Welcome to Cougar Run Elementary!  
Below are answers to FAQ's that will help you and your student get acquainted with Cougar Run and DCSD.  
If you have any additional questions, contact the front office at 303.387.6675.




1) QWhen and how can I meet my child’s teacher?

A
If your child is starting school at the beginning of the school year, your teacher will meet the class when you line up on the first day. You will also have a chance to meet with teachers at back to school night. If your child is starting school mid-year, you can contact the school office or email your child’s teacher directly to arrange a time to meet.

2) QWhat should my child expect for the first day of school?

A

Your child will line up with their class outside the school at their designated areas (link to map). School hours are from 8:40 am - 3:30 pm each day. We appreciate having students on the school grounds no earlier than 8:35 am when supervision is available. The school district nor the school can accept responsibility for students who arrive before 8:35 am. Kindergarten schedule is as follows: Morning Kindergarten 8:40 am -11:35 am Afternoon Kindergarten 12:35 pm -3:30 pm.


3) QWhat is the procedure for delayed start, early dismissal and school cancellations?

A
Cougar Run is in the Highlands Ranch HS (or HRHS) feeder area. When checking local media outlets or the Douglas County Website, make sure this feeder area is listed. Douglas County can experience many different weather situations within the county, so only certain feeder areas may be experiencing delayed starts or cancellations. School Delayed Start Occasionally, conditions exist within the county that requires a later start to the school day. A delayed start means that school begins 90 minutes later than normal (10:10 am). Morning kindergartners report to school 90 minutes later than the normal start time. Afternoon kindergartners report at their normal time. Check local television stations, radio stations, the Douglas County Website, and/or call 303-387-SNOW (7669). We also fly a bright yellow flag with a purple "D" to indicate a delayed start. The 90 minute delay will also apply to Cougar Club, our before school program. School Cancellation When school is cancelled, no students report to school. This will also apply to Cougar Club. Check local television stations, radio stations, the Douglas County Website, and/or call 303-387-SNOW (7669). For a school closure, we fly a purple flag with a bright yellow "S."

4) QWhat if my child will be absent or late to school?

A
Parents are asked to phone the Attendance Line at 303.387.6677 to report an absence or tardy for their child. The attendance line is available 24 hours a day. Parents should leave the following information: their name, their child’s name, teacher, date(s) of absence and reason for the absence. Children who arrive after the start time of 8:40am or 12:35pm must check in at the office, sign in and get a pass before going to class.

5) QWhat should I do if I need to pick up my child from school early?

A
If you are planning on picking up your child during school hours for scheduled appointments or events, please send a note to your child’s teacher and the office. This can be done in person, writing, by e-mail or a voice message. It is our first priority to keep our students safe and have the person picking up a child identified, sign them out and leave with the child.

6) QWhat should I do when dropping off or picking up my child before or after school?

A
If you are walking to/from school, we are very fortunate to have parent volunteer crossing guards to help our students and families safely cross Venneford Ranch Road. Students who are dropped off on the north side Venneford Ranch Road should be instructed to walk to the crosswalk so they can be safely crossed by the crossing guard. 

If you are driving your child to and from school,you should utilize the drop off lane at the front of the school or park and walk your child to their line up area. Parents using the drop off lane must drop off or pick up their child along the curb. When picking students up in this area, parents SHOULD NOT double park NOR leave the car unattended. This area is two lanes wide so that parents can stop along the curb and then pull out into the left lane when exiting. Students should only exit the car on the passenger side. Parents using this area should always drive as far forward in the lane as possible before stopping. Students should, again, only enter the car on the passenger side from the curb.

7) QWhat if my child rides the bus?

A
To school: 
Please walk your child to the bus stop and stay with them until they are safely on the bus. There will be staff member responsible for meeting the kindergarteners at the bus and walking them directly to their classroom. 

From school: 
A staff member will walk the students to the bus pick up area and help them get in the correct bus line. For the younger children, we suggest that you make a tag, similar to a luggage tag that connects to the inside of your child’s backpack with the following information: child’s first and last name, bus number, home address, parent’s phone number. This tag assists them in getting on the right bus and getting off at the right stop, as well as giving the bus driver information necessary to get your child home if they get on the wrong bus. Please meet the bus on time or early to insure that your child gets off at the correct stop and doesn’t get lost on the way home.

8) QWhat is the Z-Pass?

A
For students who are eligible to ride the bus, parents must fill our an application (these were mailed out to eligible families). The applications must be returned to DCSD transport department by 6/15/2010 if you want your student to ride the bus this year. The applications can also be found at the DCSD website under school bus route information. Upon receipt of the application a Z-pass with instructions will be mailed to the family. The initial z-pass will be issued at no charge. Any replacement passes (due to lost or stolen) can be purchased for $5.00. Elementary students must have their Z-Pass card securely attached to their back pack (on either the inside or the outside). All Schools will have application packets available for new students, who are requesting transport services. Families will be billed quarterly for the bus charges. The cost PER bus ride is $.50.

