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5 student deaths in 40 days and Adams 12 school district is looking for solutions

The Adams 12 Five Star school district is looking for new ways to support students and tackle the complicated mental health crisis after several children in the community took their own lives, according to a letter from the superintendent

The letter, sent to parents and staff members in the district Friday, says that over the past 40 days, five children in the Adams 12 district have died. Several of those students took their own lives, superintendent Chris Gdowski’s letter says.

“Words fall woefully short in describing the depth of the pain and grief that parents, teachers, friends and neighbors have felt following these losses,” the letter reads.

He also encouraged parents to have meaningful conversations with their children about what is going on.

14 fun and easy Valentine’s Day card ideas!

Sure, you could buy the uninspired Valentine’s Day cards from your local grocery store…or you could spend a few extra minutes creating these darling Valentines! Here are 14 of our favorites. 

1.  Pencil-Heart Valentine

Because, really, can your students ever have enough pencils?

SOURCE: Bits of Everything

2. Crayon Box Treat

Ahh! The beloved smell of a fresh box of crayons.

SOURCE: Crazy Little Projects

3. Silly Straws

These will make your students cheer!

SOURCE: Kinzie’s Kreations

4. Glow-Stick Magic

Because our students light up our lives!

SOURCE: The Teacher Wife

5. Love Bugs

Love the mason jar template these little bugs come in.

SOURCE: Dandee

6. Pencil Arrows

Play Cupid and aim for your students’ hearts.

SOURCE: Remarkably Created

7. Cuties

A sweet message to go with a healthy treat.

SOURCE: The Cards We Drew

Remember, you can save a little money on your cuties by using the code TEACHERS when you choose Walmart’s Online Grocery Pickup.

8. Slinky

Tip: Buy mini-Slinky toys in bulk at the dollar store.

SOURCE: Two Thirty Five Designs

9. Crayon Hearts

This is a great project for using up all those crayon odds and ends.

SOURCE: A Sprinkle of This

10. You Rule!

Let them know: In your eyes, they measure up.

SOURCE: Relocated Living

11. Tic-Tac-Toe Fun

If you’re still trying to stay away from candy, you could use jewel stones or beads instead of M&M’s. (Just make sure you change the message!)

SOURCE: Creations by Kara

12. Foxy Pretzels

Your kids will love this foxy little valentine.

SOURCE: Pink Peppermint Design

13. Scrabble Valentine

Use Scrabble Cheez-Its (who knew?) and this template to play Valentine Words with Friends with your students.

SOURCE: Positively Splendid

14. Dinosaurs

Pick up an assorted bag of plastic dinos and some cute washi tape, and you’re good to go!

SOURCE: Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons

Colorado’s Care for All Children campaign pushing for more focus on early child care

As Colorado democratic lawmakers prepare to introduce a bill in the 2020 legislative session to mandate paid family and medical leave, some advocates say there should be more focus on affordable and quality child care for children after their parents go back to work.

“We feel like policymakers have been fairly unresponsive to the issue and the urgency of this issue,” said Catharina Hughey, operations specialist with Merage Foundations, the philanthropic organization behind the Care for All Children campaign.

Care For All Children is trying to reframe early child care as an issue that affects all aspects of society, not just parents. The campaign is calling on parents to share their stories and common struggles about the high cost of care, the difficulty of finding high-quality child care providers, and the trouble of find flexible care that works with their schedules.

 

50 ways to spend a Colorado snow day

Another day, another snowstorm.

Don’t miss: 20 Best Places to Go Sledding in Colorado and the Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Skating in Utah.

If you want to stay closer to home, here are 50 ways to spend a snow day:

Make an abominable snowman. It’s like a regular snowman, but less friendly to passers-by.

Practice multiplication and script with your kids. That’ll put them in a REALLY good mood. For older kids, break out the practice tests.

Delete all of the expletive-laden “music” from your teenager’s Spotify playlist on the family computer, while she’s not looking.

Make snow ice cream, slushies or ‘tinis. Harvest icicles for the latter.

Fill squirt bottles with water and food coloring and make art on the snow. Let your dog help out.

Trudge around town for a store that hasn’t sold out on sleds.

Wash the floors by hand. Or use a toothbrush.

Do that mending and ironing you’ve been putting off since 2004.

