See what Middle Schoolers Learn, Do, Become...

Fall 2019 Schedules

Notes from Greg

  • Update - Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - Winter trimester Skills Classes

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 10/29/2019

    Hope you’re having a great week and are staying warm! We look forward to seeing you at conferences later this week and early next week and hope you enjoy and make the most of this important school event.

    As the second trimester approaches to begin right after Thanksgiving break, I wanted to share with you the wonderful Skills class offerings that your children will have the opportunity to select next week in homeroom. Please go over these offerings with your children and plan to have them make their top three choices for both Tuesday and Thursday offerings during homeroom next week. Thanks for your support, and we look forward to working with your children in these wonderful offerings! Stay warm today, and see you soon!

    Tuesday offerings

    Creative Writing (all grades) - Use your imagination and expand your writing skills in this class. We will use interesting prompts, photos and topics, and will develop our creative approach to writing.

    Clean Comedy Improv (all grades) - Discuss and share ideas and techniques on how to make any situation fun, but most importantly appropriately funny on the spot! Time to improvise! :)

    Rhythm and Resistance (all grades) - This class uses poetry to build community among and across diversity. Additionally, the poems read and created will (a) help students understand the relationship between history and poetry and (b) how poetry can be used as a mode for talking back to injustice.

    Rubik’s Cube Mosaics (all grades) - Come learn how to create larger mosaic images with Rubik’s cubes! We will practice solving and manipulating the cubes in different ways in order to create a picture, collectively. 

    Turbo Oral Presentations (all grades) - Prepare to receive a topic and to create a short, yet very effective and entertaining 2-minute presentation to the group. This is designed to be a fun, entertaining way to boost social confidence and to generate better public speaking skills. Presentations will be both individual and partner/team based

    Let’s Learn American Sign Language! (all grades) - In this Skills class, we will all learn American Sign Language together. You can look forward to learning this new language and about the community that utilizes it.

    Spelling Bee competition (all grades) – Come participate in word games toward preparation to compete in Stanley’s middle school spelling bee.

    Yes, Chef! (all grades) - Plan no-bake recipes that we will make during Skills.

    Student Council (all grades)- This is a year-long Skills class and will require additional work outside of your normal skills class hour. If you enjoy planning, organizing and executing school wide events, while strengthening your leadership style, this is the place for you! Student Council is in charge or organizing Cave Shows, Arts Fests, Bake Sales, dances, various fundraisers, etc. This is a year-long course. If you did not sign up in the Fall, you may not sign up for the Winter or Spring trimester.

    6th grade math support (6th graders) - Receive supplemental math support that will help with 6th grade content.

    7th grade math support (7th graders) - Receive supplemental math support that will help with the 7th grade content.

    7th grade Geometry (7th graders) - This Skills class is only for 7th graders and those students who completed the 6th grade Geometry Skills class last year. Come continue your Geometry Skills!

    8th grade Geometry (8th graders) - This Skills class is only for 8th graders and those students who have completed the 7th grade Geometry Skills class last year. Come continue your Geometry Skills! 

    Thursday offerings

    Speech and Debate (all grades) - Do you like presenting on interesting and hilarious topics? Do you enjoy debating about important issues? Are you wanting the improve your public speaking skills? Join this class!

    The Secret Files of Professor L. Otto Funn (all grades) – Do you love science? Students will choose fun science activities they want to complete from the book, The Secret Files of Professor L. Otto Funn and will do a different one each week.

    Strings and Things: Ukulele and Guitar for beginners (all grades) - Come and learn basic chords and a few songs on either the uke or the guitar! A more advanced class will be offered in the spring.

    The Editor’s Workshop (all grades): Come and build your editing and proofreading skills. This will be a relaxed, yet productive editor’s workshop in which we will be able to proofread and revise our current written work, (through both individual and peer revision). You will also have the opportunity to expand upon content, depth and description in current writing assignments. We will also conduct mini-lessons on common convention errors and how to avoid them in the future!

    Introductory French Class (all grades) - This course will cover some basic French conversation skills and build in some grammar and vocabulary as well. 

    Animal Planet (all grades) - Love animals? Want to watch animal documentaries?  Interested in learning more about endangered animals and how to save them?  Join this Skills class to talk all things animals.

    Learning Center Support (all grades) - Students will learn executive functioning strategies and how to apply them to their work, learn about themselves as a learner, and receive extra support on assignments as needed in a small group environment.

    Current Events Club (all grades) - Curious about what’s going on in the world? Looking for a place to discuss big issues in the news? Come on down!

    Journalism (all grades) - Come learn the craft of interviewing and reporting as we learn how to report the news and move toward publishing our stories in Stanley’s middle school newspaper.

    Book Club (6th graders) - Read the sequel to Chains, called Forge. It’s told from the perspective of Curzon and picks up where Chains leaves off.

    7th Grade Constitutional Law (7th graders) - Students who are interested in participating in the Constitutional Law program will learn the essential elements of the content and the program through lecture style lessons. 

    Constitutional Law (8th graders) - Con Law Students who participated in the 7th grade skills class last year will begin an intensive study building of that knowledge in preparation for the National Competition in Washington, DC.

    8th grade math support (8th graders) - Receive supplemental math support that will help with the 8th grade content.

