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PHExpress 2.28.2020

Hello Prairie HIlls community, and welcome to the end of the week. I will be sending home the CMAS schedule this week, so you can mark your calendars to ensure your student is here every day on time, has had a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast in preparation for their testing sessions.  We have many things going on as you’ll see in this week’s edition, so I’m just warning you to hang on tight, as spring is coming quickly, and we’re really getting busy around here! 

 Here’s wishing you all a great week!

Changes at Lunch

I also wanted to update you on the work we’ve been doing around lunch.  We had a lunch study team comprised of parents, certified and classified staff.  We discussed many issues around lunch including the nutritional value of snack choices, providing water as a beverage option during lunch for students, creating a Share table to reduce food waste, and expanding the number of minutes students actually have to eat their lunch.  After months of study, we have done the following things to improve the lunchroom experience for our students:

  • We have invited our District’s nutritionists to come in and do a presentation on the Go, Slow, Whoa program when selecting snacks for purchase.  Also included in this presentation was how to build a nutritious plate, and make healthy choices in the cafeteria around food selection.

  • We have created a Share table, where students who purchased a hot lunch can place food or milk on the table  that they haven’t opened, i.e. whole and packaged fruit or vegetables they don’t care to eat milk etc.. Other students who are still hungry can go to the table and take an item(s) if they would like an additional portion.  

  • We have sent home to you the list of snack items in a previous PHExpress, for you to peruse so you can talk with your students at home about making healthy choices when purchasing snacks.  As a follow up, here is a reminder from the assembly about the Go-Slow-Whoa program-Glow-Slow-Whoa Program.  And here is the A la Carte Snack List, from the distrtict’s website.  Remember, you can contact the cafeteria and ask them to limit the number of snacks being purchased per day.

  • Finally, after parent and staff input, we have decided to begin a trial  lunch procedure, where students will have 35 minutes in the cafeteria to each their lunches, and teachers will be responsible for ensuring students have two opportunities per day for recess and/or movement for their students.  We are in the initial stages of ordering tables for the cafeteria, creating signage for each table, and re-defining our cafeteria traffic patterns and procedures etc.. Our projected kick-off is March 9th. We will try this new procedure through April, and then determine if it should be considered as a permanent solution to the multitude of concerns brought forward around discipline during the lunch period, students not having enough time to eat, and food waste as a result of students not having enough time to eat.  We’ll keep you posted as we are prepared to kick off our new lunch procedure, and…..we’re looking for parent volunteers to come in during our kick off phase to help us ensure a smooth beginning to a new procedure. Be on the lookout, through the PHExpress, Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.

Buddy Bench

You may have read on our PTO site that one of our fourth grade students had submitted a proposal for a Buddy Bench as a response to the bullying issues we were having in fourth grade earlier in the school year.  The purpose of a Buddy Bench is that students can use Buddy Benches to seek a playmate or invite others to join their activities. A Buddy Bench is a small, safe haven. Children who are feeling emotional or lonely can sit on the bench as a clear signal to others on the playground that they are in need of social connection.  PTO loved this idea so much, they decided to dedicate proceeds from the Burritos and Brew event held earlier this month to the purchase of a Buddy Bench.  Well, they were very successful, and raised $740.00. In addition, our school photographer, Studio 5 volunteered to match those funds, giving us almost $1,500.00 to put toward not one, but two Buddy Benches. (Thank you so much Studio 5!) And then…...a parent was so moved by Allie’s story that he reached out to a contact he had at Home Depot in Brighton,  and they have contributed $1,000,.00 to the Buddy Bench fund. Student Leadership is also dedicating funds from a future fundraiser to this wonderful cause. So, all in all, we have nearly $2,500.00 dedicated to this worthy cause, and all because a fourth grade student had a big idea to make our school a better place. It’s such a good lesson for all of our students, that every person here, no matter how big or how small, has the opportunity to change the world.  We congratulate Allie on dreaming big, and making a difference!


