RM Parent January 2018

Page 1




IN 2018


It’s family Yoga time

Facing fears

A day in Denver


Program &Activity Guide







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EARLY CHILDHOOD MUSIC CLASSES Register for THRIVE’s Winter Session through January 12

• SING• DANCE • WIGGLE • HOP • MARCH • TWIRL • THRIVE’s 10-week sessions feature music from The Music Class, Inc., introducing musical elements such as meter, tonality, pitch, tempo & modality. Rich with songs from around the world, this curriculum generously exposes children & their parents/caregivers to music in a fun, unique, individualistic way. • JOIN US: Visit THRIVE’s website for more info on the 2017-2018 calendar, registration, free observation classes, birthday parties & more! • IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO REGISTER: Rates are prorated throughout each 10-week session. • CALL/TEXT/EMAIL TAMARA @ THRIVE: I look forward to making music with you!

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Departments PERSPECTIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Real connection—face-to-face interactions seem to matter

AS WE GROW . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Facing fears—help kids cope with anxieties and worries

Special Sections YOUTH Program & Activity PROGRAM & ACTIVITY GUIDE Program YOuth

January 2018 • rmparent



Plus, School



Directory Find the right school SCHOOL Y DIRECTOR for your child. Explore the options: School neighborhood, List of charter, specialized programs, nontraditional, independent and more. Also learn about school-of-choice policies and deadlines in your district. PAGE 10

FAMILY ACTIVITIES . . . . . . . 10 Day in Denver—explore the capital, interactive learning and candy-making

LEARN AND LIVE . . . . . . . . . . 12 It’s family yoga time—balance bodies and minds with a regular practice

COMMUNITY NEWS . . . . . . . 14 Get moving and take care of your family—new trail, raw cookies dough, radon checks

HEALTHY LIVING . . . . . . . . 16

Commit to our environment—make a New Year’s resolution to lower greenhouse gas emissions in 2018

CALENDAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 4 Events and activities for parents, kids and families

Features UNPLUG IN 2018 18 Being plugged-in is a natural part of our

kids’ day-to-day lives, and a favorite past time, often instead of face-to-face interaction or physical activity. In our guts, we know this isn’t healthy. There’s an easy solution—limit screen time. And to make it stick, do it together as a family.

TIME OUT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 “Too young for braces—learning to be openminded and accepting

School District News Poudre School District . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 PSD calendar of events, kindergarten registration and school choice deadlines approaching, PSD schools recognized with CDE academic excellence awards, Blevin’s Art for Others class, Bethke Kids Care Club helps.

Greeley-Evans District 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Dos Rios Elementary receives IB designation, Two District 6 schools receive excellence award

Thompson School District . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Community input forums scheduled for superintendent search, MLK event to tell a musical story, semifinalists named in scholarship competitions, school named to national register

Lunchbox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 School menus for Poudre, Thompson, Greeley-Evans and Windsor



20 LOSING A LOVED ONE One of the hardest lessons in life is

learning that nothing and no one lasts forever. So, some of the best gifts we can give our kids are tools to cope with loss— and helping them understand that grieving is part of loving. ABOUT THE COVER: Esmé, loves music, ukulele, splashing in the bath and story time.Photo by Cheri Schonfeld, courtesy of Sky's Open Design on location at the Articulate, thearticulateco.com.




perspective Real connection

Face-to-face interactions seem to matter


just checked. I have 218 friends. I friend of mine has over 4,000 friends. That’s a lot, right? He definitely wins the popularity contest. But what does it mean? And Facebook friends are so last decade anyway. I’m just getting started on Instagram. By the time I get to them, social and sharing networks are close to obsolete, it seems, if I ever get to them at all! I know I’m a few generations out (and I know I sound a bit like grandpa who walked five miles to school in a blizzard uphill—both ways—every day), but I’m not sure how the current working concept of friend fits the definition that I grew up with. I’m not writing this to lament the change in the meaning of the word friend (although it is interesting to me that it is now also a verb), but explore, a little bit, the idea of face-to-face interaction and virtual interaction. Lynn Nichols investigates this, also, in her feature story Unplug! on page 18 where she points out that the problem is not necessarily what kids are doing online, but what they’re not doing: creative, imaginative, unstructured and sometimes physical free play. Apparently, that matters. As does learning how to have a conversation. I just finished reading a book called The Lost Art of Good Conversation by Sakyong Mipham. He points out that technology does keep us connected to the whole world, but that we tend to be less connected to people in our everyday lives. Lynn Nichols emphasizes that parents must nurture verbal skills, kindness and good character through social interactions with their children. Without some practice we lose the ability to listen because we are distracted and have trouble focusing. Mipham points out that by talking to someone in person, we gain access to specific senses: appreciation, compassion and love. These are feelings that connect human beings to reality, which stimulates our intuition and awareness. He continues: “If we become conditioned to the computer, then we become one-dimensional. We are less deep as individuals and more shallow, anxiety-ridden and irritable. By not having conversations, we’re forgetting how to feel.” We can maybe see the affects of that in our polarized public discourse. Again Mipham: “Civility is based on putting another person at ease. An opinionated, self-centered, and distracted mind cannot imagine putting another first. As a result, long-established norms of civility, such as respect and tolerance for others’ views, appreciation of the truth, and embarrassment about shameful behavior, are in free fall.” So I’d say that more is at stake than simply whether you and your children have in-person friends, online friends, or a combination of the two. Quite possibly, and I don’t think that I’m overstating, the fabric of society could rest on making playdates for our children so that they can interact face-to-face with other kids. Have a great 2018, Scott 6


JANUARY 2018 • Volume 22, Issue 8 PUBLISHER Scott Titterington, (970)221-9210 scott.rmpublishing@gmail.com EDITOR Kristin Titterington, (970)221-9210 kristin.rmpublishing@gmail.com CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Kim Sharpe calendar@rockymountainpub.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Emily Zaynard emily.rmpublishing@gmail.com ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR Greg Hoffman, (970)689-6832 greg.rmpublishing@gmail.com DISTRIBUTION Sharon Klahn, Debbie Lee Rob Martin, Susan Pettit COVER PHOTO Cheri Shonfeld, schonfeldphotography.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lea Hanson, Katie Harris, Lynn U. Nichols, Kim Sharpe

ROCKY MOUNTAIN PUBLISHING 825 Laporte Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80521 Voice 221-9210 Fax 221-8556 editor@rockymountainpub.com www.RMParent.com Rocky Mountain Parent magazine is published monthly by Rocky Mountain Publishing, Inc. Publication of this paper does not consitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised. RMP reserves the right to refuse any advertisement for any reason. The opinions expressed by contributors or writers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Rocky Mountain Publishing. ©2018 Rocky Mountain Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without express written permission is prohibited.




as we grow

Facing fears

Help kids cope with anxieties and worries LY N N U. N I C H O L S


e all worry at times. It’s no different for kids. Depending on the age, kids worry about being apart from their parents, friendships, appearance, grades, new situations, and the future. As a parent, when should you worry about worry? Worry and anxiety are normal, especially during times of change like moving to a new city, starting a new school, divorce, and a death in the family. Worry is also normal during a stressful time at school or with friends. When your child is entering a new situation, combat worry with reassurance and planning. If you have a naturally anxious child, make a conscious effort to model calm. It’s best for parents to zip-it in front of their kids when it comes to expressing worries. Fears, such as stranger anxiety, mild separation anxiety, and even some phobias are normal. But if your child avoids situations, becomes unhappy, or is paralyzed by fear, it’s time to seek help. Kids ages 6 to 9 may express anxiety through frequent nightmares or trouble sleeping. Usually, this passes with time and reassurance. It’s best to help kids face school fears and other anxieties early before avoidance habits are ingrained. Kids can change their thinking fairly quickly. If your child starts a pattern of not wanting to go to school, leave the house, or be separated from you, it’s time to ask questions. Talk it out, name the fear, and support them in overcoming it. Kids can also feel anxiety around tests and grades. If your child is trying at school but struggling, set realistic goals and reassure him or her that you think they’re smart and that trying hard is all you expect. If you suspect a learning problem, have your child evaluated. General anxiety—worries about 8


bad things happening—is experienced more commonly by kids ages 9 to 14. That’s the age when they understand mortality and that death is permanent. When your child shows this kind of fear, flush it out. Did it happen because of some traumatic event? Did he hear or read about someone dying? Or, has he always been anxious and is getting worse?. Besides budding worries about appearance and fitting in with peers, pre-teens and teens might worry about war, violence and world disasters. Regardless, don’t immediately switch off the news or throw away the newspaper. Since we can’t completely protect older kids from information, it’s best to pro-

cess it together. Watch a brief report on a big event with your kids then turn it off and discuss it. Yet watching news as a habit isn’t healthy for kids. To conquer anxieties, kids need to walk through the fear and learn that they can come out fine on the other side. Encourage risk taking and letting her learn from her own mistakes. Kids who fall learn how to pick themselves up. But if they have a true phobia, don’t press them to face it. Leave that to the professionals. Bottom line, all kids are anxious sometimes. Usually, worries and anxiety pass when stressful situations pass. So take a deep breath and know that you will know if, and when, it’s time to seek help.