    Thanks for all your support! Stay safe, and have a great day!

    Comments (-1)
  • Update - Thursday, October 24th

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 10/24/2019

    Hope you’re having a great week, and we look forward to seeing you for conferences next week! As your students will share with you about their growth over the course of this year, I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful professional learning that has been happening within our faculty community over the course of this fall.

    As you know, your children are blessed to be working with such an expert faculty who approach their work thoughtfully and intentionally each day to positively impact your students. I shared with some parents earlier this week that September and October are among my favorite months of the school year because it means I get to spend lots of time in the classrooms of our amazing faculty, observing their classes and providing them resources and ideas to build on the amazing work that they are already doing.

    Last year, we launched a professional development initiative entitled Critical Friends Groups from the National School Reform Faculty. In small groups, faculty share a dilemma they are working on in their practice with a group of educators that they wouldn’t normally bring their problem to. For example, as an English teacher, I would often bring dilemmas from my classroom to other English faculty; however, I learned over time that often the perspectives most impactful and novel for my growth came from teachers outside my discipline or division. After piloting the program with middle school faculty last year, teachers are now in groups comprised of K-8 teachers and other staff, bringing our community together to learn and support each other’s practice.

    Moreover, middle school faculty have been active in professional development work this fall around a variety of different topics. From visiting other ACIS schools and collaborating with faculty there to attending professional conferences like CIRCLE to hearing speakers like Dr. Lisa Damour and Dr. Craig Knippenberg to learning at workshops from national organizations like Teaching Tolerance, Stanley has been well represented in the professional community of the Association of Colorado Independent Schools (ACIS). Faculty have been sharing their takeaways at middle school meetings, helping us consider how our practice can continue to evolve to support our students, and I have been so grateful and impressed by the culture of professional growth among our teachers.

    To that end, the past two months has also seen middle school faculty visiting each other’s classrooms, learning from those who they would not ordinarily go see teach outside their discipline (e.g: a math teacher observing a Spanish teacher’s lesson). The conversations have been fruitful, and there’s great professional learning happening internally from each other here as well.

    Finally, I wanted to share with you a recent professional development experience the faculty participated in last Friday. Facilitators from the International Dyslexia Association came and did a simulation with our K-8 teaching faculty. The activities provided insight into the challenges students with dyslexia and other learning differences face, helping build empathy for the experience of our students. It was a powerful, impactful afternoon for faculty, and I encourage you to ask teachers about the experience. To that end, we are working on an opportunity for you to experience the simulation for yourself. Whether you have a child with diagnosed dyslexia or not, I highly recommend the experience. Details are being finalized, and I will be in touch with a specific evening date soon. Please be on the lookout.

    Thank you for your continued support and partnership! Happy Halloween, and look forward to seeing you all soon!

    Comments (-1)
  • Update - Wednesday, October 16, 2019

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 10/16/2019

    Hope you all had a wonderful Fall Break last week and are enjoying our beautiful weather! Lots is happening here in the middle school, and as I’ve had the chance to observe classes and see our teachers in action with your students, I am struck by the amazing relationships that have been built during this first trimester. We look forward to welcoming you for conferences in a couple of weeks to see your child showcase and reflect on this great learning. You should be receiving an email from Acelynn soon with your conference time on either Halloween, November 1st or November 4th.

    As a reminder, on Halloween, conferences will begin directly after the Halloween Parade, and you are welcome to take your children directly after the parade. For students who cannot be picked up early, we will have coverage for students until Noon before all students are dismissed.

    In addition, a couple of quick logistical and miscellaneous notes for you: A reminder that this Friday is our next halfday schedule with a 12:15 pm dismissal. Please remind your students to take their belongings with them at 12:15 if they are going to the Town Center to get some lunch with friends. On a separate note, for 8th grade families who are interested, please see the attached high school information regarding the Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS).

    Students continue to proceed nicely in their classes, and below, you’ll find curriculum updates about the wonderful work happening in your child’s classes. Before delving into those descriptions, however, I wanted to share with you a wonderful film series upcoming we will be hosting here at Stanley that will be offered to both students and parents. In continuing to emphasize the holistic care for children through an emphasis on social-emotional learning, Stanley’s middle school is excited to be hosting three films from IndieFlix. The first is called “Like” and will be shown to students on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 11th and then again that evening for parents. Later this school year, on March 18th, we will be showing a newly released film “Upstanders” and then on April 22nd, we will be screening the film “Angst”, exploring social-emotional health through the lens of anxiety. The trailers are linked above, and we look forward to hosting you for these films.

    Finally, as mentioned, there is amazing learning happening in your child’s classrooms. In the 6th grade, Humanities students are continuing to read Chains, examining inferences and character traits, in addition to looking at vocabulary and grammar. Math students have a quiz upcoming and are finishing up work with equations and solutions, soon moving into integers. Spanish students are wrapping up their work with Hispanic heritage month and will be doing some special people interviews shortly. Science students are engaging with work in creating three-dimensional models of moon phases, seasons, and eclipses. The Class of 2022 Care class has been preparing for last Friday’s middle school dance and will be moving into conflict resolution. In the Learning Center, mini lessons on executive functioning have continued, specifically on the topic of planning. They are also receiving support with annotations in Chains and study skills and support for math. Finally, Drama students have made great strides with their scene work and will have their lines memorized by next week. We look forward to the show next month!

