Trinidad For Children
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 K-12 Writing Contest Information Below!

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2019 Trinidad Area Creative Writing Contest Winners and stories!!!


First Place: Raiyaih Martinez: “Mermaids and Sea Creatures” (p1)
First Place: Keoni Torres: “The Treasure” (p3)
Second Place: Adilynn Velesques: “The Butterfly” (p4)
Third Place: Eliyana Lovato: “Life of a Marshmallow” (p7)
*Special Recognition: Kacey May Adams: “The Blue Planet” (p5)
*Special Recognition: Madison Lee Veltri

First Place: Jeremy Barth: “The Friendly Bear” (p10)
First Place: Isabela Maldonado: “A Snow Globe Adventure” (p12)
Second Place: Ashlynn Armijo: “Stars”
Third Place: Avery Walk: “The Bullied Girl in School” (p27)

First Place: Kami Furia: “The Dragon Under The Rocky Mountains” (p2)
First Place: Katherine Agnello: “The Knight and The Dragon” (p1)
Second Place: Kieonna Lopez: “The Perfect Evening” (close your eyes ladies and gentlemen…) (p2)
Third Place: Sofia Sinda: “A Trip to Remember” (p18)
*Special Recognition: Chrisily Furia: “Nuka” (p12)


First Place: Chris Luna: “The Little Monkey Who Couldn’t” (p34)
First Place: Kiley Geiser: “The Creeping Man Who Sings” (p34)
Second Place: Lydia Starinieri: “237” (p27)
Third Place: Devon Offutt: “Life is a Stone in a Stream” (p37)
*Special Recognition: Megan Pierce: “Sunrise, Sunset” (p38)

Today's Featured Story!

A Snow Globe Adventure
By: Isabela Maldonado

           It was Christmas Eve and grandma and grandpa came to our family gift exchange. Grandma had me, she usually gives me something good, this year she made me a snow globe. She told me it is a gift that you cannot buy but something you will always remember, as she left giggling. It was 9:00 P.M. and everyone had left. I put the snow globe on the table and walked away. All of a sudden, it started to glow. I approached it and shook it. Then, I was pulled into the snow globe.
All of a sudden, I was in a town. I saw a Welcome Center, I walked to the front
door, opened it, and went inside. “Hello,” said an elf. “My name is Jack.”
 “Hi, where am I,” I asked.
“You are in Christmas Country,” Jack replied. “You aren’t from here, are you,” he asked.             
“No, I live in Trinidad, Colorado,” I said.
“That’s not a real place,” he said.
“How do I get home,” I asked.
“You have to go through a portal, it’s Christmas Eve, and it’s 9:10 P.M., it’s 9:10 P.M. we better get you home, and fast” he yelled.
“Why,” I asked.
 “If you don’t get home before 12:00 A.M. you will be stuck in Christmas Country forever.
“Jack, please help me, I don’t want to be stuck here forever.”
“Ok, but the only way out of here is through a portal. Also, there are hard challenges like Candy Cane Maze, it’s a maze full of giant candy canes. Then, Coco Quicksand, it’s quicksand that is made of coco. Last, Gingerbread revenge, that’s where a ginger man has his animals chase you into his house then he tries to eat you.
” That doesn’t sound so bad,” I said.
“Trust me, they're terrible, let’s go,” said Jack.
“Ok, we’ve reached Candy Cane Maze, do you have a plan,” I asked.
“No, let’s just go straight and see what happens,” Jack replied. We went straight until we reached two signs that said left or right. I said left, but Jack said right.We started to fight. Then, I thought about the lines on a candy cane they usually face north west.
“Stop,” I yelled, “let’s go north west.” I told Jack my theory and he agreed with me and we went north west. Then, we came across a dead end.
 “Looks like we’ve reached a dead end,” I said.
 “Please don’t say dead,” Jack pleaded.
            “Can we kick it down? It’s just candy,” I said.
“I guess,’’ Jack said. It started to break, then I looked back and it seemed it had grown back. “Hurry,” I exclaimed. We had been able to escape.
“I want this huge candy cane,” said Jack and he took it. I looked at my watch. It’s 10:00 P.M.
            We started to run. Jack stopped, then I stopped, we’ve reached Cocoa Quicksand. All of a sudden, Jack jumped into the coco quicksand.
“Why did you jump,” I asked.
“There’s no other way,’’ he replied. I thought about it, Jack does know more about Christmas Country and the places in it, then I jumped in.
“How do we get out, can we drink it, I love coco,” I said.
 “No, it will burn your throat and it will kill you,” he told me. Then, we screamed, “HELP!” I looked at Jack and asked “Do you still have that huge candy cane?”
“Yeah, why,” he asked. He handed it to me and I put the round part around a nearby rock and pulled. I was able to pull myself out and then Jack.
“What time is it,” Jack asked.
“It’s 10:45,” I told him. “Hurry, we only have one hour and fifteen minutes left.
As we ran, Jack told me that Gingerbread revenge is the hardest challenge. He said there are a series of tests, they involve gummy bears, gummy snakes, and evil gummy worms. They will chase you into the ginger man’s house. He traps you somewhere.
“Is his house made of logs,” I asked.
“Yeah, why?” he answered.
“Because, it’s over there,” I replied. I heard a growl “Jack, run the bear.” We ran and the snakes and worms came after us to, they were really fast. Then, we reached the ginger man’s house. I opened the front door and went into the house. I looked out a nearby window to see if the gummy animals were still after us. I turned around and saw a ginger man. Smoke started to fill the room. Jack fainted, then I fainted.
I woke up and Jack and I were in a tight Christmas stocking. The ginger man had a fork and knife in his hands. I noticed a lot of cocoa packets everywhere.
I asked “Mr. Ginger man, do you love cocoa?”
He said yes.
“Well, I know a place where you can have a lot of cocoa. Do you know where cocoa quicksand is,” I asked.
 “No, is that actual quicksand because if so you’re the one I will eat you first,” he yelled.
 “Of course not, I just want to make a deal, I own cocoa quicksand and I will give it to you if you let Jack and I go,” I told him. He thought for a while and he said yes. He let us out of the stocking and I gave him the directions to cocoa quicksand. Then, he left.
“Why did you lie?” asked Jack.
“Because, do you want to die all because of a ginger man,” I shouted. “And it’s 11:58 so where is this portal?”
 “Over there,” Jack replied. We started to run.
We made it.
“Jack, thank you for everything,” I said. I jumped through the portal and it was 11:59. The snow globe was in my hand and I saw Jack waving. I was tired so I went to bed. The next morning, it was Christmas. I went to my grandma and grandpa’s house. Before we ate, I pulled my grandma aside.
Confused, I asked, “Grandma, why did you make me a snow globe, did you know about Christmas Country?”
“I told you that it is a gift you cannot buy, but I didn’t tell you that it’s something much more than a snow globe,” She said, “It’s an adventure.”

