January 2015 Risley Post

The Risley Post

8th Grade Art Show

Submitted by Ms. Michelle Smalley

Native Americans have a rich history and visual culture. During the 2nd Quarter, Risley’s 8th grade art classes explored three different Native American art forms. Students learned weaving skills by making a dream catcher and a coil basket. They also learned about totem poles and Native American myths and legends. On December 18th, Risley hosted an art exhibit in the media center to showcase all of the hard work the 8th grade art classes have been doing. Totem poles were displayed with the students choice of a spirit animal. Comic strips showed an invented myth or legend for their spirit animal. The dream catchers and baskets were nicely laid out with the artist's name. When families entered the art show, students showed their parents how to make a fun Native American tribe name. Some Native American power foods were also served. The art show was enjoyed by all in attendance and Ms. Smalley is already planning the next art show, which will be held during 3rd quarter.


Risley PRIDE Leadership

News and Events

PRIDE Leadership has elected both a new secretary and treasurer. 7th grader, Alyse Black was voted as secretary. Her understudy is 8th grader Lexie Beaver. Sharon Guerra was elected treasurer and her understudy is Lilly Villa both girls are in the 6th grade.

PRIDE Leadership is still being led by our president, David Martinez and vice president, Marisa Grimaldo in the 8th grade. The other members of PRIDE Leadership are Chyanne Pollock , Larissa Tomlinson, Jada Sisneros and Danyka Humphrey. All of these students helped with the Christmas coat drive and we are so excited to announce that by joining the event, Risley students helped out 35 people in need this winter!!

Keep an eye out for the next event sponsored by PRIDE Leadership during the week of Valentine’s Day, which will be "Kindness Week". PRIDE Leadership will be selling cards and locker banners that will be delivered by Grizzly on the morning of the day of the Valentine's dance, February 12th or 13th. All cards will be delivered as long as they are school appropriate and the person’s name that it will be delivered to is legible. All cards will be available for $0.50 and locker banners will be $1 to $2.  Tune into morning announcements for more information.


Parent Involvement Corner 

                  Submitted by Mrs. Elaine Madrid

WE NEED BOX TOPS!   Did you know that every Box Top is worth a dime?  We challenge  all students to remind "the cook" in your family to be on the look out for box tops. You can find them on cereal boxes and other kitchen products.  The CLASS that brings in the most Box Tops by Valentine's Day will  receive ICE CREAM FLOATS.  The GRADE LEVEL that brings in the most Box Tops will receive a special sweet treat!! Remember, all students benefit from the money raised with Box Tops.  Movie day, dances, treats and other incentives are provided through Student Activity monies raised at school. The more we earn the more we play!!   Thank your parents for staying involved by supporting the Box Tops Program.


Next year the Parent Portal will be required for school registration. As a result, ALL FAMILIES must log in to the Parent Portal for registration and class schedules.  If your parents have not accessed a Parent Portal account, please encourage them to do so this year. They must see me or the office to receive a personal activation key required to access Parent Portal accounts. I can help your parents through the process of creating an account. All they have to do is call the school and leave a message for Mrs. Madrid.  I will return the call and set up a time to walk them through the process.  It only takes approximately 10 minutes for the training. 


 Globe Trotters Society

Submitted by Jordan Gonzales

 Does anybody know what the Globe Trotters Society is? Well the Globe Trotters Society is a fun after school activity you can join. To join this club and participate in the activities, you need to have one side of your Passport to Success completely filled out, when it gets completely full you become a lifelong member! Some of the fun and exciting things we do are: learn about different cultures, go on field trips, and try different types of food! Lastly, you get to hang out with friends and some of the coolest teachers like Ms. Dady! For more information contact Ms. Dady or any of the members of the club. Thank you for your time!


         Music Notes   

            Mr. Matt Kouba—Director

December was a busy month for our choir. We sang Christmas Carols around the school and in classrooms. We sang at the Jingle Mingle, the Pueblo Country Club, and our Risley Winter Concert. Our jazz band performed at the Annual Jazz Fest for the Pueblo Arts Alliance. We played really well, and we know we are one of the best jazz bands in the city.  Our next performances will be in March. Our band and choir will perform at East High School.


 Featured Teachers & Staff


Mr. Mario Arellano


Mr. Arellano was born in Pueblo, Colorado. He attended Risley Middle School and Pueblo Central High School. Mr. Arellano went to Colorado State University in Pueblo and received his bachelor's and his masters degree in history with an emphasis in Early America and the American Southwest.

He wanted to become a teacher because he wanted to teach the subject he loved- history. Mr. Arellano also had visions, or goals to coach baseball and softball. He has been teaching for six years. Mr. Arellano is married to Mrs. Arellano and together they have three daughters, Victoria, Gracie, and Gloryana. He is the youngest of three boys and his entire family was raised in and around the Eastside of Pueblo.

Mr. Arellano’s hobbies are playing and coaching baseball and softball, hunting, fishing, or anything that involves quality time with his family and friends. He also enjoys trying new foods and traveling to experience new cultures and traditions. He has traveled to 22 of the 50 states and he has been to both Mexico and Canada. His favorite thing about our school is the fact that he knows so many of our students and their families. Some of Mr. Arellano’s goals are to teach at a college level and travel all around the world. The quote he’d like to share with students is: “The three C’s of life : choice, chance, and changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or life will never change”   



Mrs. Rachel Cesario


Mrs. Cesario is native to Pueblo. She attended Freed Middle School and Centennial High School. She also attended CSU-Pueblo and majored in business administration for her bachelor’s degree and University of Phoenix for her master’s degree in Secondary Education in English. Mrs. Cesario’s kids went to school full time while she started her teaching career. Mrs. Cesario has been teaching for 10 years. She is married and has two children, a daughter and a son. She also has a new grandson who was born in December. Most of the rest of Mrs. Cesario’s close family lives in Pueblo, except for her brother. He lives in Denver with his family.