I realize it is late in the year to be talking about attendance, however, we have noticed a number of students who have a high number of absences.  We wanted all of you to be aware of the school district policy, found here,   We realize it’s been a really tough year for colds, flu, and other illnesses, but when your student is healthy, we want them here at school in order to ensure that they have the opportunity to learn all that we’re teaching!  The District’s recommendation on attendance is below:


Maintaining Proficient/Advanced Attendance means having 


Instructional Day

Date for 1st Semester start

Far Below Basic

Below Basic






Number of Absences 


September 18

4 or more






October 23

7 or more






December 2

10 or more






January 23

14 or more






March 2

17 or more






April 16

20 or more






May 23

23 or more






Ms. Garcia and myself are working on sending out some Attendance letters as a reminder to parents that we want to encourage great school attendance.  If you receive a letter from the school and you have further questions, please let us know how we can support you. For those of you who have students in the red zone, it's a perfect opportunity to help move into the green zone as we work toward our end of the year!

Message to all incoming 6th graders from Rocky Top

Coffee & Conversation with Chelsea Behanna, RTMS Principal (INCOMING parents)

Not able to make it to Gearing Up to be a Grizzly? No worries! Come join Rocky Top Middle School Principal, Chelsea Behanna, for coffee & conversation about your child's upcoming transition to 6th grade. Bring your questions, worries and hopes to share as we discuss all the things to look forward to as you wrap up the year. Only 30 spots will be available per Coffee & Conversation session and we ask that you only sign up once. This year, Ms. Behanna and Ms. Bernabe (the 6th grade counselor) will be taking the show on the road and having Coffee & Conversation at our 4 main feeder elementary schools. If your future Grizzly attends a different elementary school and you would still like to join us-- please feel free to RSVP! We would love to have you.

  • At Silver Creek: Monday, April 20th at 1:30-2:15 PM (just before student dismissal)

    • RSVP by 4/13 for Silver Creek event HERE.

  • At Meridian: Tuesday, April 21st at 1:30-2:15 PM (just before student dismissal)

    • RSVP by 4/13 for Meridian event HERE.

  • At Prairie Hills: Wednesday, April 22nd at 1:30-2:15 PM (just after student dismissal)

    • RSVP by 4/13 for Prairie Hills event HERE.

  • At Eagleview: Thursday, April 23rd at 1:30-2:15 PM (just before student dismissal)

    • RSVP by 4/13 for Eagleview event HERE.

CMAS Testing Schedule

As we begin to gear up for CMAS testing for grades 3-5, we want to remind parents that we need your support.  Please make sure that your students have had a good night’s sleep prior to each day’s assessment, make sure they eat a good breakfast, and most of all tell them how proud you are of them, and you know they’ll do their best-no sweat.  The schedule for testing is here.  Please mark your calendars for these upcoming dates!  We’re excited to show what we know!!!!!

Join Prairie Hills Elementary on Twitter and Facebook.

Upcoming Dates and Activities:

Student Leadership Spirit Night

Tuesday March 3rd:  Chick-Fil-A

Spirit Week

Monday March 9th:  Tie Dye or splatter paint 

Tuesday March 10th:  Disco Day ’

Wednesday:  Jazzercise Day 

Thursday:  Blackout Day (wear all black)

Friday:  Neon Day

5th Grade Events

Rocky Top Spring Transition Event for all 5th grade students:  April 15th 6:00-7:30

Can’t make that event?  Rocky Top staff will be here on 4/22 from 1:30-2:15

Field Trips

Tuesday March 10th:  Kindergarten Field Trip to the Arvada Center  


Thank you to our wonderful, creative PHE staff for the assembly today to kick-off PTO’s spring event this year- “Spring Fling” (formerly the “Family Festival”). Save the date for Friday, April 24th, from 5:30pm-8:00pm. This year, students will be able to enjoy games and activities for only $5 a student! Look for packets coming home soon.

Upcoming Community Event: PTO/Student Leadership Family Glow Party on Friday, March 13, from 6:30pm-8:00pm. Join us in the gym and cafeteria for games, food, and music provided by our own DJ Sousa. Look for details in next week’s Friday Folder.

The last day for students to apply to PHE’s High School Scholarship is March 13. Please share with any current high school Senior you know who attended PHE.