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Notes from the Dragon Cave

Updated: May 30, 2019

From the Desk of Schuba...

This week, I'm passing the reigns of the leadership message onto Angie Costella, IBCS' literacy interventionist and parent. Angie's teeing up summer with a guide to keep to our students reading while on break.

...At IBCS, one of our many focuses is to help promote fun-filled, independent reading throughout the year for all kids. We do this through independent reading time every day, practicing full-choice in books, establishing joy-filled reading communities, and providing access to books.

According to the Department of Education, numerous studies indicate students who don’t read or read infrequently during their summer vacation see their reading abilities stagnate or decline. This effect becomes more pronounced as students get older and advance through the school system. With summer just days away, what follows are ideas to help your learner continue to read, even when school is out.

  1. Visit places where books are present. Sign-up for the public library’s reading challenge or make it a routine every week to go and borrow new books. Book stores are great, too.

  2. Make it social. I love reading and talking about a book with others. Make reading a social aspect of your summer - have reading “parties,” where kids can discuss books, create a book swap with other families, scour garage sales for long-lost favorites. Offer up yourself to read with your learner or get more than one copy of a book (if you have access to them), so others may join in the reading.

  3. Read aloud. Many parents assume older kids do not want to be read aloud to, and yet, our students tell us repeatedly how much they miss it. So, why not find a great book and take some time to experience the book together?

  4. Use audio books. You can borrow audio books from DPS’ Overdrive. When your children are in the car, put on an audio book. Have a copy of the book ready if anyone wants to keep reading and you have reached your destination.

  5. Find great books. Get connected online to communities like Titletalk or BookADay, for ideas on what to read next. I am constantly adding to my wish list. Use professionals like librarians, booksellers and teachers for recommendations. Also, ask other parents what their kids are reading, create a Facebook page to share recommendations or simply use you own page, anything to find out what great books are available. Ask me or School Librarian, Andrea, for recommendations, too!

  6. Create a routine. When you make reading a natural part of the day, you make it a habit. I encourage my students to read first thing in the morning or the last thing at night. Whatever the routine, sit down and read yourself, it is vital for all children to see parents/caregivers as readers.

  7. Allow real choice. Summer is a great time for guilt-free reading. Don’t worry about whether the book seems too easy or too hard, just read great books.

  8. Surround your learner with books. Leave books wherever your kids go. I have books in the car, bedrooms, kitchen, living room, etc. This way, books seem to fall into my children's' hands at random times; stopped in traffic, quiet-time before lunch, a sneak-read before falling asleep.

  9. Celebrate abandonment, but ask questions. When a child abandons a book, this is a great thing. They are learning it is not for them and free up energy for a book better suited for them. Ask questions so they think about what type of book they might like. Make sure there are other books they want to read, so they can keep trying to find great books.

  10. Explore new books together. Summer is a great time to try to push your own reading habits, as long as it doesn’t feel like a chore. Set a reading challenge, compete against each other if you want, challenge each other to read each other’s favorite books and revel in the shared experience.

  11. Be invested and interested. This does not mean you ask your child to write reports about what they read. Ask whether they enjoy the book or not. What they plan on reading next. Read along with them or beside them.

  12. Keep it fun. Too often, especially if our child is not a well-developed reader, we get nervous as parents thinking we must keep them on a regimented reading program at all costs. Make reading light and fun. The last thing we want to do is to make reading an adverse experience.

We hope summer is a time of relaxation and joy for you. Thank you for an incredible year of reading and learning...

Fondly, Angie Costella IBCS Literacy Interventionist

For questions or conversation, reach out to Schuba via email ( or phone at 720-423-9900.


Take Action....

Spirit Wear Flash Sale

Summer Spirit Wear Flash Sale! Meet your IBCS Spirit Wear Team outside the Cafeteria on Friday, May 31, starting at 11:30 a.m., to get stocked up on Izzi B. spirit wear. We’ll offer BOGO and summer bundle deals! Can't make it to the sale? Email Izzi B. Parent and Fundraising Volunteer, Catherine Schurger, to place an order.

BoGo Book Fair

Final book fair of the year, TODAY and TOMORROW. Buy one, get one free! All sales must be purchased with credit card or eWallet only. Flyers with instructions on how to set-up an Ewallet for your student to shop during school hours came home last week. Book Fair eWallet is a new payment option. Simply set up an account and have funds immediately available for your child to shop the Book Fair. By attaching a credit card to your account and setting a spending limit, your student can shop during their recess time! Safe and secure – it’s easy shopping with Book Fair eWallet.

Go to our custom eWallet setup page:

  1. Create an Account

  2. Add Funds

  3. Your student is all set to shop at our BOGO book fair!

Help avoid the summer slide!

BOGO Sale Schedule

Today: Lunch/Recess 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.; Variety Show 1-1:40 p.m.; After School 3-3:30 p.m.

Tomorrow: Before School 7:30-8 a.m.; Field Day Picnic 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.; After School 2:45-3:30 p.m.

Field Day is Tomorrow We still need volunteers to help make Field Day a success. If you can help, e-mail PE Teacher, Kevin Ross. Opening Ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. on the outdoor stage. Everyone is invited. Please remind your students to wear close-toed shoes, sunscreen, hats, etc. They are welcome to wear swimsuits UNDER their clothes, but not a swimsuit alone (with the exception of ECE for splash day). Please remind them to bring a water bottle (labeled with their name), there will be water fill stations throughout the course to fill up, but there WILL NOT be cups this year. We look forward to seeing you all there!!!

Field Day Schedule of Events

Events for Kindergarten-Second Grade: 8:45-10:45 a.m.

Kindergarten Lunch: 11:45 a.m.

