2014-2015 Closing Letter

May 28, 2015

Dear Stedman Families:

As the closing of the 2014-2015 school year quickly approaches, we want to take a moment to share with you some of the highlights of our year and invite you to join us in the fun end of year celebrations.

We want to thank all of you for your support of our school and our students. We started the year with a School Performance Rating (SPF) of yellow (“Accredited on Watch”), though we came in just short of green (“Meets Expectations”). This gave our team and our community hope and motivation to take Stedman to the next level. We know that Stedman is a great neighborhood school and believe that our staff and students are capable of doing the work but we need YOUR help. We need our families to be our academic partners in supporting our students’ success. Please encourage your student to continue reading over the summer.

This year was full of student and community performances. Early this year, Stedman was featured in a positive two-page spread in the Park Hill Newspaper. Our 5th grade students were invited to perform music and poetry at the Mental Health Center of Denver’s groundbreaking ceremony at the new Dahlia Campus. Some of our other highlights were the Student Artwork and Musical Performance in collaboration with Na Lapoule Art Foundation last fall, “The Gingerbread Man” presented by The Children’s Museum, “The Cuckoo” Mexican folk tale musical, No Mo Violence Performance and Dialogue, and “Why Mosquitos Buzz in People’s Ears” African folk tale musical and dance performance in collaboration with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. We enjoyed the continuation of Stedman traditions, including the Fall Festival, Bones and Tones, Field Day, Student Staff Kickball Tournament, the Stedman Black History Month, and Dia de los Muertos celebrations.

Our students and teachers graciously navigated the increased state testing expectations. Our students took the PARCC assessment on computers for the first time and were patient and positive through the long process. We are excited to see our school data next fall!

In looking forward to the next school year, Stedman has been selected to participate in several exciting programs for the 2015-2016 school year. Stedman will become one of 77 schools to participate in the DPS Parent Teacher Home Visit Program. The intent is to build positive relationships with families and to partner together to support your student(s)’ educational success. Parents and teachers come together, in a unique setting at your home or other locations of your choice, to get to know one another and talk about your student’s academic future. Your student is also part of this visit. Time is taken to share your hopes & dreams for your student, academic expectations, and school resources. This is not a parent/teacher conference. It is meant to “get to know each other” and to build a positive relationship with each other for the academic benefit of your student.

Through this amazing program, teachers are paid to arrange with families to visit students’ homes outside of school hours. This is an incredible opportunity for our teachers to connect with families and increase the community’s support as we educate our children. Nine out of ten DPS teachers surveyed said they would recommend the Parent Teacher Home Visit Program and four out of five DPS teachers surveyed stated that behavior improved in the classroom after the home visit was conducted. We will share more information about the Parent Teacher Home Visit Program at our Back to School Night on September 1st.

Stedman will also be one of 71 DPS schools participating in Differentiated Roles next year. These new teacher leadership opportunities help our school be more responsive to student and teacher needs. They create a structure for teachers to learn from each other, as is common practice in other knowledge-based professions, and establish regular times for teachers to collaborate. Teachers in team lead roles teach in the classroom for a portion of the day and have non-teaching time that is devoted to using a variety of techniques, from leading team planning to coaching, to develop their fellow teachers. The team leads’ impact comes as they encourage colleagues to try new teaching methods, provide frequent feedback, and share the impactful practices they see with other teachers. This support is tailored to support school goals. Our team leads will be Crystal Griego, Erika Grimes and Megan Walsh.

Stedman will be joining 82 DPS schools in offering Breakfast in the Classroom. This will give all of our students the opportunity for physical activity and movement during PlayWorks recess before school from 8:15-8:45 daily and the opportunity to eat breakfast before engaging in learning. Breakfast will be held in the classroom daily from 8:45-9:00am. Students who eat breakfast at home before school are welcome to participate or decline breakfast. We look forward to this change that will increase equity and support our students in being ready to learn each day.

Stedman will continue to participate in DPS School Culture Academy, a year-long professional learning opportunity that our staff started in January to foster a positive school culture with the support of our culture coach, Kim Price.

It is with the deepest gratitude for our colleagues who are moving on from Stedman this year that we thank them for their service and ask you to join us in wishing them the best in their new adventures. There are many reasons for the changes in staff members: retirements, reductions in building staff, and positions in new schools. Thank you to Richard Doyle, Brenda George, Jan Firtion, Sharyn Kline, Stacey Garcia, Zuton Lucero-Mills, Amos Ruffer, Adolfo Romero, LaRon Coleman, LaToya Douglas,Leticia Arroyo and Tom Crane. Returning teacher Tommy Williams recently accepted the 2nd grade position.

We are excited to welcome several new staff members who have been hired to date:

· Robbie Elliott, Special Education

· Dixie Neely, Special Education and 4th/5th grade

· Megan Walsh, 4th/5th grade and Differentiated Roles Teacher Leader

· Miranda Obo, 3rd/4th/5th grade Literacy

· Stephanie McCandless, Visual Arts

In closing, we want to thank each of you for welcoming myself and Hannah into the Stedman community. We are proud to call ourselves Stedman Knights. We will continue our work of building a strong Stedman community that works better together.

We believe that as a community we can fulfill our vision:

We, the Stedman community, embrace our diversity and are committed to excellence in our instruction and our quest for wisdom, so all students will achieve academic growth and personal success.

Have a safe and wonderful summer and I look forward to seeing you in August at registration August 13th and 14th!


Melissa Peterson, Ed.D.


Hannah Kehn

Assistant Principal