    In 7th grade, Language Arts students have been editing their character pieces, working on making inferences from sensory detail. Students are also working on creating meaningful questions for book club discussions and are practicing annotations. Social Studies students have wrapped up their study of legal immigration and will be investigating integration myths and undocumented immigrants in the news. Math students have an upcoming quiz and working through all operations with integers. In the near future, they will be investigating the rate of lyrics in songs as a final project. Science students are learning about atoms, subatomic particles, and the periodic table, and Spanish students are finishing Tumba and will be moving into a new free voluntary reading unit. Music students are continuing to master idjombi and are working on a new song called “bobobo.” Shortly, they will be composing short songs themselves. Finally, Learning Center students are working on their executive functioning planning skills toward task initiation. Lots of great learning happening across the board!

    Lastly, in 8th grade, Language Arts students have finished Chapter 9 and are progressing to the conclusion of The Power of One, focusing on the theme of prejudice this week in building toward writing an essay. Moreover, the 8th graders have been demonstrating some fantastic creative writing skills and are applying new expansional phrases in their grammar study. In Social Studies, students are looking at Weimar Germany and how it was setup to fail as a democracy. Math students have just completed a business project and are starting to analyze and graph functions. In science class, osmosis and diffusion have been the topics of the day through labs, and a longer lab and final project is upcoming. In Spanish, students are starting a new unit about El Día de Los Muertos and are working on how to speak in the past tense. They will soon be creating an altar! In the arts, music students have finished recording their song “Partners” and working on choreographing a dance toward producing a music video. Visual Arts students have been working on their artist mission statements toward designing their skateboards. Finally, Learning Center students have been working on executive functioning surveys to support their learning and are applying their findings to task initiation.

    Finally, across all grades, P.E. students have been honing their archery skills and are moving into a golf unit. Bulldogs athletics teams continue to have a wonderful fall season, wrapping up with final games over the next couple weeks. Fall sports end right before conferences on Wednesday, October 30th. Thanks for your support of an awesome season, and go Bulldogs!

    I hope you and your families continue to have a wonderful fall, and thanks for your tremendous partnership in supporting our students. Have a great rest of the week, and looking forward to seeing you all soon! 

    Comments (-1)
  • Conferences, High School Nights, 6th Spring Trip

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 10/1/2019

    Happy October! I hope you’re well and are having a great week and are looking forward to a relaxing, enjoyable Fall Break next week!

    I wanted to provide just a couple of quick updates for you as we head into the long weekend. Thank you again for all your support, and I look forward to crossing paths with all of you soon!

    High School Fair at International School of Denver on Thursday night
    As a reminder to 8th grade families, there is a high school fair for Stanley students and families at International School of Denver (ISD) this Thursday from 6-7:30 pm. If you are the parent of a 6th or 7th grader and would like to attend, you are welcome to do so as well, but please don't feel any obligation or that you would be missing something.

    All-girls HS Night The HS fair a great opportunity to learn about the plethora of different options for your child's high school experience. A flyer put together by ISD is attached to this email, and there are additional schools not listed on this flyer that will be in attendance as well. Additionally, for 8th grade families interested in St. Mary’s Academy, please see the attached flyer for an event for parents to find out more information.

    6th grade parent drivers for Spring Trip
    For 6th grade families, please mark your calendars for the 6th grade trip to Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado near Winter Park from May 13th to May 15th. The 6th grade team is looking forward to a wonderful two-night outdoor education excursion with your students. For this trip, we are hoping to have parent drivers to help drive students either to or from Snow Mountain Ranch. If you are able to drive students to Snow Mountain Ranch on the morning of Wednesday, May 13th or from Snow Mountain Ranch in the early afternoon (approximately 1 pm) on Friday, May 15th, please let me know as soon as possible. Thank you for your consideration and for your support.

    Conference Sign-Ups
    Thank you to those of you who have signed up for your Fall Conference times. If you have yet to do so, please do so by filling out this link by next Monday, October 7th. Conference times will be communicated to you by mid-October in preparation for conferences at the end of the month.

    Thanks again, and best wishes for a great rest of the week and wonderful Fall Break! See you soon!

    Comments (-1)
  • Tuesday September 24 Update

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 9/24/2019

    Hope you’re having a great week, and all is well! It’s been a busy time here at Stanley and in the middle school with Head of School candidate visits, our first Cave Show tomorrow, sports games, and a whole host of academic endeavors. Indeed, we are wrapping up September in style and look forward to Fall Break at the end of next week. A reminder that Bike to School Day is this coming Friday. It’s a great opportunity for our school to come together, and we sincerely hope your children participate, if possible. Additionally, a reminder that Friday is a half day with a 12:15 dismissal.

    If you haven’t already, please mark your calendars for Thursday, Oct. 31, Friday, Nov. 1 and Monday, Nov. 4 as middle school conference days. A sign-up for conferences will go out this Friday morning, and we will be in touch in mid-October with information about your conference time slot. Thank you in advance for your partnership in this important school event.

