Letter from Laura regarding today’s Lockdown.

May 20, 2015

Dear Centennial Elementary Parents:

We are committed to letting you know about incidents that affect Centennial Elementary and the community. Before dismissal today, DPS Safety and Security placed our school under a lockdown due to police activity in the neighborhood. Our school remained under lockdown for about four minutes and then was moved to lockout status while the nearby police activity continued.

I appreciate parents’ patience since the lockout caused delays in picking up their students, but please understand that these measures are put in place to ensure the safety of students and staff.

A school lockdown means students and staff return to their classrooms, all classroom, interior and exterior doors are locked, and all lights are turned off. Students and staff move out of sight and remain quiet in their classrooms until the lockdown is lifted.

A lockout means we lock exterior doors of our school and bring students and staff inside the building. Business inside the building continues as normal but we all must stay inside the building.

I would like to commend the swift and professional response of our school staff, students and security personnel during today’s lockdown. Please know that the safety of our students is a top priority at Centennial Elementary.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this incident.


Laura Munro

Construction/2015-16 Calendar Update

On Monday, May 11th we held a community meeting to talk with families about proposed changes to the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school calendars to accommodate extensive classroom renovations that will start the end of May 2016 and carry-on through out the length of the 2016 summer months. During the Community Meeting, families in attendance asked very thoughtful questions and we engaged in a positive dialogue. After the meeting Principal Laura Munro was able to take the feedback we received from participants and review it with District leadership to make further revisions that we feel address the questions and concerns raised by our community. We feel confident that the changes we’ve been able to make will be positively received by our community and will support the learning needs of our students. Most specifically, we have been able to address concerns raised by our families regarding the possibility of extending the length of the school day beyond 3:45. Below are highlights of the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school year calendars. Scroll down below to see architectural drawings of how beautiful the school will look after the renovations are complete by the start of the 2016 school year.

School Year 2015-2016



· August 24 2015- First Day of School for students

· Planning and Assessment Days- No Classes for Students

October 19
January 4
February 29
April 11

· October 20 Student- led conference day #1 (No classes for students)

· February 29 Student-led conference day #2 ( No classes for students)

· May 26 2016- last day of school for students- 1/2 day

School Day is 8:00-3:45

The 2015-16 school year will end 5 days early to accommodate the extensive renovations taking place in the building, but because we added 45 minutes to the school day, and students are in school from 8:00-3:45, we are still 100+ hours over the total number of instructional hours required.


School Year 2016-17


September 8 2016 is first day of school for students

There will be three Planning/Assessment days through out the school year when students will not have classes

There will be two Student-led conference days, one fall, one spring

· June 9 2017 is the last day of school for students- ˝ day

School day is 8:00-3:45

Construction Overview

construction work


classroom design



Click below to review the entire May Meeting presentation

May 11 Community Meeting


DPS Redesigning ‘70s-Era 'Open Plan' Classrooms – 2012 DPS Bond Update from Denver Public Schools on Vimeo.

2015/16 Fit Fun Registration starts May 7th at 4pm

Both ONLINE and Paper registration options available beginning May 7th .

Starting times: current Kaleidoscope families- 4pm and new families-6pm


Step 1 – Have an active DPS Parent Portal account and gather the following information: • Emergency contacts • Doctor, dentist and hospital information

Step 2- Login to your Parent Portal account at https://myportal.dpsk12.org

Step 3 – Once in the Portal, you will see the “Kaleidoscope Corner” button on the left menu. Click the button and follow the instructions.

Step 4 – You will be taken into another screen. Click on your “inbox” and select Kaleidoscope Corner 2015-2016 Registration. Complete the application.

Step 5 – From your email, submit your student’s current immunizations and health forms to kaleidoscope@dpsk12.org. Include the site your child will be attending on the forms.

Click here to see the Fall 2015-2016 Registration Flyer.

Second Graders Inspire A Playground for All

Today, the playground at Centennial – A School for Expeditionary Learning in Denver is accessible to all children because of second graders who applied their learning through a project on simple machines.

Teachers Fran Taffer and Ali Bernstein last year led their two classrooms on a real world learning adventure with a purpose. The Simple Machines expedition features case studies in which students learn about force and motion via a deep dive into the mechanics of the wheel. They become experts in their own simple machines (ramps, pulleys, wedges, etc.) and identify an opportunity in which a simple machine can play a role in improving their community.

