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LETTER FROM PRINCIPAL MILLER JUNE 2021
Posted 6/6/21

Dear Humphrey Families-

 

The 2020-2021 school year will never be forgotten.

 

As we slowly awaken from the pandemic world, none of us would have predicted that on March 13, 2020 (the final day of spring conferences) would be the LAST time school would be in session until April 5, 2021!

 

Remote/virtual learning took on a whole new meaning. HH teachers sprung into action the following week of March 16-preparing to bring their grade level curriculum virtually without direction or professional development from the district.

 

The HUGE reason for Humphrey’s success with virtually learning is because of the Technology Teacher position. Most APS elementary schools do not have a technology teacher position on staff.

 

Some schools have a Technology educational assistant who is not eligible to teach students-this EA position is in charge of technology equipment and disseminating that equipment. It is up to the classroom teacher to “teach” their students the latest technology skills.

 

Some elementary schools designate key teachers to receive outside tech training (on their own time) and then turn around and train the staff in tech updates.

 

The state legislators (not APS) designate my budget and the type of staff I can hire. A technology teacher is not on my budget call. You will find a Technology Teacher position on the middle  and high school budget calls (replaces the Typing Teacher position).

 

There was an attempt to level the playing field to fund ALL 105 APS elementary schools by the district for each school to hire a part time Technology Educational Assistant-however these positions were extremely difficult to fill.

 

So, it was up to each elementary school to be creative on how to fund a tech position along with having the where with all to ensure staff and students have the current technology equipment AND training-it is a daunting endeavor.

 

Since taking the principalship of Hubert Humphrey in September 2001-my predecessor set the framework that a Technology Teacher would be on staff  using the school budget to piece together as much funding as possible with the agreement that the PTSA to fund the rest of this of staff position. This agreement has been carried on today.

 

Since 1980 -Basket Night has always been a part of the HH community tradition sponsored by the PTSA. Since 1998-the majority of the Basket Night proceeds went to funding part of the Technology Teacher’s position. Another huge fundraiser is the Hawks Fund-that happens at the beginning of school year and is on a donation basis. This fund raiser also helps with the Technology Teacher’s position too.

 

We at HH are EXTREMELY fortunate to have a bona fide Technology Teacher who has a degree in Computer Education along with having been a successful classroom teacher. Carol Carlson was the light house for HH during this pandemic for the HH community AND staff.

 

HH would not have experienced the success of remote/virtual learning if it had not been for Carol. She was the conduit of how to implement ALL curriculum,  learn new devices and nuances (lighting!!) of remote/virtual learning. Carol was the “go to gal” during this unusual time. Her upbeat, can do attitude helped ALL staff overcome barriers of the remote/virtual learning world. Not all APS schools are as fortunate to have a Carol Carlson- Technology Teacher .

 

A HUGE THANKS to all of you who supported the HH annual Basket Night. HH PTSA did an absolutely OUTSTANDING job holding Basket Night virtually with such GREAT success! HH PTSA deserves a STANDING O for their creativity in keeping the HH traditions going during this unusual school year. This year’s Basket Night was a MAJOR success! And has tremendously helped with the funding for the Technology Teacher’s position.

 

Hopefully-one day the legislators will see the need to fund a Technology Teacher for ALL elementary schools in the state. Given the impact that technology has had for the past year and half in learning-I have high hopes that this staff position will become a reality.

 

STAFF FAREWELLS

 

Christy Dunlap-Christy Dunlap has retired after 25 years in education. Christy came to HH in 2006. Before coming to APS, Christy taught in RRPS under the tutelage of Connie Chene (principal of MLK ES)-who was an Annenberg scholar, that brought cutting edge professional development to the entire MLK staff and RRPS that in turn set the foundation of high-test scores and achievements. This was based on teachers receiving in-depth professional development for differentiate instruction. Christy was HH Instructional Coach who was responsible for the ALL staff professional development and the school’s great success with having some of the highest test scores in the state. Two years ago-the district discontinued funding the Instructional Coach position. Christy stepped into the position of Dean of Students and Intervention Teacher. In 2020-21 school year with a hiring freeze-Christy was placed in a 5th grade classroom that was vacated by Matt Dolan (who took the Gifted teacher position when Dina Padilla retired last July). Christy did an OUTSTANDING job with all the different hats she has worn at HH. In her retirement-Christy is an amazing baker. We suspect that culinary arts are in her future. She will be missed!

