Skip to content

October Principal Newsletter

Dear Hayden Peak Families,

Happy October!  It’s a beautiful season, one that is especially fun at school.  Our students are working hard in every grade and subject.  Here are some things you might like to know:

This week is Green Ribbon Week, sponsored by PTA, to highlight student safety.  As part of the week, students are invited to walk to school on Wednesday, October 6.  Because we are already a walking school, this day highlights our safety rules and safe walking routes, and students who walk will receive a treat as they get to school.  Each day this week students are invited to dress for school spirit.  Monday = sports attire, Tuesday = crazy hair, Wednesday = bright or neon colors, Thursday = crazy socks, and Friday = pajamas.  Let’s all be safe!

In literacy, our students are learning in a new way for thirty minutes of their day.  Called “Walk to Read,” all students in grades K-6 are given a short literacy assessment to determine exactly what they need to know next to become mature readers.  From earliest skills (like knowing the different sounds in a simple word) to advanced comprehension and writing, students work in groups of five or more with teachers and reading assistants to learn these skills in three-week cycles.  At other times of the day, classes work as a whole to continue learning phonics skills, practicing more than they have done in recent years.  Older grades work on advanced phonics with multi-syllabic words while younger grades work on foundational skills.  These new programs are shown to effectively improve reading skills for all children.

Speaking of academics, elementary schools are now on a quarter system (instead of trimester), and the first quarter ends October 15th.  Teachers will have progress reports ready for you at parent teacher conferences November 10th and 11th.

Just after first quarter ends, we break for Fall Recess.  There is no school for students from October 18th through the 22nd.  Have a wonderful week off!

Halloween is coming up. We will celebrate at school on October 29th with parties in individual classrooms.  Please contact teachers if you would like to help with your children’s parties.  Our parade will be virtual again this year.  Please email a picture of your children in costume to by October 25th, and we will have the parade ready to view in classrooms on the 29th.

In music and art, Mrs. Michaelis and Mrs. Foote are preparing for our Veteran’s Day program that will be held at 9 and 9:50 on Friday, November 5th, with half the classes performing at each assembly, in order to preserve more social distancing in the gym.  We invite all veterans and their families to attend one of the assemblies.  More information will be coming home soon letting you know which classes will be performing at each assembly, and giving more information for veterans.  We are grateful for your service to the citizens of our country.

We are excited to celebrate student birthdays at school.  Last year, we introduced a birthday cart that visited each classroom once a month to give small prizes to that month’s birthday children.  It became something students requested to continue, so we will!  We combine July with January, so every student gets a birthday recognition.

Please let us know how we can help your family’s experience at Hayden Peak be the best ever.

Kindest Regards,


Jennifer Fisher                                    Cathryn Ford

Principal                                          Assistant Principal

It’s almost Spring!  I can feel it!  I’m writing this newsletter by a sunny window on Sunday afternoon. It’s so nice to see the coldness of Winter fade away.  Spring is the season of change.

We have some changes happening here at school too.  As many of you know, our Administrative Assistant (secretary), Peggy Bawden, is leaving after 21 years at Hayden Peak. She is leaving to become the administrative assistant (secretary) at the new elementary school.  It’s been hard for all of us to watch her go.  Mrs. Bawden has managed the emotional climate at Hayden Peak with fun holiday and monthly traditions for teachers, academic and attendance recognitions for students, kept staff in the know about meetings and trainings, and supplied substitute teachers in classes when teachers have to be out.  She has made sure the budgets are operational, as well as supporting virtually everything else that goes on in our campus.  A whole generation of students have been the recipients of her love and caring.   We know the new school will have a better start and wonderful first years because Mrs. Bawden will be there, but we will miss her deeply.

Taking Mrs. Bawden’s place is one of our own, which we are excited about.  Jeniffer Murphy has been running our student computer lab and recently was promoted to the digital learning coach in our school.  She will now be the administrative assistant (secretary) at Hayden Peak.  She knows all our students and all our traditions.  She brings her own deep skill set and support of students and teachers.  I asked Mrs. Murphy to tell us a few things about herself.  This is what she told me: “After many years working for large corporations like Microsoft and United Airlines, I followed my kids to school.  I have spent the last 15 years working in the schools using my skills in technology supporting administrators, teachers, and students.  I started at Hayden Peak five years ago after moving to Utah for my husband's job.  I have worked in the classrooms with the Meet the Masters program, the computer lab, and recently as a digital learning coach. In my free time I enjoy reading, quilting, crafting and spending time with my family. I am so excited to continue to work with our staff, students, and families in my new role in the office.  Hayden Peak is a great place to be and I look forward to this new adventure!”  We also are looking forward to having Mrs. Murphy in the front office.

