News From the Top

News from The Top
August 18th, 2017

(Para información en español llamen a la escuela 720.972.2209 y podemos traducir esta carta oralmente.  Gracias!)


Eclipse Flow - PLEASE READ

  • 6th grade - Teachers will meet their 4th hour class on the softball field at 11:30.  Please be sure your students bring any viewing glasses with them to lunch as they will not be able to return to their lockers to get them. Students without permission slips may be sent to the cafeteria.  At 11:50 Please walk your 6th grade students back through the A100 doors to return to their rooms.

  • 7th grade/Electives - At 11:30 elective teachers will take the students with permission slips to the blacktop outside of the cafeteria. Send the remainder without permission slips to the cafeteria.  At 11:50 please help 7th graders get into the cafeteria for their lunch.

  • 8th grade -  Release 3rd hour class 4 min early so that students can get to their 4th hour class by 11:30.  Take 4th hour students with permission slips to the football field at 11:30  Students without permission slips may be sent to the cafeteria.  At 11:50 please escort your 4th period students through the C100 doors into the building.

  • If you were able to get extra classes from Grease Monkey or anywhere else and are willing to share please connect with the science teacher at your grade level or with Brent Stauffer if you are in electives or a special provider so that we can maximize the resources we have in the building.

  • Alternative activity - Students without permission slips will be able to view the NASA Eclipse Livestream

  • ALL teachers should be wearing your vests outside.

  • 7th Grade Teachers ONLY: We will need you to help monitor the perimeter of the school. Position yourself at lengths close to the fence line along the east side of the football field and softball field. Also along the fence line of the Larry Walker Field parking lot and southside tennis court fence line. Wear your yellow vests. If there are any suspicious looking folks up in the parking lot or along the railroad tracks, contact an administrator or Officer Parker immediately.

PEO Board  Our Professional Enrichment Opportunity board goes LIVE on Monday! We want to give a shout out to our Instructional Leaders who will, by placing their names on the PEO board, be asking for feedback from YOU very soon. Next to the board, you will find large sticky notes for you to write your NAME, DATE and the TIME you would like to be observed. (We need this in case a note falls off!) Then place your sticky note on the board in the appropriate location so your peers can learn from you and you from them.

Rocky Top READS! Though October 20th seems far away, it’ll be here before we know it! PLEASE help us gather the most robust list of guest readers possible so that students are motivated to raise money for YOUR classrooms. Here is a link to the list of proposed volunteers which is by no means complete; feel free to invite ANYONE you think may be appealing to students. We’ve created a rather generic invitation---feel free to share it with others or create your own based on the same information. When you’ve secured a volunteer, please note it on the ‘Confirmed Volunteer’ tab.

House Points for Students You probably heard us announce a student earning House points for an act of kindness yesterday. We would love for you all to notify us of other students following suit. Heather Jo is developing a form for staff to complete, then she’ll update the point on the board under the stairs by the gym as the recognition forms come in. Keep your eyes open for our kind kids!

Office Refrigerator Changes Since we are now using the refrigerator in the student store to store food for Grizzly Grub, we need a new spot to store the food for Student Recognition Breakfasts and other whole staff events. We are now designating one refrigerator in the office as the “Events Refrigerator.” All individual lunches, snacks, etc. must be placed in the non-Events refrigerator and because it will be full, Heather will clean it out every Friday to ensure enough available space for everyone’s food. Thanks for your help and cooperation with this.

Drills: Fire, Evacuation, Tornado Our first and only announced drill of the year will take place Monday, August 28, at 9 am. With a number of you in different rooms this year, familiarize yourself with the route you and your students will take out of the building. Each room should have an evac route map next to  your door. If you don’t have that map, let Rob Sears know as soon as possible. If you are not sure where you are to take your class then shoot him an email to let him know or ask your neighbor in the class next to you. Have your red crisis book updated with current rosters and evacuation map. There should also be a green and a red card with your room number on it. Remember to wear your vest and have your room locked and lights out when you leave. Make your way to your spot out on the fields and take attendance immediately. Once you complete attendance put up your red card if anyone is unaccounted for. Green card if everyone is accounted for.  You will be cleared to go back in by an administrator in your area.

6th GRADE ONLY: we will be doing our evacuation drill to Larry Walker Fields immediately after the fire drill is over. 6th grade goes to field #4 (see map below) and you will line up your class in the outfield. Take attendance one more time just as you did for the fire drill. An administrator will dismiss one class at a time to go back towards the school and it will be explained to each individual class how the reunification process will work if this were an actual evacuation. Finally, explain to your students the importance of this drill and it is not a time to goof around. They need to stay in line as they are moving from one location to another.

Core Talks Just as we did last year, all necessary school wide rules and regulations will be presented to students via video on Wednesday, August 23rd. Please communicate with your grade level liaison to determine a plan for viewing. The video will be available Wednesday morning.

