Carbon Valley Academy
Journal and Community News
February 1, 2021
WORK HARD. BE NICE.
When my family moved to Frederick in the summer of 2019, those four words called us to Carbon Valley Academy. At that time, little did we know of the unexpected challenges and surprises America and the world would face in 2020 — global pandemics and a bitter, divisive Presidential election can certainly add a layer of complexity to life! Nevertheless, the CVA community managed to shut out the “noise” and continued to stick to our motto. Last Spring, when the faculty, staff, and students had to WORK HARD to make distance learning something we could all be proud of, everyone dug in and remembered to emphasize the importance of human decency and kindness.
Now, more than ever, kindness counts. Uncertainty affects us in ways we could not imagine as recently as last March. Regardless of how we’ve been impacted by COVID-19 or any of life’s challenges, we live in a world that could consume us with doom scrolling and incessant negativity. Instead, as CVA Stallions, we choose to BE NICE.
Life is full of these choices. Be respectful. Be compassionate. Be honest. Or don’t. As citizens of the world, what choices allow us to sleep better at night?
As a parent, my goal has always been to create a better world for my children and to encourage them to do the same for others. Is that an easy task every day? Of course not! Being human makes us fallible, but by learning from our mistakes, we can constantly strive to improve.
Does that mean we have to WORK HARD to BE NICE? No. Life can be filled with struggle but being nice is never hard work. Like many things, niceness is a choice. Only by choosing otherwise do we make the work that much harder.
Robert Fulghum’s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” touches on many basic human truths. “Share everything.” “Play fair.” “Don’t hit people.” “Put things back where you found them.” “Don’t take things that aren’t yours.” “Wash your hands before you eat.” Reviewing Fulghum’s work, it becomes apparent these truths are not particularly difficult to adhere to at any stage of life. When we think back to our youth, being nice was ingrained in us. But then, we grow older, life happens, and we often forget how easy it is to BE NICE.
When we look to CVA, we see our community continues to recognize and prioritize what matters most. Thanks in no small part to COVID funding from the State, we’ve been able to put our motto into further practice this year. Through our tutoring program, some students are seeing improvements of 200% or more over their previous scores. There is no doubt this has required them to WORK HARD, but it speaks volumes about the ways our faculty have embraced this program. That isn’t just because they have chosen to BE NICE; it’s because we live by our words at CVA.
The world can be a cold, dark place, especially after the firestorm of 2020. However, regardless of the hurdles that impact each of us, niceness will always shed light. Being nice isn’t hard work; remembering how it influences our actions allows us to focus on what matters. CVA is a beacon of light in that regard.
As we shape this next generation, we can be confident our students will understand the values of what it means to WORK HARD and BE NICE. At CVA, our motto isn’t empty words. Our motto is who we are and it’s what makes me proud to be a part of this incredible community.
CVA Board Member
December 18, 2020
Wow, 2020 what a year! Each December I like to take time and reflect upon the past year, evaluate the start, and see if I have met certain goals for myself. In those times I get to think about where I have been and then decide where I will head for next year. As we all sit back in reflection, I think that each one of us can confidently say that we are not where we thought we would be 12 months ago. Our world is constantly changing and shifting, be it minute by minute, hour by hour, or day by day. Each month throughout the year has brought new challenges, obstacles, that no one person could foresee. But in all of that, the one constant we have seen in the CVA community is resiliency and commitment.
Merriam Webster defines resiliency in two main ways: a) capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture. b) tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. Commitment is defined as the quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity. The phrase that has been a primary driver since March comes from our mission “Provide rich content and solid skills instruction in an environment that champions character and personal academic achievement”. Providing rich content and solid skill instruction has taken an enormous amount of resiliency and commitment on the whole CVA community, from the parents in March getting your child set up in an environment that would foster learning in your home, to the aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends that assisted in that process. To our teachers who had to figure out creative ways to instruct our students without being physically present. To our leadership team finding resources in a two-week time frame to pull off what appeared to be an impossible mission. Each member of this community came together to accomplish the goal of providing rich content and solid skills instruction to all our students. We did this while most schools were going to a work-on-your-own model.
