Principal’s Update — June 3, 2024

Posted June 3, 2024

Dear McKinley-Thatcher Community –  

This time of year is always bittersweet as we close out one school year and begin to plan and prepare for new adventures in the upcoming year. I’ve spent some time reflecting on our successes this year and it makes me so grateful to realize that we have returned to a sense of “normalcy” that we haven’t experienced for several years now due to the pandemic.

This year, we celebrated our community at our International Night and Showcase of Learning events. We came together to have fun at our PTA Movie Night, Chili Cook-Off, and annual School Auction. We went on field trips and played hard at recess (thank you, volunteers!). We also challenged ourselves to learn and grow in new ways (students and adults alike!). I am so proud to be the principal of this incredible school, a participant in this amazing community, and a friend to so many of you. Thank you for your support, and your partnership for the success of all of our students.  

Staff Transitions for the 2024-2025 School Year

We are sad to say goodbye to: 

  • Maria Salas (Cafeteria Manager) our beloved cafeteria manager is retiring after 7 years at McT and 22 years serving students in DPS.  
  • Annie Monaghan (1st Grade Math & Science Teacher) – moving home to Maine to be closer to family. 
  • Chelsey Farnum (Art Teacher) – moving to Ohio to follow her husband to his dream job.  
  • Dean Wymer (5th Grade Teacher) – moving to Rifle, CO for a new adventure. 

We are excited to welcome several new staff members & McT staff transitioning to new roles: 

  • Sarah Kirkwood (former McKinley Kindergarten Teacher & current Reading Intervention Teacher) is moving back to a full-time role as our 1st Grade Math, Science, & Social Studies Teacher. 
  • Margo Hoffman will be our new 4th Grade Literacy Teacher. She is joining us after several years in DPS, most recently working at Shoemaker Elementary School.  
  • Emily Jones will shift roles slightly to be our 4th Grade Math, Science, & Social Studies teacher in collaboration with Ms. Hoffman. 
  • Rachel Casey will be our new 5th Grade Teacher. She is joining us from a local charter school and has 10 years of experience here and in New York State.  
  • Jenny Morgenthaler will be our new Art Teacher. Jenny was our Music Teacher at McT for several years. She has found a new passion teaching art (17 years into her career!) and is coming back home to McT next fall. 
  • Courtney Waring has completed her multi-year principal internship program and will be returning to a full-time intervention and teacher leadership role. 

Next Year’s Specials Schedule

Thanks to the remarkable work of our PTA and all who contributed in our fundraising efforts this year, we are able to maintain a robust specials program for all students next year! Additionally, because our school has doubled in size over the past nine years, the specials schedule is changing to accommodate our growth. 

Next year, our specials teachers will work three full days a week (rather than 2.5 days a week). Students will have one 50-minute specials class each day, instead of two 30-minute specials like this year. However, on Wednesdays, when all of our specials teachers are in the building, students will have two specials classes. 

Students will also have a longer library block each week, as well as two recesses each day to help ensure every class has plenty of time to rest their brains between academic lessons. 

Summer Resources for Families

2024-2025 Discovery Link Registration
Visit the DL website here to register for after-school care for next school year. New DL families will need their student’s school ID number to register for Discovery Link. Visit DPS’s Student ID Retrieval tool here to look up your child’s ID number. 

Free Summer Healthcare for DPS Students
Denver Health’s School Based Health Centers will continue to see DPS students and their siblings for free at certain locations during the summer. The clinics offer free medical and dental care, run by Denver Health Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. For more information, check out the SBHC summer flyer here

NEW: Summer EBT Grocery Program for Eligible Families
Beginning this summer, Colorado will offer Summer EBT, the new grocery EBT program for families with eligible school-age kids. Many families will automatically receive Summer EBT if their children qualify based on income or if they participate in SNAP or Colorado Works. Families also may be eligible if they receive Medicaid and meet the NSLP income guidelines. 

Learn more about Summer EBT, eligibility, and how the program works at!

Summer Meal Support
The DPS Summer Food Service Program serves children age 18 and younger. All children are eligible for free weekday meals at any DPS summer food location. See locations and more information here!

The City of Denver Tasty Food Program offers free meals and snacks to children ages 3 to 18. See locations and more information here!

Mark Your Calendars: Important Summer Dates

  • Thursday, June 6 – McT Main Office CLOSES for summer break at 3:00pm
  • Monday, August 5 – McT Main Office OPENS for phone & email assistance at 8:00am.
  • Monday, August 12 – McT Main Office OPENS for in-person assistance at 8:00am
    • Please note: due to construction in our building, our office will open for in-person assistance to families later in August than normal.
  • Online School Registration: Monday, August 5 to Sunday, August 11
    • Families will receive registration instructions via email in early August. 
  • McT Open House / Meet Your Teacher Event: Thursday, August 15, 4:00pm-5:30pm
  • K-5th Grade First Day of School & Welcome Celebration: Monday, August 19, 7:15am
  • ECE First Day of School: Tuesday, August 20

Please click here to see our 2024-2025 McKinley-Thatcher school calendar, which includes all of the above dates! 

First Three Days of School: Half-Day Schedule for ALL Grades

Monday, August 19 to Wednesday, August 21 will be half-days for kindergarten through 5th grade. School will begin at 7:30am and end at 11:30am. Students will have lunch before going home. 

All students in kindergarten through 5th grade will have an individual assessment meeting with their teacher on the afternoon of August 19, 20, or 21. We’ll send out a sign-up form in August 2024 for assessment appointments.  

ECE students will follow the same half-day schedule listed above on Tuesday, August 20 and Wednesday, August 21. There will be no assessment appointments for ECE students. 

Have a wonderful, restful, and safe summer break! We can’t wait to see you again in August! 


Ms. Sonia Geerdes