on! Please read on to see all the wonderful things your children have been doing during the month of September.

Kelli Smith, FSE Principal

OCTOBER is Liver Cancer Awareness Month! In support of one of our own student's fight, we are asking our school and school community to wear emerald green every Friday in October.  Let's show our support for this incredibly brave student!

Here is the link for the conference online scheduler.  Please get this sent out to families asap: online scheduler.  The password is mustangs.

Writing Curriculum
We have launched our new writing program and are loving the rigor and engagement it provides to our students.  As you come into conferences next week look at your child's writing growth.  Ask your child to show you the tools they are using in their writing, like the student checklist document and the anchor charts throughout the room.

DCHS Homecoming Parade
Flagstone Student Council participated in the DCHS Homecoming parade!  The theme this year was DC under the Sea!  They did a great job representing!

Student Council Speeches
Our student council kids have recorded speeches for the student body to vote for elected offices.  The President, Vice President, Treasurer and School Store are all positions that students are running for!  We wish them all good luck as voting occurs this week.

Strategic Plan Launch
On Friday, September 20th DCSD transported all staff to the Pepsi Center for a presentation for the launch of our new Strategic Plan.  Please see this link for the plan.  It was an inspiring and unifying event for our staff and the entire DCSD community.  See our pictures below!

Restorative Practices
This year we are intentionally focusing on teaching restorative practices to our students.  The chart below describes the idea behind restorative practices.  We believe that when it comes to teaching students how to handle conflict, rather than going to punishment alone, we set limits and set expectations with a lot of teaching and support.  Below is a chart describing this concept, explicit limits with lots of guidance and support.  We work WITH students to teach behavior.  When students do make mistakes we support them in figuring out how they will right the wrong that they did.  

FSE Mad Scientist Obstacle Course
Our grand total of pledges for the Fun Run this year was $26,929!! For achieving our Fun Run Goal of $25,000, the Kona Ice Truck will be here for all students to enjoy a Kona Ice treat on Tuesday, October 8! Great job FSE!

Note From Our Wonderful Counselor

Hello, Wonderful FSE Families!

Things at school are in full swing. Our students have settled into their routines and I have happily settled into being a full-time school counselor at FSE. Know that I am here to support your students academically, emotionally and socially in any way I can.

Last year, we implemented Second Step as our social-emotional learning curriculum in the classroom. This year we are working towards deeper integration of the program school-wide. The lessons students receive focus on Skills for Learning, Empathy, Emotion Management, and Problem Solving. Watch for a Homelink for each lesson to engage with your child at home.

Another focus at school this year is the use of restorative practices when managing conflict. Restorative practices focus on repairing and restoring relationships when harm has occurred. It has been shown to build community, foster a positive, healthy school climate and help students to learn from their mistakes. Ask your student about the last “circle” they did in class. Our teachers are engaging in regular restorative circles to build their classroom community and allow their students’ voices to be heard.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or thoughts you may have.

Patti Roberts
(303) 387-5243

Other School Happenings!

NONDISCRIMINATION NOTICE: The Douglas County School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, age, marital status, genetic information, or physical characteristics, disability or need for special education services in admissions, access to, treatment of, or employment in educational programs or activities. The School District’s Compliance Officer is Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado,, 303-387-0067. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

September Principal's Message

Dear FSE Families,
August has been an exciting month for our staff and students!  Check out all the awesome things that have happened at FSE since school started!

Welcome Back FSE Families
Our theme this year is One School, One Purpose, One Family: #oneflagstone (see logo above).  You will see our staff wearing this logo on the back of their staff shirts this year! 

Balanced Beginnings
Our newest FSE Mustangs started school a little different this year.  We did a rolling start called Balanced Beginnings.  The kindergarten students attended school for a few hours for the first 2 days of school so they could get used to the structure before starting their regular schedule on Monday the 12th.  We felt this was a great success!  (Lots fewer tears by students and parents!)  This also gave our staff valuable information on programming for our newest little mustangs.

Sunshine Cart
We love our staff and Faith Lutheran Church does too!  They donated a Sunshine Cart for a late Friday afternoon pick me up for our teachers!  It was filled with drinks and yummy treats for our hard-working staff!  Thank you to our partners at Faith Lutheran Church!

Sixth Grade Outdoor Education
Our sixth graders just arrived back from Outdoor Education this past Friday afternoon.  They attended Stone Canyon Outdoor Education Center (a DCSD run education center) for three days last week.  This is a camp that focuses on science standards in the outdoor environment along with valuable life skills like team building, an overnight experience away from home, and outdoor activities such as archery. Our kids came back excited and energized after this amazing experience.

