Pomona Elementary

A Note from the Principal

A Note from the Principal
Posted on 07/29/2020

A Note from Principal Pfaffendorf

Hello Pomona family and friends,

As we get ready to go into our new year, I wanted to take some time and share my excitement for the challenges ahead and give some recommendations that I personally will be living by as we travel this somewhat unknown path. Below you will find all kinds of information, some of it is not complete as we are waiting on new hires or clarification of D51 safe schools opening protocols.

But...first things first. We have added some staff members to our amazing Pomona family.

In the office we have Kellie Otero. She was hired on right before Spring break and then COVID closed our doors. I still wanted to give her a shout out for not missing a beat as we (office staff) came back to school on the 20th!
Sandra is of course still our lead secretary and can't imagine Pomona without her.

In Kinder we have no new faces but we have new names. Ms. Davis somehow pulled off a wedding during summer and has a new name. Ms. Davis is now Mrs. Maynard. Congrats Mrs. Maynard!! Mrs. Fischer is back and we may have a third Kindergarten teacher based on enrollment.

In first grade we have gained a teammate in Mrs. Duff. She comes highly recommended and comes with PBL experience. Mrs.Greenlee is being super flexible and may be her first grade partner. Thanks Mrs. Greenlee!

Mr. Brown may be multiage or he may be a straight grade level. We are waiting on some information as well as who is hired for a primary position. We have some great thoughts/ideas about primary and how we can use our skill sets to benefit all of our kids and teammates.

There is no change in second grade. Mrs. Guddat and Mrs. Platt are back! (With coffee and great music choices)

Part of our third grade team remains the same with Ms. Breske and Mrs. Kinnes, with the addition of Mrs. Baker. She brings some great experience to our Pomona family.

The fourth grade team of Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Stansbury, and Mrs. Trujillo remains the same.

And the fifth grade team remains the same with Mrs. Roehm, Mrs. Berg, and Mrs. Rankin.

Mrs. Montoya is back and ready to go all in with Computer Science and Mrs. Osborne has her hand sanitizer and Clorox ready to go in the library. Mr. Madison is back with a brand new gym and Ms. Theobold is across the hall in the music room planning a covid friendly musical, I hope.

Another addition to Pomona is Mrs. McClaskey. She will be our full time Health Assistant. You may recognize her. She was our long term Health Assistant last fall. We added an extra Health Assistant for the year. Mrs. Martinez is coming over from the Palisade High School Health Assistant position. We also have a new school nurse, Mrs. Clear. She will be splitting time between us and Thunder Mountain.

Outside of the general ed classroom we have a few new faces and those returning. In the SSN world. Ms. Kissner has moved from third grade to that position. She has added Ms. Johnson and Mrs. Weese to the team of Mrs. Busall, Mrs. Buchanan, Mrs. Olds, Mrs. Quinn. We are also hiring another SSN para in the near future.

Mrs. Carmichael is our Special Education lead and Mrs. Reynolds will be joining her. However we have to share Mrs. Reynolds with Tope.

Our ESL teacher is Mrs. Krill and once again, she will be splitting her time with Orchard Ave.

Our GT teacher is Mrs. Beale and we'll be sharing her with Mesa View.

Mrs.Trowbridge is our reading interventionist. We have a new READ Act para named Mrs. Jensen.

Ms. Cline is joining us as our Instructional Coach.

Mrs. Pawlowski is our school Psychologist on Wednesday and Thursdays.

We don’t know our Speech teacher yet.

Mr. Tenski and Mr. Diers remain our day and night custodians.

The construction that has been done at Pomona is mind blowing. We have had to deal with a few things here and there, but overall everything is coming together. If you see Mr. Tenski or Mr. Diers give them a shoutout. They and a few other crew members have been working hard to get things clean and back to “normal”. It's a huge campus and it isn't easy when you have a bunch of extra construction workers walking around where you just finished cleaning.

Our Pomona ILT/NIC team met on Monday for a full day of planning. We learned a lot and had to “Pivot” just about everything we had planned already. We have meetings ahead of us as we get things finalized. We are trying really hard to not change everything and add to people's plates. However, Covid is running this show. We will get a lot of information out to you in the upcoming weeks. We all want answers and we want to see how all this impacts us individually and there is nothing wrong with that. Please remember that we, including you and your family, are a system and our actions impact everyone. Those actions can be positive or negative. You have control over them.

Opening school is never an easy task. When you add construction, water mains breaking, and a pandemic it can feel unreachable! The term “moving target” has been in my conversations over the past months as we prepare to open.