Commitment and resiliency this fall to stand against the crowd and say “we want our children to be in school” when most other educational opportunities were continuing an online program. Our staff wanted to be in person, our parents wanted to be in person, our board wanted the in-person opportunity. Again, our staff and teachers stepped up planning and made sure our facility was ready on day one to receive your students in a safe environment. Ready with additional cleaning, ready with safety protocols, ready to create an environment in which our students could become the best that they can be. Ready to create a sense of normalcy in a world of chaos.
As we look forward to the new year I can say with confidence that your board, your staff, and your teachers will continue with commitment and resiliency to provide your student and the CVA community with the best possible opportunities to create and foster a culture that will provide each student with “rich content and solid skills instruction in an environment that champions character and personal academic achievement.”
To our Carbon Valley Academy family,
It is with great excitement that I announce that, as of today, we will have all day in-person learning for our students K-8 grades. This decision comes after many weeks of reviewing data from our Boulder and Weld county health departments, Colorado Department of Education, St. Vrain Valley School District, and the governor’s office.
Due to our traditionally smaller class sizes, we believe that we can offer our students a quality educational experience in a safe and healthy environment. Below you will find our re-opening plan as it stands today. Please be aware that as new information becomes available that would alter our course, we will communicate to you as soon as possible with any change in plans. If at any time you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or email. I can be reached at (303) 774-9555 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Carbon Valley reopening plan has three (3) options that we can utilize for providing education as needed: (a) entirely remote, (b) in-person with an at-home synchronous option for those students who may have health issues preventing them from returning for in-person learning, and (c) entirely in-person learning with significant health protocols in place. It is Option C that we will begin the year with at this time. If your student has health needs that will prevent him or her from attending in person please let myself or the principal, Mrs. Catherine Linhardt know. She can be reached at email@example.com. It is the goal of the CVA Board of Directors, administrative team, and all faculty and staff to provide the best educational opportunities that we can, and we will work with all our families to make that happen.
In preparation for any of the options listed above, the CVA Faculty will receive training and support in three main areas:
- the purchase of new equipment and training teachers with said equipment (Chromebooks,
enhanced camera, microphone and stand)
- using a standard platform delivery for instructional lessons (Zoom) and a standard platform for turning in assignments to be graded.
- ensuring that student privacy is maintained
It will be very important for families to screen their students at home before sending them to school using the following guidelines:
- Take temperature at home prior to coming to school
- Stay home when you are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms
- Stay hydrated and use a refillable water bottle
- Wash hands regularly and/or use sanitizer
- Use face coverings appropriately and avoid touching your face
- Social distance appropriately
All students and staff will wear face coverings while at school. We know that wearing a face covering all day can be difficult, especially for younger students. We will work to schedule appropriate socially-distanced breaks and provide exceptions for certain documented medical conditions.
For elementary students, please ensure that your student has at least two face coverings for the start of the school year. One will be kept at the school in a Ziploc bag marked with their name in the event they forget their face covering. The other will be worn each day during school hours.
If for any reason you have any difficulty finding a face covering for your student, please contact our school principal for assistance.
Our HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) were already scheduled for a Phase II upgrade this summer. In addition to those upgrades which will serve to increase and regulate temperature and air flow, we have purchased fans for each classroom to provide additional air movement throughout the day. However, we do believe our HVAC system is operating at its highest capacity to support quality airflow and ventilation in classrooms and buildings.
We have hired a new cleaning company to support disinfection and cleaning each day/evening. The cleaning and sanitizing has already begun with all restrooms being thoroughly cleaned, bleached and sanitized. We have ordered as many sanitizing supplies as we can, but will gladly accept donations of masks, gloves, cleaning wipes, and hand sanitizer as we know we will go through these items quickly.
Social distancing will be maintained as much as possible, and students will move as few times as possible out of their classrooms during the day (to lunch, recess, and restroom). These movement times will be staggered to the fullest extent possible in order to reduce contact.
Students will be seated spaced apart to the fullest distance possible in classrooms. In cases where 6 feet of spacing is not feasible, the American Academy of Pediatrics shared that “evidence suggests that spacing as close as 3 feet may approach the benefits of 6 feet of space, particularly if students are wearing face coverings and are asymptomatic.” Additionally, the Denver Metro Partnership for Health has shared that the combination of our comprehensive safety measures that include face coverings, cohorts, hand washing, symptom checks, and increased cleaning will ensure a comparably safe environment for students and staff.