Mrs. Cesario enjoys travelling, gardening, reading, and spending time with family. She has travelled to most of the United States and outside of the country she has visited Mexico and Canada. Mrs. Cesario’s favorite thing about Risley is the relationships that can be made with staff and students. She also likes that there are many programs for students to choose from and take part in.  Her favorite quote is by the great philosopher, Aristotle: “ The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” She also says that it is important for students to know that sometimes school seems tough or boring, but the struggle is worth it.


Ms. Jessica Garcia

Ms. Jessica Garcia was born in Pueblo, Colorado on February 12, 1984. She went to Roncalli Middle School and Central High School for almost all of her high school years except for her junior year, which was spent in Denver. She wanted to become a teacher because she loves being a role model and being in a position of leadership.  She is a big sister and an aunt and wanted to continue influencing people. Ms. Garcia attended Manhattan College and majored in mathematics with an emphasis in education. She has been teaching for seven years. She is one of six children with a younger sister and two older sisters and brothers. They are the light of her family.

Ms. Garcia loves playing soccer. She played D1 in college and semi-pro. She also loves playing football,  being outside, and learning and reading about history. She has travelled to Costa Rica, Argentina, and Ireland  as well as all over the United States.  Her favorite thing about Risley is the students and being able to work with some of her family and best friends. She hopes that the system of education changes and begins to truly serve our students and that schools can become a place where all students can thrive and learn.  


By Officer Jason Smith 




 Seatbelts: Should I wear it or not?

The old question of whether we should wear seatbelts or not is still a question I hear people talk about.   The latest figures show that approximately 40,000 people die each year in car accidents and that it is the leading cause of death for people under the age of 35. 

Seatbelts are designed to protect, it’s the law and statistics prove that wearing one is safer than not wearing one.  A three-point harnessed seatbelt will protect vital internal organs and bones. 

I’ve heard several reasons why people don’t wear seatbelts to include;

“I’m only going to the shopping center.”  But what people don’t realize is that 80% of traffic fatalities occur within 25 miles from home and under 40 miles an hour.

“I’m afraid the belt will trap me in the car.”  Statistically, the best place to be during an accident is in your car.  If you’re thrown out of the car, you’re 25 times more likely to die. 

“They’re uncomfortable.” Actually, modern safety belts can be made so comfortable that you may wonder if they really work. Most of them give when you move- a device locks them in place only when the car stops suddenly. 

In the end statistics show that:

Seat belts can reduce injury and death rates by 50%

Adults aged 18-34 are less likely to wear seat belts than those 35 and older

Men are 10% less likely to wear seat belts than women

In 2011, 58% of teen drivers killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt

Teens have the lowest seat belt use of any other age group

Everyone inside the car, no matter what age, should be wearing a seatbelt.  If everyone was a safe driver then car manufactures wouldn’t be putting seatbelts in the vehicles and there wouldn’t be State Laws on wearing them.  Look at it as you’re the safe driver but you don’t want to leave your kids without a parent because a bad driver caused a wreck and everyone in the car wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.  And as kids buckle up even if your parents don’t, the next life saved could be your own. 

1 https://ehs.okstate.edu/kopykit/seatbelt.htm

2 http://www.vdriveusa.com/resources/driving-without-a-seat-belt-statistics.php


 Counselor's Corner

Ms. Gina  Curtis  and 

Ms. Michelle Montoya


Test Taking Tips for Middle School Students

You have all just finished with your Galileo Assessments and make up  tests are happening for students who were absent.  It is important to take the testing process seriously.  Why?  Here are a few of the main reasons:

*It shows your teachers and family what your knowledge level is and what you have achieved

*It reflects in your grades

*It is important for your school:  It reflects on the rating of your school – positive ratings mean more supplies, books, activities, teachers, and technology

*It is very important for your future success in high school and in preparing for a 2 or 4 year college or trade school

Make sure you attend school regularly. Remember that tests reflect your overall achievement. The more often you are in a learning situation, the more likely you will do well on tests.

Stay encouraged and think positively.   A student who is afraid of failing is more likely to make a mistake.

Eat a well-rounded diet.  A healthy body leads to a healthy, active mind.

Complete your homework assignments.  Homework supports classroom instruction and can help you increase the comprehension of the classroom work.

Ask the teacher(s) to suggest activities for you to do at home.   Activities can help you improve your understanding of schoolwork.

Ensure that you are well-rested on school days.  Students who are tired are less likely to pay attention in class or to handle the demands of class work and tests.

Take the test and testing sessions seriously.  They are very important for your future success

Find out your test schedule in advance.  Your school counselor can provide you with a schedule of testing for the year and explain the use of the tests.

Arrive at school on time.

Dress comfortably in accordance with school policy.   Students should wear clothes which are comfortable and appropriate for the weather.

If you wear a hearing aid and/or glasses, be sure you remember to wear them during all testing sessions.

  Featured Teachers & Staff

Ms. Erin Murphy

Ms. Murphy was born in El Paso, Texas. She came to Pueblo because she wanted to teach in a school where she could make a difference. Ms. Murphy attended Walter E. Clark Middle School and Americas High School. She went to college at the University of Texas at El Paso and graduated with an interdisciplinary degree with an emphasis in Mathematics. Ms. