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Every Thursday while school is in session, you'll receive this DCIS Connect newsletter in your email inbox to keep you up to date on all the events and happenings at our school. It's also available on the DCIS Connect app, which you can download at the Apple Store or Google Play.
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HAPPENING THIS WEEK ...
CITYWIDE DRAMA FESTIVAL for high school students, Thursday, Nov. 17, 10 am–4 pm, Denver Center for the Performing Arts
DRAMA CLUB FUNDRAISER, Thursday, Nov. 17, all day, Paxti's Pizza, 185 Steele St., Denver (map)
PTSA FAMILY NIGHT: Please join us Tuesday, Dec. 13, for a potluck social to wind down the semester and celebrate "Our Family Traditions." Bring a family favorite to share and/or take part in our holiday cookie challenge. More details after the fall break!
SUPERINTENDENT–PARENT FORUM: College and Career Ready (graduation changes), Thursday, Dec. 8, 9:15–11:15 am, Temple Emanuel, Denver (map)
ADOLESCO COOKIE EXCHANGE: Learn about foreign exchange opportunities in France, Germany and Spain for students ages 9–18. Sunday, Dec. 11, 3–6 pm
DEBATE TOURNAMENT, Friday–Saturday, Dec. 16–17, all day, University of Denver (map)
END OF SEMESTER, Friday, Dec. 16
LETTER FROM THE PRINCIPAL ...
Dear DCIS Families,
As we look toward next week and Thanksgiving, I am reminded more than ever how grateful I am for your kids. They bring fresh perspective and new energy every day. While our middle school and high school students are very different from each other developmentally, they actually work in sync more often than not. For example, some of our middle school students currently are a bit "overly energetic" during lunch time. So we have started a program utilizing our amazing upperclassmen as mentors for some of our middle school students. We are training juniors and seniors as mentors and already have six successful partnerships between students. In addition, we are training seniors as peer mediators to help resolve conflicts that arise among middle school students.
Every middle school has its share of "student drama," and DCIS is no exception. However, we are exceptional in how we are able to leverage and train high school student leaders in the building to arrive at community solutions with total student buy-in. I am proud of the growth shown by our middle school students just in the last couple of weeks, and of course I am also proud of our outstanding high school mentors and mediators who are Taking Action by reaching out to and connecting with younger students. Now that's something to be thankful for!
We also would like parent input on our school culture and your suggestions for making DCIS an even better school than it already is. Based on feedback from recent Parent Coffee meetings and from last year's Parent Satisfaction Survey, we know that you love and care about our school culture and our identity as an international studies school as much as we do as a staff. We also know that some of you feel that changes in recent years have affected our school culture. So we want to hear from you. Look for an invitation to a town hall–style meeting on DCIS school culture soon after winter break. We will share information, give some context and follow a protocol for capturing your input on this topic framed around our Four Domains of Global Leadership: Investigate the World, Communicate Ideas, Recognize Perspectives and Take Action.
In addition, look for information in the coming weeks with some background on some of the changes made in the school, such as the district's decision to eliminate the application process for DCIS, as well as how the school has responded to these changes and steps we have taken to address them. I look forward to a positive and productive schoolwide conversation (staff, students and parents) about school culture that will guide DCIS to being better than ever!
In the meantime, I send you my sincerest wishes for a healthy, restful and happy Thanksgiving break!
Theresa McCorquodale DCIS Principal
MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER ...
Last Friday's student-led gathering during the all-school meeting was a moving testament to the power of community in creating and maintaining a welcoming and safe environment for all students, many of whom are fearful about the future for themselves and their families in light of so many uncertainties and the recent spate of hate crimes. The event underscored the fact that, no matter our many differences, we are strongest when we stand together. Kudos and respect to the students who organized the gathering, to all who spoke, and to everyone who stands up to hatred, bigotry and bullying.
DCIS is not alone in this effort. Denver Public Schools' critical mission is to ensure that its schools are safe spaces where a student's race, ethnicity, religion and immigration status do not create any barriers to that child's education. In furtherance of this mission, DPS has put together a fact sheet to try and answer some questions people may have in the wake of last week's election about immigration status.
In addition, George Washington High School will host a community forum on immigration law in its auditorium this Saturday, Nov. 19, 10 am–noon, as part of a joint venture with Colorado People's Alliance, Mi Familia Vota, iAmerica and the American Civil Liberties Union. In the spirit of love, wisdom and compassion, this forum will provide post-election information and offer strategies to support and protect families. The address is 655 S. Monaco Pkwy., Denver 80224 (map).
DCIS DRAMA CLUB PRESENTS SHE KILLS MONSTERS
A comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games, She Kills Monsters tells the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly's Dungeons & Dragons notebook, however, she stumbles into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly's refuge. In this high-octane dramatic comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres and '90s pop culture, acclaimed young playwright Qui Nguyen offers a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.