    As we head toward Fall Break, I wanted to provide a quick curriculum update about the great work happening in your child’s classes. Additionally, please do continue to check our MS blog: Learn, Do, Become at this link. It provides a snapshot into the wonderful learning happening here in the middle school.

    In the 6th grade, students have been studying events that led to the American Revolution. In addition to this work and their grammar study, there has been an emphasis on notetaking and introducing study strategies. You may want to go over this study strategy document with your students. In math, students spent the past week working on translating equations from mathematical terms into words and vise-versa. They also had their first Friday math choice, and coming up, they will be working on functions and function tables. In science, there have been more fish fiascos, but students are focused on the study of eclipses through a modeling project. In the Learning Center, students have been working on positive self-talk and will be moving into executive functioning skills, in addition to receiving math support. Across all grades, the Learning Center has been using the concept of a “jungle tiger” to help students think about pushing beyond their comfort zone. In Drama, students have received their parts for The Tempest and are moving into scene work. In Spanish, the first test of the year has been completed, and upcoming, students will be delving into study of Hispanic Heritage month, examining food and culture, among other aspects. Finally, in the Class of 2022 Care class, students have been discussing how stereotypes help us (if they do) and how they hurt us.

    In 7th grade, Language Arts students are wrapping up their essays about a choice they made and will be moving into book club selections. The theme of each book is immigration, connecting them nicely to their work in Social Studies. There, students are examining the four paths to legal immigration, creating an infographic and engaging with written analysis. In math, students are well into their “integer” unit of study and have been investigating absolute value, coordinate graphing, variables, order of operations, in addition to making sense of multi negative statements like, “I am not, not, not a horrible cook.” Recently, students transitioned into dilations, translations, and graphing inequalities. Students have their first formal assessment of the year later this week and will transition into operations involving integers and rational numbers next week. Learning Center students have been preparing for that very math assessment and are working on the executive function skill of task initiation, as well as the aforementioned "jungle tiger" work. In science, students have been studying the characteristic properties of matter and have a “Mystery Substances” lab coming up. In music, students continue to master idjombi, a complex rhythm and are focusing on the whole team ensemble being able to play comfortably together. Finally, in Spanish, students have finished their test on “las excusas” and are beginning their book study of Tumba.

    In 8th grade, Language Arts students have completed the first few chapters of the Power of One and will be connecting Chapter 4 to the theme of high school and looking into the future. In addition, they’re engaging with a review of basic parts of speech and will be expanding into more complex phrases and clauses soon, in addition to starting into poetry and creative writing. In Social Studies, students are examining the four tensions that led to World War I and the resulting Treaty of Versailles. Math students are studying percents this week and will apply their learning next week with a business project. In science, students have been learning about cells, and in particular, bacteria. They have a quiz on Friday and will be examining cell membranes, osmosis and diffusion soon. In the Learning Center, students are working on tools to build resilience and stay in the learning “jungle tiger” space. They are also previewing content for all classes. Spanish students are talking about vocabulary related to one’s home and will be using it to describe houses in Mexico. Soon, they will be designing their dream house. Finally, in the arts, music students are recording an original song and working on different verses, and visual arts students are in the process of priming their skateboards for actual design work.

    Across all grades, P.E students have wrapped up the Presidential Fitness test and will begin units on archery and golf shortly. The Bulldogs athletics teams of volleyball, soccer, and cross country continue to have great success in their competitions and are fully into the swing of competitive games, matches, and meets now. It’s been a wonderful fall season!

    Hope you have a wonderful week, and thank you for all your support! Look forward to crossing paths with each of you soon!

    All the best,


    Comments (-1)
  • Update for Wednesday, Sept. 18

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 9/18/2019

    Dear Middle School Families,

    Hope you’re having a great week, and all is well! I wanted to send a quick note with a few middle school updates as we head toward the end of September. Thanks for all your support, and look forward to seeing you all soon!

    Middle School Technology
    Students are up and running with a school-issued Chromebook, and each child has a school email address comprised of their first and last name (e.g: In assembly and homeroom last week, students learned a little bit about their digital footprint and how to stay safe online. As part of this communication, we would love your support in working with your children at home around these conversations. As Middle School Counselor Emily Goldberg wrote to you earlier this week, having boundaries and limits with your children around their technology use is immensely important and helpful for your child’s healthy growth and development. Please continue these conversations at home, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if we can be of support.

    Tech Use

    As part of this conversation, we have put together a Middle School Technology Guide that is attached to this message. Please go through it with your child, so they understand our policies here at Stanley. In addition, please fill out the third page. A hard copy will go home with your child over the next couple days, and they should fill it out with you, sign it, and return it to their Humanities or Language Arts teacher (Julie - 6th grade, Kathy - 7th grade, and David - 8th grade).

    Thank you for your support with this important conversation!

    Fall conference sign-up
    While it’s only mid-September, Middle School fall conferences will be here before we know it. Conferences will run on Thursday, October 31st (Halloween!) from 10 am to 5 pm, beginning directly after the Halloween Parade on that day. In addition, conferences will be on Friday, November 1st and Monday, November 4th from 8 am to 7 pm.