Lucy Calkins Kickoff Event
As many of you know our staff adopted a new writing program last year.  We launched our first professional development day this year with a one-day training to help classroom teachers understand the content and the workshop model.  We are very excited to begin this implementation!  4-6 teachers will begin the first unit in Septemeber and K-3 teachers will begin in October.  We will end the first semester before winter break with a Writing Winter Wonderland for families to come and see the writing that students will produce in this program.  More to come on Lucy!

Bond Money Technology
Last November our community voted yes to the Bond initiative for our district.  We have been very fortunate to see that money directly in our schools!  We have been able to purchase staff computers (something we have not done in 4 years!) so that all our staff has computers that are 4 years old or newer.  We will be able to do that again this spring so all staff computers will be 1 year old or newer!  This allows our staff to have the very best technology to meet the needs of all their students.  We were also able to ensure that we have Chromebooks for ALL 2-6 students (one to one) and ipads for K-1 students to share.  We are so grateful to our community that we were able to have this money!

Fun Food Friday in Mrs. Ripp's Class
Mrs. Ripp's class is at it again!! Fun Food Friday.  This week we got to partake in neon-grilled cheese sandwiches--DELICIOUS!

Social-Emotional Learning Supports this Year!
Over the last year, our staff has spent a considerable amount of time researching ways to support the changing social-emotional needs of our students.  Our students spend a considerable amount of time outside school engaging on phones, social media, and video games.  This time on screens has changed the way we support students in their development.  At school, we have found our students need more time engaging in face to face discussions, explicit instruction on how to regulate their emotions when stressed or upset and support solving normal conflict that arises during the creation of friendship, all while providing structured choice in their learning environment.  As a result of this learning we have spent considerable time implementing the following program supports:
  • Zones Curriculum:  This curriculum is taught in every grade K-6 to support students in understanding strategies to regulate their emotions.  We teach them to identify different feelings or emotions through colors.  Ex.  The green zone means that your body is calm and is ready for learning.  The yellow zone means that your body is excited or anxious and needs some strategies to get back to the green zone.  The red zone means that your body is angry or upset to the point that you cannot be reasoned with.  In the event of this feeling, students are given strategies to remove themselves from the learning environment so they are able to get themselves back in the green zone.  To support this teaching we have opened a regulation room staffed by Ms. Stephanie and Ms. Mary, two highly trained staff in behavior management, that work with kids working to learn how to stay in the green learning zone.
  • Second Step: Our school counselor Patti Roberts is supporting our staff in the implementation of a school-wide social-emotional curriculum.  This curriculum teaches specific lessons to teach students how to interact in various situations that they will come in contact with during their lives.  Examples include: how to navigate a disagreement with a peer, how to take someone else's perspective or how to handle peer pressure.
  • School Counselor:  Our counselor, Patti Roberts is here full time this year.  She works on school-wide mindfulness, Second Step, and sees one on one and small groups of students to support their learning environment.
  • Calming Corners:  Every classroom has been given tools to keep in their classrooms to assist students when they need a minute to regroup and get back to the learning zones.  Right now our teachers are teaching the students how to use these tools effectively.

Classroom Happenings!
Students have been busy working and learning this month too!  Check out #oneflagstone on Twitter to see more!

Upcoming Events

Fun Run Kickoff
We had the Mad Scientists of Colorado come out and demonstrate some science experiments for our students on Tuesday to kick off our fundraising event.  We are hoping to raise money to help bring out more science demonstrations and offer more science-related field trips in addition to supporting some STEM carts for our teachers to use with their students.  Please log on to and register to get your pledges going!

DCHS Homecoming Parade
The parade is Thursday, September 12th.  Please come out to see our students march in the parade, the theme is Under DC (a sea and Hawaiian theme).

FSE Spirit Assembly
Our spirit assembly is at 3pm this Friday!  Please come and see our student council host this first assembly!

Some Things to Remember
  • Homework:  At FSE we believe that students get more out of spending time with family and engaging in after school activities than spending hours on homework each night.  We do agree that practicing math facts and reading is a must to ensure long term success.  Our school board policy is that each grade level should have 10 min x the grade of homework a night.  Ex. 1st grade 10 min, 2nd grade 20 min. and so on outside of reading and math practice.  Please talk with your classroom teacher if you have questions about their homework policy or your child is spending too much time on homework.

November Principal Update

Dear Families, October was a busy month!  This month's blog highlights the following events and information from the past month. ...