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To Paris with love

Ranch View students to support French schoolchildren through letters

HIGHLANDS RANCH – Like many Americans, the students and staff at Ranch View Middle School were stunned when they heard about the events of November 13 in Paris.

“I heard about the terrorist attacks on the news and I wanted to do something to help them. A lot of people were suffering,” said Ranch View eighth-grader Shae Henley.

130 people died in multiple attacks, including mass shootings and suicide bombings, in the suburb of Saint-Denis.

“It was horrifying. It was awful and hard to believe,” said Ranch View teacher Erin Rohr. “When something like this happens, we think, ‘how can we help? Should we send money? Should we send goods?'”

Henley proposed that she and her fellow students write letters and create a banner of support, which would be sent to students in Paris.

“We just want to let French children and their schools know that everything will be alright and that the world is with them. Everyone is together in supporting them,” Henley said. “Most of my friends are all for the idea. They love it.”

Her teacher, Ms. Rohr, loved that the students were relating to the children in Paris and without hesitation agreed to support the project.

“It is especially powerful that a student initiated it,” Rohr said. “I know how passionate Shae is and I know how dedicated she is, so when she came up with the idea, it seemed like something that we could make happen.”

Henley and Rohr brought the idea to Principal Tanner Fitch who enthusiastically approved it.

“It is proof that if you can just stay out of the way and support students, they can really rise to the occasion in ways that adults don’t always think about,” Fitch said. “It is amazing to see the world through middle schoolers eyes like this and see how they want to respond.”

On Monday, November 23, Henley will lead the effort, encouraging students to write letters and sign the banner over the course of the day. Everything will then be packaged up and shipped to an International Baccalaureate (IB) school in Paris.

“I know that France is really far away, but Ranch View is an IB school and we often talk about how we are interconnected in the world,” Henley said.

While horrific, topical world events like the attacks spark conversation on how today’s world is shaped by historical events.

For instance, comparisons could be made to the terrorist attacks here on U.S. soil on September 11, 2001. Shae and her classmates weren’t even born when that occurred.

Fitch says that sometimes the realities of the world can be scary, but having conversations in the school-environment can empower students to lead, today and in the future.

“Our kids are our future. The more aware they are of what is going on and what they are walking into as adults, the better prepared they will be to go into the world and make a difference and help to combat this type of thing,” Fitch said.

On this Thanksgiving week, Henley says the events in Paris and elsewhere in the world help to bring focus to the many things we have to be thankful for.

“I know a lot of people in other countries are not as fortunate as we are, like all of the refugees coming to Europe from war-torn countries,” Henley said. “Most of the time we are protected, safe, and we have food, homes and education. It does make me feel very thankful.”

November 21, 2015 | By rmbarber | Category: Middle School Education, Schools

District News

graduates standing in line outside, smiling

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Graduation rates in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) continue to climb. Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) shows the on-time, four-year graduation rate is now 90.4 percent.

DCSD students also made an impressive showing at graduation. The class of 2017 earned more than $82 million in scholarships.

DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

Five female students standing on stage smiling and laughing at the awards ceremony

The top two-percent of female athletes in Douglas County School District (DCSD) were honored at the annual Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon last week at Chaparral High School. This year represented the 30th national celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day, created to encourage and promote the participation of girls in athletics. The girls who were honored were selected by their school’s coaches, athletic directors and principals for their outstanding achievements.

Superintendent Search text based logo

Working through the recent winter break, the Douglas County School District Board of Education has kicked off its search for DCSD’s next permanent superintendent. Following a thorough vetting of potential search firms, Ray & Associates (no relation to Board Director David Ray) has been hired to conduct the national search. The cost of the firm, excluding travel expenses, is $40,000. The money will come from the school board's budget, which is used for costs such as legal expenses and conferences.