Principal’s Update — August 11, 2022

Posted August 11, 2022

Dear McKinley-Thatcher families —

Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year! Whether you are a returning McT family or you are joining our community for the first time, we are excited to partner with you in this job that we love so much – serving your families and supporting your children. We hope you’ve had an amazing summer break, and we are excited to see you all soon! 

Staff Updates 

We are pleased to welcome many new, diverse, and experienced staff to McKinley-Thatcher this year! Please help us welcome our new team members and some familiar faces in new roles! 

  • Office Manager – Graciela “Grace” Ayala (¡yo hablo español!) 
  • School Psychologist – Jen Bruner
  • School Counselor – Alex Clark 
  • Gifted & Talented Teacher – Stephanie Thielen
  • Senior Teacher Leader & Literacy Intervention – Rachel Stenftennagel (new role) 
  • Kindergarten Literacy Teacher – Carlos Romero 
  • 5th Grade Teacher – Rachel Sheridan
  • Special Education Paraprofessional – Alicia Anderson
  • Special Education Paraprofessional – Dean Wymer 
  • Kindergarten Paraprofessional – Hamida El Mohammadi (new role) 
  • Instructional Paraprofessional – Jared Rust 
  • Instructional Paraprofessional – Deepti Martinez
  • Instructional Paraprofessional – Natalia Nunez-Ontiveros 

Important Dates to Remember

We are excited to welcome you back to McT via our annual Open House on Thursday, August 18 from 4:00pm to 5:30pm! This is a chance for you to meet your children’s teachers and to visit classrooms. Our amazing PTA will be hosting a free ice cream social on the playground during Open House, so come ready to connect with other families and get excited about the new school year! 

Please also keep these beginning-of-the-year dates handy! 

  • Online School Registration ENDS tomorrow: Friday, August 12 (see our website to register!)
  • Open House: Thursday, August 18, 4:00pm-5:30pm – come see your classroom and meet your teachers! 
  • First Day of School & Welcome Celebration: Monday, August 22 
    • Welcome Celebration: 7:15am-7:30am on our playground
    • School day begins: 7:30am
  • No School (Labor Day): Monday, September 5
  • Back-to-School Night: Thursday, September 8, 5:00pm-6:30pm – join your teachers to learn more about classroom routines, curriculum, grade level expectations, and more! 
    • Session 1: 5:00pm-5:45pm 
    • Session 2: 5:45pm-6:30pm 
    • Free childcare will be provided by our staff (ages 4+); sessions are for adults only. 
  • Families can also see our McKinley-Thatcher School Year Calendar here. Please note that we have four special no-school days that are specific to our school (see below).
    • Thursday, September 29, 2022
    • Tuesday, January 17, 2023
    • Friday, March 10, 2023
    • Friday, April 28, 2023

2022-2023 Bell Times & Discovery Link Information

Our bell times are 7:30am to 2:30pm for ALL students (ECE-4 through 5th grade). We understand that the early start time is challenging for some families, so please start getting into an early morning routine now to be ready for the first day of school! Please have your children here at 7:30am ready to learn and begin their day!  When students come late, they miss out on important learning. We’ll be working hard to support our families to have all students at school on time this year. 

Our cafeteria will be open for free student breakfast from 7:15am to 7:30am, and our main office hours are 7:15am to 3:30pm daily.

Families who need after-school care may register with our Discovery Link program here. Discovery Link’s programming is for ECE-4 through 5th graders and runs Monday through Friday from 2:30pm to 6:00pm. 

Recess Volunteers

Are you interested in volunteering at McT to help support our kids? We are currently looking for volunteers to help with lunch supervision as well as extra support to help ensure student safety and peaceful play during our mid-day recess. We are hoping to find 2-3 volunteers each day between 11:00am-12:15pm. If you can commit to one day a week, or 1-2 days a month, we’d love to have your help! Please fill out this Google Form if you are interested.  

COVID-19 Updates

Colorado has made tremendous strides in mitigating the worst outcomes from COVID-19. More than 81% of Coloradans age 5 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine statewide. An additional 54.5% of adults over the age of 18 have received their third (booster) dose. However, unvaccinated Coloradans remain vulnerable to new variants, including the omicron variant. Because many students have yet to be vaccinated, at McT, we will take important mitigation steps that can reduce transmission of COVID-19, and address outbreaks in a safe and thoughtful manner.  

  • As a district, Denver Public Schools will still follow Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment School Guidance.
  • Masking is not required, but masks are still strongly encouraged.
  • If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19, they must isolate for 5 days from first day of symptoms (or testing date if asymptomatic).
    • No test results are required to return to school/work, but students/staff MUST be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication and their symptoms must be diminishing.
    • Staff and students MUST wear a mask on days 6-10 if symptoms are lingering. 
  • No quarantine is required for routine school cases.
  • Vaccines against COVID-19 and boosters are strongly encouraged. 
  • If your child is sick, please keep them home. If you have questions, please review this information below from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

School Meals at McKinley-Thatcher

We are happy to announce that, again this year, Denver Public Schools will provide free breakfast to all students! This is a wonderful benefit to our school community. Breakfast will not be available in a grab-n-go format like last year, so please send your child to school at 7:15am if they need breakfast. Students must eat their breakfast in the cafeteria between 7:15am and 7:25am, before classes begin.  

Please note that the federally-funded program that provided free lunch for all students last school year has ended. In order to receive free or reduced-price lunch this year, families MUST complete a Meal Benefits Application as soon as possible. Families will need their student’s school ID numbers and, if they have one, their SNAP number to complete the application. If you need assistance with your application, please call our main office at (720) 424-5600.

McKinley-Thatcher serves hot lunch daily for students who choose this option. Families are encouraged to purchase lunches by the week or month. You can pay for school lunches via the MySchoolBucks website.

Lunches may also be brought from home. Please write your child’s name on the sack or lunch box. Soft drinks (soda) may not be brought in sack lunches.

Thank you so much for reading all of this important information. We are hard at work getting the school ready for students to return, and we can’t wait to see you all here on Thursday, August 18 for our Open House!

All the best,

Ms. Sonia Geerdes, Principal (she/her)
Mrs. Courtney Waring, Assistant Principal (she/her)