Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Hello All!

While many of you are eagerly looking forward to a respite from school, I, on the other hand, just reread though all of the Open School's goals, values, and mission in anticipation of returning to the classroom. I can hardly wait!

Nearly every day I was out of the JCOS community (in a clinic, ambulance, ER, ICU, hospital bed, or at home) I was reflecting on how those Open School values play such an important role in my life as a human being. A few examples: Adapt to the world as it is and prepare for the world that might be? Yep. Continuous engagement in learning, exploration, and questioning in the process? Every day. Nurture and challenge the whole person? Constantly. Appreciation for the value of each person in our community through words, attitude, and actions? With my full heart and deepest appreciation. 

I don't know how much you all know, so here is a brief summary behind my absences.  I became very sick with an e coli bacteria that carried the shiga toxin.  Within a few short days my body went into sepsis and I spent quite a bit of time in the ICU fighting the illness and helping my body recover from the toxins that were working very hard at shutting everything down (my bone marrow was completely suppressed, which was very alarming to everyone involved). I was sent home prematurely and, one week later, was brought by ambulance back to the ER and the ICU.  The e coli bacteria we all harbor in our bodies took this opportunity to move in and take over, causing a new set of problems.  I was sent home to recover again, but a follow up doctor's visit confirmed that now I was battling collateral intestinal damage. Additional treatments and testing showed no improvement and the last step of this prolonged process was a four hour surgery to remove seven inches of my lower intestine.  Now I am focusing on recovering from the surgery by regaining core body strength and developing endurance. By the time January rolls around my only restrictions will be "don't lift too much weight or do anything stupid to rip open your abdomen" and since those are rules I generally live by anyway, I am returning to Open with no reservations.

There are some business items I want you to know and think about over the winter break.

1. The Mandatory Trip Meeting for the Bridges' Trip has been scheduled for Gabrielle's room on Friday, January 9th at 3:45 PM.  Guardians who are unable to attend this meeting will receive a print-out of the meeting's slides which you will read, sign, and return.  More on this later.

2. When looking at the trip supply list (if you haven't gotten it yet you will get it on the 9th) you will see that a lot of the items are "mandatory" (toothbrush, hats, swim-suit, underwear).  Over the winter break I want you to hunt (thrift stores are ideal) for the following items that are not only "mandatory" but are also obligatory, compulsory, essential, indispensable, and required.
a) snow-pants that fit (your children will especially appreciate that this is checked beforehand) and can be worn over jeans or long-underwear
b) water-resistant, water-proof gloves (If possible, bring two pairs, and make sure they don't have an annoying lining that will be pulled out and inverted the first time your child takes them off because it will take up the entire lunchtime to try and stuff them back together.)
c) snow shoes or hiking boots that have excellent traction on ice (My boots last year were so so cute but unusable because they couldn't handle the icy hill we have to walk up and down every time we went to a meal.)
d) multiple socks that are made from wool or a synthetic insulating blend (Wet cotton socks/gloves might seem fine the first time you are out building a snow fort, but after lunch when they are cold and wet they can not only be useless but potentially hypothermic.)
e) daypack (Not the ones with the super thin straps that are meant to carry a helium balloon.  Make sure the day pack is comfortable to wear for at least an  hour carrying a water bottle, spare socks/gloves, and a swimsuit.) 

Our Bridges' Trip is scheduled for January 21, 22, 23.  We will be taking a school bus.

When we get back from our trip it will be time to meet and talk about the rest of your child's sixth grade year.  We call this program "Bridges" because we want to help in the transition from child to adolescent, from guided to self-directed.  We will have a mandatory parent meeting covering second semester foci and SDL dates/expectations that will, hopefully, answer any questions you and your child have been pondering. This meeting has been scheduled for Friday, January 30, at 3:45 PM in Gabrielle's room.

I wish you all a healthy and relaxing winter break!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Update on Gabrielle

Dear 6th Grade Bridges Parents,


As I am sure you are aware Gabrielle Hovinen has been out sick for several weeks now.  We have been hesitant to share more detailed information for several reasons.  First, as with any medical situation there is a need to protect the individual’s privacy.  Second, we experienced a period of uncertainty regarding exactly what the medical issues actually were, and finally, there has been a lot of uncertainty about when Gabrielle might be able to return. 

