News from Principal Martin

Mr. Martin's weekly update

  Weekly News 6-8-2020

Hi Marshdale Families,

I hope you're having some fun playing outside and staying safe in our constantly changing world. I want to thank Alan Skerl and Miranda Tucker for hosting a meeting to process the DRAFT Restart Model. There were some great conversations, ideas and questions. I've tried to address some of the common themes in this FAQ document. (included below as well). I will continue to add to this document as information comes forward, which will be updated our our website. Here is a video summarizing some of my current thoughts around the Restart Model.

Marshdale's Accountability Committee will hold a follow up meeting on Monday, June 8th at 4:15. This will be open to anyone that would like to join. One of the topics I'd like to discuss is what steps we might take to understand the need for child care in our community. Unfortunately, there still aren't a lot of clear answers on some of our concerns, but want to hear your thoughts and ideas.  

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 826 1658 9778

Password: 7fCHVe

If you haven't provided feedback to our district around the Draft Restart Model, there is still time. Check out the Restart website for updates and current information. 

Thank you and have a great weekend. 

Zak Martin


Marshdale Elementary 

vm: 303-982-8880 school: 303-982-5188


Marshdale Restart Frequently Asked Questions (subject to change)

As you know, Jefferson County Schools recently released a Draft Restart Model for the 2020-2021 school year, which is currently open for public review and feedback.The Draft Model is based on public health information currently available. Feedback will be used to develop the plan we will operate from in the fall. The plan will be put out by Jefferson County Schools in late July. 

Here are some current thoughts on common questions brought up by our community. Please continue to send questions, ideas and concerns to me ( They are very helpful as we start to make sense of what the fall will look like at Marshdale. Use Jeffco’s Restart Website for specific information on the model and to provide feedback for the district’s team. I appreciate the level of engagement and understand the difficulty the situation presents. Thank you for the continued support and grace.

-Zak Martin

  1. What resources will be provided to teachers to support them with online/remote learning?

Great question! There are multiple district departments continuously offering support and resources to staff members. The 4 day student contact week outline in the model will allow teachers more time to access these supports. Staff members are offered choice and flexibility with topics available. Specific curriculum is guided by the Jeffco Deeper Learning Model and our Bridge to Curriculum (grade level expectations, resources and assessments). These supports have many resources connected to them and align with the resources Marshdale has in place. Our teachers are given autonomy when it comes to creating tasks and activities that meet the needs of their students and the standards determined for their specific grade. Marshdale is committed to working collaboratively to ensure alignment within a grade and vertically (grades above and below). We also realize the need to reprioritize grade level standards, which is currently being worked on by Jeffco leaders. Marshdale teachers will have the opportunity to work with these priorities to meet the needs of our students. 

  1. Can parents access these workshops?

I am very thankful that we have a parent community at Marshdale who are willing to not only ask this kind of question, but take advantage of the opportunities presented. The district’s Educational Research and Design group is developing parent “roadmaps” of monthly learning topics and clear learning expectations that can be used to support students at home. We will continue to explore how we can provide support to parents for resources and programs specific to Marshdale.

3. Time, scheduling and content delivery:


We will continue to need your input and feedback as we refine these areas to make it work as best as possible. March and April were opportunities for us to learn about the ways our community engaged with online learning. We were cautious about creating scheduled times for face to face virtual meetings because families needed flexibility with scheduling to accommodate various responsibilities, so the learning was asynchronous (students access learning at times that work for their family). As we entered May, more consistency was introduced and we could engage in more of a synchronous learning approach (students and teachers online at the same time). We plan to build on this foundation, being more thoughtful about alignment across our grades. Feedback will be solicited from parents to help coordinate these efforts. Marshdale teachers loved getting in front of students through the various video conferencing platforms and being more responsive with their teaching. We plan to continue this in both the remote and hybrid scenarios. One of the amazing qualities of our teaching staff is their ability to respond to how a student is interacting with the content, so we’ll look for ways to maximize this skillset. 

We also understand the importance of aligning with WJMS and Conifer to make schedules as easy on families as possible. We don’t have specific answers on what this will look like yet, but encourage you to complete a survey coming out in July that will help us make scheduling decisions for our mountain area families. 

  1. Accessing online learning resources; Is the district utilizing online learning institutions?

Jeffco does have a Virtual Academy that is currently serving students in grades 6th -12th. There was a K-5 program at one point, but it is no longer available. I know the folks connected to this program are involved in the planning and feedback of the Restart Model, but specific platforms aren’t being expanded with neighborhood schools right now. 