9) QHow does my child pay for hot lunch and how do I add money to my child’s lunch account?

A
Hot lunch is available for $2.50, which includes white or chocolate milk, a choice of entree* and salad bar. Children bringing a sack lunch may buy milk for 35¢. Each child has an account set up with Food Services. Money can be put into that account at any time, in any increment. Each time a lunch or milk is purchased, the appropriate amount is deducted from their account. The child is notified when they have $2.50 or less remaining in their account. If it is necessary, one charge will be allowed. After one charge has been made, if a student wants a school lunch, he/she will need to make a deposit into the account to clear their charge or pay cash for future lunches. You can add money to your child’s lunch account by sending a check made out to nutrition services with your child to school or by dropping it off at the main office. You can also add money to your child’s account online.

10) QCan I visit my child’s classroom and/or eat lunch with my child?

A

You are welcome to visit our classrooms at any time during the school year. We would request that you allow the teacher the courtesy of advance notice. Everyone must always sign in at the office and get a visitor badge to wear in the building. In order to maintain an uninterrupted learning environment for students, please consider inviting other guests to join you and your student for lunch only. If you are planning on eating a hot lunch from the cafeteria, please call nutrition services at 303-387-6702 on the morning of your visit to place your order. The adult lunch price is $3.00 w/o milk. The lunch schedule for each grade level is available on the website.


11) QIn what ways can I get involved at Cougar Run?

A
In your childs classroom: There are opportunities to sign up to volunteer in your child's classroom at back to school night, or contact your child's teacher for opportunities to be involved. With school wide and community activities There are opportunities to sign up to help with school wide activities at Tears & Cheers the first day of school after you drop off your child. You will also be able to sign up at back to school night or on the volunteer page, or contact the volunteer coordinator, Marcie Markle at 303-387-6675 or email at marcie.markle@dcsdk12.org. A couple of the larger school events include: Science Night - Science Night is a community event put on by our 6th grade Teachers and is sponsored by the PIE organization. This evening event usually features a presentation put on by a professional science organization. This event is educational and shows kids how much fun science can be. Art Night - Family Art Night is community event put on by the PIE organization, in conjunction with our art teacher, Mr. Patch. During art night there are several "stations" that each student can visit and complete a variety of different art projects. This is a fun family event that helps to foster a love of art in our students. Become involved in PIE (Partners In Education)- Parents are always invited to be involved with the PIE organization by attending quarterly meetings. Or contact one of our current board members for other opportunities. (PIE link) Become a part of SAC - SAC stands for School Advisory Committee. It is comprised of parent representatives who assist in defining goals and developing school improvement plans. This council is a branch of the overall school governance, which reviews the school program and assists in making decisions which benefit the children. The SAC board meets monthly on the 3rd Tuesday of the month. If you are interested in serving in this capacity please refer to the SAC page on the website. The board usually includes a classroom teacher, 2 parent representatives, a PIE representative, 2 administrators and a representative from a local business in the community. Volunteer Badges - All volunteers must wear an ID Badge when they are in the building. You can get your picture taken for your ID Badge on Picture day.

12) QHow does the school communicate with me; and how do I communicate with the school and my child’s teacher?

A
Friday Folders 
One of the most effective and important methods for keeping parents informed is a student’s Friday Folder. Please look for it weekly, go through the contents thoroughly, and call your child’s teacher if you have any questions or concerns. 
Parent Portal 
Campus Portal is our tool for parents and students to access instant, online, timely and secure student information: class schedule, assignments, attendance, discipline, course registrations for next year, report cards and transcripts. 

IC Messaging 
IC stands for Infinite Campus. Infinite Campus allows for email and voice messages to be automatically delivered to parents. These messages contain information for the entire Cougar Run community (i.e. picture day, early dismissal etc.) 

Communications with Teachers 
Parents can usually contact their child’s teacher by phone before or after school. In order to ensure a quality conversation, parents should always schedule an 
appointment if requesting a conference at school. E-mail is also encouraged as an effective and efficient means for communication. E-mail addresses for teachers are in the following format:  firstname.lastname@dcsdk12.org. Unless it is an emergency, teachers will not be interrupted during class time to take a phone call.

13) QWhat curriculum and programs does Cougar Run utilize to support my child’s learning?