In conversation with Gabrielle she would like me to share the following information with you.  First and foremost, Gabrielle is really missing her students and being here at school.  In classic Gabrielle fashion, she is feeling badly for affecting her community.  Gabrielle wants her students and their families to know that this has been an extremely challenging medical issue and she would much rather be here at the Open School.  After much analysis, a final diagnosis was made.  Gabrielle has an aggressive E. coli virus that suppressed her bone marrow and immune system.  Gabrielle is in the process of recovery but has experienced a few setbacks in the process.  It is her desire to return to school as soon as possible but the final approval about her return will be made by the medical professionals.  We are currently preparing for the possibility that she may be out for several more weeks to a month. 


We want to thank Chris, Gabrielle’s student teacher and substitute, for the amazing work she has done with Gabrielle’s class.  She has done an incredible job helping the students navigate the transition.  Due to the fact that Gabrielle’s recovery will take longer than first anticipated, we are going to make a few adjustments to the classroom.  Chris will continue to work with the class in order to provide continuity.  Additionally, we will be moving Kristie Edwards (our IA Intervention Specialist, former IA advisor and veteran teacher) into Gabrielle’s room where she will be the lead teacher in partnership with Chris.  We will employ a substitute, Kelly Leonard (an Open School alumni, former Open School Para-Professional, and licensed teacher), to pick up Kristie’s intervention groups.


It is our sincerest hope that this solution is short term and that Gabrielle returns, happy and healthy, as soon as possible.  That being said, we also want Gabrielle to take all the time necessary to recover fully.  Our thoughts go out to her and her family and we wish her the best during her recovery.


If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me directly at 303-982-7045or



Scott Bain


Jefferson County Open School



Scott Bain





“We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey


Monday, September 8, 2014

All School Swim Day!

All School Swim Day

         The school year is off and rolling and to help celebrate the beginning of another great year, we will be going to the Apex Center for our All School Swim Day on Wednesday, Sept. 17th.  The cost is $8.00, which includes the use of the swimming pools, water slides and the gymnasiums.  The buses will pick us up from school at 9:00 and will bring us back to school around 1:30. 
         Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit and towel, a sack lunch and $8.00.  The $8.00 must be turned in to your advisor by Wednesday, Sept. 17th.  Sharon, our wonderful financial secretary, asks that if you are going to pay with a check, please make sure it is made out for the amount of swim day only.  Parents, grandparents and siblings are welcome to join us, but must also pay $8.00.  If you have any questions, please call Rosie at #303-982-7056.  I am looking forward to a great day together at the Apex Center.

Directions to the Apex Center:

         Go North on Wadsworth to I-70.  Get on I-70 going West and take it to the Ward Road exit (#266).  Get off on Ward Road and go North (right).  Take Ward Road to 72nd Ave. and turn left.  The Apex Center is about ½ of a mile down, on the left side of the street.  It’s a great big building off of 72nd Ave. and Apex.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Trip Needs and Chris's E-mail

Attention Parents!

Chris here.  I will be temporarily posting to Gabi's blog with pertinent information, requests, fun photos, etc.

If you have documents for the IA Rocky Mountain National Park trip that you still need to get to us, please send them to Chris at or bring them in if you pick up your student after school.  We need these documents TODAY!  I appreciate your cooperation... For those of you who are out of town, please e-mail or bring the documents by no later than Tuesday, September 2nd.  Thank you!

Otherwise Gabi and I truly appreciate your patience with Gabi being out sick.  If you have any questions at all don't hesitate to contact me:


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trip news and G's home sick


Hello IA families.  Today we sent home some reminders for those of you still need to turn in your trip packets, payment or insurance information.  It is crucial that your student has all the proper paperwork turned as soon as possible.  If you do not have an insurance card for your student than please talk to our financial person, Sharon, about purchasing Tripster insurance for $1 a day.  
This afternoon we also had a parent volunteer meeting for those who are interested in joining us on our trip.  The turn out was good and thank you to those who made it out.  However, we are still in need more volunteers.  If you are interested in joining us, and you weren't there this afternoon, please contact your student's advisor right away.  We need to know if you are able to take children in your vehicle, what meal you would like to help with and if you have any activities or areas of expertise that you would like to share with our group.  Our trip is only a week away and it's really starting to get exciting.  Please let us know if you have any questions.
The IA Team

As many of you know, I have been home sick this week.  I will not be able to return until next week (We have Monday off, remember) at the earliest.  I'm so lucky we have Chris in our classroom to maintain our continuity and high standards! I apologize for the unfortinuate timing but, of course, if I had any say in the matter I woulld NEVER get sick. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

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