  1. How will social distancing look during the school day?

First, let me start by stating that observing students interact in class, on the playground and in the cafeteria is one of my favorite parts of being a principal. We want to continue as many of these types of opportunities, while keeping students safe. We will be following public health guidelines, which requires us to have students and staff maintain a 6 foot distance between one another. Students will be instructed on how to line up, walk through the halls and move about with this requirement. 

  1. Will all kids be required to wear masks?

Honestly, this is a difficult idea for me to wrap my head around, but realize it is a new part of our society and something we may need to come to grips with. As of today, masks are being strongly recommended for students and staff. When social distancing can’t be maintained (6 feet assumption), face coverings are required. We are working with the local Rotary to have cloth masks available in “kid friendly” fabric for all of our students. These details will be flushed out more once the Plan is decided in mid July.

  1. Will kids have to stay 6 feet apart?

This is the recommendation at this time, but I think you can understand the difficulty we face with this guideline; especially for our younger students.  Specific procedures for routine school activities (lunch, recess, hallway use) will be developed before students return. This information will be shared with parents so conversations can happen at home prior to students returning. This will be part of our beginning of the year orientation process. This type of information will be delivered with care and compassion. We want Marshdale to continue to be a place where students feel welcome, safe and cared for while remaining safe and in line with public health recommendations.  

  1. During recess?

We will follow public health guidelines to the best of our ability. Specific recess expectations are currently being developed and will be shared when available. All playground equipment will be taped off, but alternative activities will be explored and taught. Marshdale values the role recess and social interaction play in a child’s education, so will do what we can to provide these opportunities while following current public health information. 

  1. What support will teachers with students/kids have for child care?

We have submitted our needs for staff member child care and it is being worked on at the district level. We have identified space in our building and believe child care is doable for all staff members on site. 

  1. Will there be any district child care support?

Jeffco has a team working on this concern. I’ve also been able to discuss some possibilities with local providers, but no plan has been put out. We will be sending a survey home soon to help get preliminary numbers to work from. 

  1. What supports and flexibility will Kindie classes have to support kindie learners?

Luckily, we have an amazing group of educators in our kindergarten program. Our class numbers for kindergarten are shaping up to be 18-20 per class, which does provide some flexibility with scheduling. We will follow the same public safety guidelines for our kindergarten students, but realize the value of consistent routines in laying the foundation for learning. There are some creative ideas on the table to explore in July, so stay tuned for more on this topic. 

  1. Full remote learning option; how would this work?

On the parent/student end: this option would look similar in structure to the experience in May. Students would be given daily assignments 4 days per week in all content areas. Some components of the “must do” system will be used, but feedback from our spring experience will be used to make adjustments. Namely, the timing of when assignments are given and the window of time students need to complete them. We also realize the need for more individualized or small group live instruction. The number of students choosing the “remote only” option will play a role in programming. 

On the teacher/staff end: The number of families choosing remote only will help shape our resource allocation. Regardless of this number, we plan to have a full remote option available and thought out for our families to choose. We also want to be prepared for the potential transition from hybrid to remote based on public health. 

  1. Report cards & assessments

Our district and state are working on variations for report cards and assessments.


Additional needs/concerns identified:

  • Provide resources for parents (academic, technology and SEL)
  • Internet safety apart from social media
  • Daily social interactions with classmates 
  • Complicated by families that disengaged vs families that engaged
  • Social emotional concerns for kids without social supports
  • Higher expectations for grading & assessments

Ideas from parent group to be discussed when planning:

Room parents & parents coordinating social interactions

Possibility of making Zoom calls smaller

Possibility of opening up middle and high schools to elementary aged students

  • Younger kiddos need more social interactions
  • Younger kiddos will need child care than older students
  • Older students are more digitally savvy 

Possibility of half days for students

  • Splitting classes in half
  • Students could potentially attend more than 1 day per week

Removing specials to focus on reading, math, etc

  • AMP highly valued
  • Reading & math are prioritized

Provide classwork to parents prior to weekend

  • Provide the opportunity for families to get a head start
  • Use weekend time for parents that work M-F
  • Possibility of video cameras in classrooms for dual in-person & remote learning


  • Internet Safety - brought forward by a parent; Webinar for parents - not for kids