Panther Pages, December 10, 2021

Dear Park Hill Elementary families:

Park Hill Elementary  believes that having a school community where your child feels safe and respected is an important foundation to their academic success. That is why Park Hill Elementary will  be participating in No Place for Hate®, a national program supporting schools in their commitment to  celebrating diversity, promoting respect for differences and challenging bias and bullying at all levels.

Developed by the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) – a leading civil rights organization that has worked for  over a century to “secure justice and fair treatment to all” – No Place for Hate will help us incorporate  new anti-bias and bullying prevention resources into our existing programs in order to have one  consistent message of inclusivity.

Our Intermediate students are doing so this week, and our Primary students are working on this next week.  You and your student(s) can help support our No Place for Hate program in a number of ways:

  1. Along with your student(s), sign the No Place for Hate Pledge to commit to challenging bias and  bullying!
  2. Practice No Place for Hate at home! For family resources on challenging bullying and bias, visit:

To learn more or to get involved with No Place for Hate at Park Hill, please contact Principal Burdette. With your help, we will continue our work in making our school community a safe and welcoming space for all.

-Ken Burdette, Principal

Park Hill Elementary Equity Corner 

This week we would like to share with you the tribute in Chalkbeat Colorado about Dr Sharon Bailey. Dr Bailey was the district Ombudsman and a leader who identified and pushed for Equity changes at Denver Public Schools.  Read more about her distinguished career below:


Spirit Week next week, December 13-17

See the attached flyer for Spirit Week next week at PHE.  The daily themes are:

Monday – Jersey Day – Wear something to support your favorite team

Tuesday – Dress as a Teacher – Dress up as your teacher to show them how much you appreciate them.

Wednesday – Wacky Wednesday – Time to get crazy!!

Thursday – Animals and Pets – Find a way to honor your pets at home or your favorite animal

Friday – Park Hill and PJ’s – Wear your Park Hill gear to show how much you love your school


Information Regarding Oral Health Screens – *PLEASE READ*

DPS cares about the health of your child. To support our efforts to identify health issues that may impact your child’s success and ability to learn, we are resuming our health screening program with in-person vision and hearing screenings at school.

Due to the impacts of the pandemic, we will be unable to provide in-person oral health screenings this year. Since good oral health is so important for concentration, we are asking that you please complete the Oral Health Screening At Home survey on the Parent Portal. A few minutes and a flashlight or good light source is all you need to complete the screening!

Along with the vision and hearing data, the information collected through the online oral health survey will help us connect you and your students to any health resources you may need.

Please complete the survey electronically within three weeks from today. Although the data is most accessible electronically, if there is a need to complete a paper copy, please contact the school’s health or front office, then return the document within 3 weeks of this message.


Deadline 12/13: Park Hill Elementary Annual Gift Card Drive

We are collecting gift cards in $20 increments to the following businesses:  Safeway, King Soopers, Walmart, and Target.  This money will be used directly to support current Park Hill students and families for the Holidays.  Donations can be delivered to the main office.  Donations are appreciated and optional – there is no obligation or requirement.  This is an act of charity and service to those in need.  The deadline for the gift card drive is Monday, December 13th.  We hope to hand out gift cards to at least 30 families this year if there are sufficient funds.

If you or someone you know is in need of these types of supports, please reach out to the school. The best contacts are Principal Burdette, Asst Principal Bixby, and our school psychologist Julia Wigert.  All information and requests will be kept confidential.


Note about Mindfulness at Park Hill from Liz Rutledge

Has your child come home telling you about star breathing or square breathing?  Hi! I’m Liz Rutledge, your child’s Mindfulness teacher.  I’ve been teaching Mindfulness at Park Hill for four years – initially in just a few classrooms and then before COVID, interest was growing and I was able to share Mindfulness with various classes K-5.  Then, the shutdown necessitated a pivot to videos and now they can be shared with the entire school. I am trained by Mindful Schools (plus about 40 years of life experience as I was taught mindfulness techniques by my parents and grandmother).

Mindfulness is essentially “being present in the moment, without judgment”.  Anxiety in our world, especially among children and teens, is at an all time high.  And, everyone has either lost someone, had to pivot (start a new job, lose a job, start teaching online – or, for you parents, at home).  People are experiencing burn out. But there’s something we can do to help recharge our batteries.

I started making mindfulness videos when the pandemic hit because I feel deeply passionate about getting these resilience tools to our children and teachers.  If every teacher in every classroom would start every class with even just one mindful minute, the results would be notable.  Studies have shown that students are more focused, calm, and centered when mindfulness is practiced.  The breathing exercises and techniques calm anxiety, improve test scores and participation. Some other benefits include more kindness, generosity, empathy and compassion.

Mindfulness is not just breathwork – and doesn’t have to involve focused breathing – it can be as simple as quietly coloring in a coloring page or taking a moment to notice birds chirping or the colors of the sky. Some of the mindfulness exercises I teach involve standing, or moving, but usually involve sitting and observing the breath.  We utilize awareness of the present moment to pivot scattered thoughts to focused ones and practice observation – without judgment.

Breathing deeply reduces stress, improves sleep, and our ability to remain calm.  Mindfulness also enhances kindness, generosity, gratitude, empathy and compassion.  With regular practice, kids become kinder and more respectful.  Feel free to practice the mindfulness exercises with your kids at home.

Here is last week’s video prepared for Park Hill students and teachers:

Mindfulness for Kids with Liz Rutledge


University of Denver upcoming activities:


Masterpieces are in and Thank you from our Art Teacher, Ms. Pravecek

The Original Works Fundraising masterpieces are in!  They should have come home with your child yesterday or today!  THANK YOU for participating in this fundraising effort for a new kiln.  If you did not get a chance to order – we may be running this program again in the spring with a new project!”