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family activities

Day in Denver

Explore the capital, interactive learning and candy-making K ATIE HARRIS


ant to get away for a day? Head to our capital city where an endless list of family-friendly excursions awaits! Not even the dreary January weather will be able to spoil your fun when you check out these hot spots for educational enrichment, hands-on exploration and sugarcoated fun. Spend a day in Denver and say goodbye to those post-holiday blues! STOP 1: COLORADO STATE CAPITOL Get a firsthand look at the home of the Colorado General Assembly when you take a self-guided tour or join one of the half-hourly guided tours through the state capitol building. Both tours are available at no charge, and allow guests to peek inside Governor Hickenlooper’s office, where Scout the horse stands sentinel, stand on the capitol steps at exactly one mile above sea level and, on guided tours, climb up to the golden dome itself for an unrivaled view of the city and beyond. Visitors from midJanuary through mid-May may have the opportunity to witness history in the making during the second regular session of the general assembly. Elementary- through high schoolaged kids will enjoy learning about the history of the building itself and going on a scavenger hunt to find important items throughout the building. The Colorado State Capitol building is open M-F from 7:30am-5pm. Guided tours take place M-F from 10am-3pm. Tours can fill up quickly, so arrive at least 20 minutes prior to desired tour time. The capitol building is located at 200 E. Colfax Ave, Denver 80203. For more information visit www.leg.colorado.gov. STOP 2: WOW! CHILDREN’S MUSEUM Engage your kids in an interactive learning experience at Wow! Children’s 10


Museum. Visitors can make their way to the bank station to learn about saving and spending, and practice being a bank teller. Aspiring doctors can give check-ups at the medical clinic, where they’ll learn about making healthy choices and explore human anatomy. In the light and sound room, young scientists will have the opportunity to color with shadows, play music through light, and learn about patterns. The art room is always a popular place for kids to discover their creative side and get messy. Admission for Wow! Children’s Museum is $5/adult and $9/ child aged 1 to 11 (infants are free of charge). The museum is open T-F from 9am-5pm, and Sa-Su from 10am-6pm, and is located at 110 N. Harrison Ave, Lafayette 80026. For more information visit www.wowchildrensmuseum.org. STOP 3: HAMMONDS CANDY FACTORY The largest candy company in the U.S. offers free tours of its Denver factory. Guests begin their visit

with a video detailing the history of Hammonds, from the company’s modest beginnings in 1920 to its unparalleled success in the market today. Next, visitors go behind the scenes where every day brings something different. The next room is the packaging room, where each individual piece of candy goes through a metal detector to ensure it’s free from copper cook pot debris before being packaged and shipped out to retailers. At the end of your tour, enjoy a complimentary piece of candy while strolling through the impressive on-site candy gift shop, and don’t forget to snap a photo in front of the old-timey Hammonds candy van on your way out! Tours are offered T-F from 9am-3pm and Saturday from 10am-3pm on the half hour, January through February. Hours vary by season. Hammonds is located at 5735 N. Washington St, Denver 80216. For more information visit www.hammondscandies.com.


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ROAD TRIPPING Road tripping —with—

with toddlers

toddl ers



Mindfulness and your health

Sample a local craft

Destinations and

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THE 2017








WHAT food labels CAN TELL YOU


Finding your passions



Front Range staycation



Pots and plots—



Ditch the pavement for dusty dirt trails, fire roads, meandering two tracks, and crunchy gravel roads






RiDE | 1


| 11

learn and live

It’s family yoga time!

Balance bodies and minds with a regular practice KIM SHARPE





alance. It’s a state so many of us try to achieve in this fast-paced, seemingly out-of-control world in which we live. Practicing yoga is one way to help bring balance to our bodies and minds. Carolyn Valencia, a librarian with High Plain Libraries in Weld County and certified yoga instructor, says, “Yoga is a way to calm your mind. The asanas (postures) are meant to condition the body…so, it’s a healthy body, healthy mind ‘marriage.’” Valencia developed the yoga story times offered at High Plains Libraries. “I take my yoga story times into our communities. Kids enrolled with our CEEN Head Start Programs and the Immigrants and Refugee Center of Northern Colorado’s Little Learners Preschool play yoga with me on a regular basis.” People of all ages and abilities can participate in yoga. Whitney Jaganmati Barry, registered children’s yoga teacher and manager of Om Ananda Yoga Studio in Fort Collins, says “Children can start baby and me classes with a parent/caregiver at age 6 weeks. There are toddler classes for parent/caregivers to join with 2- to 3-year olds. Four years old is when children can come to class by themselves. And really, yoga practice begins in the womb when mama takes prenatal yoga.” “Yoga is a great family activity that’s all about togetherness,” says Shannon Westcott, another registered children’s yoga teacher at Om Ananda Yoga Studio. “It’s a great way to make time to focus just on each other. Partner and group poses and silly games are fantastic ways to connect with each other. Let your child learn from you. Be goofy. Let them see you struggle with a pose. The time together is most important.” To get started, Westcott says to

“Declare it’s family yoga time! Set up mats, limit distractions and just start showing your family some easy yoga poses.” Try some online yoga videos. Valencia’s favorites are Kidding Around Yoga (https://kiddingaroundyoga. com), Karma Kid’s Yoga (www. karmakidsyoga.com), Musical Adventures (www.musicalyogaadventures.com) and GoNoodles.com. Of course, yoga studios, community rec centers and libraries throughout NoCo offer yoga classes for kids and families, too, if you want some in-person guidance and instruction. Valencia says, “When you teach kids yoga, you teach them how to look inside and find their own answers, how to feel calm and centered, which is so incredibly empowering for them. It is simple and profound, don’t miss the opportunity! Why wouldn’t you?!” Review the calendar on page 34 to find yoga classes offered right here in northern Colorado.

Benefits of kids yoga • I mproves physical balance, strength, flexibility, coordination and self-control (body awareness) • Calms the emotions, as well as the body and mind • Teaches how to pause and take a break • Reduces stress and anxiety (which in turn boosts the immune system) • Empowers children to self-regulate (healthy coping skills) • Strengthens ability to focus and actively concentrate • Cultivates imagination, play, creativity and spontaneity • Teaches self-acceptance and acceptance of others. Courtesy of Whitney Jaganmati Barry, registered children’s yoga teacher and Om Ananda Yoga Studio manager


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community news

Get moving and take care of your family New trail, raw cookie dough, radon checks



orthern Colorado communities are continually adding ways for people to move and enjoy our great outdoors. Its leaders also keep residents informed about health and safety issues. Read on for news about some of the latest of both. RIDING OR WALKING A TRAIL FROM LOVELAND TO FORT COLLINS? The first paved trail connecting Loveland and Fort Collins—and each city’s extensive trail network—is now open to the public. The Colorado Front Range Trail— Loveland to Fort Collins Connection runs between Lemay Avenue and Timberline Road on the east side of the cities. From south to north, the two-mile multiuse trail extends from Loveland’s Recreation Trail just west of Boyd Lake State



Park to the City of Fort Collins’ Fossil Creek Trail at Carpenter Road. “This is a great project that highlights how Fort Collins, Larimer County and Loveland have worked together to provide great recreational opportunities for citizens,” says Larimer County Commissioner Tom Donnelly. A partnership among Larimer County, Loveland and Fort Collins will manage the trail. By using this new trail connection, people can go from the 35 miles of paved trails in Fort Collins’ system to the 18 miles of trails in Loveland’s system without hopping off their bikes or getting in a vehicle. The trail is open to foot traffic and non-motorized bicycles. BEWARE OF RAW FLOUR, DOUGH Who doesn’t love nibbling on raw cookie dough? It’s a tempting treat, but the

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urges consumers to avoid snacking on uncooked dough or batter of any kind, and reminds parents to be wary of homemade “play” clays and doughs— even if children don’t eat them. Eating raw dough or batter— whether it’s for bread, cookies, pizza or tortillas—can make you, and your kids sick. Why? Flour, regardless of the brand, can contain bacteria that cause disease. In 2016, the FDA, along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) investigated an outbreak of infections that illustrated the dangers of eating raw dough. Dozens of people across the country were sickened by a strain of bacteria called Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli. People often understand the dangers of eating raw dough due to the

presence of raw eggs and the associated risk with Salmonella. However, there are additional risks associated with the consumption of raw dough because of flour. Flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria. So, if an animal passes feces in a field where the grain is growing, bacteria from the animal waste could contaminate the grain, which is then harvested and milled into flour. Typical methods to sterilize foods during preparation include boiling, baking, roasting, microwaving and frying. However, when it comes to raw dough or batter, decontamination has not occurred. The FDA recommends the following tips to keep you and your family safe: •D on’t eat any raw cookie dough, cake mix or batter that is supposed to be cooked or baked • F ollow package directions for cooking products with flour at proper temperatures and for specified times • Wash hands, work surfaces and utensils after contact with flour and raw dough products • K eep raw foods separate from other foods while preparing them to prevent any contamination that may be present from spreading. Be aware that flour may spread easily due to its powdery nature

• Follow label directions to chill products containing raw dough promptly after purchase until baked.

For more information on safe food handling, visit www.weldhealth.org. RADON, BE GONE Forty-six percent (46 percent) of all homes in the state of Colorado are estimated to contain high levels of radon, which is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. That’s why the Weld County Health Department is offering free radon test kits to any Weld County resident— limit one per household. Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that results from the natural decay of uranium. Uranium is found mostly in rock formations, but can also be found in soil and water. Radon typically moves up through the ground and into homes through cracks and other holes in a house’s foundation. The home acts as a cell in which radon can settle and build up to toxic levels. The only way to know the levels in your home is to test. Health officials urge all Weld County residents to take action by testing their homes for elevated levels of radon. If a home tests high for radon, remediation can mitigate the problem.