    Conference sign-ups will be sent out at the end of the month, and we plan to have conferences scheduled by mid-October, a couple of weeks before the conferences themselves. For those of you new to middle school conferences, we will ask for you to give us a few windows of time (e.g: 8-11 am on Friday, 1-4 pm on Monday) in which we can schedule your conference. For those of you with multiple children in the middle school, we will do everything in our power to schedule the conferences back-to-back or as close together as possible.

    Thanks for your time and support in this wonderful partnership between student, parents, teachers, and advisor to collaborate about the child’s progress and make goals toward continued growth and learning.

    Friday half day
    Our first half day Friday comes next Friday, September 27th. We’ll have a 12:15 pm dismissal on that day, and for those of you new to middle school, students often go to the Lowry Town Center for lunch at the conclusion of these days. While that is fine, please remind your child that they are representing themselves and the school when they do so. Should your children choose to go to lunch there, they should bring their school materials with them, as they are not to return to campus after leaving. This is a great opportunity to give your child some of the freedom and independence they crave while also setting limits and boundaries for them. 

    Middle School Spring Trip dates
    While it may feel like our wonderful middle school homeroom camping trips just ended, I wanted to give you some quick information regarding our spring trips and the dates for them. To provide greater consistency for teachers and students in their classes and decrease the need for coverage and substitutes, all middle school spring trips will be running during the same week of May. Please see the dates for the trips below. We look forward to wonderful excursions and experiential learning with your students!

    • 8th grade – Friday, May 8th to Friday, May 15th (England)

    • 7th grade – Tuesday, May 12th to Friday, May 15th (Moab)

    • 6th grade – Wednesday, May 13th to Friday, May 15th (Snow Mountain Ranch)

    Upcoming middle school events
    We’ve got a number of wonderful events coming up in middle school over the course of the next few weeks. As mentioned last week, our first Cave Show is next Wednesday at 1:15 pm. We also have our Bingo for Britain fundraiser for our 8t graders at 11 am on Sunday, September 29th. If you haven’t yet bought tickets, I know there are many 8th graders who would love to sell them to you. Hope to see you there!

    Hope you have a great rest of the week, and thanks for your support! See you soon!

    All the best,


    Comments (-1)
  • Monday, September 9

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 9/9/2019

    Hope you’re having a great start to the week! It was great to see so many of you at Back to School Night, and thank you for coming out and for all of your support. Students are now in the full swing of their academic sections and are off to a fantastic start. From roundtable discussions to review of summer assignments, students built off the fantastic momentum from the camping trips before Labor Day weekend, and the teachers are so enjoying working with your kids.

    Below, I wanted to provide a brief curriculum update about your child’s classes and also let you know of a few upcoming events and notes regarding the middle school.

    For sixth grade families, please see the linked invitation here from Julie Daughtry, 6th grade Grade Level Head, and the 6th grade team. Students will have the opportunity to screen the movie “Wonder” together after sports on Wednesday, September 19th from 4:30 to 7 pm in the ballroom. Please RSVP for your child at the link. We hope they can make it!


    On another note, one of the highlights of each trimester is our wonderful Cave Shows, a middle school talent show that showcases the immense abilities of our middle schoolers. Our first of the year is on Wednesday, September 25th at 1:15 pm, right after lunch. You are welcome to come out and support our performers!

    Also, later this month and next, we’ll also have a few parent coffees for parents of each grade level. All coffees will happen in our Middle School Faculty Lounge on the first floor of building two. Please see the dates and times below, and we hope to see you there!  

    • 6th grade – Thursday, October 10 at 8:30 am
    • 7th grade – Monday, October 21 at 8:30 am
    • 8th grade – Monday, October 14 at 8:30 am

    As you have probably already realized, there is a wide variety of wonderful opportunities for your children in middle school. Among those are the opportunity for your children to be part of affinity groups, an place where children can explore and engage with conversations on topics of shared interest with their peers. I am grateful and excited that Stanley’s mission supports this work in valuing diversity and individuality. As Stanley’s mission writes, “We develop in children an understanding of similarities and differences in people and the ability to make socially responsible decisions.” Last year, Grace Reilly and Donna Meallet began the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) and Students of Color Affinity (SOCA) groups, respectively. Those will continue this year, and each provides an opportunity for students to learn, grow, affirm their own identity, and feel empowered both individually and as a group for who they are and what they believe. Through this open dialogue and meaningful conversations, we believe that this will help fulfill Stanley’s mission for students “to know themselves – their strengths, challenges, learning style, culture and interests.” I am excited for the wonderful growth happening within our community for our students and our staff. Your children learned about these groups this morning at assembly, and if they are interested in starting another group, they simply need to reach out to any teacher or to me.

    Additionally, as we head toward next month, I ask for your support as you talk with your students about our first middle school dance on Friday, October 11th and about their Halloween Costumes later next month. As we approach these events, I appreciate your help in supporting your children to be inclusive and caring to all of their classmates. Please help coach your child to not hold parties or events, or wear costumes with peers, that exclude others. Thank you for your help in conveying this message. It supports our themes of Respect, Inclusivity, Safety, and Kindness and the acronym RISK that Tim, the faculty, and I have been speaking about with students.