Groom the dog. Then suck all the fur off your couch.

Make freeze-ahead dinners. The ones you wish you had right now.

Go rooftop luging.

Get kids the Lil’ Capt. Robert Scott Antarctic Expedition playset.

Shovel through piles of climate change theories.

Shred your pile of old documents. Better yet, multitask. Use them to light up the fireplace.

Change the batteries in the smoke detectors, since you forgot during Fall Back.

Find all the lids to the Tupperware.

Play Monopoly with the rules that make the game go slower.

Go through your junk drawer. Do not be afraid.

Clean your silverware and jewelry. Alternatively, pine for silverware and jewelry worth cleaning.

Sort mementos into keep and toss piles. Spend time poring over the keepers—after all, that’s why you’re keeping them.

Make a master calendar for gift-giving dates. Shop ahead online. Or for yourself. Pretend there are sales.

Invite over neighbors and children you rarely see for a potluck dinner.

Make a list of all the things you love about your significant other for a card or scrapbook. Make stuff up if you have to.

Actually use those cross-country skis, or skates or showshoes you were always planning to try out after a big snow. C’mon, you can do it!

Put on your fanciest evening dress and jewelry, grab your cocktail and pretend you’re in an old movie. That sounds a lot better than, “Sit around your house and get wasted.”

Scan old photos and make a photo book. Then force the kids to look at pictures of their parents when they were little.

Do your taxes! April 15 only feels far off.

Chug a shot and break open your financial portfolio.

Order seeds and plants for your spring garden. Yes, spring will come eventually.

Update your resume. Hey, it’s better than doing it at work and leaving it in the copying machine.

Go through clothes (for you and your children) in drawers and closet. Try on and toss.

Upload your CDs, finally. Now, this may be difficult: Toss the CDs and the CD player.

Take out all the beach chairs, umbrellas and boogie boards and make a beach day in the snow.

Google yourself.

Collect all the pennies from the corners of the house, coat pockets, sofa cushions, jeans in the laundry. Maybe you’ll have enough for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Then again, maybe not.

Write a letter. You know the kind, with pen and paper.

Make snowflakes out of paper. Tape them to your windows to block out the white piles outside.

Teach haiku—five, seven, five—and make a book of illustrated snow haiku.

Create airfare alerts for deals to your dream destinations.

Play this fun game with your kids: Let’s Clean the Bathroom!

You know that neighbor who won’t stop blasting music? That’s where your shoveled snow goes.

Play family-friendly spin the bottle with your chore list. Hope it doesn’t point to you when it’s time to clean toilets.

Mani-pedi, scrub or mask, deep condition. You choose the body parts.

Bubble bath. Turn down the lights, light a candle and pretend you’re in a spa. Doesn’t do it for you? It’s not completely impossible that a real one is open.

Experiment all day on devising the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. Tasting mandatory.

Begin your memoirs.

Take pictures of all your belongings to inventory for insurance. Now do a written inventory.

Sleep. Glorious sleep.

Send hate mail to your friends and relatives in warm-weather places. Or block them on Facebook.6

Look at Florida real estate online, so you never have to read this again.

-Leanne Italie

Conflicts Over Parenting Styles? How to keep your differences from hurting your kids

At some point, most couples are going to differ on how to approach parenting.

“I think in almost every family you’re going to find some disagreements,” says Dr. Alan Ravitz, a child and adolescent psychiatrist. “In my own family I know there were times when I thought my wife was too harsh and there were times when she thought I was too easy.” The important thing is to present a united front. “You shouldn’t disagree in front of the child,” he says. “You should disagree behind closed doors.”

This becomes especially challenging when parents develop extreme differences in their approaches to parenting-particularly when the child or children are struggling with a psychiatric diagnosis or a learning disability and treatment decisions need to be made. In these situations, the parents’ ability—or inability—to reach an agreement can mean the difference between successful treatment and an anxiety-provoking situation in which the child is left alone to sort out and interpret the confusing and often painful mixed signals he is getting from his parents.

