Information for Next Year

Jeffco Connect – The District’s new online student information system

With the introduction of Jeffco Connect, parents from all schools will be able to complete the student information from any computer with internet access using their parent portal IDs and password.  If emergency contact information for the student changes, or parents need to temporarily designate a new contact person, all they have to do is log on to their account online and change the information. The log on will be available on the district website’s Parent Portal page, and links can also be added to school websites.

Please access the Jeffco Connect link on Peiffer’s homepage ( for

                        •  Registration checklist for parents.

                        •  Newsletter article in English and Spanish.

                        •  Jeffco Connect Getting Started Guide for Parents – New Students (updated)

                        •  Jeffco Connect Getting Started Guide for Parents – Returning Students (updated)

                        •  Flier in English and Spanish for registration.

            Effective July, 2011, parents may access the new system which will be used in all Jeffco Public schools next year. 

            Student information cards, which parents have previously filled out at school, will no longer be used.  Your ability to access Jeffco Connect from any computer will save time at school registration.  We will have computers and support available on our two registration days:  August 12 (7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

                                                                                    August 15 (6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.)

Reminder:  All families (new and returning) must attend registration at school. 


Free and Reduced Lunch – Beginning July 22, applications for the Free and Reduced Lunch program will be available on line.  Every school year a new application is required for all students.  This new online capability is a more efficient way for our District to process and approve applications.  See the direct link to The Apply for Lunch website on the Peiffer homepage.


Transportation Fees:  In response to the State of Colorado’s current budget crisis, Jeffco Public Schools is cutting nearly $40 million from the 2011 – 2012 budget.  The bus fees are one of the ways the district is offsetting the millions in reductions. 

            Parents will need to pay $100.00 per child, per year, for students who ride the bus to their neighborhood school.  Starting July 18, parents can pay the bus fees on line at Pay Schools or at school registrations in August.  Transportation representatives will be at Peiffer on August 12 and August 15.  (Families who qualify for Free and Reduced lunch will not pay bus fees.)

            Monday, August 22 through Friday, September 2, 2011 transportation WILL BE provided for ALL students assigned to a bus, whether they are eligible for free transportation or are required to pay a fee.   
Please note:  Students should be at their assigned bus stop on the first day of school, Tuesday, August 23rd.


What a Great Year!

As we approach summer break, I want to take this opportunity to thank our students, parents, and fabulous staff members for another great year at Peiffer!  Students, you have worked hard, gained new skills, made growth and progress, and learned many new things (both in and out of the classroom).  Parents, you have supported our teachers and our school; I thank you for the partnerships you have formed with us.  We can’t do our jobs without your commitment and involvement.  Teachers and staff members, I cannot thank you enough for coming to school each day ready to make a difference!  You have worked tirelessly to help your students be successful, you have established high standards (both academically and behaviorally), and you’ve taught, and modeled, respect for all. 

     I came across the following article, from Optimist International, that I’d like to share with all of you:

                                                                        Promise Yourself:

-       To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

-       To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

-       To make all your friends feel that there is something wonderful in them.

-       To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

-       To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

-       To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

-       To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

-       To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

-       To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

-       To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit trouble.

             Here’s to a great end-of-the-year and a wonderful summer vacation!


Student Safety

     This past week, our school hosted TERRIFIC day-time assemblies for students and an evening program for parents regarding Internet and Cell Phone safety.  DA Investigators Mike and Cassandra Harris, and their mascot, Cheezo, presented this powerful safety and educational program to children and parents.  The Harris investigative team was the first in Colorado, and one of the first in the United Sates, to proactively seek out online predators.  They have presented over 3000 times to schools, parents groups, and other organizations.  Here are important Internet and Cell Phone Safety Tips for you to know:

Cheezo and Detective Mike Harris

Cheezo and Detective Mike Harris



-          If you don’t know someone in person, you should not communicate with them.

-          Personal information posted online by a child (where he/she lives, goes to school, or spends his/her free time) can help a stranger find them.

-          Personal information can include names, addresses, phone numbers, schools, hobbies, clubs, sports, or other activities in which a child might be involved.

-          Pictures are also personal information.

-          Once a child sends a picture to someone or a website, either online using their computer or cell phone, it is ‘out there’ forever.

-          All account settings for children, including teens, should be set to ‘private.’

-          Parents should limit the number of “friends” with access to their child’s accounts.  The information posted by their child should be viewed only by those they know in person.

-          Parents should install an internet filter or family safety software.

-          Parents should manage their child’s time on the internet/cell phone; set guidelines and enforce consequences if they are not followed.