ACYI Student Survey This year our student perception survey will be administered Tuesday, September 19th. Talk to your grade level liaison to share your opinion regarding administration of the survey. Please plan to chat with students prior to administering the survey to ensure they understand that it is TRULY ANONYMOUS and explain how we utilize the data to establish policies and procedures throughout Rocky Top.

Lockdown Drill  will take place September 12th.  This means that you will show the video to your students on September 11th during 1st period.   Every teacher who teachers a 1st period class needs to be sure to show this video on Sept. 11th.  After the video, teachers need to take time to answer student questions.  Remember this video can be found through under Courses > start of year trainings: Required > Yellow folder > Face-to-Face Presentation Strongly Recommended > Advancing School Safety Video.

Club Fair  Here is our list of current club offerings. If you have not submitted your club idea, please do so Right here ASAP!! Also, take a look at the days of the week that clubs are being offered so that you can get the participation numbers you want!

Upcoming Events

Office Closed  On Monday, August 21st our front office will be closed from 11:25 - 12:00 so our whole staff can assist with supervision of students who are outside viewing the eclipse and those who are viewing the live stream of the eclipse.  If you need to pick your child up during this time, please plan ahead and arrive prior to 11:10.

Parent Workshop: Getting Connected @ RTMS Join us from 6:00 to 7:30 PM Monday, September 11th to learn how to navigate your child’s Chromebook, locate class-specific information and understand Infinite Campus. Be sure to bring your child’s device, username and password to make the most of this hands-on workshop! Click HERE to RSVP.

(REPEAT) Picture Day/IDs Picture Day is Thursday, August 24th. Your Grizzly will receive her/his ID and lanyard on this day and be expected to wear it to school every day after the 24th. If your child is not at school on this day, s/he will have to wait until Friday, September 29th (Picture Re-take Day) to receive their ID. Until then, we will provide a “permanent” temporary ID to use until Sept. 29th.

General School Business

Core Talks This upcoming week our students will watch a video detailing our school wide rules and expectations. We will be sure to link the video on the main page of our website and we’ll share it in next week’s edition of NfTT. Please watch this video so you can discuss key points with your child and be aware of what is expected of them while they are at school.

Dress Code If your kids are anything like ours, chances are high that they grew a LOT this summer! Remember that our slogan here at Rocky Top is “No Breasts, No Bellies, No Butts.” If any of these body parts are showing, students will be asked to change clothes. If they do not have appropriate alternate clothing, we will provide them with some. No middle schooler wants to be called out for this, so take some time to go through your closets this weekend and donate all of that clothing that your kiddos outgrew this summer!
Remember, shorts must have an inseam of 3 inches or more, no pockets can be visible, no undergarments can be visible and no chains or spikes or inappropriate logos are permitted. (Click HERE to read the Superintendent Policy for dress code.)  

Rocky Top Houses Are you wondering what this whole House thing is about at Rocky Top?  Each House consists of a 6th grade core, a 7th grade core and an 8th grade core.  Electives and special teachers are included in houses too!  If you don’t know what core you are in, read below to find out!  If you have classes in more than one core, your house is the core that you have most of your classes in.

Points can be awarded for various house competitions that take place throughout the year, and individual students can earn points for various acts that are also listed below!  At the end of the year we will celebrate the winning house!

Aspen House

Head of House:

Ms. McNiff (Counselor)

Mountain House

Head of House:

Mr. Sears (Dean)

Snow House

Head of House:

Ms. Beuke (Counselor)

Sun House

Head of House:

Ms. Bernabe (Counselor)













Type of Student Act


Individual Points

Group Points

Act of Kindness

Toward self, other, community, environment...



School-Based Compliance

Wearing ID’s, attendance checks, cafeteria cleanliness, etc...




Spirit Wars and other challenges




Fundraising, canned food drive, etc...




Scholarly Habits, academic growth, etc...



(REPEAT) Grizzly Grub: Morning Snack is Served! This year Rocky Top will be offering quick and healthy morning snack options through our concession stand from 8:00 to 8:20 AM each morning beginning Monday, August 21st. Students may enter through the activities entrance as those doors lead to the cafeteria. Students will purchase their items then head back outside to enjoy the fresh Colorado air. The gates will be down, prohibiting access to the rest of the building so if students need to come in for a study session they will still need to enter through the main entrance.
We will sell items such as fruit, yogurt, breakfast bars and breakfast sandwiches. Rocky Top Grizzly Grub is not part of the main cafeteria, so all items must be purchased with cash and will cost $.50 to $3.00. We are looking forward to offering this to our Grizzly students so everyone can have a chance to get a little food in their system before an awesome day of learning!