Where to get a radon test kit:

LARIMER COUNTY The City of Fort Collins offers a short-term radon test kit for $6 and a long-term test kit for $20. They’re both available to the general public at: • City Fort Collins Senior Center, 1200 Raintree Dr., FC • City of Fort Collins Development Review Center, 281 N. College Ave., FC 970-221-6600, www.fcgov.com/air quality/radon.php The City of Fort Collins Healthy Homes program, which offers in-home assessments for health, safety, and air quality to Fort Collins residents only, includes a short-term radon test. 970-416-2832, www.fcgov.com/healthy homes/ The City of Fort Collins also offers a free presentation to the general public about radon and short-term radon test kits are given to participants. Registration is required. The presentations scheduled for 2018 are: • January 17, City of Fort Collins Northside Aztlan Center (Register at www.fcgov. com/recreation/registration.php?2=) • January 25, Estes Valley Library (Register at www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0a 4fabab 2baafc1-radon) • February 19, Fort Collins Senior Center (Register at www.fcgov.com/recreation/ reg istration.php?2=) WELD COUNTY: Free test kits are available at the following: • Weld County office, Monday-Friday, 8am5pm. Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment 1555 North 17th Ave. • Greeley Southwest Weld County Health Department satellite office, 4209 County Road 24½, Longmont, 970-400-2226. COLORADO: The state of Colorado’s website also contains information about radon and testing for it. Discount priced kits are available through the site. www.colorado.gov/pacific/ cdphe/testing-your-home-radon


| 15

healthy living

Commit to our environment Make a resolution to lower greenhouse gas emissions LEA HANSON


urning fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil, coal and gasoline increases the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and global warming. According to the City of Greeley’s 2016 Comprehensive Plan, air quality in northern Colorado has been improving in recent years as emission standards for automobiles and industrial standards have increased. Carbon monoxide and particulate levels have been improving; however, Weld County, Larimer County, and seven other Denver metro area counties were recently found to no longer comply with EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone. This year, make it your New Year’s resolution to reduce your household’s greenhouse gas emissions: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE Buying products with minimal packaging will help to reduce waste. Recycling half of your household waste saves up to 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. USE LESS HEAT AND AIR CONDITIONING Adding insulation to your walls and installing weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows lowers your heating costs up to 25 percent. Turn down the heat during the night or while you are away during the day. Install a programmable thermostat; setting it just two degrees lower in winter and higher in summer can save almost 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. REPLACE LIGHT BULBS Wherever practical, replace regular light bulbs with compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs. Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will save you $30 over the life of 16


the bulb. CFLs also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use twothirds less energy. DRIVE LESS AND SMARTER Less driving means fewer emissions. Besides saving gasoline, walking and biking are great forms of exercise. Consider public transit and check out options for carpooling. When you do drive, make sure your car is running efficiently. Keeping tires properly inflated can improve gas mileage. Every gallon of gas you save not only helps your budget, it also keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. BUY ENERGY-EFFICIENT PRODUCTS Home appliances now come in a range of energy-efficient models. In northern Colorado, most municipalities offer rebates when you’re able to show you’ve improved your home with an appliance that saves energy. USE LESS HOT WATER Set your water heater at 120 degrees to save energy, and wrap it in an insulating blanket if it is more than 15 years old.

Consider a low-flow showerhead to save hot water and about 350 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. Wash your clothes in warm or cold water; this change alone can save most households at least 500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. TURN THINGS OFF Turn off lights when you leave a room and use only as much light as you need. Turn off your television, stereo, and computer when they’re not in use. PLANT A TREE A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime. In addition to the aesthetic qualities of trees, they also provide shade and give protection from wind, produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, and offer food and shelter for animals. ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO CONSERVE Share information about energy conservation with your friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and take opportunities to encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the environment.

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| 17

IN 2018 Nurture social skills, confidence and creativity

Here’s a good New Year’s resolution for your family: use less media. The overuse of media and mobile phones affects our mental health, sleep and self-esteem. It also drives us with external cues rather than internal ones.



Adults might not be at as big of a risk for these woes since we already know who we are, and we have healthy habits in place to keep us centered. The same may not be as true for our kids. Being plugged-in is a natural part of our kids’ day-to-day lives, and a favorite past time, often instead of face-to-face interaction or physical activity. In our guts, we know this isn’t healthy. There’s an easy solution—limit screen time. And to make it stick, do it together as a family. Promote creative play for healthier bodies and brains When it comes to cutting back on media time, maybe the question isn’t so much what our kids are seeing, reading and doing that’s not healthy, but more, what are they missing out on by always being plugged in? One thing for sure is creative play, which stimulates imagination,

critical thinking—and when it’s physical—strengthens our bodies. When kids lack the chances for unstructured, imaginative play, they are less happy and well-adjusted as adults. Free play enhances how kids interact socially, solve problems and cope with stress. “Unstructured play is hugely important. Studies on elementary kids show imaginary play is a large part of brain development. Kids who are allowed ample opportunities for unstructured play learn how to negotiate relationships outside of a structured setting. They also learn how to think critically and problem solve. With these skills, they don’t need to be entertained all the time and they are less bored and restless,” says Andrea Holt, LMFT, CAC III, Marriage and Family Therapist with UCHealth’s Family Medicine Center in Fort Collins.

Foster internally driven confidence rather than external In the preteen years especially, it’s common for kids to seek reassurance from others about who they are. It’s a time when kids try out different ways of being to figure out their own values, personality and approach to life—separate from their parents’ approach. They look outward to see how others react, to help define themselves. Doing so makes them especially vulnerable to negative feedback on social media. If they feel insecure already, they may let a negative reaction on social media define them, rather than turning inwards to define themselves. When kids are plugged in constantly, they never get a break from a constant barrage of messages. Social media tends to set kids up to compare their lives to others, and it often makes them feel like they are not good enough, or doing enough. Taking breaks helps, so does talking about social media posts—and sharing that we don’t usually see the whole story—just what people want us to see. “With social media, we now get a window into other people’s lives and it creates a lot of comparison and judgment. It doesn’t offer the most accurate or wellrounded representation of a person and it can be damaging to make assumptions,” Holt says. Limit your kids’ social media accounts, especially if they are struggling socially and most definitely if they are getting bullied at school. A recent scientific survey of 2000 middle schoolers found that kids who had been victims of cyberbullying were twice as likely to attempt suicide than their counterparts. Did you know there are websites that actually advise people on how to commit suicide? It’s frightening to consider, but true. The same researchers found over 100 pro-suicide sights available on the Internet. Be aware of this as you consider your child’s media use. Now more than ever, kids soak in messages about gender, sex, social interaction, risky behaviors, and what they should look like from media sources. Starting from when they are young, be there to interpret these messages for your kids. When watching television, make a point to question commercials that

portray men as cavemen or women as sex symbols out loud, or comment on shows or online videos that portray kids and teens doing dangerous activities. If you break down media messages for what they are, they will hold less power and give you a chance to teach valuable lessons. Nurture social skills with face-to-face interaction We all know that kids’ brains are sponges, especially the first five years of life. New ideas, new thoughts, new experiences create new pathways. Yet, between the ages of 11 and 13, the brain goes through a “pruning stage” where it drops things that it doesn’t use repeatedly. It’s vital at all ages, but especially in the pre-teen years, to set the stage for verbal skills, kindness and good character through social interactions. What is repeated will remain, and what’s not will fall away. Help kids grow their interpersonal skills by setting up inperson play dates with friends, device-free of course. “Studies have shown that girls are wired to be more verbal and boys more action-oriented, and that transfers to how each develops intimacy,” says Tom Kowalski, MA, LPC, a licensed professional counselor in Fort Collins. Tips for unplugging Share your resolution to use less media with your kids, making it a family endeavor. In doing so, you may have to establish some new rules. Maybe it’s creating device-free zones in your house, or setting device-free times each day. Or, set the rule that media can only be used after kids have finished their daily duties of homework, chores, meals and exercise. The American Academy of Pediatric advises zero media time for babies up to 18 months, then just one hour until kids turn 6. From age 6 on, they now leave it up to parents to determine how much media time is healthy, stating that after school, homework, an hour of physical activity, and social interaction happens— which takes eight to 12 hours—whatever is leftover can be screen time. Resist using media as a reward for getting homework done or for doing chores because it might backfire—as it

does with food—and make kids crave it. Instead, let the reward be spending quality time together as a family. Another idea is to take regular vacations from social media. You could literally go away but leave all devices (except cell phones) at home, making a rule that cell phones can only be used for emergencies. Or, take random 24-hour vacations from texting or social media. Set limits around use. For example, make it a family rule that after dinner all cell phones go to the charging station, where they live until the next day. Or, ban tablets two hours before bedtime to ensure good sleep, and keep them out of bedrooms. Go old school and hang out together without the interruption of always checking your phones. When you are actively talking or playing together, make sure to leave mobile phones and devices out of the picture. By unplugging, you can really connect.

Are mobile devices addictive? Are you constantly checking your phone for text messages, emails and tweets? If so, it might be time to consciously pare back. Several studies summarized by the National Institutes of Health show that smartphones can be addictive, and this addiction brings with it mental health problems. One study followed 300 students for a year, determining that 21 percent were addicted, and that those addicted suffered from anxiety, insomnia, depression and stress at a higher rate than their counterparts who were not as tethered to their phones. Another study found that media overuse leads to sleep disorders and social anxiety. The solution? Put down your phone. The students with mental health issues improved once they reduced their cell phone use.