-          Cell phones should be checked in with a parent at a certain time each night to prevent children from communicating through the night.  Keep computers out of children’s bedrooms. 

-          Parents should consider purchasing programs, such as, that monitor cell phone use. 

-          Parents should make sure children who play popular game sites online only ‘Play the game – don’t give out your name.  You can also check out a Cheezo video.

For more information, contact Mike Harris, Investigator, at 303.271.6770 or [email protected].

Other resources include: Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office:

The Online Safety Project:


Study Finds Social-Skills Teaching Boosts Academics

                            I hope your child(ren) share with you what they learn in Second Step, a program we use at Peiffer.  Second Step is an interactive social skills curriculum that teaches young people about communicating with others, handling anger, resolving conflicts, and learning to get along.  Mr. Fennimore, our school psychologist, teaches Second Step during class meetings he conducts every year in every classroom.  I read a recent article that cites evidence of programs such as Second Step having two benefits:  they teach students important interpersonal skills and they can positively affect academic gains that are comparable to those of strictly academic programs.*    

     From role-playing games for students to parent seminars, teaching social and emotional learning requires a lot of moving parts, but when all the pieces come together such instruction can rival the effectiveness of purely academic interventions to boost student achievement, according to the largest analysis of such programs to date.

      In the report, published Feb. 4 in the peer-reviewed journal Child Development, researchers led by Joseph A. Durlak, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Chicago, found that students who took part in social and emotional learning, or SEL, programs improved in grades and standardized-test scores by 11 percentile points compared with nonparticipating students.  That difference, the authors say, was significant – equivalent to moving a student in the middle of the class academically to the top 40 percent of students during the course of the intervention.  Such improvement fell within the range of effectiveness for recent analyses of interventions focused on academics. 

     Compared with their peers, participating students also significantly improved on five key nonacademic measures:

-       They demonstrated greater social skills

-       They exhibited less emotional distress

-       They were observed to have better attitudes

-       They experienced fewer conduct problems, such as bullying and suspensions

-       They reported more frequent positive behaviors, such as cooperation and help for other students

     Lastly, the effects continued for at least six months following the intervention.  Through Second Step, our students are given good problem-solving skills, time to practice, and opportunities to talk about real-life problems.   Next time your child talks about a problem at school, an argument with a classmate, or an event that upset him/her, ask about ways he/she could handle the situation, based on Second Step strategies.  It feels good knowing our students are not only learning life-long coping skills, they are gaining confidence in handling normal peer situations while focusing on school work and academic success at the same time.

* Education Week; February 16, 2011


Community Watch and CSAP Business

Community Watch

     Parents, we need your help!  If you see any suspicious activity at Peiffer after school, in the evenings, or on the weekends, please report this to the Jeffco Sheriff Department at 303.271.0211 (or dial 911).  We have recently had a series of incidents involving graffiti on school property.  We want it to stop! 

     In the past, concerned parents and neighbors have contacted Deputy Sheriffs and have alerted them to unsafe, unwelcome, and potentially illegal acts.  Quick action has resulted in immediate response to the school and, in some cases, the ability to catch and identify the offenders.  Thank you, in advance, for helping to keep our school safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

testCSAP Update
       Our students have completed the first full week of CSAP testing and they have done a great job!  We believe the boys and girls are well-prepared and we see that they are working hard.  Ask your student how his/her testing is going.  Help your children to know that we have confidence in them, that you know they’ll do well and that, like it or not, testing is a part of what students in all schools do.  Encourage them to do their best, as the test measures what they know, understand, and can do.  We know you’ll help the students all next week (like you always do!) by putting them to bed on time, providing a nutritious breakfast, wishing them luck, and getting them to school on time. 

     Third grade Reading results will come back to our school this spring.  Results from the remaining tests will arrive over the summer and will be shared with you in the fall.


CSAP and BEAR testing

  Standardized tests are more common today than ever before; and the stakes have never been higher.  These tests are used to measure student’s achievement and growth, and to tell schools which skills students need to improve.  With information gathered from a standardized test, our school can design instruction that addresses essential learnings and raises academic performance.

  Results of standardized tests are also used to evaluate our school’s performance.  So, it’s important to all involved for every child to do well on tests.  You can help boost your child’s performance on standardized tests by helping your child feel confident, well-prepared, and ready to succeed.

Attendance Makes a Difference

  Teachers can’t teach students who aren’t in school.  There’s strong evidence that regular school attendance can result in significant test score gains.  So remember:

-       Make sure your child is in school every day.