Let’s Watch The Eclipse: PART 2! Every student who has turned in a signed permission slip will be heading outside to view the eclipse starting at 11:30 AM and return to their regularly scheduled classes after the near totality (92%) at 11:50 on Monday. We hope you were able to obtain some eclipse viewing glasses for your student because rumor has it they are largely sold out across the Front Range. If not, be sure to sign the permission slip anyway as your student will be able to see the eclipse with a pinhole viewer.
Students without signed permission slips will be able to view the eclipse livestreamed through the NASA website We are anticipating that most students will be in attendance on Monday because we are ensuring time for each to view the eclipse. However, if you are planning to take your student to Wyoming to view or will be absent for a different reason PLEASE call our attendance line (720.972.2337) today and leave a message so that we can have an accurate record for student attendance as early as possible.

Help Sessions Teachers offer help sessions before and after school for students to attend to get extra help, study for an upcoming assessment, study after an assessment they didn’t perform well on, or to retake an assessment.  The days and times these are available can be found HERE, or click the Help Session Schedule on the left side of our webpage!

Counseling Den

Meet Our New Counselors

Nicole Bernabe, 6th Grade -- Nicole is new to the Colorado area after moving here from Washington state. Prior to joining the Rocky Top team, she worked at Gonzaga University where she was able to see how the lessons students learn in middle school continue to impact students all the way through college. Nicole is excited to be a Grizzly and learn from and with the 6th graders.

Rachel McNiff, 7th Grade -- Rachel was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado. Before joining the Rocky Top team this year, she was a counselor at Arapahoe High School in Littleton, Colorado. Outside of her workday, she enjoys reading, hiking, eating and spending time with her husband, friends and large family. Rachel is excited to be a Grizzly and to support younger students in learning skills to help them in high school and the years beyond.

Helpful Resources for Parents Check out this blog post from the American School Counseling Association: The Transition to Middle School: Tips for Parents  

(REPEAT) Class Change Requests Schedule changes must occur within the first two weeks of school and are only considered if a class change request form is filled out and turned into the main office. Submitting a form does not guarantee a schedule change and priority is given to situations of duplicate, missing and/or incorrect placements. The link for the form can be found on the Rocky Top Counseling Webpage. Please make sure your student is checking their email. We will respond to these course change requests via email to let them know if we were able to make the requested change.

Community News

Volunteers Needed! We need parent volunteers to help out in a variety of ways throughout Rocky Top. Parents are welcome to help out in our library media center, cafeteria, and around the school grounds---just let us know you’re interested! Right now we are in particular need of help at our crosswalks in the mornings and afternoons as well as in our cafeteria at the beginning of September as we begin composting. If you are interested, complete our volunteer form, contact the Dean of Students, Robert Sears at 720-972-2211 or email him at

(REPEAT) Composting Champions Volunteer Now!! Rocky Top is honored to be a pilot school participating in the Adams 12 Five Star Schools’ composting program. By diverting compostable waste and recyclables from landfills we are protecting a greener future for generations of Grizzlies to come. To make this the most successful venture, we need YOUR help once the program begins in September! If working with kids to save the planet fills your bucket, add your name to our volunteer form because our Grizzly students will have to learn a lot at the beginning to make the program a success. Also, please help us gather baseline data regarding composting by taking just a few minutes to complete this survey.

Safety and Security

Drills: Fire, Evacuation, Tornado and Lockdown Your students will be participating in each of these drills from late August through early September. Fire drills are conducted once per month, tornado drills twice each year, and lockdowns twice each year. Regarding lockdown drills, we always have an announced, pre-planned drill in early September then a surprise drill in the Spring. We also make a point to have sixth grade practice evacuating to Larry Walker fields after our first fire drill then conduct a whole school evacuation once a year.

(REPEAT) Parking Lot Student drop off and pick up is in the north parking lot. The south parking lot is for buses and staff ONLY. You may also use the the parking lot by the Larry Walker baseball fields.
To avoid too much congestion, we suggest that if your child rides the BUS you encourage them to do so! It would also be great if your child can walk or ride her/his bike to school---the bike racks and skateboard/scooter racks are located at the back of the building.

For our returning Grizzlies, the drop off and pick up will work in the same manner as it did last year. If you are new to Rocky Top, please enter the north parking lot and follow the cones and yellow tape. If you come in through the outside lane, please pull your car all the way around the lot toward the northeast corner as far as you can. Once you’ve come to a stop, have your child exit on the passenger side of the car so that they step directly onto the sidewalk. If you come through the inside lane, drive all the way through until you reach the inside of the parking lot. At that time your child may exit the vehicle and proceed to the crosswalk. Don’t worry...if you’re patient it will work out fine and there will be plenty of staff out there to help you!


The best advice for the afternoon is to come as early as possible as parking spots in the lot and along the curb fill up quickly.

We ask for your patience during the first couple of days of school and during inclement weather. Be flexible and always know that you can use the much bigger lot up at the Larry Walker fields.

Stay in Touch!
Check our website at for important updates, or follow Rocky Top Middle School on Facebook and Rocky Top Rocks @RockyTopLeaders on Twitter