Instructional methods change too, and our teachers are deeply immersed in some new programs offered by Jordan District.  As research into best practice becomes more evidence-based and scientific, our district adopts programs with significant results.  Our younger grades have begun using a program that enhances the understanding of phonemic awareness (the ability to distinguish speech sounds that will later be represented by combinations of letters).  Teachers and reading assistants received training on this program in the Fall.  Now, teachers in the upper grades are receiving training on a phonics program that helps students decode multi-syllabic words.  We have a district assigned literacy coach in our building as well as a teacher on special assignment as an instructional coach, and our teachers are continuously improving their skills.  We are excited to be part of a school where all of us are lifelong learners.

As always, let us know when you see ways we can improve our work with your children.  We are excited to see them grow, as we welcome another year of Spring.  Happy Sunshine!

Jennifer Fisher, Principal

Cathryn Ford, Assistant Principal

Click to print a copy of Principal's Newsletter March 2020

If February is a month to focus on love and caring, Hayden Peak is right in step.  This month we are implementing a new strategy for wellness, a “check in—check out” plan for students who might welcome another caring adult to show concern for their well-being.  Managed by our school psychologist, Mr. Stewart, this plan simply allows for students to stop in and say hi to someone in the building at the beginning and end of the day.  There is not a specific agenda that is either social or academic, but students might choose to show a piece of schoolwork they are particularly proud of, or simply have a short conversation, knowing that lots of people care every day that they are in school.  If you feel your child would benefit from this intervention, please call the school and let us know.

Our school currently has a “chronic absenteeism” rate of 37%.  That number includes all students who missed 10 or more days of school last year.  Of course, some absences are enriching; when you take a family vacation and experience new things, vocabulary and context are improved and students learn in ways beyond what school can provide.  Additionally, some illnesses take a few days for recovery, and we don’t want students who feel awful (or are contagious) in the classroom.  However, we do know that students learn best when their attendance is consistent, and we do all in our power to make their time here at Hayden Peak worthwhile.  It helps when you call the school to excuse an illness and make prior arrangements with teachers if you are taking your child out for a planned vacation.  Also, if your child is reluctant to come to school, let us know and we will work to support a reward system that can add some motivation to the already great things happening in class.

As we get to know your children better through this school year, we are keenly aware at how important it is to focus on our students one by one.  We look at lots of data—academic and behavior, growth and proficiency—with lots of acronyms.  We review IEPs and 504s and score PSFs and ORFs.  But it’s the conversations with individual kids that warm our hearts and keep us coming to work each day.  Knowing their struggles and seeing their resiliency is the light and joy of our jobs.  Stay connected with your child’s teachers and us, so we can continue to support each student’s needs, whatever they may be.  Have a terrific month of February!

Jennifer Fisher                                                          Cathryn Ford

Principal                                                                     Assistant Principal

Click on the link below to view/print a PDF copy of this newsletter.

February Principal Newsletter


Hawkeye News

January 2020

Dear Hayden Peak Families,

Welcome back to school!  It’s 2020, a year that we expect to be terrific for our school community.  We know we are not unique in recognizing that the symbolism of “20-20” is about vision, focus and clarity, and we intend to continue our focus on both academic and emotional wellness for our students and staff.

We are excited about some additional supports for our students at recess.  Just before the Winter Recess, we introduced new recess equipment and supply carts.  This month, we are focusing on four recess games that many of our students will enjoy playing together—Four Square, Lightning, Around the World, and Horse.  Our PE teachers are helping students all play with the same rules, and our school psychologist is helping students learn simple conflict resolution strategies to help when kids aren’t sure how to get through a game.  Each class in 5th and 6th grade has chosen two or three recess coaches who will support recesses once a week in grades 1-4, helping students play these games and practice good teamwork.  Of course, participation with a recess coach is optional; the goal is to create more healthy choices for all our students when they are outdoors.  Each month, we will let you know what our selected games are, and you might want to even play them “the Hayden Peak way” at home.  (Just a reminder about recess—students go outside if it is 20 degrees with the wind chill, so do remember to come to school in warm clothes!)

Our academic focus is laser sharp too!  Teachers are participating in on-going training within our school and district intended to strengthen language arts and math instruction as well as preparing for new state science standards in grades K-5 (which haven’t been updated since 2010).   Our students who meet academic goals with their teachers are invited to participate in an academic awards party; the next one will be held school-wide at the end of March.

One of our most enjoyable days with students is the day we bring around the cart of small prizes for perfect attendance each month.  Students are rewarded if they are on time, don’t leave during the day, and are present each school day for a calendar month.  Every month is a fresh start, so illness or an appointment one month won’t ruin future chances.  Thank you for helping your children make it to school on time and every day that they are well.