Our middle school students will only have access to their lockers at the beginning and end of the day to retrieve jackets or coats. They will be expected to take all supplies and materials to their designated classroom at the beginning of each day. Each grade level will be assigned to a classroom and will remain there for the majority of their day and the middle school teachers will move from room to room to reduce the traffic in the hallways. We are still working on our electives schedule and will provide that when completed.
Student Drop-Off and Pick-Up Procedures
Students will be required to line up by classroom along a designated line in the hard-surface area just to the south of the building. They will be required to remain seated with their class in the mornings at all times, keeping an appropriate distance from one another. Lines by grade level will be clearly marked. Parents/guardians will not be allowed to enter this area, and we further request that you remain in your car when dropping off your students. We know that this may be difficult especially for our kindergarten parents, and will allow only those parents of kindergartners to park and come to the fence for the first three days of school. After that, all parents will be asked to remain in their cars. Additional staff will be on site to help guide students to the appropriate area. Teachers will lead their students into the building from four different doors each day and will exit from those same doors in the afternoon.
Initially there will be no large gatherings such as assemblies, concerts etc. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will resume such activities.
Initially we will not allow volunteers or visitors to any classroom. Should you need to enter the building, please wear a mask and do not proceed past the front desk. This may seem drastic, but all rules such as this are truly designed for the safety of your students and the CVA staff. Again, as soon as it is safe to do so, we will whole-heartedly welcome back our volunteers and parents to our classrooms.
Extracurricular Activities/Clubs will not meet until further notice.
Before School Care and after school Homework Club:
Before school care will be limited to 15 students and you must pre-register. The cost will be $10.00 per child per day. At this time, no drop-ins will be allowed as we do not have additional staff available at this time of day. Students will be expected to wear masks and remain socially distanced at all times.
Homework Club after school care will be limited to 30 students with only five of those spots available for drop-ins. Again, you will need to pre-register and the cost will be $10 per day per child. Drop-ins will be $15.00 per day per child. Students will need to be masked at all times and remain socially distanced. We have increased the cost of this program in order to have an additional staff member present so that we can serve as many students as possible. We appreciate your understanding of this increase and program changes and hope to resume to regular programming as soon as possible.
Should we have someone within the CVA family become infected with COVID-19, we will contact the Weld County Health Department and the St. Vrain Valley School District for further guidance and support.
We truly are living and educating in unprecedented times and greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as we move forward. We are ALL dedicated to providing your student with the best education possible.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. I welcome and value your input. TOGETHER we can make this school year not only work but make it a tremendous success!
Janet Wyatt, Esq.
Carbon Valley Academy
To our CVA Community;
I wanted to write and update everyone on where we are headed as a school for the 2020/2021 school year.
First, I wanted to express my gratitude towards the staff, executive team and parent community at CVA for an incredible job continuing the education of our children in the face of problems we weren’t thinking we’d have to solve.
Everyone mobilized to quickly to change gears and ensure school continued through the end of the year.
It just goes to show you a school is not just the building – it’s the community of people who bring it together to serve our kids. Thank you to all of you for a job done with excellence.
As we head into summer, the executive team and Board of Directors are already pivoting into what this fall may bring. We are currently planning on a return to school with additional measures in place to ensure everyone’s health and safety. In addition, we have fallback plans in place to ensure we can continue to educate regardless of what COVID may bring our way.
In our preparation, we know there will be challenges to solve with space and resource requirements which will be more difficult than others, particularly with our preschool.
After careful consideration of the most likely return-to-school scenarios, the CVA Board of Directors has decided CVA will be suspending preschool programming for the 2020/2021 school year.
Kindergarten through 8th grade are not impacted by this decision and will continue as planned.
Our preschool staff is an incredible group of people, and we are so grateful for the job they have done teaching our littlest ones. Jodi Jansen has been integral in our school community, and her patience and wisdom have ensured our preschool kids and program has thrived for 15 years.