**Featured Stories are changing daily!

**Books are avaliable for $10 at Laura DeBella's State Farm Agency in Trinidad! 

Trinidad School District #1 Leader In Me Achievment:

  • In 2018, reached Lighthouse Status through the Leader in Me Program.

  • Eckhart Elementary and Fisher's Peak Elementary School are 2 of 517 schools
    worldwide to achieve this amazing honor. 

  • Eckhart Elementary is the ONLY K-1 school worldwide to be recognized as a
    Leader In Me Lighthouse School!

What is a Leader in Me Lighthouse School?

Within the education industry, it is common for schools to receive recognition for outstanding achievement. The Lighthouse Certification is a highly-regarded standard set by FranklinCovey that is attainable by every Leader in Me school. As it is a significant benchmark, applying for this certification typically occurs four to five years after a school begins the Leader in Me process.

The certification is evidence that schools have produced outstanding results in school and student outcomes, by implementing the process with fidelity and excellence. It is also because of the extraordinary impact that the schools may be having on staff, students, parents, and the greater community.

Today, there are more than 300 schools around the world that have earned Lighthouse certification by meeting the following criteria:

• The principal, school administration and staff engage in ongoing learning and develop as leaders, while championing leadership for the school.

• Leadership principles are effectively taught to all students through direct lessons, integrated approaches, and staff modeling. Students are able to think critically about and apply leadership principles.

• Families and the school partner together in learning about the 7 Habits and leadership principles through effective communication and mutual respect.

• The school community is able to see leadership in the physical environment, hear leadership through the common language of the 7 Habits, and feel leadership through a culture of caring, relationships, and affirmation.

• Leadership is shared with students through a variety of leadership roles and student voice leads to innovations within the school.

• Schoolwide, classroom, family and community leadership events provide authentic environments to celebrate leadership, build culture, and allow students to practice leadership skills.