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Losing a loved one How to help kids cope and recover Kim Sharpe


ne of the hardest lessons in life is learning that nothing and no one lasts forever. So, some of the best gifts we can give our kids are tools to cope with loss—and helping them understand that grieving is part of loving. “Anyone old enough to love is old enough to grieve, so even before children are able to talk, they grieve when someone loved dies,” says Alan Wolfelt, director of the Fort Collinsbased Center for Loss and Life Transition. “Experiencing the loss of someone loved can be a chance for children to learn about both the joy and the pain that comes from caring deeply for other people. If handled with warmth and understanding, a child’s early experience with the death…can be an opportunity to learn about life and living, as well as death and dying.” When a parent dies Losing a grandparent, aunt, uncle or friend is difficult, but if a child loses a parent, their whole world changes. Katrina King and her daughters experienced this in November 2016 when Katrina’s



husband and the girls’ father died suddenly and unexpectedly from an illness. King feels open communication has been key in helping her daughters process their father’s illness and death. “Be honest with your kids about the situation and communicate,” she says. “I realize that depends on the age of the kids involved, but make sure they know it’s okay to express what they are feeling, to be able to say, ‘I’m sad, I miss Dad.’ Being told it’s okay to feel that way so that they can process the feelings is a big deal. Also, don’t be afraid to share what you are feeling with your kids; that way they know it’s okay to feel what they are feeling too.” Wolfelt adds, “Adults who are willing to talk openly about the death help children understand that grief is a natural feeling when someone loved has died. Children need adults to confirm that it’s all right to be sad and cry, and that the hurt they feel now won’t last forever.” Another way King has helped herself and her daughters cope is to maintain as much normalcy in their lives as they can. They haven’t moved, changed schools or their routines. “We’ve kept our schedule as normal as possible.” King’s instinct to minimize change was spot on. Mia Towin, a Pathways for Grief & Loss counselor, says, “For children who have had a loss, particularly the loss of a parent, it is generally recommended to minimize disruptions and other changes that might result in secondary losses, such as loss of home, school, family members, friends and community. Children going through the grief process benefit most from a stable and healthy environment.” Recovering from divorce Divorce presents another type of loss that children and parents will grieve, regardless of the circumstances of the split. Judith A. Myers-Walls, education director at OnlineParentingPrograms. com, says, both parents and children need to grieve when a marriage ends. “They need to grieve the loss of the family that was, the loss of dreams and hopes for a ‘perfect’ family, the loss of expectations that everyone would be together for all holidays, and so on. If the parents’ relationship had been very difficult and involved a lot of conflict, everyone could feel relief after the break-up, but there is still some grieving to be done.” However, unlike the death of a parent, the loss of a parent after a divorce or separation is not necessarily final or irreversible, and this presents additional challenges. “If the break up is not final or definite, the family will be dealing with ‘ambiguous loss,’ when no one is sure whether it is an end or not. That can be even harder than a sure break up,” Myers-Walls says. “As soon as possible, parents should make a clear decision about whether this is final or not and then help their children (and themselves) let go of the past and prepare for a new future.” Growth through grief Wolfelt offers these closing thoughts: “Grief is complex. Children do not choose between grieving and not grieving; adults, on the other hand, do have a choice—to help or not to help children cope with grief. With love and understanding, adults can guide them through this vulnerable time and help make the experience a valuable part of a child’s personal growth and development.”

How to help children grieve • When someone loved dies, don’t expect children’s reactions to be obvious and immediate. • Be patient and be available. • As an adult, be a good observer. See how each child is behaving. Don’t rush in with explanations. Usually, it’s more helpful to ask exploring questions than to give quick answers. • When describing the death of someone loved to a child, use simple and direct language. • Be honest. Express your own feelings regarding the death. By doing so, children have a model for expressing their own feelings. It’s all right to cry, too. • Allow children to express a full range of feelings. Anger, guilt, despair and protest are natural reactions to the death of someone loved. • Children are a part of the family, too. And reassurance comes from the presence of loving people. Children feel secure in the care of gentle arms and tenderness. Courtesy of The Center for Loss and Life Transition (www.centerforloss.com)

Local grief support

You don’t have to go it alone when working with grief. These resources in Larimer and Weld county can help. • OnlineParentingPrograms.com—provides parenting classes and support for divorcing couples in Larimer and Weld Counties and other counties in Colorado. • Pathways for Grief & Loss—offers a variety of grief resources for Larimer County residents. www.pathways-care.org. • TRU Hospice of Northern Colorado—provides grief support services in Weld County. www. hospiceofnortherncolorado.org.


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poudre school district news Art for Others class creates from the heart

Sixth-grader Olivia Baitinger discovered she really enjoyed helping people feel better when a friend of her mom was in the hospital. “My friend and I made a banner for her saying ‘Get Well Soon.’ My mom went to visit her and she really liked it, says Olivia, a student at Blevins Middle School. So when a new class called “Art for Others” was offered at Blevins this fall, Olivia knew she wanted to be a part of it. In the class, students learn art techniques while making beautiful items to help or bring joy to people, like a get well banner to cheer up someone who is ill. “I was happy that we could do things like this here,” says Olivia, while glazing pottery for a fundraiser event that will be held later this winter. The class recently completed two heart-warming projects just in time for the holidays. Students created holiday greeting cards with warm messages for the men and women in Fort Riley’s Warrior Transition Battalion, while learning watercolor painting techniques. Following that project, they made “plarn” mats for people who are homeless, by 24


turning plastic grocery bags into strings of plastic or “plarn” and weaving them into mats. Currently, the art students are making bowls for the Empty Bowls fundraiser in February, which benefits the Food Bank of Larimer County. “Art for Others” teacher Dena Hartmann believes the class is a winwin for both the students and the people they’re helping. “Art is meant to be shared. It can bring other people joy and help someone’s outlook on life,” says Hartmann. “It also helps students look outside of themselves and realize they can share their talents with others, even with people they may never know or meet, and help them feel good.” Eighth-grader Avery Musci says she’s enjoyed the class, knowing she’s helping others. “I love to help people and it’s just fun to make art for others rather than keeping it for yourself. I like giving gifts better than receiving them,” she says. Adler Pierson, a seventh-grader, thinks the soldiers will appreciate the watercolor holiday cards. “I think it will make them feel pretty good because people are thinking of them,” he says.

BETHKE KIDS CARE CLUB HELPS OTHERS YEAR ROUND Using colorful beads and pipe cleaners, Bethke Elementary students got their creativity flowing while making festive window ornaments for residents of a local nursing home. “I made a flower for them to look at every day,” says third-grader Maggie Pletcher. “We want them to have a good Christmas at their nursing home.” About 30 students met after school to make ornaments as part of the Kids Care Club, a group dedicated to helping others in the community. They also put together a care package that included arts and crafts supplies and other fun activities for the residents to enjoy over the holidays. The Kids Care Club meets once a month to help local organizations like the Humane Society, the Hearts and Horses Therapeutic Riding Center and the Healing Hearts organization for veterans. They also focus on timely topics like random acts of kindness in February and Earth Day activities in the spring. Teacher Jenna Berger says the club combines fun activities for the kids while also teaching them that

PSD Calendar of Events January 8 – Elementary students return to school January 9 – Middle and high school students return to school; Board of Education meeting January 15 – MLK Day Holiday—No School January 19 – Secondary students school choice deadline January 23 – Board of Education meeting January 26 – Elementary students school choice deadline

they have to power to help others. “We want to teach kids about the importance of helping their community and the different ways they can do that,” she says. Parent volunteer Chrissy Pletcher agrees, “It’s important for our kids to know that we’re very fortunate to have everything that we have and that there are people around us who are not so fortunate right where we live.” Third-grader Jayden Busselman says he enjoys making “stuff ” to brighten someone’s day. “We make care packages and can give things to people who are homeless,” he says, while making a snowflake ornament. “And, we make people happy.” KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION AND SCHOOL CHOICE DEADLINES APPROACH Do you have a student preparing to

start kindergarten next year? Are you interested in what programs the middle and high schools in PSD offer? Plan to attend an open house and learn more! Starting in January, most schools are holding events for students and parents to visit and learn more about exciting programs in PSD. Important dates to remember: • Friday, January 19, noon—first consideration deadline for school choice (Secondary Schools) • Thursday, January 25, all day—Kindergarten Registration at all neighborhood schools • Friday, January 26, noon—first consideration deadline for school choice (Elementary Schools)

Visit the PSD website here for more information about school choice: www.psdschools.org/schools/schooloptions-choice/school-choice

PSD SCHOOLS RECOGNIZED WITH CDE ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AWARDS More than 20 Poudre School District schools have been selected for a prestigious 2017 Colorado Department of Education award for their outstanding school performances. A major highlight of this year’s CDE recognitions is Putnam Elementary being selected for a Colorado Centers of Excellence award. Twenty other PSD schools have been selected for the Colorado

Governor’s Distinguished Improvement awards and/or the John Irwin Schools of Excellence awards, which go to schools that have demonstrated excellent student growth and academic achievement. Six of those schools were impressively honored with both awards. COLORADO CENTERS OF EXCELLENCE Putnam Elementary has earned a Colorado Centers of Excellence award for excellent academic achievement. This CDE award goes to schools with a student population of which at least 75 percent are at-risk and that have demonstrated the highest rates of student growth, along with impressive academic growth results. GOVERNOR’S DISTINGUISHED IMPROVEMENT AWARDS Eleven PSD schools were selected for a Governor’s Distinguished Improvement award, which are given to schools that demonstrate excellent student growth. On the school performance framework used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools “exceed” expectations on the indicator related to longitudinal academic growth over three years. Governors Distinguished Improvement award schools include: Bacon, Harris, Livermore, McGraw, Mountain Sage, O’Dea, Riffenburgh, Shepardson, Traut, Werner, Zach Elementary schools. JOHN IRWIN SCHOOLS OF EXCELLENCE AWARDS Fifteen PSD schools were selected for a John Irwin Schools of Excellence award, which recognizes schools that demonstrate excellent academic achievement. On the school performance framework used by the state to evaluate schools, these schools “exceed” expectations on the indicator for academic achievement over three years. Schools selected for the John Irwin award include: Bacon, Bennett, Bethke, Dunn, Livermore, Kruse, McGraw, Red Feather Lakes, Traut, Werner and Zach Elementary Schools; Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School; Fossil Ridge High School; Liberty Common Charter School; and the Fort Collins Montessori school. RMPARENT