So it is with deep gratitude to the preschool staff that we put the preschool programming on hold; and we look forward to the future when we will reopen all under one roof.
If you have any questions or would like to pass along a kind word or note about the preschool – please write firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your continued participation in our CVA community. I look forward to the future school year with all of you.
CVA family and friends,
The ending of any school year merits time spent on review and reflection, but this year more so than any other. But instead of reflecting on the typical end-of-year matters and planning for next year, I choose to pause and express my utmost gratitude for the staff at Carbon Valley Academy with whom I have been so blessed to work. I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the tremendous support of our parents, guardians, and grandparents who stepped up to support their students through this trying time. Thank you, we could not have done it without you!
The last two and a half months have been extremely challenging for our students, our families, and our community. The staff at CVA rose immediately to meet those challenges head-on and kept on meeting them until the end. They were rewarded Friday morning with an outpouring of appreciation and love shown by our students and families at a drive-through parade that is indicative of the relationship we have together. The attached pictures and videos here or on our Facebook page tell the story of our success better than a thousand words, and certainly better than any words I might offer.
So I end the 2019-2020 school year with immense pride in this amazing group of teachers, paraprofessionals, and support staff of which I am fortunate to lead. If your experience in other schools these past few months have not been what you would have liked or expected it to be, please know that we would gladly welcome you into ours.
As parents of a CVA student, our family’s lives, like so many others, changed drastically, seemingly overnight. The daily routines we had been conducting since August were no more. First came the announcement of an extended spring break, followed by the announcement of a transition to a virtual/online learning format, finally the decision that there would be no more in person school for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The array of emotions our family experienced as these announcements came was wide, as to be expected. However, as a member of the CVA Board of Directors and more importantly, as a parent of a second grader at CVA, I speak on behalf of our entire family, when I say we could not be more impressed with how the CVA community has come together and made a very, very impressive transition from “classroom learning” to what I call “living room learning.”
When the breaks were suddenly put on their lesson plans and in person learning came to a crashing halt, CVA’s teachers came together, shifted gears and changed directions in just two weeks’ time. During this unprecedented time, Executive Director, Ms. Janet Wyatt and her leadership team have ensured that the mission, vision, and core beliefs of CVA have not been left behind and have been carried over to this never before seen way of having to educate our children virtually. One core belief in particular comes to mind.
Carbon Valley Academy provides a classroom and school culture that creates the best learning environment for students through high expectations of student discipline and character.
Sure, the classroom is now virtual, over Zoom and Google Classroom, but CVA’s teachers are still doing what they do best, fostering top notch learning environments for our students. Expectations are still high, as students are expected to be on daily Zoom meetings with their primary teachers and peers. To my knowledge, most schools are operating in a sort of maintain mode if you will and not presenting students with any new material. CVA continues to set the bar higher than the rest, with teachers still presenting new material to their classes. That’s impressive.
Part of CVA’s mission is to, “provide rich content and solid skills instruction…” Again, CVA is excelling in this area. They are succeeding even with the inherent challenges presented in an online learning format. In addition to grade level learning, CVA continues to offer students Spanish, technology, music, PE and art (teacher on maternity leave). All these teachers have also been very creative and successful with delivering quality instruction in their respective areas via Google Classroom.
The emphasis on character development, alongside academics, is a big part of why we chose to be a part of the CVA family. Students are having to be courageous and persevere. They’ve been tasked with more responsibility and autonomy with their school work. Naturally increasing their work ethic. They’ve shown unmatched levels of honesty, humility, respect, compassion and patriotism. CVA students are the best.
When asked his opinion on online learning at CVA, our son says, “I really like it. I still get to see my teacher and friends every day. Google Classroom is really cool too. We have been doing lots of fun things. This is the next best thing.” I could not agree with him more. The CVA community, leadership team, teachers and staff have come together, doing an amazing job in times none of us have ever seen nor ever expected to see. We are so proud to call CVA home. Go Stallions!
Jessica Shouse, Mother of a CVA Student & Director, Board of Directors
Less Homework, More Heartwork
One month ago, our world was shaken. I had no idea that saying goodbye to my students on Thursday, March 12th, would be the last time we would be together for the year. As I sit and reflect back on that day, I’m overcome with emotions. Like most, the reason I teach is simple: to love, reach, grow, and connect with kids. It’s the best part of the job, yet it feels like that is slipping away due to COVID-19.