Striking a balance

Maria and Alex consider themselves to be happily married, but when they fight it’s always about their children and it always goes the same way. “He’d say I don’t convey a message to our children that I care how they do in school or that I feel they have to work hard or that I care whether they get into a good college,” Maria says. “And I think he’s so hard on them that it leaves no room for me to be tough on them because I don’t think they can be getting that message over and over again.” READ MORE

What to Do If Your Kid Is ALWAYS Hungry

As a parent, it can feel like you’re trapped in a constant cycle of make meal…clean up…make snack…clean up…make meal…repeat forever. Some of that’s to be expected when you’ve got kids at home who are eating three meals and one to two snacks a day. But for some parents, the requests for food seem like they never end. One of the concerns I hear from parents is that their kids always seem hungry no matter what they do. This can be especially hard for parents who are worried about their child’s weight because of the child’s current BMI or because of a family history of overweight or obesity.

If there’s been a big change in your child’s appetite (either up or down), it’s worth checking in with your child’s pediatrician to make sure everything is okay. But assuming everything’s normal, there are a few common culprits that could be at the root of your child’s seemingly bottomless pit:

1. His meals and snacks aren’t filling.

A lot of common “kid food”—think fish-shaped crackers, gummy fruit snacks, and sugary granola bars—provide calories but aren’t particularly satisfying. Ditto for foods made with refined flour like white bread and pastries. That means that even right after eating them, your child may still be hungry. Kids who don’t eat fruits and vegetables, which are full of hunger-busting fiber and fluid, may also find themselves less than satisfied.

 

Making snacktime fun with these easy recipes

It can be hard to keep your child interested in healthy foods with so many snack options available. Good nutrition is a key part of building muscle, having energy and growing up. We’ve got some great tips and lots of snack time recipes to help you steer your little one away from the corn syrup and junk food, and toward the leafy greens and ripe fruits. 

Many children enjoy planting a seed and watching it grow. Together, you can plant a quick-growing seed like a bean or radish, and watch its progress. This gives children a sense of accomplishment and sparks an interest in trying new vegetables that you grew together.

Try taking your kids to the farmer’s market to stimulate a love for healthy foods. When children can help shop and choose healthy local foods, they are more likely to enjoy eating those foods and keep their healthy eating habits long into the future.

Snack time is a great opportunity to get more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your child’s diet. Check out some healthy snack ideas:

Instead of fruit-flavored snacks…

Make Fruit Salad

  • Wash and peel a variety of colorful fruits.
  • Cut fruits into bite-sized pieces. Combine in a large bowl.
  • Cut the lime in half. Squeeze the juice over the fruit.
  • Drizzle a Tablespoon of honey if you like.
  • Stir ingredients to combine and enjoy!

Instead of snacks or energy bars…

Make Banana Crunch

  • Mash a large ripe banana in a bowl or Ziploc bag.
  • Add ½ cup of granola.
  • Add a dash of cinnamon. 
  • Mix ingredients together.
  • Spread mixture onto whole wheat wafers or graham crackers and enjoy!
  • Note: Have kids make these tasty snacks in a bag! Allowing kids to help you make these snacks in Ziploc bags reduces clean-up and saves time.

Instead of cheesy crackers…

Make Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

  • Cut block cheese into small cubes.
  • Wash, peel, and cut a variety of colorful fruits into bite-sized pieces.
  • Slide food onto coffee stirrer “skewers” or whole wheat pretzel sticks. Switch between fruit and cheese pieces.

Instead of frozen fruit snacks…

Make Frozen Fruit Poppers

  • Wash and peel a variety of colorful fruits.
  • Cut fruits into bite-sized pieces. Place in a freezer-safe bag.
  • Let freeze in the freezer. Pull out and enjoy!

Get more parenting tips, games, and other resources, based on the age of your child, sent right to your cell phone 2-5 times a week for FREE with Bright by Text. Text BRIGHT to 274448 or click here to sign up! *Message and data rates may apply. Text STOP to 274448 to stop. Text HELP to 274448 for help.

 

Colorado Gives Day: This site teaches kids the importance of giving in a fun way

Join one of the largest one-day giving movements in the country.

Each December Coloradans come together with the common goal to strengthen the community by helping to power nonprofits. Community First Foundation and FirstBank partner to make this day rewarding for givers, nonprofits and the community as a whole.

Colorado Gives Day is Tuesday, December 10, and features a $1.5 Million Incentive Fund. Every nonprofit receiving a donation on Colorado Gives Day will receive a portion of the fund, increasing the value of every dollar donated. Colorado Gives Day has grown to be the state’s largest one-day online giving event, raising more than $217 million since it began in 2010. 