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greeley-evans district 6 news Dos Rios Elementary receives IB designation

Dos Rios Elementary School has been authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization as a Primary Years Programme. This designation allows GreeleyEvans School District 6 to provide a continuum of International Baccalaureate education from elementary through high school. Dos Rios Elementary joins Brentwood Middle School, which was approved last year to provide the IB Middle Years Programme, and Greeley West High School, which houses the later years Middle Years Programme and the IB Diploma Programme. “Dos Rios is focused on growing students who are well-rounded, internationally-minded, life-long learners,” says Principal Matthew Thompson. “We seek to help students become inquirers, knowledgeable thinkers, communicators and risk-takers who can also be balanced and reflective.” Dos Rios has been utilizing the principles of International Baccalaureate for the past two years. 26


This year, students and staff adopted the theme of “Taking Action.” The school has responded to hurricanes Harvey and Irma by raising funds for relief efforts, as well as gathering items to send to those suffering from hurricane damage. The school has also worked with Rotary International to send needed instructional supplies and clothing to students in sister schools in Tela, Honduras. Most recently, the students raised more than $2,000 to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. “We are very proud of the staff at Dos Rios for their hard work in securing this IB program,” says Superintendent Dr. Deirdre Pilch. “This creates another educational focus program for parents to choose and for our students to receive a unique opportunity to learn.” TWO DISTRICT 6 SCHOOLS RECEIVE EXCELLENCE AWARD Jackson Elementary School and Brentwood Middle School have

received the Colorado Centers of Excellence Award from the Colorado Department of Education. The CDE recognizes public schools in Colorado that enroll at least 75 percent of students who are at risk while demonstrating the highest rates of student growth as compared with other schools in the state. “We are so proud of the work staff at Jackson and Brentwood schools have done to ensure students are learning and growing academically,” says District 6 Superintendent Dr. Deirdre Pilch. “We have amazing students who are engaged in their learning and ready to succeed. This is a great honor for the very dedicated teachers and leaders at Jackson and Brentwood.” This is the first time since the awards began in 2009 that District 6 schools have been recognized. To see a complete list of Colorado Centers of Excellence Award recipients this year, go to www.cde.state.co.us/cdeawards/ centersofexcellence.


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thompson school district news School named to national register to that address will be forwarded to the search firm. MLK EVENT TO TELL A MUSICAL STORY The 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Event will be hosted on Monday, January 15th at Mountain View High School from 7-8:30pm. George Kilby Jr., Phil Wiggins and Andy Calder will perform a concert and lecture telling the musical story of “Racism, Reconciliation and the Blues” in America. Doors will open at 6:30. The opening act will feature the Thompson Valley Singers high school choir. Tickets are free of charge, but must be reserved in advance online at the following address: www.mlk-kilby wiggins.eventbrite.com.

Last month, members of the Truscott Elementary School community celebrated the school’s naming to the “National Register of Historic Places.” Accepting the plaque on behalf of the school were 5th graders Jolien Maycroft, Student Leadership President, and Marlen Soto Castillo, Student Leadership Vice President. They joined principal Karen Hanford for a photo following the ceremony. The plaque was presented during the school’s general assembly, which also featured the formal presentation of some Chrome Books and Chrome charging carts for the school. The technology was donated by the Loveland Rotary Club. COMMUNITY INPUT FORUMS FOR SUPERINTENDENT SEACH Thompson School District’s Board of Education is in the process of a formal search to fill the district’s superintendent 28


position, which will be vacated effective July 1, 2018, by Dr. Stan Scheer, who has announced his retirement. The Board of Education has contracted with the firm McPherson and Jacobson to manage the formal search. A series of community input forums have been scheduled for January 16 and January 17 to provide an opportunity for students, parents, staff and community members to share their thoughts on the talents and traits that they prefer for Thompson’s next superintendent. To help guide the discussion, the schedule has been broken down into specific segments for the various populations within the district. For more information on the forum schedule and the timeline of the search, please visit www. thompsonschools.org. If you are not able to attend the forum sessions, you may also share your thoughts by sending them via e-mail to the following address: info@ thompsonschools.org. All comments sent

SEMIFINALISTS NAMED IN SCHOLARSHIP COMPETITIONS A total of eleven high school senior students have been named semifinalists in two specific scholarship competitions. The following students have been named semifinalists for the 2017-2018 Boettcher Scholarship:

• Elizabeth Bosnich, Berthoud High School • Alexander Paradise, Berthoud High School • Tate Rees, Berthoud High School • Brandon Lindsey, Loveland High School • Henry Stucky, Loveland High School • Allison Hall, Mountain View High School • Cameron Piccone, Mountain View High School • Megan Valliere, Mountain View High School • Josephine McCauley, Thompson Valley High School

In addition, the following students have been named semifinalists of the Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship: • Maycee White, Berthoud High School • Brandon Lindsey, Loveland High School • Henry Stucky, Loveland High School • Makenzie Culver, Mountain View High School

Created over 60 years ago, the

Boettcher Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship program designed for Colorado high school seniors. The program covers the cost of a scholar’s tuition, fees and books for eight semesters or 12 quarters at approved Colorado four-year universities or colleges. Additionally, Boettcher Scholars receive a living stipend. Forty-two scholarships are awarded annually. Approximately 100 Colorado high school senior finalists are selected to interview in Denver for the merit-based scholarship from an initial pool of applicants, which is typically around 1,500. The Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship is an achievement-based scholarship awarded to graduating high school seniors. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities. With the 29th class in 2017, the program has provided over 5,850 Coca-Cola Scholars with more than $63 million in educational support. Each year, 150 Coca-Cola Scholars are selected to receive a $20,000 scholarship.


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lunchbox POUDRE SCHOOL DISTRICT—Elementary student lunches are $2.65, secondary student lunches are $2.90 and reduced lunches are PK-5 free, grades 6-12 $0.40. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 8 Chicken patty sandwich; potato bar w/chili 9 Chicken Alfredo; chicken nuggets 10 Orange chicken & rice; hamburger/cheeseburger 11 Beef taco & rice; mac n’cheese 12 Cheese or chicken pizza; veggie wrap 15 No school! 16 Cheese ravioli & roll; meatball sandwich 17 Teriyaki chicken & rice; pig in a blanket 18 Breaded chicken tenderloin; chili & cinnamon roll 19 Pepperoni & cheese pizza; hummus & veggie box 22 Chicken drumstick & roll; tomato soup & grilled cheese 23 Lasagna w/beef; turkey gravy & roll

24 Orange chicken & rice; trout treasures 25 Chicken tacos & rice; chicken patty sandwich 26 Meat lovers or cheese pizza; chicken Caesar wrap 29 Meatball sandwich; chicken nuggets 30 Cheese calzone & marinara; spaghetti & meat sauce 31 Chicken & Asian noodles; hot dog MIDDLE SCHOOLS 9 Spaghetti & meatballs; cheese ravioli & roll 10 Teriyaki beef, chicken & egg roll; chicken patty sandwich 11 Beef & bean burrito, taco salad 12 Trout treasures; mac n’cheese 15 No school! 16 Lasagna w/beef; chicken nuggets

17 Asian bar: orange chicken, beef & egg roll; chicken patty sandwich 18 Taco bar: beef, chicken & rice; taco salad 19 Turkey gravy & roll; chicken drumsticks & roll 22 Chicken nuggets; tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwich 23 Baked ziti; meatball sandwich 24 Thai chicken, beef & egg roll; chicken patty sandwich 25 Beef & bean burrito; chicken patty sandwich 26 Pig in a blanket; chili & cinnamon roll 29 Tortilla soup bar; chef salad 30 Cheese calzone & marinara; penne & meat sauce 31 Sweet & sour beef, chicken & egg roll; chicken patty sandwich

THOMPSON R2J SCHOOL DISTRICT—Elementary lunch is $2.75; secondary lunches are $3. Reduced lunches are pre-K-5, free; 6-12, $.40. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 8 BBQ pulled pork sandwich 9 Los Cabos enchiladas 10 Pancakes & sausage 11 French bread boat 12 Teriyaki chicken bowl w/rice 15 No school! 16 Cheesy nachos w/taco meat 17 Shepherd’s pie 18 Chicken Alfredo pasta 19 Orange chicken w/rice 22 Chicken breast nuggets

23 Cheese quesadilla 24 French toast 25 Pizza stick 26 Fish & chips basket 29 Toasted cheese sandwich 30 Hot dog 31 Chicken pot pie SECONDARY SCHOOL 8 BBQ pulled pork sandwich; French bread boat 9 Los Cabos enchiladas; breaded chicken sandwich

10 Pancakes & sausage; pizza 11 French bread boat; popcorn chicken 12 Teriyaki chicken bowl w/rice; hamburger 15 No school! 16 Cheesy nachos w/taco meat; meatball sub 17 Shepherd’s pie; toasted cheese sandwich 18 Domino’s pizza 19 Orange chicken w/rice; pizza stick 22 Chicken breast nuggets; French bread boat

23 Cheese quesadilla; breaded chicken sandwich 24 French toast casserole; pizza 25 Pizza stick; popcorn chicken 26 Fish & chips; hamburger 29 Toasted cheese sandwich; burrito 30 Hot dog; meatball sub 31 Chicken pot pie; toasted cheese sandwich