Fast forward a month, and I’m still in awe of where we are today. As a school and community, we have overcome barriers that seemed impossible. There are still many challenges to face, but seeing those sweet little fourth grade faces each and every morning on Zoom has made it all okay. How lucky are we that the connection hasn’t been lost, and dare I say, it has strengthened over this past month. We have gotten to see each other in a different light, and it’s been truly special and a joy to share. As a unit, rather than focusing on the uncertainty, we are choosing to find good and beauty within the chaos.
We are experiencing a “first” in the education world. Your students are becoming part of history and have already learned so much that only this experience could teach them. Students are not only learning academically, but are also building their character. So many times, we take things for granted. We get caught up in everyday life and lose sight of important things, due to complacency. We have been given this opportunity to reset. This is by far the biggest “test” for our school community, but fortunately, we are strong, we will get through this, and we will be better because of it.
I’d like to share something that was shared with me by a fellow teacher:
“What if instead of falling behind, these groups of kids are ADVANCED because of this?
What if they have more empathy, they enjoy family connection, they can be more creative and entertain themselves, they love to read, and they love to express themselves in writing.
What if they enjoy the simple things, like their own backyard, and sitting near a window in the quiet.
What if they notice the birds and the dates the different flowers emerge, and the calming renewal of a gentle rain shower.
What if this generation is the one to learn to cook, organize their space, do their laundry, and keep a well run home.
What if they learn to stretch a dollar and to live with less.
What if they learn to plan shopping trips and meals at home.
What if they learn the value of eating together as a family and finding the good to share in the small delights of the everyday.What if they are the ones to place great value on our teachers and educational professionals, librarians, public servants, and the previously invisible essential support workers like truck drivers, grocers, cashiers, custodians, logistics, and health care workers and their supporting staff, just to name a few of the millions taking care of us right now while we are sheltered in place.
What if among these children, a great leader emerges who had the benefit of a slower pace and simpler life to truly learn what really matters in this life.
What if they are actually AHEAD?”
They may be getting less homework, but there is definitely more heartwork happening. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of the CVA family who has come together to make virtual learning possible. We are giving our best because our students, families, and community deserve that. We will get through this together because we are CVA strong.
One of the greats Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” These words have really stood out to me these last couple of months, especially looking at what we have been able to accomplish at CVA.
When I came to Carbon Valley as a teacher, I did so with the mindset that I wanted to work at a school that put their students first, encouraged growth mindset, challenged not only the students, and the teachers, but also the administration to never accept less than the absolute best. I wanted to find a school that felt like more than just a school, but a community, a family. Between our character traits, rigorous curriculum, and our motto work hard, be nice I found what I was looking for.
Fast forward to these, most amazingly different times we are experiencing, and I have seen first hand as both a teacher and a dean in the school how our community, our family, has stepped up. My first worry, along with the other teachers in our school was about our students and our families and making sure they were all okay. As a teacher I have had to learn the right balance; where I progress my students forward, while not overwhelming them, and also caring for their social-emotional well being. I have had to create an environment that closely resembled “normal” to help them maintain some control in their now turned upside down world. I honestly worried if I was equipped to take this on, because I myself had to learn a totally new format and way to teach, and I had a very short time to do it in. I, and I feel confident saying this about all of our teachers, used the time we had during our two week spring break, to figure it all out. And that is exactly what we all did. On Monday March 30th, when spring break ended, I was ready to go with a brand new unit, a way to teach it, and a plan to keep my students engaged, active, and learning. It was my desire to not just redo what we had already done this school year, or just give them busy work to keep them occupied, but to actually challenge them and give them new material that would help them be ready for the next school year. I couldn’t be more pleased or impressed by all of the teachers at CVA and all we have accomplished in a very short period of time.