Kid-Friendly Giving

Do you want to give to Colorado kids? KidsforColoradoGives.org is a kid-friendly addition to ColoradoGives.org. Launched in September 2016, this awesome site was designed for kids and families to inspire the next generation of givers.

It makes giving to charity fun for the whole family in a trusted environment. 

There are several ways for you to be a Kid for ColoradoGives:

1. Ask parents, grandparents or other important adults in your life to purchase a Giving eCard(s) and send it to you. These Giving eCards can be redeemed on KidsforColoradoGives.org and make great birthday and holiday gifts!

2. Talk to your parents about how you can earn Giving eCards through special projects, chores or volunteering.

3. For more ideas, checkout their Pinterest board on kids giving.

What kind of giver are you? Download a free Giving Activity Kit or take this quiz to find out and remember to GIVE!

Colorado has spent hundreds of millions to help kids read. Now, it will spend up to $5.2 million to find out why it’s not working.

Colorado’s education department will spend up to $5.2 million over six years on a consultant charged with determining why the state’s 2012 landmark reading law failed to produce significant gains for struggling readers.

The unusual external audit, to be conducted by the nonprofit WestEd, will dig into how the state’s schools are using about $40 million a year meant to boost third-grade reading proficiency. The review could last up to six and a half years.

state law passed last spring mandated the external evaluation and other steps intended to improve the 2012 law, known as the READ Act. The recent legislation came in the wake of ongoing criticism from lawmakers, parents and literacy advocates about the law’s effectiveness.

 

 

Ann Schimke, Chalkbeat Colorado; Photo: Laura Faith Kebede

Join Our Movement for Accessible, Affordable and High-Quality Childcare

Denver mom Beth Slaboda decided to look into going back into teaching a few years ago. She had been working as a private part-time math tutor in the evenings and she thought going back would give her family a little more consistent income. She was wrong.

“We looked into childcare for our two kiddos and quickly realized that any extra I would make teaching (after paying for childcare) would be equal to or LESS than what I was making tutoring. I have such respect for single parents…I don’t know how they do it!”

Beth is not alone–Colorado has some of the priciest childcare in the country. According to the Economic Policy Institute’s 2019 report, a year’s worth of childcare costs thousands more than in-state college tuition over the same timeframe. A year’s worth of infant care is also higher than the average annual cost of housing in Colorado.

Can we just process that for a moment? Your child’s daycare costs more than college and housing. 

Being able to provide for our families is at the very core of who we are as parents. When I was approached by Colorado-based Affordable Child Care Now!, I was immediately struck by the urgency of their bipartisan message: “Many of the Presidential candidates have told us they are not hearing from their constituents that childcare affordability is a crisis.”

LET US BE HEARD!  By adding your voice, you are a part of the collective megaphone advocating for the importance of accessible, affordable, quality childcare.

The Stats Don’t Lie

So, why care about childcare, even if you are not directly impacted? According to the campaign’s research:

  • Investing in high quality, early childhood education and care pay off. Every dollar we spend now saves up to $11 in later spending on social programs, criminal justice costs, and more. 
  • Children who participated in high-quality early childhood education had higher college graduation rates and rates of employment at the age of 30 than peers who did not have access to high-quality early childhood education. 
  • Not only does high quality, early childhood education and care provide the foundation for a child’s success later in life, it can also break the poverty cycle. We know that investing in our children today will save taxpayer dollars later on.

Take Action (It’s Easy!) 

Go to Care for All Children to learn more about how your signature can influence the government to take a two-generation approach to their policies and investments—an approach that is both feasible and sustainable for working parents and preparing our youngest learners the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed. 

By signing the petition you are agreeing to raise your voice as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, neighbor, employer, childcare provider, as someone who benefits and loses in society when we do not stand up for young children, hard-working families, and our economy.

It’s time to call for affordable childcare for all children by signing the petition:

 

 

 

Across the country, Americans are calling for equal access to affordable care for all children. Take a look at who is supporting the movement in your region and roll up your sleeves to move the needle. Let’s make a difference in the lives of our children and Colorado families!

Mile High Mamas is proudly partnering with Care for All Children. Make a difference in the lives of Colorado families.