    Finally, I wanted to provide an update for you about your child’s classes. In the 6th grade, students have started to get into the swing of changing classes throughout the day and are settling in well. In Humanities, students have started by studying the American Revolution and the formation of the colonies and are implementing various notetaking strategies. Math students are working on problem solving equations and expressions, in addition to logic puzzles. In science, students have kicked off the year by looking at science in the news and will be starting a space unit. They have also unfortunately been witness to some dramatic events in Kelly’s new fish tank. Ask your students about it! In Spanish, students have been discussing the concept of “no lo tengo”, learning vocabulary by discussing what you need or don’t need for classes. In Drama, students have learned of this year’s Shakespeare play, The Tempest, and are getting into roles soon. In the Learning Center, students have been learning about themselves as learners, discussing auditory, visual, and kinesthetic styles. Finally, in the Class of 2022 social-emotional learning class, students have begun by talking about their own vulnerability in discussing their transition into middle school.

    In 7th grade, in Language Arts, students are beginning their work by having thoughtful discussions related to their summer reading, The Giver, and are also learning new thinking strategies to aid their learning. In Social Studies, students are conducting roundtable discussions on summer reading and engaging in a Decades project that will provide an overall timeline of American history. In math, discussions of classroom culture and an investigation of arithmetic sequences have kicked off the year. After determining and deciphering rules for the arithmetic sequences, students will be moving into a larger unit of integer study. In science, students are learning about states of matter and phase changes. Spanish students returned to reviewing the “Super 7” verbs from sixth grade and are engaging in creating a video about excuses for not having one’s homework.  In music, students too have picked up where they left off last spring and are building on the complexity of their song, idjombi, toward having different rhythms playing at the same time. Finally, in the Learning Center, students are discussing their learning styles and focusing on executive functioning as the year begins, using the work of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences to do so.

    In 8th grade students, Language Arts students have begun with an introduction to their first novel, The Power of One, and will be engaging with theme mapping, looking for evidence of the novel’s main themes: coming of age, prejudice, friendship, and dealing with loss. Additionally, they are reviewing parts of speech as they engage with grammar study. Social Studies students are doing roundtable discussions, in addition to watching the film “He Named Me Malala” to provide context on their summer reading. Soon, they will be moving into a unit about democracy. In math, students have started by solving and graphing inequalities, and science students are examining the characteristics of living things and discussing the question of “What does it mean to be alive?” In Spanish, students have been learning how to listen and understand music through the song “la bamba.” They are also learning the “Sweet 16” verbs, including the “to be” verbs of ser and estar. In the Learning Center, students are discussing their learning styles inventories and executive function skills, and they are also talking about their own stories that may hinder them from growing. Finally, in the arts, Jairo’s students are beginning a skateboard design project, and Will and Koffi have begun with song development, helping their students write their own lyrics.

    Across all grades, Donna’s PE students have started the year with the Presidential Fitness test and will be soon engaging with archery and golf. Stanley’s cross country team had their first meet on Friday, and the soccer and volleyball teams begin their games this week. Good luck, and go Bulldogs!

    Thank you again for all your support as we begin the year. As I mentioned last week at Back to School Night, I am immensely grateful to partner with such a wonderful parent community. Have a great week, and don’t ride the roller coaster with your children! Look forward to crossing paths with each of you soon!

    Comments (-1)
  • Wednesday, August 28

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 8/28/2019

    What a wonderful opening to the school year it has been! From homeroom activities to volleyball tournaments to opening academic classes, the year is off to a fantastic start, and students are excited for their homeroom camping trips beginning today. All homerooms have arrived safely to their camping locations, and I know that students and faculty alike are in store for a wonderful time in the mountains. I’m looking forward to driving up to Turquoise Lake this evening!

    As the year gets going, please do travel to our middle school blog. Pictures and updates have been posted here, and there will be new posts each and every week chronicling some snapshots of the wonderful learning and activities happening here in Stanley’s middle school.

    In addition, I wanted to let you know of an upcoming calendar event. We look forward to welcoming you to Back to School Night next Thursday from 6-8:30 pm. We’ll begin in the ballroom for some brief remarks from Tim Barrier, Head of School, and me, and then you’ll head off to homerooms and rotate through classes to meet your child’s teachers for this coming year. Below is a schedule for the evening.

    6-6:15 - Arrive and mingle

    6:15-6:40 – All parents in ballroom  

    • Tim Barrier, Head of School - Welcome!
    • Greg Chalfin, Head of Middle School - Life in middle school

    6:40-6:45 - Exit to Homeroom Classrooms

    6:45-7:00 – Homeroom / Advisory

    7:00 – 7:15 – Class 1

    7:15 – 7:30 – Class 2 

    7:30 – 7:45 – Class 3

    7:45 – 8:00 – Class 4

    8:00 – 8:15 – Class 5

    8:15 – 8:30 – Class 6

    You’ll receive your child’s particular section schedule in homeroom on the evening of Back to School Night. Given the short amount of time in homeroom and to make the focus on school business, I’ve asked that families limit food and drink for your homeroom on this evening and not bring alcohol to the event. Of all nights during the school year, this is among the most important, and the faculty and I look forward to hosting you and sharing the wonderful enthusiasm they have for their disciplines and for middle schoolers. 