We have been distance learning now for a little over 4 weeks, and my students have already moved on to their next unit. My students, much like the teachers in our school, have stepped up to the challenges of our new normal and are still meeting my expectations in the class, our school’s expectations of rigor, and our communities expectations of good strong character. I knew three years ago when I interviewed that I had to become a part of this community, this family. I knew then how special CVA was, how different it was, and how impactful it would be to me and to the students inside it. I am proud to work at CVA, I am proud of the teachers, administrators, and support staff. I am proud of our students, and families. We have the indomitable will to get us through this, and anything else that might come our way, because we really are #CVAStrong!
I would be very happy to speak to you more about our program and how our school can meet your child’s academic, and character needs! Please do not hesitate to email me email@example.com or text ‘CVA’ to 474747 for more information about how our school can help you!
We are experiencing a time that we have only read about in history books. The current situation in our world and community affects everyone differently. With so many changes and challenges to face, we can be thankful that education remains a priority. Although different, students at Carbon Valley Academy are still learning from their dedicated teachers. The teachers at CVA worked tirelessly throughout their entire spring breaks to turn their face-to-face curriculum into digital learning experiences for their students. Our students were online and engaging with their teachers and classrooms in a live setting as soon as spring break ended and school was scheduled to resume.
Now that we are weeks into distance learning, I would like to recognize the hard work of the CVA teachers. In times like these, social interactions are just as important as academic learning. With fun themed days during spirit week, our community remained connected. Teachers are providing daily lessons in language arts and math that are recorded in advance which allows students to rewind and rewatch. In addition to providing daily lessons, CVA teachers are using their daily live sessions to provide students with opportunities for discussion with their peers, again exemplifying the importance of social contacts and interactions. Furthermore, teachers are providing students with opportunities for lunches with classmates by setting up live sessions. Recently, Carbon Valley Academy has purchased more chromebooks in an effort to provide technology devices to our families who currently are without.
Our character traits are still alive and well even through distance learning. CVA recently honored our character trait award winners for work ethic and friendship in a virtual award ceremony. The winners were sent their awards in the mail. With the challenging times ahead, our character traits remain important, specifically the next two that are our focus: perseverance and compassion. It is the goal of CVA to form well rounded members of our community.
For more information text CVA to 474747 or contact Catherine Linhardt by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, a chance to catch my breath! To say that this past month has been a whirlwind of uncertainty is an understatement. During this time, I’ve experienced a variety of emotions just like I imagine you have. I am saddened by not seeing our students come in with their backpacks and water bottles and lunchboxes. Lately when I’ve gone into the building it’s been so quiet, desolate even. But what gives me comfort in those moments of stillness is knowing that, while not perfect perhaps, my teachers are providing your children with quality instruction.
Like every school around us we had no idea when we left on that Thursday we would not be back. What I want you to know is that your child’s teacher didn’t miss a beat! They came to the school, gathered their materials, went home and got down to work in order to be prepared for our new temporary normal.
And we were! First thing Monday we were up and running with online learning and we haven’t stopped. During the last week I’ve seen so many beautiful pictures of your kids smiling and laughing with their classmates and teachers. I’ve seen and talked to, virtually of course, all the staff on our weekly Zoom meetings. Our board of directors has also begun weekly virtual meetings to make sure all involved are working together. In all these meetings I see people dedicated, truly dedicated, to the students of Carbon Valley Academy. We have had challenging conversations, great collaboration and amazing creativity that may not have happened if we did not find ourselves in these uncharted waters. But do you know what I haven’t seen or heard? A single complaint. No one has complained about having to give up spring break to prepare or about having to learn new technology skills that maybe they didn’t have or any of the other myriad of obstacles they are overcoming daily. I’m serious: Not one complaint!
I shouldn’t be surprised really. Since coming to CVA last July the staff welcomed me into this amazing family. I know I do things a little differently than what they were used to, but when I ask something of them, it gets done. And I guess that’s what I want you to know: At Carbon Valley Academy, we get the job done. Every. Single. Day. I could not be prouder of this group of teachers, paraprofessionals, and support staff.
And so, if you’re not already a part of the Carbon Valley Academy family, I would encourage you to check us out. We offer a rigorous academic program with an additional focus on character education. Next year, we will be adding elements of S.T.E.A.M curriculum to our existing programming.
Give me a chance to show you around and talk more about who we are and what we do. You won’t be disappointed!