Submitted by Alise Kermisch
Hello Nearby Neighbors,
Welcome to August and the preparations for school to begin. For those who might not know Denver Public Schools starts school on August 24, however all classes will be held online for 1st quarter. The exception to this is DPS is working on a plan to have specific populations of students who need additional service return to campus for in-person instruction in small, controlled groups. The eventual goal is for all students to return to campuses as the Denver Health Department deems it is safe to return (that is the agency that approves the back to school plans for DPS.)
Many of you might know that Hill Middle School has a new principal this year. I hope you will welcome and support Mr. David Adams to our neighborhood and community. He joins Hill after leading McMeen Elementary School. I had a chance to meet with him in late July to talk about the desire for the nearby neighbors to have a communication channel as well as to support both schools on the Steck-Hill Campus. I am happy to share there are already a couple of great new things you can know!
- If you go to the Hill Website: You will notice on the home page on the top right there is a tab for “Hill Neighbors” once clicking on this it will take you to a page https://hill.dpsk12.org/hill-neighbors/ where you can send a direct message to the school office. They are using Survey Monkey to keep and track the comments that come in. Please consider sharing positive stories as well as observations that you hope will be addressed or need improvement.
- You likely have been watching all summer as Hill has been getting quite a bit of construction. The project is anticipated to wrap up in the next month or two. The construction funds are from the 2016 Bond/Mill Levy that was passed. Steck also had a small amount of updates that were also from 2016 Bond/Mill Levy funding. It’s great to see our neighborhood schools being improved upon. There are always ways get involved and help support both schools. Consider adopting a planting bed, or while out walking picking up trash on the school property. If you or anyone you know would like to help with improvements to either building, please reach out to either principal and I am sure they would be happy to help coordinate an improvement effort.
- Both schools have their websites up and are updating information as information is confirmed. You can find calendars here as well. For neighbors this can be helpful in 2 specific ways.
- First it can help you know when the schools will be holding events where additional on street parking will be in place. We all know first hand that with school events parking can sometimes be overwhelming. Knowing when it will happen is nice to know and plan around!
- Second, should you wish to get to know either school better both schools host a couple functions that reach out. Both schools have a CSC (Collaborative Schools Committee). This meeting space is a high level overview of what is happening currently and in the near future in the schools themselves. It is a place for School Staff, Parents and community (each CSC is required to find a minimum of 1 community member to sit on their committee, fyi) to collaborate for the best of the school. The other place for community to get involved is in each school’s PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) this is a space for everyone to come together to support school community and culture building. It is also the primary fundraising places for both schools. I know both schools would welcome any support and participation you might be able to give! Some of the ways in the past PTSA’s have needed help: volunteers to help staff activities such as movie nights, school performances or dances, donations to fundraisers and volunteers for teacher appreciation activities. There are lots of ways to be involved both in front and behind the scenes. Consider reaching out!
- DPS Facebook live! – for those who would like to know what is happening with the back to school plans and changes, Denver Public Schools is hosting a daily Facebook live at 10 am in English, 10:30 am in Spanish with the Superintendent, Susana Cordova and Board President, Dr. Carrie Olsen (who is also our schools’ local School Board representative) It is a great place to get up to date information and also ask questions in the chat. To access it, find the DPS Facebook page and you will see it at 10 am daily.
While this school year will be different than normal in so many ways, so many of the things you can count on will be normal!
I hope you will consider finding a way for you and your family to get involved in both schools. Having strong schools means you have strong neighborhoods!
Alise Kermisch, GiJ
614-599-8377 cell (MST)