    Finally, I wanted to let you know of one curricular change that will be occurring for students this school year. This school year, for one trimester each, students in each grade will have a class that focuses on social-emotional learning and health and well-being with our school counselor, Emily Goldberg. Modeled around the work of educational philosopher Nel Noddings, students will learn about caring for themselves and others, thinking about and discussing a wide-variety of topics related to social-emotional health in middle school and beyond. The class will be named after the graduating year for those students (e.g: this year’s 8th graders are the Class of 2020), and students will have it once a week for a trimester. For 6th graders, that work has already begun and will continue through the first trimester. After the first trimester, their “Class of 2022” class will become a 6th grade Writing class taught by our new Middle School teaching fellow, Acelynn Perkins, during the winter and spring trimesters. Acelynn’s work with students will both supplement and expand the writing skills happening across the 6th grade curriculum.

    Eighth graders will have their “Class of 2020” class with Emily during the winter trimester, and 7th graders, the Class of 2021, will work with Emily during the spring trimester. To accommodate for this class in the schedule, 7th and 8th grade students will lose either a math or language arts class once per week during the trimester in which they have this important social-emotional course, reducing one of those disciplines from five to four times per week for one trimester. Given Stanley’s 7 goals for learners and philosophical beliefs about the importance of social-emotional learning, we are excited for every student to have intentional time built into their curriculum to work with Emily. As one New York Times op-ed recently outlined, the opportunity for students to build their social-emotional skills and resilience are imperative. This class is vitally important to help students grow and develop in 2019. 

    Thank you for all of your support as we begin this school year. It’s a pleasure to be part of such a joyful, thoughtful, and connected community. I look forward to seeing you all next week. Have a great rest of the week, and see you soon!

    All the best,


    Comments (-1)
  • Welcome to School and Skills Classes

    Posted by Stacey Toevs on 8/16/2019

    Dear Middle School Families,

    Hope you’re having a great end to the week, and I wish you and your families a great weekend as we head into the final days of summer! It was so great to see many of you at our New Student orientation on Wednesday morning and at homeroom gatherings later that evening. We’re in for a great year, and the faculty and I look forward to welcoming your children to school on Monday. They’re in store for an amazing first week!  

    A couple of notes for you as we begin the school year. First, please drop your children off on Rampart Way between 8 and 8:15 am and pull all the way forward when doing so. It will help with traffic flow and safety, particularly on these first mornings of the year.

    In addition, a quick reminder for you as we begin the year regarding technology. As in years past, Stanley middle school students do not have access to their cell phones during the school day. This, too, extends to Smart Watches. While we respect family wishes around cell phones and Smart Watches, we do not want them to be part of the children’s school day. If your child brings their cell phone or Smart Watch to school, please have them turn it into their homeroom teacher at the start of the day and retrieve it at the end of the day. If you need to contact your child, please call the front desk and ask to be connected to your child’s classroom. If you have extenuating circumstances that require your child to have a Smart Watch (such as a health issue), please let me know and we can figure out a plan that works for you and the classroom community.

    Finally, your children will be signing up for Skills Classes in homeroom this week with their advisors. Below, you’ll find descriptions of each of the various Skills classes that are offered. Please review them with your children, so they are prepared to sign-up this coming week. Skills Classes will begin on Tuesday, September 3rd after the homeroom camping trips. Your child will make a first, second, and third choice for both Tuesday and Thursday. We will try to accommodate as many first choice selections as possible; however, class demand may necessitate moving to an alternative choice. Should you have any questions about any of the offerings, please don’t hesitate to reach out, and I would be happy to help answer any questions. Your children are in for some tough decisions – what a wonderful array of offerings the faculty has offered!

    Tuesday Skills offerings

    Geo Bee (all students) - Practice and compete in this year’s National Geographic Geography Bee.

    Book Club (all students) - We will read the novel The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton and discuss the literary elements and the social aspects of the novel. We will take this story of two rival groups of teenagers and will apply their struggles to groups today and the struggles that teens face. If time, we will also watch the classic film at the end of the trimester.

    Middle School Philosophy and Ethics (all students) - What is the meaning of life? What is truth? The nature of free will? This skills class will examine some of the questions that humans have pondered throughout time through a middle school lens, providing a fun, interactive introduction to philosophy and ethics through simulations, games, and discussions. 

    STAMP (Students Taking Action, Making Progress) Conference (all students) - What does it mean to be inclusive? Or diverse? How do people feel excluded because of finances, skin color, social status, gender and more? This class will investigate these questions plus other wonders we have about racism and bias. The STAMP (Students Taking Action and Making Progress) Conference empowers middle school students with tools to build more inclusive communities in their home schools. The conference, held in October at the History Colorado Museum, is created and led by high school student leaders. Students in this skills class will attend the conference and develop creative ways to bring what they learn back to Stanley. 

    Turbo Oral Presentations (all students): Prepare to receive a topic and to create a short, yet very effective and entertaining 2-minute presentation to the group. This is designed to be a fun, entertaining way to boost social confidence and to generate better public speaking skills. Presentations will be both individual and partner/team based.

    Exploratory Spanish (all students) - New to Spanish this year? Feeling rusty after a summer off? Come to this fun immersion conversation class to learn the basics and get more comfortable. 