Thank you for the wonderful support and encouragement you give to our staff and teachers here at Hayden Peak.  We wish you a joyful, focused, peaceful, and Happy New Year!

Jennifer Fisher



Cathy Ford

Assistant Principal

Dear Hayden Peak Families,

Holiday greetings to each one of you this amazing month of December, a time of year when many of us leave our homes and return to them in darkness while still generating extra light throughout the day for celebrations of kindness, generosity, and goodwill.  Though we only meet at school for three weeks this month, our school calendar is bursting with tradition.  Some of the celebratory happenings in our Hayden Peak community are listed here for you.

Event Dates and Times Participants
Holiday Boutique December 5th

11:30 – 1:00 (during lunch)

3:05 – 4:00 (after school)

Students at school purchase gifts for friends and family for $1 each
Flannel & Plaid Day December 6 Students and staff
Ugly Sweater Day December 13 Students and staff
Pajama Day

Sing-Along/Reindeer (Teacher) Games

December 20 9:00 a.m. Students and staff

(not a program for parents)

Harmony Holiday Performance December 9 2:00 in the gym

December 10 6:00 p.m.

West Hills Middle School

Daytime, students

Evening, families

Drama Troupe Presents:

“North Pole’s Got Talent”


December 13 9:00 in the gym

December 13 1:30 in the gym

Students and staff


West Hills Band and Choir December 3 9:15 a.m. Students and staff
Copper Hills Madrigals December 12 2:15 p.m. Students and staff

We hope your needs are met this holiday season.  While we don’t do a formal Santa program here at school, if you are in need or have extra to give, please call our office and we can try to support both giving and receiving.   Additionally, we want our students to stay warm.  We send our children (and the adults who watch them) outside every day the weather (including wind chill) is above 20 degrees Fahrenheit, unless it is raining or snowing hard.  Sometimes our students get caught outside as a storm sweeps in, and it’s important that all students have warm coats.  Gloves, boots and hats are also very helpful.  Help your children come to school prepared, and If you don’t have warm enough clothing, let us know.

As you know, our Winter Break extends from after school on Friday, December 20th through Sunday, January 5, 2020.  If possible, keep or start some reading traditions while students are out of the classroom.  It’s especially fun to read a book together, parent and child taking turns reading pages, discussing simple story elements like character, setting, plot, conflict and theme when reading fiction, and summarizing sections of text when reading non-fiction.  Also, have great conversations about events in your own family history or places you have visited, or dreams for the future.  Reading comprehension is built around background knowledge and vocabulary, and the conversations you have at home directly contribute to success at school.

Please be safe as you travel this month.  On icy days, we give students a few extra minutes to get to school, so take your time if the roads are treacherous.  Throughout this season and as we begin 2020, may your homes and our classrooms be places of peace and goodness.  Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Jennifer Fisher, Principal

Cathy Ford, Assistant Principal

December Principal Newsletter (Click to view/print)

Dear Hayden Peak Families,

It might be cliché, but at Hayden Peak we are focusing on gratitude this month.  Studies continuously emerge linking gratitude with physical, social and emotional well-being.  Grateful people sleep better, have fewer aches and pains, exercise more often, and have more satisfying relationships.  People who live in gratitude report being happier and having less depression.  Gratitude helps with resilience and increased self-esteem.

How can we practice gratitude with children?  Writing thank you notes together nurtures relationships and authentically uses emerging literacy skills.  Delivering and reading the notes in person add the dimensions of building terrific memories and practicing oral communication.  At home, families can create a list of blessings and add to it throughout the month, or individually keep gratitude journals by writing three things at the end of the day each person is grateful for.  You can find free gratitude journal apps for mobile phones, and one positive use of screen time might be to keep a gratitude text or email thread with grandparents or other extended family members, with a challenge for each person to contribute one grateful comment each day.

We are grateful at Hayden Peak for our terrific faculty and staff.  In addition to the most important work of student learning, a school is a place busy with meals and housekeeping, landscaping and custodial work, and maintenance that includes keeping people mostly happy whether it’s 100 degrees outside or 5 below.  (We had an uncharacteristically cold indoor recess day in October when the wind chill outside made it feel like 18 degrees!)  Our office and support staff manage illnesses, injuries, lost teeth and medications as well as all the business of keeping a school stocked with supplies, substitute teachers when needed in classrooms, and children safely checking in and out throughout the school day.  (They could tell you a hundred more things they do each day.) We are grateful for each of them.

