Fourth-grader Brooklyn Guerra really likes art.
So on Visit Day, Guerra had fun decorating a puzzle piece with her current classmates at Welchester Elementary School and her future ones, like Amber Ayres, from Pleasant View …
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The Jeffco Board of Education decided to close Pleasant View on Feb. 9 as a budget cut measure prompted by the November defeat of the district’s bond and mill levy proposals. The closure will save Jeffco schools $662,742 — money that will go toward the school board’s goal of improving salaries to attract and retain high-quality educators.
District officials cited low enrollment, which is the lowest since 2000, and aging building conditions as main reasons to close Pleasant View, but the school has endured many additional challenges. Built in 1950, it sits in a neighborhood that is struggling economically. It is a Title I school, which means more than three-quarters of its students are on free or reduced lunch, and a large number of students are homeless and transient. And because of the challenges, test scores have been low.
Fourth-grader Brooklyn Guerra really likes art.So on Visit Day, Guerra had fun decorating a puzzle piece with her current classmates at Welchester Elementary School and her future ones, like Amber Ayres, from Pleasant View Elementary.“We wrote our name and colored them and gave them to Mr. Morvay, our art teacher,” Guerra said. “The puzzle piece represents how we are all different — different styles and personalities. I think we also did it because even though we are all different, we are connected, like a puzzle.”The activity gave Ayres, a third-grader, an opportunity to meet new friends and learn something new about the school she will be attending next year.“You drew about your personality,” Ayres said, “and then they are going to get connected in one big shape of an eagle, because that’s the mascot.”***Visit Day took place on May 8. The two-hour event allowed students from Pleasant View an opportunity to build relationships and familiarize themselves with the school they will attend next year. After 57 years, Pleasant View will close its doors for good at the end of this school year. The school’s last day is May 23.Next school year, Pleasant View students will attend Shelton, 420 Crawford St., or Welchester, 13000 W. 10th Ave., in Golden. Both schools are roughly three miles from Pleasant View. Students requiring a special needs program may attend Kyffin Elementary School, 205 S. Flora Way, also in Golden.Since the announcement of the closure in February, Pleasant View staff has been working with teachers and administrators at Welchester and Shelton elementaries to ensure the transition is positive for students and families. Visit Day provided an opportunity to follow through with the ongoing theme: Friends We Haven’t Met Yet.“We were trying to show them they are welcome and that they have a place to go even though their school is closing,” said Taran Andersen, a fourth-grader at Welchester.It’s important to know where everything is and be familiar with a new school, added Kallie Baldwin, also a fourth-grader at Welchester. “I think we were trying to make it feel like home and comfortable.”Shelton and Welchester sixth-graders, who will be attending Bell Middle School next year, proudly gave tours of their schools to the visitors.“I tried to highlight the teachers so that they (new students) can have someone to talk to and learn from,” said sixth-grader Lily Barton, who attends Shelton. “We have great teachers here who really care about you.”One goal of Visit Day was to allow every student an opportunity to interact with one another, said Shelton’s fifth-grade teachers, Lindsey Cole, Jaime Erickson and Debra McClure.“All students got a chance to see that their future classmates are like them in many ways,” Cole said.“I enjoyed sitting around and telling everyone about ourselves with the yummy M&Ms,” said Hailee Beckloff, a third-grader at Shelton, describing a get-to-know-you game the students played.Based on the color of an M&M, students would tell their classmates something about themselves, explained Danielle Barton, a fourth-grader at Shelton.“The key told us what the color meant, then we would share,” Barton said. “We would share our most embarrassing moments and our most memorable moments, and break out laughing.”It was beneficial to have new students in the classrooms with their same grade level, said Jennifer Chavez, a fifth-grade teacher at Welchester.Students “immediately noticed that it isn’t that different … we are just like the kids and teachers at their current school,” Chavez said. “I really feel as though the kiddos who were visiting enjoyed themselves and made a couple of new friends.”Ashley Cochran, a second-grade teacher at Welchester, agreed.“By the end of our time together, all the kids were excited,” she said, “and that was great to see.”
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