‘New kids, new year, new ideas’

Carlson Elementary Back to School Night welcomes families to 2021-22 school year

Corinne Westeman
cwesteman@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 8/19/21

While Clear Creek students and teachers might be back at school now, last week’s Back to School Nights throughout the county offered a glimpse of the 2021-22 school year. Carlson Elementary’s …

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‘New kids, new year, new ideas’

Carlson Elementary Back to School Night welcomes families to 2021-22 school year

Posted

While Clear Creek students and teachers might be back at school now, last week’s Back to School Nights throughout the county offered a glimpse of the 2021-22 school year.

Carlson Elementary’s Back to School Night on Thursday gave students and their parents a chance to meet their new teachers and reconnect with their friends.

It was also a chance for students to play on their new playground.

Incoming kindergartner Kensley, 5, said the tall slide was her favorite part.

Kensley and her mom, Amy Hospodar of Idaho Springs, explained how they checked on the playground’s progress while riding their bikes this summer, and liked the end result.

Hospodar, whose younger daughter is also starting preschool at Carlson, said that she was a little nervous about the latest COVID-19 wave.

Clear Creek students will be required to wear masks while indoors and wash their hands frequently, and schools will take every opportunity to have classes outside.

“I know (the staff members) are doing what they can,” she said. “ … I hope everyone’s safe and the year goes well.”

Kensley was excited to return to school so she could see her old friends and make new ones, and Hospodar said her daughter really appreciates having that social structure.

John and Kelly McKee, who live in the Idaho Springs area, also brought their incoming kindergartner, David, 5, who seemed to be enjoying the new playground and tall slide.

After a year of homeschooling, John said David was both excited and nervous to return to school. However, the family got to meet his new teacher and reconnect with friends at Back to School Night, which was great, he described.

Plus, they were also excited to see the new playground after monitoring the construction all summer.

Principal Loraine Swartz explained that the event was overall a way to welcome students back, engage with community partners such as the library district and public health department, and tell parents about the new experiential learning model.

Swartz said the teachers are “so jazzed” about the new model’s learning possibilities.

She also emphasized that, while the school is taking precautions, “COVID is not the focus; we want to focus on learning.”

Fourth grade teacher Mike Dinardo, who is starting his fourth year at Carlson, affirmed that he’s looking forward to trying out the new model and taking the classroom outdoors.

He hoped to combine subjects, such as social studies and science, into a single lesson, and “have a whole education experience.” He also said he was planning field trips, such as to local mines, to engage students in local history and geology.

“New kids, new year, new ideas,” Dinardo said. “I think everyone’s ready for a re-fresh.”

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