Our teachers look forward to meeting with each of you during parent teacher conferences November 6-7.  Thank you for making time to celebrate your children’s growth and set goals for improvement.  If you have not yet made an appointment, please log on to Skyward today to schedule this very important meeting.  Each of our teachers are deeply committed to the work of learning, and we are grateful for the work they do each day.

Thank you for the contributions you make for the well-being of our school community, the grace you extend to us when we fail to do things perfectly, and for sharing your amazing children with us.  We at Hayden Peak wish you a wonderful November and a Happy Thanksgiving.

Jennifer Fisher

Cathy Ford
Assistant Principal

Principal Newsletter Oct 2019 (click to view/print)

Happy October, Hayden Peak Families!  Isn’t this a beautiful time of year!  One of our favorite poems has this stanza:

O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather;”

We love the richness of Autumn colors and the harvest season.  We are also really happy to be at Hayden Peak.  Thank you for greeting us so warmly and stopping to get acquainted and chat.  We love your children and are grateful to be part of a wonderful learning community.  The teachers here at Hayden Peak care deeply about the well-being and comfort of each family we serve, and it is our purpose to support each child and continue the traditions of celebrating learning and growth for each of our students.

As we transition into our work at Hayden Peak, know that we will continue many great traditions.  We will be holding monthly Leadership Luncheons, with one student chosen each month from each class.  These lunches typically happen on the last Friday of the month at 10:45 a.m.  When your child is chosen, you will be notified well in advance.  We also hold regular drawings for Hawkeyes with small rewards for things students are noticed doing well, such as helping another child, following directions, or doing something extra to help their teacher.  At the end of each month, students with perfect attendance and no tardies or checkouts receive a special recognition.  We remind students that this award is given every single month, so when a dentist appointment or sick day can’t be avoided, they will have many chances to receive the award again.  At the end of a learning cycle (about 3 months) students who master learning goals will be honored with a Benchmark Achievement activity.

We are working hard to support the emotional needs of our students.  We are adjusting emergency drill procedures a little bit, so students have advance notice when we have emergency drills, and we are spending more time explaining the purpose and process of these procedures.  We work closely with our wonderful school psychologist and district specialists to help all children feel safe, respected and loved.  As you know from sources everywhere, anxiety in children is increasing.  Our goal is to help students be strong, prepared, and resilient.  We are always available to help if your child needs additional understanding and support.

Hayden Peak has a terrific PTA.  We are grateful for the work they do to enhance learning.  Thank you, PTA, for providing field trips, birthday table, school activities, and all the extra classroom support.  We also have a wonderful School Community Council, helping shape school goals and keep our students safe.  Thank you for all you do!

Have a healthy, safe, beautiful and purposeful month of October.

Jennifer Fisher, Principal

Cathryn Ford, Assistant Principal

August 2019

Dear Students and Parents,

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year at Hayden Peak Elementary!  Everyone here is eager to begin a great new school year.  I am honored to join the Hayden Peak family once again.  As some of you may know I was an Assistant Principal here for two years and I have many fond memories of my time here.  As the Principal of Hayden Peak I intend to work hard to help all students learn and grow and support teachers and staff as we strive to ensure the success of all of our students.  I am grateful for the opportunity to work collaboratively with teachers on a daily basis, while also remaining connected to our students learning and growing in the classroom. I firmly believe that every child can excel and that the partnership between home and school is critical to their success. 

I come to you with 26 years of educational background in Jordan School District.  I received my Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Wyoming.  After graduating I moved to Utah where I taught 6th grade and 6th grade ALPS for 14 years at Jordan Ridge Elementary in South Jordan, Utah.  I received my Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Brigham Young University and then became an Assistant Principal for two years at both Hayden Peak and Welby Elementary.  I then served as the Gifted and Talented Consultant for Jordan School District. After two years at the District Office I was appointed Principal at Welby Elementary and spent the last seven years there.  It is wonderful to be coming back to serve as Principal at Hayden Peak Elementary for the coming years.  I have worked with Mr. Butler in the transition back to Hayden Peak and look forward to continuing the amazing work that has been going on here for many years.

On a personal note I come from a large family whom I love to spend time with.  I am a “favorite aunt” to 16 nieces and nephews whom I adore.  The arts are a large part of my life and I enjoy reading, traveling, baking and entertaining, singing and serving in my community.   

To our students, I cannot wait to meet you all! I hope that you are excited for this coming school year and that you have had a great summer.  It is going to be a fun year learning together.

In closing, please know that my door is always open to you. I welcome the opportunity to get to know all of you and work together to help your children learn and grow.

Enjoy the remaining days of summer!


Jennifer Fisher
Hayden Peak Elementary