Thursday–Saturday, Nov. 16–18, 6 pm in the auditorium. Students, $5; Adults, $8; First Three Rows, $10. Advance tickets available here. Tickets also available at the door.
CULTURAL ENRICHMENT ...
LAKOTA LANGUAGE BOWL
The Lakota Nation Invitational (LNI) started as a small basketball tournament 40 years ago. Today the tournament has grown to host 36 basketball teams, bringing 2,500 students and their families to Rapid City, South Dakota, for that one sport alone. In addition to the tournament, the LNI features other sports competitions, a powwow, cheerleading competitions, hand games, art and fashion shows, and various knowledge challenges among the long list of other events and activities planned for the four-day event.
Last year a group of DCIS students competed in the Lakota Language Bowl, marking the first time a group from Colorado participated. Ms. Locke, DCIS's Lakota teacher, would like to take a group of third- and fourth-year Lakota students to compete in the Language Bowl again this year, but they need help raising the needed funds to cover the contest entry fees, gas for travel to Rapid City, hotel accommodations for two nights and some meals. The competition takes place Dec. 14–15, so they're running out of time. To help make a second trip to the LNI a reality for these students, please click here to contribute. Ms. Locke and the Lakota students THANK YOU!
BECOME DENVER'S NEWEST YOUTH POET LAUREATE
Young poets, rappers, leaders and activists between the ages of 14 and 20 have until Sunday, Nov. 20, to apply for the chance to become Denver's newest Youth Poet Laureate. Ideal candidates are young writers and leaders committed to civic and community engagement, poetry and performance, and leadership and education. Along with the prestigious title of Denver Youth Poet Laureate, the winning poet will receive a book deal from Penmanship Books and will be the recipient of the Russell J. Arkind Memorial Scholarship. The Denver Youth Poet Laureate will also be provided with numerous opportunities and platforms to share their powerful voice, civic leadership and love for Denver as they perform throughout the metro area and state. For more information and to apply, click here.
RAISE YOUR HAND ...
There are many ways for families to "raise their hand" to make a difference at DCIS and in the community. Here are just a few of them:
WAKE UP AND SELL THE COFFEE That's what many of our DCIS students will be doing soon! Thanks to Craig and Lisa Conner, DCIS parents and owners of Pablo's Coffee, our students will get to sell a custom-created holiday coffee blend that even features student-designed artwork on the package ... the perfect gift for grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, neighbors — anyone who likes an outstanding cuppa joe! Participation is optional, but we hope you'll encourage your students to join in the fun. Not only are we raising money for a good cause — equitable access to cultural enrichment and travel opportunities — but the students can also compete for some fabulous prizes. The PTSA is kicking off its schoolwide fundraiser on Friday, Nov. 18, at the all-school meeting, so be sure to ask your kids this weekend what's brewing.
GROCERY GIFT CARDS TO BENEFIT THE DCIS FOUNDATION If you would like to purchase a rechargeable King Soopers or Safeway gift card to benefit the DCIS Foundation, please send a check for $10, made out to DCIS FOUNDATION, to Melanie Grant at 1559 S. Steele St., Denver 80210, with a note indicating which card you want. Cards are preloaded with $10, and they can be recharged at the grocery store before you pay for your groceries. Every time you use your card to buy groceries or gas, 5 percent goes to the Foundation.
A WARM PLACE TO SLEEP Anahi Montano embodies the DCIS global leadership domain of Taking Action. This awesome student has started a GoFundMe campaign to purchase a teepee for the Standing Rock protesters. Her message: DCIS students have done a variety of fundraising events to support those protesting in South Dakota against the Dakota Access Pipeline. As a school we have been donating items such as clothing, water and toiletries. Now we would like to take it one step further. Since the cold season is approaching, we would like to give the protesters a warm place to sleep by raising money to buy a teepee that will hold at least 15 people. We want to show them they are not alone and that there are people who support them. Please help the Native American community as they fight to save their sacred land. Click here to contribute to the GoFundMe campaign, and be sure to spread the word about the campaign on social media.
COUNSELORS' CORNER ...
SENIORS AND PARENTS/GUARDIANS
Reminder that college application deadlines are coming up quickly. Students, be sure to give recommenders and counselors a minimum of two weeks to get recommendations and transcripts sent.
So far, 55 percent of the senior class has applied to a college or university. Let's keep those numbers growing!
Be sure to complete the FAFSA before we leave for winter break. If you need more support, please set up an appointment with your school counselor.
ICAP COMPLETION: MIDDLE SCHOOL Individual Academic and Career Plans (ICAPs) are a part of The Denver Plan and are a graduation requirement for students graduating in 2011 and beyond. Starting in sixth grade and continuing through high school, students create and update an ongoing plan that includes counselor-led activities on career interests, goal-setting, college opportunities, financial aid and noncognitive skills that increase academic success.
As of mid-November, more than 85 percent of our middle school students had received an ICAP lesson from the counseling department. The lessons differ by grade:
6th grade — Academic preparation and learning styles
7th grade — Strength finder and resume building
8th grade — Preparation and post-career fair debriefing
COLLEGE TERM OF THE WEEK Financial Aid: Money you receive for your college tuition or expenses that you may or may not have to pay back.
