Sixth-grader Olivia Baitinger discovered she really enjoyed helping people feel better when a friend of her mom was in the hospital.

“My friend and I made a banner for her saying ‘Get Well Soon.’ My mom went to visit her and she really liked it, says Olivia, a student at Blevins Middle School.

So when a new class called “Art for Others” was offered at Blevins this fall, Olivia knew she wanted to be a part of it. In the class, students learn art techniques while making beautiful items to help or bring joy to people, like a get well banner to cheer up someone who is ill.

“I was happy that we could do things like this here,” says Olivia, while glazing pottery for a fundraiser event that will be held later this winter.

The class recently completed two heart-warming projects just in time for the holidays. Students created holiday greeting cards with warm messages for the men and women in Fort Riley’s Warrior Transition Battalion, while learning watercolor painting techniques. Following that project, they made “plarn” mats for people who are homeless, by turning plastic grocery bags into strings of plastic or “plarn” and weaving them into mats. Currently, the art students are making bowls for the Empty Bowls fundraiser in February, which benefits the Food Bank of Larimer County. 

“Art for Others” teacher Dena Hartmann believes the class is a win-win for both the students and the people they’re helping.

“Art is meant to be shared. It can bring other people joy and help someone’s outlook on life,” said Hartmann. “It also helps students look outside of themselves and realize they can share their talents with others, even with people they may never know or meet, and help them feel good.”

Eight-grader Avery Musci says she’s enjoyed the class, knowing she’s helping others. “I love to help people and it’s just fun to make art for others rather than keeping it for yourself. I like giving gifts better than receiving them,” she says.

Adler Pierson, a seventh-grader, thinks the soldiers will appreciate the watercolor holiday cards. “I think it will make them feel pretty good because people are thinking of them,” he says.

Kindergarten registration and school choice deadlines approaching

Do you have a student preparing to start kindergarten next year? Are you interested in what programs the middle and high schools in PSD offer?  Plan to attend an open house and learn more!

Starting in January, most schools are holding events for students and parents to visit and learn more about exciting programs in PSD.

Important dates to remember:

  • Friday, January 19, noon—first consideration deadline for school choice (Secondary Schools)
  • Thursday, January 25, all day—Kindergarten Registration at all neighborhood schools
  • Friday, January 26, noon—first consideration deadline for school choice (Elementary Schools)

Visit the PSD website here for more information about school choice:

PSD schools recognized with CDE academic excellence awards

More than 20 Poudre School District schools have been selected for a prestigious 2017 Colorado Department of Education award for their outstanding school performances. A major highlight of this year’s CDE recognitions is Putnam Elementary being selected for a Colorado Centers of Excellence award.

Twenty other PSD schools have been selected for the Colorado Governor’s Distinguished Improvement awards and/or the John Irwin Schools of Excellence awards, which go to schools that have demonstrated excellent student growth and academic achievement. Six of those schools were impressively honored with both awards.

Colorado Centers of Excellence Award 

Putnam Elementary has earned a Colorado Centers of Excellence award for excellent academic achievement. This CDE award goes to schools with a student population of which at least 75 percent are at-risk and that have demonstrated the highest rates of student growth, along with impressive academic growth results.

Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Awards

Eleven PSD schools were selected for a Governor’s Distinguished Improvement award, which are given to schools that demonstrate excellent student growth. On the school performance framework used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools “exceed” expectations on the indicator related to longitudinal academic growth over three years.

Governors Distinguished Improvement award schools include: Bacon, Harris, Livermore, McGraw, Mountain Sage, O’Dea, Riffenburgh, Shepardson, Traut, Werner, Zach Elementary schools.

John Irwin Schools of Excellence Awards

Fifteen PSD schools were selected for a John Irwin Schools of Excellence award, which recognizes schools that demonstrate excellent academic achievement. On the school performance framework used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools “exceed” expectations on the indicator for academic achievement over three years.

Schools selected for the John Irwin award include: Bacon, Bennett, Bethke, Dunn, Livermore, Kruse, McGraw, Red Feather Lakes, Traut, Werner and Zach Elementary Schools; Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School; Fossil Ridge High School; Liberty Common Charter School; and the Fort Collins Montessori school.

Bethke Kids Care Club helps others year round

Using colorful beads and pipe cleaners, Bethke Elementary students got their creativity flowing while making festive window ornaments for residents of a local nursing home.

“I made a flower for them to look at every day,” says third-grader Maggie Pletcher. “We want them to have a good Christmas at their nursing home.”

About 30 students met after school to make ornaments as part of the Kids Care Club, a group dedicated to helping others in the community. They also put together a care package that included arts and crafts supplies and other fun activities for the residents to enjoy over the holidays. 

The Kids Care Club meets once a month to help local organizations like the Humane Society, the Hearts and Horses Therapeutic Riding Center and the Healing Hearts organization for veterans. They also focus on timely topics like random acts of kindness in February and Earth Day activities in the spring.

Teacher Jenna Berger says the club combines fun activities for the kids while also teaching them that they have to power to help others. “We want to teach kids about the importance of helping their community and the different ways they can do that,” she says.

Parent volunteer Chrissy Pletcher agrees, “It’s important for our kids to know that we’re very fortunate to have everything that we have and that there are people around us who are not so fortunate right where we live.”

Third-grader Jayden Busselman says he enjoys making “stuff” to brighten someone’s day.

“We make care packages and can give things to people who are homeless,” he says, while making a snowflake ornament. “And, we make people happy.”

 Calendar of Events

  • January 8 – Elementary students return to school
  • January – Middle and high school students return to school; Board of Education meeting
  • January 15 – MLK Day Holiday—No School
  • January 19 – Secondary students school choice deadline
  • January 23 – Board of Education meeting
  • January 26 – Elementary students school choice deadline