Current Newsletter

Hexter 2 Newsletter from The Principal

Nov 1, 2019


The close of Hexter Two indicates we are a third of the way through the school year already.  In that time, we have already accomplished so much!  Most notably, but often underappreciated, is the accomplishment that students and staff have settled into a routine and have transitioned through the various changes that this year has brought us: a remodeled middle school (we are loving The Grove!), new staff and new roles (including me – a new principal!), over 80 new student faces (7th – 12th!), new HS daily schedule, and multiple new processes/systems that staff have learned to navigate.  Nothing is more constant than change itself!


Other accomplishments thus far include, the visit from an External Review Team (made up of D-20 educators and a community member) who researched our application/interview process and made recommendations.  Thank you to those families and students who provided testimonials to better inform that team! 


All staff have set their professional goals for the year and created assessments to measure student learning.  This annual process provides us purpose and direction and a measurement of accomplishment.  Many of our teachers' goals and assessments will be enhanced by the work of two of our staff members who were awarded a district grant for their action research into why students avoid writing.  We look forward to learning from Christina Doerr and Randy Thomas as they dive into this complex area!


Student accomplishments include the success of our HS Community Service Wednesday serving our greater COS community and our Family Community Service Saturday serving our own Aspen Valley community.  Ryan Bailey and Randy Thomas put in a lot of work partnering with various individuals and multiple non-profit organizations to benefit us all!  To name a few: Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Western Mining Museum, Ronald McDonald House, Care and Share, and the Florissant Wolf Sanctuary.  We ended a great week of service with a celebration of spirit, our Homecoming dance and haunted house!  Ask your student to explain what VSCO day is…I'm still confused! 


Finally, one of the most meaningful events every semester is our Parent Teacher Conferences.  Thank you for making these meetings a priority as we aim to strengthen our partnerships to best support student learning.  We'll see you again in springtime.


Looking into the near future:

  • Those currently serving, or if you are a veteran, let us thank you for your service at our Veterans Assembly (Nov 11 @ 9am, high school flagpole)
  • Join us for our annual community wide Thanksgiving Feast (Nov 22nd @ each level lunch time)
  • AV is offering Love and Logic Way, a parenting class led by our own MS facilitator, Randy Thomas.  With enough interest, these will be offered monthly and can benefit all levels of parenting, MS – HS.  Please let us know your interest by emailing,
  • Session One: Putting an End to Arguing, Back Talk, and Begging
  • Session Two: Teaching Responsibility Without Losing Their Love
  • Session Three: Setting Limits Without Waging War
  • Session Four: Avoiding Power Struggles
  • Session Five: Guiding Kids to Own and Solve Their Problems
  • Session Six: Teaching Kids to Complete Chores without Reminders and Without Pay


  • Don't forget about Coffee with the Principal (9:15am first Wednesday of every month in HS Library) and AV Advisory Committee (6pm second Tuesday of every month in HS library)
  • We only have 2% of HS parents who have completed the Academy D-20 Climate and Culture Survey and 38% of MS parents.  Thank you for taking time to do this.  The data is very helpful for our programming.  The links and message is below.  Survey ends Nov 15th
  • Academy D-20 offers multiple parent academies and this year I recommend you check out the Youth Mental Health First Aid training on Nov 16th.  Please read below.


Also below are updates from our MS facilitator, Randy Thomas, and our HS counselor, Courtney Morrison.  Follow us on Facebook (HS and MS pages) and Instagram (aspenvalleycampus)




Dear Academy District 20 Parent/Guardian, 

We invite you to respond to the annual survey on Character Education and Climate from your perspective as a parent/guardian in District 20.  

 The purpose of this survey is to collect information that will lead to improving your experience as an educator, as well as maximizing the impact of the educational opportunities afforded to all students in Academy School District 20. For that reason, your honest feedback is unquestionably valuable to this process.  

 This year's survey is being administered by a third party, the Hanover Research team, and they will be analyzing data and providing that to the Academy District 20 leadership team for careful review.  This year, as in the past, parents and students will also be invited to take a similar survey.                       

The survey will take approximately 20 – 30 minutes to complete. Please read the instructions on the survey when you access this link, and thank you, in advance, for sharing your thoughts so that we can serve our students well.


Youth Mental Health First Aid:

According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 16.9 million children have a mental disability including ADHD, depression and anxiety.

We are offering a FREE full-day training for parents and community members, taught by certified Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) instructors about how you can help adolescents experiencing these struggles. This adult-only course is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.  

This YMHFA course covers the following:

  • common mental health challenges for youth, including anxiety, depression and substance abuse,
  • typical adolescent development, and
  • a 5-step action plan for helping young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Event specifics are below, and we hope to see you there!

When: Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: Academy District 20 Education and Administration Center (EAC), 1110 Chapel Hills Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920

Registration: Please register by Monday, Nov. 11, 2019.

Lunch/Snacks: Pizza and sodas provided, as well as snacks and water. You are welcome to bring your own lunch.

Questions: Contact Martha Hinson, Academy District 20 Health and Wellness Specialist, at



HS Counseling Corner – Courtney Morrison

  • I hope you all had a fun and warm Halloween, and you are excited as we enter a new and final hexter of first semester. This year is off to a great start with many of our students having big successes already. I want to update you on a few deadlines, and as always you can feel free to email  me at with any questions.  Have a great 3rd hexter and holiday season everyone!!
  • Due to weather our FAFSA night had to be rescheduled. We are currently in the process for rescheduling, but know that the window opened on October 1st so you are free to apply on your own if you would like. We will send out a 20 alert with the new date which we hope will be sometime in November.
  • The deadline to register for second semester college classes is November 15th. Seniors this is the last time you can register for a college class if you still need one to graduate. Please come by my office if you have questions about this graduation requirement or how to register for your college class.
  • Please remember that the senior meetings will be on the first Wednesday of every month from 12:15-12:45. Please come to these meetings as we will be discussing important information relevant to graduation and senior events.
  • A representative from Western State will be here on Wednesday November 13th at 9:00am if you are interested in visiting with them please let Mrs. Morrison know.
  • Here is a link to all of the scholarships provided district wide





Middle School Updates – Randy Thomas


Second hexter is a time when students settle into the daily rhythm and begin to practice the habits being taught and modeled by all the school staff. Students are developing increased organizational practices by consistently using their planners to record grades, list their uncompleted class work, projects and upcoming quizzes and tests. Families are beginning to schedule the Family Forethought meetings on Thursday evenings to help remain informed of how their child is doing in school and to reinforce the student's Self-Directed Learning (SRL) skills. These are long-term plans that require consistent weekly practice by the parents and students but which directly contributes to students developing more proactive ways of thinking about what they need to do in order to achieve success.

We had two great community events that included students, parents and staff. We opened The Grove with a wonderful dinner and we had our 4th annual fall community service day which resulted in a new puma mascot painting in our hall, a cleaned up campus, the beginning of a ¼ mile walking path, the beginning of a landscaping project for the sanctuary outside of the grove and the construction of a gaga ball pit. This, as always, was a super fun day where we all worked together, shared a meal and built new or stronger home/school collaboration.

We will have another Saturday workday on the sanctuary landscaping; tentatively scheduled for November 16th or 23rd.  This will consist of hauling dirt, rock and mulch to build planting beds, walkways, and ground covering. We can complete this first phase in one more day of work. I love getting to work with students on these days, as it builds relationships based on increased understanding of each other.