First Grade Lunch: 12 p.m.

Second Grade Lunch: 12:15 p.m.

Events for Third-Fifth Grades: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Third-Fifth Grade Lunch: 1 p.m.

ECE Splash Day: 9:30 a.m. (near the garden)

ECE Lunch: 11:15 a.m.

2019/2020 School Year Student Supplies

Visit by June 1 for best pricing and free shipping on school supplies for next school year. Please consider donating to help support deserving students in our school community. Donations can be added to your order online. Extended online ordering is available June 11 – July 30 for an additional fee and will be delivered to your home shortly before school begins. For questions, contact the IBCS Main Office at 720-423-9900.

IMPORTANT Year-End Council Finance Reminder

ALL requests for reimbursement or payment through Council funds must be submitted no later than Friday, May 31. Requests submitted by Wednesday, May 29, will be processed and checks mailed or delivered to the Front office by May 31. If your request is submitted after Wednesday, May 29, the form must include detailed contact information so the Treasurer knows how to get your reimbursement check to you (or designated recipient) after the school year has ended. If you receive(d) a check from IBCS Council, it MUST be cashed/deposited no later than Monday, June 10, so we can close out our fiscal year accounts effectively by Sunday, June 30. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to send an email to Thank you for your help with this! And, here’s to a fabulous summer!! - Your IBCS Treasurer Team


What's Going on With...

Notes from May Coffee & Conversation

Our final Coffee & Conversation of the school year occurred last Friday, May 24, and covered the following topics. Coffee & Conversations will take place again next year.

  • In-person introduction of Su Florczak, our new school psychologist. See last week's Notes from the Dragon Cave for her full bio, experience and interests.

  • Behavior. Well Managed Schools - IBCS Leadership is exploring the possibility of working with Well Managed Schools for a workshop heading into the next school year. The goal is to leave with a structured approach to school-wide behavior management to empower students with social and self-management skills, while building positive relationships.

  • Expeditionary Learning (EL). When students and teachers are engaged in challenging, adventurous and meaningful work, both flourish and achieve more than they thought possible. EL is built on the idea by engaging students in rigorous, real-world and compelling topics, they become active contributors to building a better world. In short, EL works to help students “get smart to do good.”

  • Lunch time. "Lunch bunch" idea for shorter overall lunch time with more kids during each portion. Staff will remain in the room throughout and be consistent. Leadership is working on setting proper expectations and consistency.

Note from Gay Lynn, IBCS Nurse:

After five years of serving as a nurse here, I will not return to Izzi B. next year. I have loved being part of this community and hold Izzi B. very close to my heart. If you’d like to stop by to say goodbye, I’ll be here on Thursday (Field Day) and at the end of the school day on Friday. Starting in August, Izzi B. will have a nurse one day a week and I hope you will welcome her warmly.

A few parting announcements:

  • Remember all medications need to be picked up by 11:30 a.m. on the last day of school. Any medications not picked up by this time will be discarded.

  • Denver Health’s School-Based Health Center at Place Bridge Academy (7125 Cherry Creek North Dr.) is open this summer (except for the week after of July 4). All DPS students can use school-based health centers at no charge, regardless of insurance. For an appointment, call 720-424-2050. Services include medical, mental health, health education, dental screenings and cleanings.

  • If your child sees their pediatrician over the summer, remember to ask for an updated immunization record and any medication orders needed for the start of the school year. Updated medication forms are included on the Izzi B. website.


Gay Lynn

Spring Garden Recap

The Garden Committee has been hard at work this past spring. Sarah Lopez, Izzi B. parent and volunteer, worked tirelessly to get the garden going and to help implement the Garden to Table curriculum. She's also created a Garden Club, engaging students during their recess.

Below is a summary of what each grade has been up to, in addition to weeding, helped weed, making a scarecrow (affectionately known as Bob), and planting seeds to get starter plants growing.

  • ECE: Added coffee grounds into the corn bed to prepare for planting. They've also planted gourds and sunflowers.

  • Kindergarten: Planted flower seeds and observed the garden looking for shapes.

  • First Grade: Planted lettuce.

  • Second Grade: Harvested lettuce, which was sent home with many students last Friday.

  • Third Grade: Planting warm weather vegetables this week.

  • Fourth Grade: Planted flowers and watered plants.

  • Fifth Grade: Harvested chives and watered plants.

Don't forget to sign up as a garden steward this summer, or if you'd like to help as a garden liaison for the 2019-2020 school year. Shout out to Nick’s Garden Center, who again generously donated plants for our mint garden; and to Old Santa Fe Pottery, who donated pots.

Community Book Talk

This month, a group of parents and staff met weekly for intentional race conversations centered around Ijeoma Oluo's book, "So You Want To Talk About Race." Race conversations are challenging and uncomfortable, but discussions were expertly facilitated by Christine Reed, a parent leader from Brave Coalition. She fostered a nurturing environment for us to feel safe when asking vulnerable questions, as we grappled with our own understanding and self-awareness. We discussed implicit bias, privilege, micro-aggressions and the impact they have in our everyday interactions and communities. Christine also provided supplemental resources to deepen our understanding of various topics in the book and connected us with other diversity leaders in our area. Opening our eyes to these deeply systemic issues can feel overwhelming and insurmountable, but our time was focused on action steps to take within our own school community. The book club will be repeated again this fall. Let's continue to get comfortable with uncomfortable conversations as we do the hard work of building an inclusive school community.


Mark Your Calendars...

  • Wednesday, May 29, 1:40-2:40 p.m.: IBCS Variety Show

  • Thursday, May 30, times vary: Field Day (see schedule above)

  • Friday, May 31, 8-11:30 a.m.: Last Day of School


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