GREELEY DISTRICT 6— To obtain a complete meal, student gets an entrée and can select 1-3 sides. Elementary lunches are $2.55, and middle school lunches are $2.80, reduced-price lunches are K-2 free, 3-8 $.40. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 4 Stuffed shells w/garlic knot; ham & cheese wrap 5 Chicken, bacon, ranch pizza; PBJ 8 Chicken tortilla soup; pesto chicken salad wrap 9 Cheese enchiladas w/fiesta rice; chicken fajita wrap 10 Pot roast w/dinner roll; ham & cheese wrap 11 Pasta la rasta w/breadstick; turkey & cheese hoagie 12 Pepperoni or cheese pizza; PBJ 15 No school! 16 Teriyai chicken w/brown rice; turkey & cheese hoagie 17 Hamburger/cheeseburger; Italian sandwich 18 Bean & cheese burrito; ham & cheese wrap 19 Green chili chicken or cheese pizza; PBJ 22 Breakfast for lunch; PBJ 23 Salisbury steak w/rice pilaf; American beef hoagie 24 Chicken Queso Gordita crunch; PBJ

25 Pork carnitas w/tortilla; Italian sandwich 26 Hawaiian or cheese pizza; PBJ 29 Mac n’cheese w/roll; American beef hoagie 30 Soft shell taco; chicken salad sandwich 31 Chicken gumbo w/green chile & cornbread MIDDLE SCHOOL 4 Stuffed shells w/garlic knot; cheese or pepperoni pizza 5 Chicken, bacon, ranch pizza; Philly steak panino 8 Chicken tortilla soup; cheese or pepperoni pizza 9 Cheese enchiladas w/fiesta rice; cheese or pepperoni pizza 10 Pot roast w/dinner roll; cheese or pepperoni pizza 11 Pasta la rasta w/breadstick; deli bar 12 Pepperoni or cheese pizza; Stromboli panino 15 No school!

16 Teriyai chicken w/brown rice; cheese or pepperoni pizza 17 Hamburger/cheeseburger; cheese or pepperoni pizza 18 Bean & cheese burrito; cheese or pepperoni pizza 19 Green chili chicken or cheese pizza; ham & cheese panino 22 Breakfast for lunch; cheese or pepperoni pizza 23 Salisbury steak, rice pilaf; cheese or pepperoni pizza 24 Chicken Queso Gordita crunch; cheese or pepperoni pizza 25 Pork carnitas w/tortilla; cheese or pepperoni pizza 26 Hawaiian or cheese pizza; chicken, broccoli & cheddar panino 29 Mac n’cheese w/roll; cheese or pepperoni pizza 30 Soft shell taco cheese or pepperoni pizza 31 Chicken gumbo w/green chile & cornbread

WINDSOR SCHOOL DISTRICT—Price for elementary lunch is $2.90, for middle school students, $3.15. Reduced lunches are elementary, free; middle school, $0.40. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 9 French toast sticks w/sausage patties; breakfast burrito 10 Chicken & black bean; mini cheeseburger 11 Chicken sandwich; turkey & cheese sub 12 Big Daddy cheese or Hawaiian pizza; PBJ w/ string cheese 15 No school! 16 Cheesy nachos; mini cheeseburgers 17 Teriyaki chicken w/brown rice; corndog 18 Chicken tenders w/mashed potatoes; turkey & cheese sub 19 Big Daddy cheese or pepperoni pizza; PBJ w/ string cheese



22 Mac n’cheese; PBJ w/string cheese 23 Chicken street tacos; mini cheeseburgers 24 Chicken nuggets; corndog 25 BBQ pork sandwich; turkey & cheese sub 26 Big Daddy cheese or veggie pizza; turkey & cheese sub 29 Hogdog; PBJ w/string cheese 30 Chicken Alfredo; mini cheeseburger 31 Hamburger; corndog MIDDLE SCHOOL 9 French toast sticks w/sausage patties; cheeseburger 10 Chicken & black bean; hamburger 11 Chicken sandwich; hamburger

12 15 16 17 18 19 22 23 24 25 26 29 30 31

Steak & cheese sub; hamburger No school! Cheese enchiladas; cheeseburgers Teriyaki chicken w/brown rice; hamburger Chicken tenders; hamburger Meatball sub; hamburger Mac n’cheese; corndog Burrito/taco bar; cheeseburger Chicken sandwich; hamburger BBQ pork sandwich; hamburger Pepperoni calzone; hamburger Chili dog; hamburger Chicken Alfredo; cheeseburger Cheeseburger; chicken sandwich


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Book your child’s dental exam today!


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Grace Lorette M.A., CCC-SLP

Cindy Peak


Language • Articulation • Literacy Dyslexia (Barton and LiPS programs) Augmentative Communication Devices Tongue Thrust • Stuttering Social-Pragmatic Skills (Social Thinking) Social Groups • Early Intervention Autism Spectrum Voice And Vocal Cord/Fold Dysfunction

Call to schedule a free screening 970-495-1150 760 Whalers Way, Bldg C, Suite 100 We are providers with most insurances

www.speech-language-voice.com RMPARENT

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JANUARY 2018 ONGOING MONDAYS AND TUESDAYS Read and Seed Youth Program Preschool readiness activities including a story and related craft activity. Ages 2-5 with adult. $30. 10-10:45am & 11-11:45am, no class week of Dec. 25. Gardens on Spring Creek, 2145 Centre Ave., FC. 416-2486, www.fcgov.com/ gardens. TUESDAYS, JANUARY 9, 16, 23 AND 30 4-week Mindfulness Series Find more calm and ease in your life with mindfulness. Adults. $150. Wholeness Center, 2620 E. Prospect Rd., FC. 6:30-8:30pm. 690-2153, www. fortcollinsbiofeedback.com/news-events. FRIDAYS AND SATURDAYS Eagle Watches Learn about the bald eagles that make Fort Collins their winter home from volunteer Master Naturalists. (NOTE: No Eagle Watch on Fri., Jan. 19. If temps are below freezing, check website for status of event.) Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, 3340 Carpenter Rd., FC. 3:30-5pm. 416-2815, www.fcgov.com/ naturalareas.

JANUARY 2-3 Winter Ice Climbing Camp Kids will explore ice climbing, regular rock climbing, and participate in various team-building and challenge exercises. Ages 6-12. Members-$205; non-members -$245. Ascent Studio: Climbing & Fitness, 2150 Joseph Allen Dr., FC. 9am-3pm. 999-5596, www.ascentstudio.com. JANUARY 15 THROUGH FEBRUARY 26 Kids Yoga Kids learn poses and breathing techniques to help them feel strong and calm in their bodies and mind. Ages 7-12. $9 drop-in; $5 for each additional sibling. ( Jan. 22 is a free class!) Om Ananda Yoga, 115 N. College Ave., Ste. 200, FC. 4-5pm. 488-9192, www. omanandayoga.com. WEDNESDAYS, JANUARY 17 THROUGH MARCH 7 Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Workshop Strategies to feel in charge of eating instead of feeling out of control. $65; includes book and journal. Fort Collins Senior Center, 1200 Raintree Dr., FC. 3-4:30pm. 221-6644, www.fcgov.com/ recreator.

JANUARY 30 THROUGH FEBRUARY 2 Become a Certified Interpretive Guide Learn to give powerful presentations to any audience through the National Association for Interpretation Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) course. For paid staff and volunteers. 16+. $230, includes workbook. Fort Collins Senior Center, 1200 Raintree Dr., FC. 8:30am-5pm. 224-6079, www.interpnet. com/nai/nai/_events/Event_Display. aspx?EventKey=CIG013018S. THROUGH FEBRUARY 14 Disney’s Beauty and the Beast All of the classic songs as well as some new ones. Ticket prices and showtimes vary. Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, 4747 Marketplace Dr., Johnstown. 744-3747, www.coloradocandlelight.com. THROUGH FEBRUARY 25 The Ice Rink at the Promenade Shops at Centerra Visit Northern Colorado’s finest outdoor Ice Skating Rink. 12 and under-$7; Adults-$8.50. Promenade Shops at Centerra, across from Dick’s Sporting Goods, 5971 Sky Pond Dr., LV. Hours vary. 667-5283, www. TheIceRinkAtTheShops.com.

Hours of Operation: M-Th 8-5pm, Fri 8-4 Fort Collins (970) 493-7442

Loveland (970) 493-7442





Leap into Science: Can You Hear Me Now? Sounds are all around us. Have fun really listening to sound and vibration and exploring the book “Sound: Loud, Soft, High, and Low” by Natalie Rosinsky. Grades K-2. Farr Regional Library, 1939 61st Ave., GR. 1pm. 888861-7323, www.MyLibrary.us. Old Town Kid Zone: Wiggling Through Winter Kids and caregivers escape the cold at the library with indoor mini golf, a “snowstorm escape” maze and plenty of crafts to take home with you. Supplies and light snacks provided. Activities for all abilities. Grades K-3. Registration required. Old Town Library, Old Town Library, 201 Peterson St., FC. 1pm and 3pm. www.poudrelibraries.org. Anime Club Teens gather after school to watch anime favorites, chat about manga and munch on yummy snacks. Grades 6-12. Old Town Library, 201 Peterson St., FC. 4pm. www.poudrelibraries.org. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3

Harmony Kid Zone: Let’s Make Puppets Create puppets with materials easily found around the house. Grades K-3. Registration required. Harmony Library, 4616 S. Shields St., FC. 1pm & 3pm. www.poudrelibraries.org. THURSDAY, JANUARY 4

Puppet Making for Teens and Tweens Learn how to create your own puppet to take home. Materials provided and guidance provided. Registration required. Harmony Library, 4616 S. Shields St., FC. 11am. www. poudrelibraries.org. Council Tree Kid Zone: Yarn, PomPoms, Cat’s Whiskers and More! Explore the many enchanting and crafty things you can do with a simple ball of yarn, plus listen to the award-winning story Extra Yarn and enjoy string-y snacks. Grades K-3. Registration required. Council Tree Library, 2733 Council Tree Ave., FC. 1pm & 3pm. www.poudrelibraries.org.


