May 7 Weekly Community Update

Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 3:15pm

Student belongings, scenarios for 2020-21, bell times, budget update & more

Lea este artículo en español

As a reminder, we are now sending a regular update each Thursday afternoon to the Five Star community for the remainder of the school year. This communication is designed to consolidate important updates for you into one weekly email. 


Student Belongings Pickup
We plan to provide the opportunity for families to pick up student belongings at our elementary, middle and K-8 schools during the week of May 18. Next week, we will share more information including specific dates, times and details on how the pickup process will operate at your child’s school. If you have a high school student, their specific school will share high school-specific pickup plans in the coming weeks.

2020-2021 School Year Scenarios
The landscape for the normally scheduled start to the 2020-2021 school year in mid-August is still unknown given the evolving situation with COVID-19. With that in mind we are planning for four possible scenarios for next school year:

  • Traditional in-person learning - this scenario would see staff and students return to traditional in-person learning with the likelihood of increased safety guidelines in place as advised by public health officials.

  • Traditional in-person learning with a remote learning option - given personal circumstances, some families may not have an interest in sending their student to a physical setting even if public health officials permit it. In this situation, we would return to in-person learning but also provide online, remote learning opportunities for families who prefer that option.

  • Combination of in-person learning and remote learning - based on social distancing guidelines that may be in place at the time, this scenario would provide the opportunity for fewer students and staff to be in the building at set times. This could also include in-person learning on a few days with remote learning for the remaining days in the school week.

  • Remote learning (not in-person) - this scenario would focus more on a synchronous learning approach remotely. It would include a greater focus on rigor, and enhanced interaction between educators and their students. The key will be in finding the just-right balance for the amount of school work for students to complete over the course of a week and possibly a semester.

All four of these scenarios have their own unique opportunities and logistical challenges. We will continue to work with public health officials over the summer in determining the best plan to provide a safe environment for staff, students and families. Updates will be provided over the summer as we are able and we will announce a definitive plan prior to the first day of scheduled school.

Bell Time Change for the 2020-2021 School Year
Before mid-March, when COVID-19 changed how we go about our business, we were nearing the end of a year-long planning and engagement process that contemplates changing bell times at our elementary, middle and high schools. One thing has become clear through this process - there is no perfect solution and any decision comes with tradeoffs. The goal was to find the solution that creates the most benefit for the entire Five Star District, which is why Superintendent Chris Gdowski has accepted the recommendation of the Bell Schedule Steering Committee to push bell times 30 minutes later pending the resumption of normal operations for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Read more about the decision.

Behind the Scenes of Remote Learning
The Instructional Technology and Library Services team has been hard at work setting up remote learning for students and teachers, and training our staff to best educate and support families from a distance. Learn how they do it in this behind-the-scenes look at running online learning (or read the transcript here). 

Reminder: No Teacher Office Hours on Friday, May 8
As a reminder, Friday, May 8 is a teacher planning day for elementary, middle and high schools. This means teachers will be unavailable for office hours as they use this time to plan for the remaining instructional time available with students and begin development of their culminating, end-of-year activities. 



2020-2021 Budget Update
Last week we updated you on the impact that the economic slowdown related to COVID-19 is having on the State of Colorado as the Legislature develops a budget for the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year (July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021). School districts across Colorado are anticipating budget cuts upwards of 15%. That would mean a reduction of $42 million below current year funding levels for Adams 12 Five Star Schools. A common question districts get when there are state budget cuts is: “I thought local property taxes paid for education. Why are education budgets being cut?”

Property taxes pay for a relatively smaller portion of the Adams 12 Five Star Schools General Fund budget. Of the district’s General Fund revenues, 63 percent comes from state sources other than property taxes. Those state sources include income and sales taxes which have been significantly impacted by the recent situation with COVID-19. Learn more about education funding on our Funding 101 webpage. 

The Joint Budget Committee (JBC), which is responsible for sponsoring the Long Bill, or the budget bill, began meeting this week. They will use the updated revenue forecast, scheduled to be released next Tuesday, May 12 to make critical decisions about any budget cuts, including those to education. 

It is important to note that no budget decisions related to this latest news from the state, including any potential reductions, have been made to date. We will continue to provide updates as this budget process at the state level moves along.  




  • Remote Learning: Information about the district’s Remote Learning and FAQs

  • Family Technical Assistance: Technical assistance in support of remote learning. Families can also request technical assistance by sending an email to or calling (720) 972-4118. Please include student name, student ID number and the best way to contact you in your message. 

  • Grab and Go Meals: Information about the district's grab and go food distribution

  • Mental Health Resources: Talking points and resources for families when talking to children about COVID-19

  • Student Family Outreach Program: Resources for families including meals, housing, mental health, internet access, unemployment and more 

  • Community letters: An archive of COVID-related district communications and resources

Five Star Education Foundation Update

  • The Foundation secured a $20,000 emergency grant from the Denver Foundation to assist with food resources this month.

  • Through the Foundation, Chick-Fil-A in Thornton and Federal Heights are supporting food resources to families in need. 

  • The City of Broomfield has donated $5,000 to help families and students in Broomfield with food and technical resource needs this month.

  • Join in on the support: Donate now online.



Celebrating Our Graduates

Even though we are unable to come together in-person to recognize the graduating class in the traditional way during May, that isn’t going to stop us from honoring and celebrating the many accomplishments of the Class of 2020 through spring and summer. Visit the district’s social media to see how our high schools are celebrating their graduating seniors. Facebook | Twitter

Five Star Awards - VIDEO!
We are thrilled to announce our Classified Employee of the Year: Casey Sauer, Registration Specialist at Century Middle School. Congrats, Casey, you make us all #FiveStarProud! Watch the video of the surprise announcement (or read the text). Read why she won and see all the other excellent nominees at

Celebrating Our Certified Employees 

This week is Colorado and National Teacher Appreciation Week so we announced the nominations for the Certified employees of the year. Read about the nominees and finalists. We will announce the winner on Friday, May 8.


  • Christi Brown, Kitchen Manager at Silver Hills Middle and Westview Elementary, has earned the 2020 School Nutrition Association (SNA) Manager of the Year Award for Colorado! State winners automatically advance to the regional awards where they are judged by a panel appointed by the Regional Director and Christi Brown was also named Southwest Region Manager of the Year! Congratulations Christi! 

  • Congratulations to Cameron Shelley from Legacy High School and Jacob Tow from Stargate who were named 2020 Boettcher Scholars! Only 42 students, out of 1,500 applicants, made the list. Read more about this great news. 

  • Mountain Range High School teacher Hilary Wimmer and her students Vanessa Cordova, Mary Claire Jennings and Kenna Scott received 2020 MoneyWi$er Financial Innovation awards

  • The Five Star Journal is our quarterly publication but this spring we weren't able to release the latest version. There are three excellent school and student features that are still worth reading - stories on United Way’s work with elementary schools, a Hulstrom student winning an award and a high school focusing on inclusion. Read on!