“When we started it, we had no idea what we were going to do. I heard an NPR story about how students with disabilities did not have access to playgrounds. It got me thinking that we could solve that problem at Centennial,” Fran said. The woodchip surface of Centennial’s playground made it difficult for students in wheelchairs to play on it. Writing letters to Denver Public Schools to ask for a smooth, safe playground surface that students in wheelchairs could access became the goal.

Fran and Ali started by having the students do an experiment about friction and how wheels don’t work on a woodchip surface. They then learned about playgrounds, disabilities, and making change in their community. Experts, including a designer of universally accessible playgrounds, were brought in to share their knowledge with the students. Their visits were coupled with close reading and writing work on the topics.

“The writing process became something that all the students could understand and get behind. We focused on enabling students to understand why being able to play is important to develop social skills. The combination of taking enough time to build background knowledge before writing was important. When they started writing, it never felt forced,” Fran said.

Fran wrote the exemplar letter that served as the model for the students and developed the criteria for success. Student-led assessment and learning targets kept the students on track so they understood the purpose of their work. Additional learning opportunities occurred when fourth and fifth graders mentored the second graders and critiqued their work.

The students read and presented the letters to Denver Public Schools officials who warmly received them. The approval process and construction took a year and the new playground was unveiled last month.

Though the students had hoped the playground would be completed last year, they learned a valuable lesson. “I was worried that it might not happen, but now that it happened, I feel – like accomplished – and proud,” said Maya Cordova who is now in third grade. A fellow student Jason Waters added: “What I learned is that I can make a change no matter how old I am.”

See the KUSA-TV news story here.

Open Classroom Construction Update:

As part of the 2012 Bond, Centennial will have our open classroom’s renovated. However the scope/volume of the work is much greater than originally anticipated because of our outdated HVAC system.
We are currently awaiting the Design Team’s cost evaluation of the following two proposals:
Option 1:
Open Plan Remodel Summer 2016
Mechanical Upgrades Summer 2017 pending acceptance of 2016 Bond
Option 2:
Open Plan Remodel and Mechanical Upgrades Summer 2017 with early release and delayed start calendar adjustment.
Regardless of the decision of which option the Gym Floor abatement and replacement will take place Summer 2015.
Check out this video produced by DPS to better understand the Open Classroom renovation project.


DPS Redesigning ‘70s-Era 'Open Plan' Classrooms – 2012 DPS Bond Update from Denver Public Schools on Vimeo.

Open Letter to Future Crew from a Current Parent

“If you wonder often, the gift of knowledge will come.”

Read aloud by a first grader, this was the opening line to welcome students, staff, and families to the first Centennial Community Circle this October. To me, it epitomizes what underlies the education my children are receiving at Centennial: A School for Expeditionary Learning.


Three years ago, our family followed the support and criticism in response to the massive changes going on at the school. And two years ago, we took a leap of faith and choiced our son into kindergarten at Centennial during their first year as a new Expeditionary Learning school. My son is now a first grader and I have a daughter in kindergarten.

Yes, Centennial is a school in transition which means it still has its ups and down (hey, what school doesn’t?), but if you peek behind their doors, you might be surprised at all of the changes going on inside. This year, Centennial kicked-off an Extended Learning Time plan that provides an additional 300 hours of student engagement time throughout the school year. Forty-five minutes was added to the each school day, the number of days kids are out of school has decreased, and the biggest impact has been that every Wednesday (“Enrichment Wednesdays”), the entire school partners with over 20 outside providers to participate in enrichment activities such as dance, art, soccer, cooking, technology and science, martial arts, and yoga. This has allowed the teaching staff more collaborative planning time.

enrichment building

Honestly, I was skeptical about the longer day. I was concerned that it would mean more
“butts in seats”, worksheets, etc. Plus, ending at 3:45 felt too late to me, but as I’ve seen and heard about what the kids are doing with this extra time, I couldn’t be happier. At a time when schools are cutting regular enrichments, Centennial is adding them! Centennial is creating a learning environment that supports exploring, engaging, wondering, not just sitting and listening (although that is expected too!). These enrichments come in addition to the regular PE, art, music and Spanish “specials” (hooray!).

Plus, through our 21st Century Grant, after school offers a world of free activities for the K-5 kids. Soccer, Daisy Scouts, Destination Imagination, science club, sewing club, book club, sound lab, homework help, to name a few.

Last, one of my favorite things about the school is how open the administration, teaching staff, and PTA are to parent involvement. I am in the school two days a week volunteering in my kids’ classrooms, plus I am active in the PTA. I describe the PTA as a “Yes!” PTA. Bring an idea in and the response is “Yes! Go for it!” There is no opportunity too big or too small to be involved.