Noches en Familia (Family Nights) Enjoy is a time of children’s stories, crafts, puppets and music in Spanish, that invites fluent speakers, as well as those interested in learning the Spanish language. All ages. Council Tree Library, 2733 Council Tree Ave., FC. 5pm. www.poudrelibraries.org. Fort Collins Gallery Walk Fine and “folk” art galleries display new showings and open their doors for this self-guided walking tour. Downtown Fort Collins. 6-9pm. 484-6500, www. downtownfortcollins.com. Grand Opening of Photographic Colors of East Africa A showcase of art and artifacts from Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Eritrea, Tanzania and Djibouti. All ages. $2.50-adults; $1.50-students and seniors; 50 cents-ages 4-12. The Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures, 200 W. Mountain Ave., FC. 6-9 pm. 2214600, http://globalvillagemuseum.org. SATURDAY, JANUARY 6

Leap into Science: Measure Up! What did people use before tape measures? How did they measure distances, lengths or widths? Explore non-standard measurement as a way of learning how and why people developed standards for measuring things. Centennial Park Library, 2227 23rd Ave., GR. 10:30am. 888-861-7323, www. MyLibrary.us. Teen Book Chat Teens meet monthly to talk mainly about books, movies, music, more. Grades 6-12. Council Tree Library, 2733 Council Tree Ave., FC. 11am. www. poudrelibraries.org. Family Fun: Learn How to Play the Guitar Lincoln Park Library, 1012 11th St., GR. 2pm. 888-861-7323. www.MyLibrary.us. Hack Your Notebook Students get hands-on experience with circuitry by creating illuminated art to decorate school notebooks. Notebooks provided. Teens. Registration required. Old Town Library, 201 Peterson St., FC. 3pm. www.poudrelibraries.org.

Noches en Familia (Family Nights) Enjoy is a time of children’s stories, crafts, puppets and music in Spanish, that invites fluent speakers, as well as those interested in learning the Spanish language. All ages. Council Tree Library, 2733 Council Tree Ave., FC. 5pm. www.poudrelibraries.org. SUNDAY, JANUARY 7

Lego Assemble Build Create Let’s build the house of our dreams. All LEGO supplies provided. Ages 5+. Council Tree Library, 2733 Council Tree Ave., FC. 1pm. www.poudrelibraries.org. Animal Afternoon Enjoy good books and the opportunity to read to friendly animals. Grades K-5. Old Town Library, 201 Peterson St., FC. 3pm. www.poudrelibraries.org. MONDAY, JANUARY 8

Maker Meet-Up A happy hour get-together with local makers to chat about upcoming opportunities, and share projects. Adults. Wolverine Farm Letterpress & Publick House, 316 Willow St., FC. 5-7pm. 682-2590, www.wolverinefarm.org.


Colors Art and science activities. Ages 2-5 and their grown-ups. Windsor-Severance Library, 720 3rd St., WS. 10:30-11am. 686-5603, www.clearviewlibrary.org. Anime Club Teens gather watch anime favorites and chat about manga. Grades 6-12. Council Tree Library, 2733 Council Tree Ave., FC. 4pm. www.poudrelibraries.org. Balancing Your Budget Gather tools and resources to help with important financial basics. Foothills Activity Center, 241 E. Foothills Pkwy., FC. 6:30-7:30pm. 221-6644, www. fcgov.com/recreator. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10

Magical Magnets Join us to kick off our Riverside Stem Club as we push and pull ourselves through learning about magical magnets! We’ll also create a magnet craft to take home. Riverside Library, 3700 Golden St., EV. 4pm. 888-861-7323, www.MyLibrary.us. RMPARENT

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Book Talk and Signing with Bryn Greenwood Author Bryn Greenwood will be talking about her book All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce, 225 S. Meldrum St., FC. 6pm. 484-7898, oldfirehousebooks.com. THURSDAY, JANUARY 11

Colors Art and science activities. Ages 2-5 and their grown-ups. Severance Town Hall, 3 Timber Ridge Pkwy., Severance. 10:3011am. 686-5603, www.clearviewlibrary.org. SATURDAY, JANUARY 13

Pack a Healthier School Lunch Learn to pack a lunch that gives kids the nutrients they need to succeed. $5. Northside Aztlan Center, 112 E. Willow St., FC. 9-10am. 221-6644, www.fcgov. com/recreator.



Little Explorers: DIY Musical Instruments Let’s make music with musical instruments we make ourselves. Afterward, we’ll have a short and very musical storytime. Program is limited to the first 15 people. Riverside Library, 3700 Golden St., EV. 10:30am. 888861-7323, www.MyLibrary.us. Colors Art and science activities. Ages 2-5 and their grown-ups. Windsor-Severance Library, 720 3rd St., WS. 10:30-11am. 686-5603, www.clearviewlibrary.org.

Make it Happen Join us to make a variety of sweet treats including truffles and other candies! Ages 6-9. Registration required. Windsor-Severance Library, 720 3rd St., WS. 2-3pm. 686-5603, www. clearviewlibrary.org. Book Talk and Signing with Ian Neligh Debut author Ian Neligh will be discussing his book Gold!: Madness, Murder, and Mayhem in the Colorado Rockies. Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce, 225 S. Meldrum St., FC. 6pm. 484-7898, oldfirehousebooks.com.

How to Talk to Kids About Sex Strategies on talking to kids about being sexually active. $15. Foothills Activity Center, 241 E. Foothills Pkwy., FC. 11am-12noon. 221-6644, www.fcgov. com/recreator.


DIY Fidgets & Spinners Using recycled materials to make several types of fidgets. Instruction and materials provided. All ages. Old Town Library, 201 Peterson St., FC. 2pm. www.poudrelibraries.org.

Comedy Brewers Family friendly improv games. $10-presale (plus $2 online or credit card service charge), $15-at-door. Bas Bleu Theatre Company, 401 Pine St., FC. 7:30pm. 498-8949, www.basbleu.org.

Animal Afternoon Enjoy good books and the opportunity to read to friendly animals. Grades K-5. Council Tree Library, 2733 Council Tree Ave., FC. 3pm. www.poudrelibraries.org.


Celebrate Peace! MLK Day Program Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of peace with a special program that will include books, songs and crafts. Grades K-5. Riverside Library, 3700 Golden St., EV. 2pm. 888-861-7323, www.MyLibrary.us. TUESDAY, JANUARY 16

Girls Who Code Club 6th-to 12th-grade girls explore coding in a fun and friendly way. Ages 12-18. Windsor-Severance Library, 720 3rd St., WS. 3:30-5:30pm. 686-5603, www. clearviewlibrary.org. Canvas and Cocoa Paint a lovely winter scene with us while sipping some hot cocoa. Registration required; ages 12-18. Lincoln Park Library, 1012 11th St., GR. 4pm. 888861-7323, www.MyLibrary.us. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17

Radon Awareness Learn about radon and receive a radon test kit for your home. Northside Aztlan Center, 112 E. Willow St., FC. 4-5pm. 221-6644, www.fcgov.com/recreator. Comic Book Clocks Tweens will make their own comic book clocks to celebrate the new year! Registration required. Ages 9-12. Windsor-Severance Library, 720 3rd St., WS. 6:30-7:30pm. 686-5603, www. clearviewlibrary.org. THURSDAY, JANUARY 18

Little Wolverines Art, crafts, music, movement, imaginary play/acting, story time, and so much more! Ages 2-6. RSVP required to 424-298-0080, bricallahan7@gmail. com. $15. Wolverine Letterpress & Publick House, 316 Willow St., FC. 11:30am-12:30pm. 682-2590, www. wolverinefarm.org. FRIDAY, JANUARY 19

Women’s Health Summit For women at risk or experiencing homelessness to discuss health topics and connect with resources. Snacks and care packages provided. The Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope, 242 Conifer St., FC. 1pm. 494-9940, www. murphycenter.org.

Tween Treasure Hunt Lock-In Join your friends for a treasure hunt that will challenge what you think you know about the library! Ages 9-12. Registration required. Windsor-Severance Library, 720 3rd St., WS. 7-11:59pm. 686-5603, www.clearviewlibrary.org. Canadian Brass These “Kings of Brass” are a formidable force in the world of chamber music. All ages. Package-$27, Regular-$30+, The Big Deal-$15, Student-$15. The Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia St., FC. 7:30pm. 221-6730, www.lctix.com. SATURDAY, JANUARY 20

Polar Bear Run & Plunge Enjoy a beautiful and scenic 5k run and 1 mile run/walk around the south end of Horsetooth Reservoir. Afterward, take a plunge in the water and/or hang out at the outdoor party. All ages. $10-$50. Horsetooth Reservoir, 4200 W. CR 38E, FC. 9am-2pm. http://frontrangefreeze. com/polarbear/. Puppies & Popcorn Enjoy free popcorn while helping to socialize adoptable dogs and puppies. All ages. Registration required. Windsor-Severance Library, 720 3rd St., WS. 10am-12noon. 686-5603, www. clearviewlibrary.org. Winter Workshops: Great LongBlooming Perennials for Northern Colorado Learn which perennials are the best long-blooming selections in our region. Presented by Lauren Springer Ogden (designer/author). $22. Fort Collins Nursery, 2121 E. Mulberry St., FC. 10am-12noon. 482-1984, www. FortCollinsNursery.com. Winter Workshops: Using Soil Testing as a Landscape Management Tool Learn to utilize soil test data to promote the health of your plants. Presented by Dr. Jean Reeder (instructor/consultant/ retired USDA). $18. Fort Collins Nursery, 2121 E. Mulberry St., FC. 1-3pm. 4821984, www.FortCollinsNursery.com.