The term, moving target, brings anxiety to some, and excitement of change to others. As a parent, teacher and principal I have both of these emotions.
As I dive into research and science to try to find something that will calm me and keep me centered, I find myself coming back to one simple sentence. “What can you control, and what can't you control?” I ask this question daily, if not hourly.

Understanding how Mirror Neurons work and the power of them with young learners, We are going to ask all of you to think about that phrase, “What can you control, and what can't you control?” Use those mirror neurons to relieve the stress and anxiety that may be occurring. Use them to help all of us build strong Social and Emotional skills. This all connects to our mindsets of, “Yes I can” and “not yet, but I will” attitude. Let’s model the positives around what we can control with your amazing kids and family. I have no doubt that we can handle it.

As we move into these unknown waters it is up to us as individuals and as a team to do things safely and do things with positivity. We are ALL influencers! On our kids, community and each other. Let us keep Pomona an amazing place to learn and an amazingly safe place to be. Amy Morin, author of “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't DO” has put it into steps that help me, and may help you.

1. Determine what you can control.

When you find yourself worrying, take a minute to examine the things you have control over. You can't prevent a storm from coming but you can prepare for it. You can't control how someone else behaves, but you can control how you react. Recognize that sometimes, all you can control is your effort and your attitude. When you put your energy into the things you can control, you'll be much more effective.

2. Focus on your influence.

You can influence people and circumstances, but you can't force things to go your way. So while you can give your child the tools he needs to get good grades, you can't make him get a 4.0 GPA. And while you can plan a good party, you can't make people have fun.To have the most influence, focus on changing your behavior. Be a good role model and set healthy boundaries for yourself. When you have concerns about someone else's choices, share your opinion, but only share it once. Don't try to fix people who don't want to be fixed.

3. Identify your fears.

Ask yourself what you are afraid will happen. Are you predicting a catastrophic outcome? Do you doubt your ability to cope with disappointment? Usually, the worst case scenario isn't as tragic as you might envision. There's a good chance you're stronger than you think. But sometimes people are so busy thinking, "I can't allow my business to fail," they don't take the time to ask themselves, "What would I do if my business failed?" Acknowledging that you can handle the worst case scenario can help you put your energy into more productive exercises.

4. Differentiate between ruminating and problem-solving.

Replaying conversations in your head or imagining catastrophic outcomes over and over again isn't helpful. But solving a problem is. So ask yourself whether your thinking is productive. If you are actively solving a problem, such as trying to find ways to increase your chances of success, keep working on solutions. If however, you're wasting your time ruminating, change the channel in your brain. Acknowledge that your thoughts aren't productive and get up and go do something for a few minutes to get your brain focused on something more productive.

5. Create a plan to manage your stress.

Exercising, eating healthy, and getting plenty of sleep are just a few key things you need to do to take care of yourself. You have to make time to manage your stress so you can operate more efficiently.
Find healthy stress relievers, like meditation, spending time with friends or engaging in a hobby. Pay attention to your stress level and notice how you cope with distress. Eliminate unhealthy coping skills, like drinking too much or complaining to other people.

6. Develop healthy affirmations.

I have two phrases I use to remind me to either take action or calm down. The first one is, "Make it happen." Whenever I catch myself saying something like, "I hope I do OK today," I remind myself, "Make it happen." It reminds me I'm in control of my actions. Then, when I find myself thinking about something I have no control over, like "I hope it doesn't rain on Saturday," I tell myself, "I can handle it." Those quick little phrases I have on hand keep me from wasting my time on things I can't control. I'll either do what I can to make it happen or deal with the things I have no control over. Develop a few healthy mantras that will keep you mentally strong. Those sayings will help you combat self-doubt, catastrophic predictions, and endless rumination. https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/6-ways-to-stop-worrying-about-things-you-cant-control.html

As your principal I cannot tell you everything that is going to happen and I cannot tell you how we are going to handle every situation. What I can tell you is that we are opening Pomona safely. I can tell you that we have each other's back and we are here to support. I can tell you that our Pomona teachers and staff are here and ready to do this safely and keep the love of school and learning in the forefront.

I can tell you that our teacher leadership team is working really hard and smartly in creating a plan that aligns with CDC and D51 reopening plans.

I can tell you that we will be sending out that plan to everyone next week. That plan will include class assignments, standard operating procedures for drop off and pick up, bus info and other Pomona Opening Safely protocols.

I can tell you that the outreach and feedback that our community has given Pomona is unbelievable and is very appreciated. We hear you, we are listening and we take everyone's voice seriously in our decision making.

Remember the above advice. Control what you can and do it really well. We are an amazing community and an amazing group of humans. I would not want to be anywhere else with any other community during this adventure.

Thank you for being supportive and a great community.


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