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By Esther Valdez

Transformation is defined as a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance. Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

A transformation of hope is exactly what has occurred at Rose Stein International Elementary. Over two years ago this 65-year-old building was neglected, filled to overcapacity and in serious disrepair. Jeffco made the decision to close the school and relocate the students to a neighboring school building. A creative use of capital reserve funds and a dream to bring an innovative school to this poverty-impacted and neglected school building became a reality.  

Our school represents over 60 percent of students learning English as a second language and over 90 percent of our students qualify for the free or reduced lunch program. This diverse thriving community deserves to be heard. This community deserves this investment. I see my role as principal here as an “unexpected gift” and I enthusiastically came on board to lead this renovation and complete redevelopment of this school.

In the process of designing innovative instructional areas with a flexible learning environment, a partnership with the community began designing and envisioning a true centerpiece in the neighborhood, which included an in-house preventive care health clinic partnership with MCPN, preschool services and JCMH mental health resources for families and students all accessible right here in the building. Additionally, our efforts to design an academically focused learning environment, led us to consider the globally minded citizens we are striving to develop.  

This process further guided our decision to adopt the Primary Year’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program. We are a candidate IB school seeking to embed internationally minded action into all our academic learning. Understanding the balanced well-rounded educational experience we are striving to provide all our students helped us expand our renovation to include an athletic field, a new playground and a community garden with outdoor classroom learning areas.  

We are holding community meetings with neighborhood associations, faith organizations, city government, and various District and community leaders to develop a true neighborhood school. The outreach of support for this vision to bring a true community school back into this neighborhood has quickly moved from dream to reality. I actively welcome all visitors, volunteers and families to invest your time and energy in this transformational school that is thriving on bringing hope to our community.  

In summary, I’d like to share our school mission/vision statement, which reflects our school priorities: Rose Stein International is a community of learners empowered to embrace curiosity, collaboration and diverse perspectives. Our actions create a better world! We believe that all students are empowered to embrace curiosity, collaboration and diverse perspectives as global citizens. Come see this magic for yourself.  

Thank you,

Esther Valdez

Esther Valdez is Principal of Rose Stein International Elementary.

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