Homeschooling Tips While Traveling Two Coloradans who have homeschooled their children while traveling abroad will share their experiences and tips. All ages. Membersfree, $5-adults. The Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures, 200 W. Mountain Ave., FC. 1-3pm. 221-4600, http://globalvillagemuseum.org. Family Fort Night Bring blankets, sheets, and pillows to build your own reading fort after hours in the library! All ages. Windsor-Severance Library, 720 3rd St., WS. 6-7:30pm. 686-5603, www. clearviewlibrary.org. Stars of Tomorrow Show Come share the joy of watching children and youth from 5-18 years old display their talent and creativity. All ages. $15. Rialto Theater, 228 E. 4th St., LV. 7pm. 962-2120, www.rialtotheatercenter.org. Skygazing at Fossil Creek Reservoir Volunteers from the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society provide telescopes and share their knowledge about stars, planets, galaxies, more. Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, met in parking lot, 3340 Carpenter Rd., FC. 7-9pm. 416-2815, www.fcgov.com/naturalareas. SUNDAY, JANUARY 21

Game Day @ Your Library Play board or card games from the library’s collection. All ages. Old Town Library, 201 Peterson St., FC. 12noon. www.poudrelibraries.org. Off the Hook Arts WinterFest: A Chamber Music Mixer Professional musicians mix it up with talented young musicians from OtHA Chamber Music Academy in a fundraising concert and silent auction that benefits the academy’s free and low-cost music education programming. All ages. $10-$35. Community Creative Center, 200 Mathews St., FC. 3-6pm. 221-6644, www.fcgov.com/recreator.


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Once Upon a Cuento Cuddle up in your pajamas to enjoy tales, sing songs and learn a new language (Spanish or English) with your family. Vístase en su pijama para disfrutar de cuentos, cantar canciones y aprender un nuevo idioma (espańol o inglés) con su familia. Centennial Park Library, 2227 23rd Ave., GR. 7pm. 888-861-7323, www.MyLibrary.us. TUESDAY, JANUARY 23

Anime Club Teens gather after school to watch anime favorites, chat about manga and munch on yummy snacks. Grades 6-12. Harmony Library, 4616 S. Shields St., FC. 4pm. www.poudrelibraries.org. THURSDAY, JANUARY 25

Little Wolverines Art, crafts, music, movement, imaginary play/acting, story time, and so much more! Ages 2-6. RSVP required to 424-298-0080, bricallahan7@gmail. com. $15. Wolverine Letterpress & Publick House, 316 Willow St., FC. 11:30am-12:30pm. 682-2590, www. wolverinefarm.org. FRIDAY, JANUARY 26

Book Talk and Signing with Dorje Dolma Debut and Colorado author Dorje Dolma will be discussing her inspiring memoir, Yak Girl. Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce, 225 S. Meldrum St., FC. 6pm. 484-7898, oldfirehousebooks.com.




Forensic Files: CSI at the Library Join the Greeley Police at the library to learn the basics in crime scene investigation. Registration required; grades 6-12 only. Centennial Park Library, 2227 23rd Ave., GR. 10am. 888-861-7323, www.MyLibrary.us. Coding for Kids! Learn the basics of drag and drop coding and explore computer programming. No prior programming experience necessary. Kids, tweens. Harmony Library, 4616 S. Shields St., FC. 10am. www. poudrelibraries.org. Winter Workshops: Getting Your Vegetable Garden in the Ground Learn to set up a successful foodproducing garden. Presented by Andrea Vanderbilt (Teach Me To Grow owner). $18. Fort Collins Nursery, 2121 E. Mulberry St., FC. 10am-12noon. 4821984, www.FortCollinsNursery.com A Leap Through Time: An Escape Room Solve puzzles and travel through decades to solve a crime and stop the time bandit. No registration required; there will be a sign up the day of. Riverside Library, 3700 Golden St., EV. 1pm. 888861-7323, www.MyLibrary.us. Winter Workshops: Growing in Colorado for Newcomers & Transplants Create gardens in tune with our environment and its challenges. Presented by Jane Shellenberger (Colorado gardener/ author). $18. Fort Collins Nursery, 2121 E. Mulberry St., FC. 1-3pm. 482-1984, www.FortCollinsNursery.com.

Family Fun: Stories, Poems, Songs and Dance Share a favorite book, poem, song, dance or story with us. Lincoln Park Library, 1012 11th St., GR. 2pm. 888-861-7323, www.MyLibrary.us. Build a Robot Workshop Assemble a robot in this special robotics workshop! Ages 10-14. Registration required. Windsor-Severance Library, 720 3rd St., WS. 2-4pm. 686-5603, www. clearviewlibrary.org. SUNDAY, JANUARY 28

Animal Afternoon Enjoy good books and the opportunity to read to friendly animals. Grades K-5. Harmony Library, 4616 S. Shields St., FC. 3pm. www.poudrelibraries.org.

MONDAY, JANUARY 29 Book Talk and Signing with Lauren Myracle Local author Lauren Myracle will be talking about her latest middle grade novel Upside-Down Magic: Dragon Overnight. Old Town Library, 201 Peterson St., FC. 6pm. 484-7898, oldfirehousebooks.com. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31

UNC Orchestra Enjoy an evening of orchestral music performed by UNC students. Adults-$12, students & seniors-$8. Union Colony Civic Center, 701 10th Ave., GR. 7:30pm. 356-5000, www. ucstars.com.


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time out “Too young” for braces

Learning to be open-minded and accepting LEA HANSON


y kid is 7 and she just got braces. And, yes, I know that’s really young for braces and probably in your opinion, too young. I didn’t anticipate my child getting braces to be one of the things other people would insinuate we were doing incorrectly as parents, but I should also know by now that when it comes to judging other people’s parenting choices, everything is on the table. After having these stunning tinsel teeth for only a month, I think I’ve told at least 100 people about her ‘traumatic anterior crossbite’ and how as a result of it, her bottom, permanent tooth was getting pushed forward and becoming loose. I am increasingly surprised by how defensive I feel each time a person (known to me or not) says, “Wow! Braces! Isn’t she too young for that?” And, remember, these statements are ALWAYS made in front of my child. I mean, if she wasn’t right there, you wouldn’t have seen the braces, right? But my point is, she can hear you. And, she may be little, but she can also understand your skepticism. This is happening parallel to her dad and me trying to make the braces totally no big deal so she can continue to feel great about herself. It’s a funny reminder to me (and hopefully by sharing this, to you) the assumptions we make about one another. I mean, when you see a younger kid (or any kid?) with braces, one would think the assumption is there’s a reason they have them. “Gee, I just HAVE to find a place to spend all this money! And hopefully in a way that’s NOT FUN for anyone!” said no one ever. All this being said, braces is probably one of the least sensitive assumptions and judgement parents and caretakers make about one another and their kids. Things like abilities and disabilities, assumed race and ethnicity differences in families,



kids’ gender expression, kids’ weight and/ or size, and even kids’ general behavior in public are more sensitive – and probably more common – conversations. All of this reminds me just to be thoughtful and to try to ask better questions. I fully realize most people don’t actually think my 7-year-old has braces for some unneeded, vain reason. But, the question, “Ooh! Braces! What led to that?” or “Ooh! Braces! They look good on you!” is empowering to my child and feels less judgey and disapproving to me. Opinions vary greatly on whether or not to even ask questions. Personally, I think asking questions to strangers ought to be avoided unless it seems they might be unsafe. But, I think asking

about differences to people we know is okay. Especially when the difference is obvious and I have an interest in learning. Or, if I see an opportunity to introduce my child to something different from her normal experience and can offer a teachable moment about diversity. After seven years, I know the competition, whether real or imagined, to be a better parent is never-ending. But I also know that my struggles, joys, annoyances, and successes are relatable. So, every time someone tells me my kid is too young for braces, instead of being annoyed, I am going to use it as a reminder to be gentle and gracious about the unintended judgements I am also making about others and try to change them.

Lead in Drinking Water

Can Steal a Child’s Future

Colorado Lags Nation in Testing Schools and Childcares


y the time your child reaches the age of 7 their brain is developed and their learning ability largely defined physiologically. Until this age, exposure to lead in drinking water can rob them of intellectual potential by stealing IQ points. Loss of learning ability and the potential behavioral problems caused by lead are irreversible. The EPA recommends limits for lead in drinking water at schools and childcares, but does not impose mandatory testing. States can require lead testing and many do—unfortunately Colorado is not one of them. As a parent, request your school or childcare provider to screen for lead in their drinking water.


• Our home or building is too new to have lead in the water. • The water supplier is responsible for preventing lead in our drinking water. • The issues in Flint, Michigan can’t happen here.


• Homes and buildings constructed before 2015 are at risk for lead in plumbing fixtures. • Lead in drinking water comes from plumbing fixtures within your home/building. • Denver Public Schools and surrounding districts are finding high lead levels in drinking water.

a It’s FREE! You can also request a free lead test kit for your home. Call today for a FREE Consultation: 970.646.3351

Get tested. Get trusted. TrustedWater.com RMPARENT

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