Is Centennial the “perfect school”? No, but is there such a thing? To me, Centennial is progress, growth, opportunity, engagement, and constant wonder. And I believe that we will continue to grow and progress with each year.

-Jean Cimino

Upcoming tours:

January 9th, 2:30-3:30

This is a great opportunity to meet with our Principal, Laura Munro and other staff/parents. Each Open House will start with a 1/2 hour Q&A session, followed by a tour of the school.

If you are unable to attend one of these Open Houses, please call up Stacy (720) 424-8900 to schedule a tour.

You can also contact our PTA president directly, who is happy to address any questions you have.

SchoolChoice Enrollment

SchoolChoice Round One opens December 15th.

Please complete your forms by January 30, 2015, 4:00 pm

All transitioning students who are ECE 3 and 4 year olds (transitioning into ECE 4 and Kindergarten) and 5th graders (transitioning into middle school) must complete a choice application even if the student will be attending their home school

Use Parent Portal to fill out your enrollment application.

If you do not have an account, contact Roselle @ 720-424-8929 or email.

Students new to DPS in the 2015-16 school year may participate in the round 1 Choice process in one of two ways.

Documents must be submitted IN PERSON to any DPS school or Enrollment Center:

The first way to participate is to submit an Online Choice form:

Online form (Documents must be submitted by January 9, 2015 to allow time for Parent Portal account creation.)

  1. Pre-enrollment form (15-16 form below)
  2. Child’s birth certificate or other proof of birth
  3. Proof of current residence

Once the Pre-enrollment form has been processed, you will be notified that you may request a Parent Portal account. Please allow 5 – 7 business days for account creation.Once your Parent Portal account has been created and you have a user name and password you will then be able to use your account to access the online SchoolChocie form.

15-16 Pre-enrollment Form English 15-16 Pre-enrollment Form Spanish


The second and only other way to participate in Round 1 SchoolChoice is to submit a paper Choice form:

Paper form

  1. SchoolChoice form, including the Pre-enrollment section. Leave DPS Student ID areas blank.
  2. Child’s birth certificate or other proof of birth
  3. Proof of current residence

Open House, School Tours and Coffee Chats

Open House

Prospective families are welcome to learn more about Centennial and Expeditionary Learning at the following Open Houses:

  • October 10th 9-10am
  • November 14th 2:30-3:30pm
  • December 12th 9-10am
  • January 9th 2:30-3:30pm


This is a great opportunity to meet with our Principal, Laura Munro.

Each Open House will start with a 1/2 hour Q&A session, followed by a tour of the school.

School Tours

If you are unable to attend one of these Open Houses, please call up Stacy (720) 424-8900 to schedule a tour.

Coffee Chats

Wednesday Nov 5 9-11am

Come chat with current parents of Centennial. This is an informal chance for you to ask questions and learn about the Centennial Community.

6530 West 31st Avenue, Wheat Ridge
Coffee and light snacks provided – Kids welcome
RSVP: jeancimino@gmail.com or 919-602-0794

Thursday, Dec 4th, 7-9pm
BookBar (4280 Tennyson St)
RSVP: Not necessary!

You can also contact our PTA president directly, who is happy to address any questions you have.

Shannon Cruwys
Mom to Centennial Students Finn & Greyson





This year Centennial is extremely fortunate to have a partnership with a great organization called Playworks. Some of your students may have already talked to you about Coach Ashley, or Coach A as they call her. One of Coach A’s roles is to be out on the playground every day teaching students recess games in an effort to support our school community to build a safe recess environment where students can be engaged in age appropriate, structured play.

As a member of the Playworks community we were just informed of a super cool opportunity to possibly win $1000 worth of much needed recess equipment.

Please take a moment to fill out this quick online survey, the more surveys filled out for Centennial, the more times Centennial is entered in the competition.


In addition to the survey, Coach A will be hanging posters around the school playground. If parents tweet or Instagram a picture of the poster and our playground using the hashtag #win4recess, Centennial will get more entry credits for the contest.

The more entries we have, the better chance we have of getting more playground equipment for our crew.

1st Friday Family Lunch

You are invited to come and have lunch with your student on the 1st Friday of every month for 1st Friday Family Lunch.
Crew Lunch times are:
ECE: 11:00am
Kinder: 11:30am
1st: 11:30am
2nd: 12:00pm
3rd: 12:00pm
4th: 12:30pm
5th: 12:30pm