-       Don’t schedule medical appointments during school hours, if at all possible.

-       Don’t take your child out of school for a family trip or activity.

-       Don’t allow your child to be tardy.  Get ready the night before so he/she can get to school on time.

Good Health = Good Test Scores

   Getting ready for a big exam requires more than just studying.  Your child must be physically fit, too.  So don’t  forget the following:

-        Breakfast – Get in the habit of taking time for a nutritious breakfast every day.  Even toast and a piece of fruit will

                 provide body and brain energy.

-        Sleep –       Get your child into a regular sleep routine.  Then stick to it!  Most children need at least eight hours of sleep each                


-        Exercise –   Encourage your child to exercise every day.  Exercise increases oxygen to the brain and helps with thinking and


Overcome Test Anxiety

   Nobody likes to take tests.  Some kids do get what’s called “test anxiety.”  They’re so worried about taking the test that they can’t show what they know.  Share these tips with your child:

-        Read the directions – carefully!  Don’t rush through them in order to just get started.

-       Look over the test briefly.  Before answering any questions, skim through the test.  Figure out how much time to spend on each


-       Don’t be afraid to skip a question.  Try not to waste time worrying about a question you can’t answer.  Instead, go on to question you know.  Then, with the remaining time, go back to the items skipped.

-       Remember past tests where you did well.  You can do well again!

*Source :  The Parent Institute, 2007



Best chocolate ever!

Best chocolate ever!

On March 1, Peiffer will kick off our World’s Finest Chocolate fundraiser.  This is one of two all-school fund-raisers our school conducts each year.  In the fall, we hold the 360 Cookie Dough sale to support various academic programs in our school, including literacy, math, and science.  Each spring, we participate in the World’s Finest Chocolate sale to help our school move ahead with technology.

     If you watched the news this past week, you heard about Governor Hickenlooper’s proposed state-wide budget cuts.  Public schools will be faced with a $375 million reduction; this translates to $497 less per student.  As we await decisions about how Jeffco Public Schools will be affected, we know one thing for sure:  our school is counting on your support!        chocolate3

     Technology has become an integral part of our lives: it’s how we communicate, access information, and learn.  It creates exciting, engaging, and interactive teaching possibilities and it addresses the various learning styles of our diverse student population.  As we continue to incorporate technology into our everyday experiences at Peiffer, we continually need to update equipment, purchase new hardware and software, and utilize educational programs.  Our students access the Internet, gather and sort information, use live streaming, and demonstrate their learning with technology. 

  We need to keep up with our kid's technology.   Thanks to you, our school has been able to maintain the computer lab, purchase new desktop and laptop computers, place Elmos (document projectors) in every classroom, introduce Smartboard technology, and incorporate various software learning programs for class and individual use.  In addition, we have continued to search and apply for Grant monies to help support technology at Peiffer.  Getting new equipment is costly; I know I could not supply our school with adequate technology using the District allocations I receive each year.  We need your help and we encourage you to support our school.  Please participate in the World’s Finest Chocolate fundraiser.  You have been so generous in the past – we need you now, more than ever.  Thank you!


14 Ways to Forge a Successful Relationship with Child’s Teacher

Working as a team.

Working as a team.

Thank you to those parents who attended spring conferences!  We appreciate having time with you to discuss your child’s growth and progress.  These are things I want you to know:


1.      When you meet with the teacher (whether it’s during formal conferences or at any time during the year), agree to a time that’s convenient for both of you so you don’t feel rushed or distracted.

2.      Ask your child if there’s anything he/she wants you to discuss with the teacher or anything he/she wants you to know beforehand. This will help you focus your questions and reduce the possibility of any unpleasant surprises. Plus, you can communicate to the teacher anything that’s on his/her mind. Emphasize the positive focus of the meeting so your child doesn’t become overly worried about it. 

Key Questions Every Parent Should Ask

     3.  What information and skills will my child learn this year and what are the standards he/she’ll need to meet?

     4.   How do you handle different learning abilities and styles?

     5.   What seem to be my child’s favorite subjects? His/her strengths and weaknesses?

     6.   Does my child participate in class? Try hard?

     7.   How are classes structured? Is my child assigned to a group? How is the group determined?

     8.   Are evaluations and grades based on tests, in-class work, homework, projects, discussion/participation,

           or other means? Is my child at, below, or above proficiency?

     9.   How does my child get along with other students in the classroom?

     10. What kind of support should I be giving my child at home? How can I learn about

            homework assignments?

     11. Have you noticed any worrisome behavior? If there’s a problem, when, where, and what’s happening

           and how can it be fixed? 