A
Accelerated Reader ("AR") is a reading program designed to inspire kids to read at their appropriate reading level and checks their comprehension with tests; Where they can earn a variety of points. The reading level for each student is assigned by the students teacher. The AR program begins in second grade. Each student will set a point goal to work toward each grading period. If they achieve their goal they will be rewarded with a fun school sanctioned activity. 

Each child will receive a password and log in to access the system from home so you can check their progress. Information will be sent home with how to access the system from home, via AR Homeconnect. Tests, however, can ONLY be taken at school, during school hours. 

AR books are typically easy to find at the Cougar Run library. You can also visit local libraries and bookstores to expand your choices. You can visit www.arbookfind.com to find out the level of the books on your bookshelves at home. You can also look up books in the Cougar Run library by going to the library webpage (Mrs. Heather Barnier) and scrolling down below the AR information and clicking on “Cougar run library book-look-up. For more questions please contact the cougar Run librarian, Mrs. Wendy Jo Woody or visit her webpage. 

Parents can request a log in for Renaissance Place to keep track of student progress on Accelerated Reading. To do this go to the Cougar Run Web Page, click on Useful Links. On the useful links page click on the Black Book, which is the link to Renaissance Place. When you get to the Renaissance Place page, click on the Parent Link. When you are on the parent page click on Request parent/guardian Access. Please be sure to fill out all the fields and click save when you are done. After you are finished your information will be sent to the librarian and she will set up your account. Please allow for at least a one-week turn around, to receive your information back to you through email. 

Junior Great Books is an interpretive reading and discussion program, which challenges students to dig deeper into a reading selection and think critically. This program is for high performing readers, who meet weekly and read a common book or story. Children are selected for this program by their classroom teachers. Participating in Junior great books is an exciting opportunity for students to enhance their reading and comprehension skills by meeting weekly with peers to analyze, discuss, and reflect on a passage that was read by the group. This program is run by Amy Moyle. You can contact her with questions at amy.moyle@dcsdk12.org or at (303) 387-6698. 

The New Spelling Curriculum was implemented during the 2009-2010 school year and is based on the reading and writing program, “A Complete Year in Reading and Writing” by Pam Allyn (makes up the literacy component) and Rebecca Sitton (the spelling component). The new technique should help students transfer spelling into writing. It teaches kids why words work the way they do, rather than just memorization of spelling words. The words are taught in the order of frequency of use in language (not by easiest to hardest). The new curriculum uses spiraling, so concepts and words will come back several times a year and from K-6. There are high frequency words (Core Words) for each grade level and priority words (these are words that the students are held accountable for in their daily writing). For example in first grade they may be taught 35 words (Core Words) but held accountable for only 10 of these words (priority words). Each year the number of core words and priority words will be increased. All the resources for this curriculum can be found on Amy Moyle’s website. All the Core words and Priority word lists are on her website as well for each grade level. 

Everyday Mathmatics - This is the math curriculum used at Cougar Run. This curriculum uses a problem-solving approach based on everyday situations. Students learn basic math skills in a context that is meaningful by making connections between their own knowledge and experience and math concepts. Students get frequent practice of the basic skills. Students will practice their math skills by playing games that develop basic skills as well as completing regular review exercises. Lessons are designed to take advantage of previously learned concepts and skills ant to build on them throughout the year In addition to basic arithmetic, Everyday Mathmatics develops concepts and skills in the following topics: number & numeration, operations & computation, data & chance, geometry, measurement & reference frames and patterns, functions & algebra. Everyday Mathmatics provides you with ample opportunities to monitor your child’s progress. You will receive Family Letters to keep you informed of the mathematical content your child is studying. Everyday Mathematics has online games that can be accessed from home. These games provide students with extra practice at many different math skills. A password and directions will be sent home at the beginning of the school year. If you need a password or have further questions please contact your classroom teacher. 

Response to Intervention ("RTI") is a process designed to address individual students needs, which can include those students who are struggling with the general education curriculum, as well as those advanced students who may not be challenged enough by the general education curriculum. The RTI process is a multi-step approach to providing services and interventions to students who struggle with learning at increasing levels of intensity. The progress students make at each stage of intervention is closely monitored. Results of this monitoring are used to make decisions about the need for further interventions. If you have concerns about your students academic progress, the first thing to do is to notify your child’s teacher and ask about a problem solving team meeting. 

Typing Pal is a technology program that teaches students how to use a keyboard. It is one of an array of software programs here at Cougar Run that are designed to enhance our goals of 20th century learning. Typing Pal can be accessed online as well for practice at home. Passwords and instructions will be sent home by teachers at the beginning of the school year. Please contact your students classroom teacher for more information. 