 

Kathryn Chavez-Kathryn has received consistently for the past 10 years the rating of Exemplary. This is an extremely hard designation to receive from the Public Education Department. This honor was bestowed on Kathryn as her students always scored in the highest category on all assessments.  Kathryn has taught at HH since 2004. Her classroom was magical to observe as she knew how to teach creatively along with ensuring that all core standards were delivered and instruction was differentiated. After 25 years of teaching-Ms. Kathryn decided it was time to retire and do something different. That something different is working full time at the zoo as a docent along with possibly working at Explora too. Ms. Kathryn will never be replaced and definitely be missed!

 

Shannon Casper-Shannon came to HH with Joetta Teupell. Joetta and Shannon have worked together for 20 years! Both came to HH four years ago from Apache ES. Both taught kindergarten together ALL these years! Shannon is the BEST kinder Educational Assistant! She and Joetta complimented each other and were an excellent classroom team! Shannon will be very much missed! Many don’t know but Shannon is an accomplished painter!! In retirement-she will focus on her painting and gardening.

 

Kay Nunn-Kay is taking a leave of absence for the upcoming 21-22 school year. We wish her the best and look forward to seeing her soon!

 

Kyle Reagin, Chrissy Libutti, Jessica Fate-Kyle and Chrissy have transferred to North Star Elementary. Jessica has transferred to Dennis Chavez.

 

Because of HH late start time (we are the ONLY school in La Cueva cluster who starts at 8:50am and dismisses at 3:40pm-with an early dismissal Wednesday). Due to family constraints-all three teachers needed an earlier start and early dismissal time. 

 

Kyle will teach 4th grade at NS. Chrissy accepted a 2nd grade position. Jessica Fate will be teaching 2nd grade at Dennis Chavez.

 

All three had a very difficult time in making this decision to leave the HH community. Because of the pandemic, for these teacher’s families, time became an issue and the only solution was to find an early start/dismissal school.

 

 Know that almost 10 years ago HH had the opportunity to change the start and dismissal time. The staff overwhelming voted to change to early start and dismissal however the community vote no-wanting to stay with the late start, dismissal and early release Wednesday. I am not sure if this start and dismissal time will be revisited again.

 

We wish all four HH staff members the VERY best in their new endeavors!

 

 

FINALLY-HH enrollment numbers are low for the upcoming school year. At this time-I am projecting 3 teachers in each grade-this includes kindergarten. Amanda Laverty presently will be teaching 3rd grade-replacing Kathryn Chavez’s position. However, miraculously- if the kinder numbers do happen for a 4th kinder teacher needed-Amanda will be back as a kinder teacher.

 

While I cannot make promises about what next year will look like, I can assure you that HH’s plan is to have every Hawk back on campus, learning in person. While remote/virtual learning has served a very important purpose, it is not nor will be the HH learning model for the 21-22 school year. HH values the importance of socialization and relationship building in preparing our Hawks for their future.

 

When asked by the district for input if HH would offer a remote option-the staff unanimously voted no.  We have not heard from the district what will be the remote option for the 21-22 school year. eAcademy is APS option for those that prefer virtual learning choice at this time.

 

The office will be closed beginning Monday June 7 through Friday July 16. For current information-please check the HH webpage.

 

Thank you all again for trusting your children with us. I look forward to the 21-22 school year! It will be the BEST yet!

 

 

Enthusiastically in Your Service-

 

Paula K. Miller

Principal

Hubert Humphrey ES.