2016 HOLIDAY RESOURCE GUIDE If you or someone you know needs assistance with meals, clothing, toys for kids and more this holiday season, check out the many assistance resources here: EnglishEspañol
DENVER URBAN SCHOLARS ACTIVITY GUIDE Looking for fun, family-friendly activities in the next couple of months? Check out this guide!
TRAVEL CENTER NEWS ...
NOTE:The Travel Center closed until Monday, Nov. 28, when it will resume its regular schedule. You can reach Director Geri Badler during that time via email.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TAKING FRENCH This special DCIS/Brest trip, underwritten by Sister Cities and the DCIS Foundation, will take place March 25–April 8, 2017, and includes a home stay; a service learning project in Brest, our Denver Sister City; and a few days in Paris. Please plan to attend an orientation and information session Tuesday, Nov. 29, 6:30 pm, Room 112. Open to high school students who are taking or have taken French. See Ms. Malnati for applications and more information. Information is also posted on the Travel Center bulletin boards.The cost of the trip will be about $1,000 plus spending money (after DCIS Foundation scholarship).APPLICATIONS ARE DUE NOV. 30. (Please note updated application deadline!)
MEET THE MIDDLE EAST (MTME) YOUNG AMBASSADOR PROGRAM This amazing five-month program for high school students culminates in a trip next summer to Palestine and Israel. NOTE: MTME will guarantee admission to the program to all DCIS students who apply in November! Feel free to speak to our DCIS MTME alums for a personal account of this life-changing program. Information and application are available here.
CUBA WITH DCIS MONTBELLO? If you are a high school student (preferably grades 10–12) interested in joining fellow DCIS students from Montbello on a journey to Cuba next summer (June 19-July 3, 2017), please email Geri Badler or stop by the Travel Center after fall break. In the email, please include the student's age, grade, level of Spanish (if any) and why this trip is of interest. The trip will cost approximately $3,300 and will include a service learning component. Click here for more information.
BRAZILIAN STUDENTS NEED HOST FAMILIES DCIS will once again host a group of eight Brazilian high school students who have earned a two-week cultural/language immersion trip to Denver with US Brazil Connect/Conexao Mundo! It will be our fifth year hosting this group, which has become a DCIS winter tradition. Students will be here for two weeks, from Feb. 25 to March 11, 2017. Hosting responsibilities include pick up upon arrival and departure, drop off at the airport, drop off at DCIS on weekday mornings, pick up weekday afternoons at a central spot near DCIS; provide a bed and welcoming environment (students can share a room if same sex); provide breakfasts and dinners during the week and all meals on the weekends, which each student spends with their host family. If you are interested in hosting, please email Geri Badler in the Travel Center with information on your family (ages and grades of your children; pets, etc.), and indicate whether you prefer to host a boy, a girl or either.
LUBY-JENKINS STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAM ULAANBAATAR-DENVER SISTER CITIES Since 2006, the Ulaanbaatar-Denver Sister Cities Committee, together with the Mongolian not-for-profit Zorig Foundation, has organized, run and funded the premier annual U.S.-Mongolia high school exchange program. Starting in 2016, the Luby-Jenkins School Exchange Program will be a limited open-application group exchange program, which at its core involves two-week exchange visits to each other's country. The program is designed for high school sophomores and juniors primarily from Denver and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and is designed to provide international and cross-cultural learning for students who are interested in leadership, political governance and democracy. The program consists of (1) pre-trip meetings and interactive discussions; (2) four weeks of international exchanges: two in Mongolia and two in Colorado; and (3) individual student post-trip projects applying and communicating what they have learned. Applications are now available at the Ulaanbaatar-Denver Sister Cities Committee's office at 1700 Broadway, Suite 1202, Denver 80290; by telephone at 303-832-6173; or by emailing Committee Program Liaison Kherlen Batbayar here. Apply by Dec. 15. More information here.
LEARN ABOUT A FOREIGN EXCHANGE OPPORTUNITY TO FRANCE, GERMANY OR SPAIN! Adolesco Youth Exchange is hosting a cookie exchange ("Bring a dozen, take a dozen") on Sun., Dec. 11, 3–6 pm. RSVP here for directions. Please join us to discuss this amazing exchange opportunity for kids between 9 and 18! Adolesco Youth Exchange is a flexible and affordable not-for-profit program of three-week to three-month short-term language immersion and cultural family-to-family exchanges for kids (between 9 and 18) to learn French in France, German in Germany and Spanish in Spain — open to qualifying students in Colorado and the U.S. Apply NOW for 2017 and 2018 exchanges. Students will be matched in March and October 2017. Email Marie with any questions here.
TRAVEL CENTER Geri Zabitz Badler Travel Center and Community Partnerships email@example.com Office Phone: 720-423-9043