Outdoor Ed is a unique opportunity for Douglas County 6th graders. The students will go to the YMCA camp of the rockies in Rocky Mountain National Park, in the fall of their 6th grade year. This outdoor experience has always been extremely enjoyable as well as educational for the students. While on the outdoor education experience, students will cover many district curriculum objectives. There is an informational meeting for all 6th grade parents at the beginning of the school year about Outdoor Ed. The general objectives for the outdoor ed program include objectives in the following categories: Cognitive, Affective and Social/Civic Responsibilities. Students can use money raised from the 5th grade fundraiser in the spring and their sally foster sales in 6th grade to help offset the costs of the Outdoor Ed Program. 

Young AmeriTowne is an award-winning educational program offered to 5th grade teachers to help teach students about business, economics and free enterprise in a fun and hands-on way. Young AmeriTowne has received countless accolades for its engaging format and its applicability across all types of student and school demographics. Teachers who elect to participate use the curriculum and materials to teach lessons and activities that introduce concepts such as supply and demand, job skills and work habits, banking procedures, democratic process, civic consciousness, and career awareness. These lessons prepare students for the culminating experience, a day in 'Young AmeriTowne,' where they will physically apply concepts they've learned by working together to operate a 17-business town. This life-like simulation is an incredible learning experience for all students that not only teaches important economic concepts, but also valuable life skills. 

14) QWhat types of instruction does the teacher utilize in my child’s classroom?

A
Small Group Learning - Cougar Run teachers implement a variety of different types of instruction, including whole group, independent, guided learning and small group instruction. All small group activities are led by an adult (This can be the teacher, an EA or a parent volunteer). 

Educational Assistants ( "EAs" or otherwise known as Para-Professional) work closely with the teachers that are assigned to them. They also work with students in small groups as a support to the classroom teachers.

15) QHow do I keep track of my child’s progress in school?

A
The Elementary Progress Report ("EPR") is your student's report card. EPRs are available twice per year and can be accessed through the Parent Portal. The EPR has information on Grade Level Expectations and a student's work habits. The Grade Level Expectations (GLE’s) are defined by the new colorado academic standards. The EPR also uses Proficiency Level Descriptors (PLD’s) which are the knowledge and skills that students must have by the end of the school year. The levels are as follows: 

Level 4: is given to a student who demonstrates a more in depth/sophisticated understanding of the GLE. 
Level 3: is given to a student who has achieved the GLE 
Levels 1 and 2: are given to those students who are at different levels of “on their way” to meeting the GLE. 

This EPR is designed to track a students progress throughout the year. All students are expected to be at a level 3 by the end of the year, but at the 1st semester a student may only be at a level 1. So, by looking at the PLD parents can see where their student is and what he needs to work on to meet the target by the end of the year. Parents should expect to see higher numbers at the 2nd semester (for example, if a student receives a 1 1st semester, we would hope they would be at a level 3 by the end of the year). 

If a student receives an NA this means a topic was not assessed or not covered yet. All students receive an NA for specials the 1st trimester. A student may also receive an NA if their has been insufficient data to make a determination of learning. This may occur as a result of late entry/Illness/interruptions or absences. 

An Asterisk is given for students who are working on goals outside of the GLE’s. A student may receive an asterisk if they are on an IEP (Individual Education Plan) or an ALP (Advanced Learning Plan) or an ELLP (English language Learner Plan). 

The teacher comments section is used if further clarification or information is needed about student learning. Students do not receive “traditional” letter grades (A-F) in Elementary school.

16) QWhat type of extra-curricular activities can my child participate in at Cougar Run?

A
Dream Team is Cougar Run's student leadership group. It is made up of 5th and 6th grade students and is run by 4th grade teacher Nicole Dipasquale. They work on numerous community service projects. They are also in charge of the schools recycling and they are the guides for school tours to new students. These are just a few of their responsibilities. For more information, contact Nicole Dipasquale at nicole.dipasquale@dcsdk12.org. 

The Choir is an extra-curricular activity offered to all 3rd through 6th grade students who are interested. The choir is run by Mrs. Mogg who will send home information at the beginning of the school year  to those students who are eligible to be in the choir. The practice schedule and Performances will be determined by Mrs. Mogg. Choir runs for the first half of the year, and is over after winter break. 

The Highlands Ranch High School Elementary Band and Orchestra program is a unique opportunity for students to study and learn music from professional high school educators and performers. It is available for 5th and 6th graders. Click here for more information.

17) QWhat does the Building Resource Teacher ("BRT") do?

A
The BRT supports the staff and teachers at Cougar Run. The BRT works with staff members new to the district to help with a successful transition, while assisting existing classroom teachers. This might include help with planning, modeling lessons, team teaching, or gathering resources. The BRT also provides staff development. The Building Resource Teacher for Cougar Run is Amy Moyle who can be contacted at Amy.Moyle@dcsdk12.org.