• The school utilizes The 4 Disciplines of Execution process to identify and track progress toward the high priority goals of the school, classroom, and staff members.

• Students lead their own learning with the skills to assess their needs, set appropriate goals, and carry out action plans. They track progress toward goals in Leadership Notebooks and share these notebooks with adults in student-led conferences.

• Teacher planning and reflection, trusting relationships, and student-led learning combine to create environments for highly engaged learning.

Leader in Me schools maintain their Lighthouse Certification for two years and continue to foster their growth in exemplifying a leadership culture. At the end of the two years, schools may recertify to maintain their Lighthouse Certification.

*All previous text taken from the Leader in Me website at
District Facility Goals:

•Address highest priority district needs, starting with the renovation of the Trinidad Middle School to a modern K-12 educational facility.

•Address decades of significant deferred maintenance.

•Ensure the effective and operable use of the facility for the future.

•Improve the student learning enviroment.

•Improve the safety of district students and staff.

•Relieve an overburdened maintenance staff and budget

•Reallocate budget funds from reactive to proactive expenditures

How will the improvements - and how do district staff - plan to increase student’s academic performance?

1.  Better building conditions will create a better learning environment for students and teaching environment for teachers.

2.  A competitive salary schedule will recruit high quality teachers.

3.  Updated technology such as laptops, Chromebook, software/hardware, bandwidth provide teachers with quality teaching resources and students with learning resources.

4.  Safety and security improvements such as security cameras and security doors.

5.  Newer fleet of buses will aide in safe transportation for students.

6.  Embedded onsite professional development using instructional coaches will enhance student’s educational experience.

7.  Social/emotional/mental health resources for students will assist in learning.
School Finance 101: What Every Coloradan
Should Know About Education Funding

An equitable formula
Since 1994, Colorado’s School Finance Act (the “Act”) has been designed to ensure every student in Colorado has the same educational opportunity regardless of wherethe student lives. Under the Act, the total per-pupil funding received by each school district includes a “base” per-pupil amount (base funding) that represents what it takes to educate an average student in an average district. The base amount is then adjusted by “factors,” which account for unique local circumstances such as size, at-risk students in the district, cost of living and personnel costs.

The factors equalize funding across districts by addressing the increased per-pupil costs for a district to
educate its students when, for example, a high percentage of pupils are from at-risk populations or when the necessary costs of running a school and hiring staff are divided among a small student population in an isolated rural district.

Amendment 23 and adequate funding
Amendment 23 was a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2000 to reverse a decade of lost funding experienced by Colorado school districts throughout the 1990s. During that decade, Colorado’s education spending did not keep pace with growth and the inflation rate, and each year per-pupil funding for education in Colorado fell steadily further and further behind the national average.

Amendment 23 required K-12 funding to increase each year by the inflation rate plus 1 percent until 2011, and thereafter by inflation. The intention was to provide stable and predictable funding increases for Colorado school districts and to bring the total per pupil funding amount in Colorado back to 1989 levels when adjusted for inflation.

For a decade, the Colorado legislature and the governor interpreted Amendment 23 to require these funding increases each year to be based on the total per-pupil funding – that is, on the total of base funding plus the factors. This interpretation preserved the fairness and equities built into the school finance funding formula and it was consistent with the intent of Amendment 23 to bring total per-pupil funding in Colorado back to 1989 levels.

The Negative Factor
Beginning in the 2009-10 school year, in response to the economic downturn and resulting budget crisis, the legislature changed its interpretation of Amendment 23 and declared that Amendment 23 only required the legislature to increase the base funding each year. Under this new interpretation, funding for the factors could be cut by the legislature. The legislature proceeded to add a new “negative factor” to the school finance funding formula as a mechanism to enact across-the-board cuts to school finance funding each year.

The negative factor has forced all Colorado school districts to make cuts to important educational programs. Moreover, the negative factor has destroyed the equalizing mechanism in the school finance funding formula by disproportionately impacting districts and communities that rely most heavily on the factors to attain equity with other districts. The legislature also has continued to pass significant new mandates that impose additional unfunded and costly obligations on school districts already struggling to serve students with dramatically reduced funding.

The total funding school districts have lost by application of the negative factor since 2009-10 is more than $5 billion. The negative factor has destroyed the equities built into the school finance funding formula. It is a violation of the legislature’s own interpretation of Amendment 23 during the first decade after it was passed by the voters. Until the negative factor is eliminated, every new program, initiative or reporting requirement is an unfunded mandate on local school districts.