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Kids breathe easy in peanut-free Coyote Creek

DOUGLAS COUNTY – When you step into the lunchroom at Coyote Creek Elementary School you can’t help but notice the different choices kids are faced with. What kind of pizza? Should I get a salad?

Principal Gigi Whalen estimates that there are 15 – 20 students who have a little less of a choice. They have nut allergies. “This is about life and death for these kids,” Whalen says. Coyote Creek is the only 100% nut restricted school in the district.

For some families the policy is the entire reason for coming to the school. “People used to pick on me and shove peanut butter in my face,” says Drew Dodge Talich, a 5th grade student. This bullying prompted his mom Tammy to sit with him at lunch every day at a previous school in California for protection.

Allergens are a concern at the district level as well. Other district schools offer a peanut-free table in cafeterias. Manager of Menu Services Amy Faricy explains “It’s just a table for those kids who can’t sit next to the kids that have peanut butter.” The district also has a tool on its online menu to help parents filter out foods that may contain different types of allergens.

Perhaps the best tool in the battle is education. “There is not a nut-restricted Middle School so it’s important that kids learn how to advocate and speak up when they know they have this health issue,” says Principal Gigi Whalen.

Recognizing the foods that they can and cannot have is setting them up for success in the future. For now at Coyote Creek, kids with nut allergies can just choose to have fun at lunch with their friends.

February 23, 2017 | By CSilberman | Category: Students, Elementary Education, Health Wellness and Prevention, Schools

District News

On February 9 the PACE Center hosted Portfolio Day for students like Sladovnik. It was an opportunity for critiques from working professional artists, and workshops. It culminates in the "Bright Futures" art exhibit - a showcase of selected work on display February 16-27.

Last month, the Board of Education passed a resolution tasking the Superintendent to convene a task force inclusive of members of the general public and staff members. This task force will develop a survey for parents of students eligible for special education services and a survey for staff members who serve students eligible for special education services.

Board members sitting at the dais

CASTLE ROCK - On February 6, the Douglas County School District (DCSD) Board of Education confirmed its commitment to begin the process of seeking approval from voters for additional local funding.

“Our children need a bond and mill levy override (MLO) to be passed in 2018, beyond any doubt,” said DCSD Board of Education President David Ray. “We want to move forward immediately with the necessary processes and collaboration with our community in order to finalize a formal funding package.”