Follow Up

     12. Tell your child about the conference and explain (if appropriate) what was discussed. 

     13. If there was a problem discussed, keep in touch with the teacher regularly so you can monitor your

           child’s progress. 

     14. As your child improves in his/her weaker areas, make sure you express your appreciation to the teacher(s)

           who’ve worked so hard to help!


Parent Comment

We all need to follow the rules all the time.

We all need to follow the rules all the time.

 Last week I received an e-mail message from a parent.  She described a concern she has . . . one that, no doubt, many of you have experienced, as well.  Here’s what she had to say:

 Dear Mrs. Weikel, 
    I know you probably have bigger issues at hand, but I have noticed (everyday!) this last week  that when dropping off my son at school, in the drop-off zone, that there has been at least two to three cars parked along the curb, with no one inside. It’s kind of frustrating when trying to drop him off and I have to circle the parking lot a couple of times just to pull up to the curb.
    My son is young and is trying a little independence. He thinks it’s cool when he gets dropped off.  Like every parent I want him to get to class safely, but we still follow the rules. If we don’t, what are we teaching them?
    I don’t know what needs to be done; I just wanted to bring up the issue.

      I assured this parent that I would again mention Peiffer’s parking lot expectations in our Friday Panther Paws.  I agree it is frustrating, especially when most of our parents follow the rules and do everything they can to (a) keep our students safe, (b) adhere to school/parking lot regulations, and (c) be considerate of others.  Our staff members, who diligently perform before- and after-school supervisory duties, find themselves repeatedly asking parents to simply follow the rules.  We hope everyone understands that, when we ask you to move your car, or park in a space, or stop for pedestrians, or drive more slowly, that our intent is not to embarrass you or be rude; we only want to maintain order and safety. 

    -  When you enter the parking lot, you may park your car in a designated space and escort your child to his/her

       classroom door (or you may park in a designated space and watch to see that your child gets to where he/she is

       going safely). 

     – If you simply want to drop your child off, please do so quickly, at the curb, and then exit the parking lot. This will

        keep traffic flowing smoothly. 

     – DO NOT PARK ALONGSIDE THE CURB (it is truly a ‘Drop-Off Zone’).

     – Do not leave your car unattended alongside the curb.

     – Do not encourage your child(ren) to walk unattended through the parking lot.

     – The ‘Drop-Off Zone’ is also where emergency vehicles park if/when responding to a situation at our school.  Cars

       parked there would prevent them from quickly and efficiently doing their job.

     – Remember to be safe and courteous at all times.  Even if you’re in a hurry, we need you to always follow the rules!


What is DIBELS?

DIBELS give teachers a snapshot of your student's learning.

DIBELS give teachers a snapshot of your student's learning.

Recently, primary students at Peiffer took the DIBELS test for the second time this year.  This test does not draw as much attention as the state assessment (CSAP) and many parents are not even aware that it is given.

What is DIBELS? The DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) is a district-mandated test given to kindergarten, first, second, and third grade students. The DIBELS originated at Oregon University and was designed to assess Phonological Awareness, Alphabetic Principle, and Fluency with Connected Text (three of the five big ideas of early literacy). Unlike the state assessment, DIBELS is given individually to each student. No part of the DIBELS test is given as a “whole group” test. The tests are very short and timed (one minute for each section). The test is timed in order to check fluency in addition to knowledge. As in its title and stated above, DIBELS is a literacy test. It measures pre-reading and early reading skills. There are no math or other subject area questions on the test. Each area of the test has a benchmark or goal for students to meet. If the goal is not met, progress-monitoring takes place until the test is given again and the student reaches the goal. Tests are typically administered three times a school year- beginning, middle, and end. The timing of the test allows for academic instructional feedback between testing.

Why Do Schools Use DIBELS? Schools are more increasingly using DIBELS due to it being research based. The DIBELS has been tested extensively in real schools with real children. Data shows the test to be effective. Because of its beginning, middle, and end of the year design, DIBELS allows teachers to focus on specific skills that show weaknesses and then monitor the students’ growth on the next testing. Scores can quickly be produced at the school by the school staff. There is no waiting period for teachers to receive feedback.

What Skills are Assessed by DIBELS?  Depending on your child’s grade, students are tested on ISF: Initial Sound Fluency, LNF: Letter Naming Fluency, PSF: Phoneme Segmentation Fluency, and NWF: Nonsense Word and ORF: Oral Reading Fluency.

Questions about DIBELS?  Ask your child’s teacher at conferences and ask to see your child’s progress.


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