    Learn to Code (all students) - Learn how to code in Python, one of the world’s premier programming text-based languages!  We will use microcomputers to create challenging, relevant projects.  All levels are welcome!

    Clean Comedy Improv (all students) - Discuss and share ideas and techniques on how to make any situation FUN, but most importantly, APPROPRIATELY FUNNY on the spot! Time to improvise! :)

    Student Council (all students) - This is a year long skills class, and will require additional work outside of your normal skills class hour. If you enjoy planning, organizing and executing school wide events, while strengthening your leadership style, this is the place for you! Student Council is in charge or organizing Cave Shows, Arts Fests, Bake Sales, dances, various fundraisers, etc. If interested in this year long skills course, please talk to Molly, and she will get you the required application. 

    6th grade math support (6th graders only) - Receive supplemental math support that will help with 6th grade content.

    7th grade math support (7th graders only) – Come and receive supplemental math support that will help with the 7th grade math content.

    7th grade Geometry (7th graders only) – This Skills class is only for 7th graders and those students who completed the 6th grade Geometry Skills class last year. Come continue your Geometry Skills!

    8th grade Geometry (8th graders only) – This Skills class is only for 8th graders and those students who have completed the 7th grade Geometry Skills class last year. Come continue your Geometry Skills!

    Thursday Skills Offerings

    Learning Center Support (all students) - Students who would benefit from extra time/support on assignments but do not utilize the Learning Center will work in a small group environment on the skills they need.

    Language Arts Support (all students) - Please come to this skills class and receive some additional support on any reading or writing assignments. We will have time to work on assignments, and will also do mini-lessons on helpful skills in the areas of writing and reading. 

    Forensics (all students) - Put your forensic science skills to the test! You will learn how scientists help solve crimes and practice different techniques such as: fingerprinting, blood typing, hair analysis.

    Word Puzzles and Lateral Thinking Challenges (all students) - Come and challenge yourself to an array of intriguing, challenging puzzles and riddles that are aimed at building problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

    3D Printing (all students) - Learn how to design your own 3D models digitally on the computer.  We will use BlocksCad, a block based coding software, to model our designs.  Each student will get 1 print on the 3D printer over the course of the skills class.  No prior experience needed!

    Current Events Club (all students) Curious about what’s going on in the world? Looking for a place to discuss big issues in the news? Come on down!

    Introductory French Class (all students) - This course will cover some basic French conversation skills.. English: My name is Koffi! French: Mon nom est Koffi! Or Je m’appelle Koffi!

    Journalism (all students) – Come learn the craft of interviewing and reporting as we learn how to report the news and move toward publishing our stories to share with the Stanley community.

    Book Club (6th graders only) - Read a second book by Wonder author RJ Palacio. As a group we will decide to read The Julian Chapter, Shingaling, or Auggie & Me.

    7th Grade Constitutional Law (7th graders only) - Students who are interested in participating in the Constitutional Law program will learn the essential elements of the content and the program through lecture style lessons.  Support may also be provided for the paper due after

    Constitutional Law (8th graders only) Con Law Students who participated in the 7th grade skills class last year will begin an intensive study building of that knowledge in preparation for the National Competition in Washington, DC.

    ISEE/HSPT Test Prep (8th graders only): For those interested in working on skills related to high school entrance exams. We will discuss test-taking strategies and work through practice problems.

    8th grade math support (8th graders only): Receive supplemental math support that will help with 8th grade content.

    I hope you and your families enjoy a wonderful, relaxing weekend! As the school year gets started, be sure to check in to our MS Blog: Learn, Do, Become for updates and pictures about all of the wonderful happenings here at school. New content will be posted each week. Have a great weekend, and see you soon!

    All the best,


    Middle School Head

    Comments (-1)
  • Update for Wednesday, May 22

    Posted by Greg Chalfin on 5/22/2019

    Hope you’re having a great week, and all is well! While the wintry weather earlier this week did not have it feeling like school is over next week, we are in the home stretch and are looking forward to a great final few days of the year. Our last Cave Show was this afternoon, our final Skills class is tomorrow, and we’re looking forward to a great last week next week! As a reminder, our annual Wheel Day is on Tuesday, May 28th after lunch, and directly after that is our Middle School Buy-A-Share afternoon of “Inflatable Fun” from 3 to 5 pm. If you would like to purchase a spot for your child, please follow the link here. We hope all children attend regardless of your ability to pay.

    Additionally, for 8th grade families, a couple of details for graduation morning of Saturday, June 1st. The ceremony begins at 9 am, and we ask your children to please arrive by 8:30. You are welcome to have as many guests attend graduation on Saturday as you would like, and we look forward to the 8th grade speeches and to a wonderful celebration of the Class of 2019!

    On an unrelated note, we have some Tupperware and kitchenware that belongs to middle school parents. If you are missing anything, please check Taryn’s office to pick up your items.

    Finally, a reminder that next Friday, May 31st, our last day of school, is a half day for your children with a 12:15 dismissal time. Please plan to pick up your children then, and best wishes for an amazing summer! 

    Thanks for all your support this year. It has been a wonderful year in middle school, and I wish you and your families all the best this summer. Thanks again, and hope to cross paths with each of you soon! Have a great day!

    Comments (-1)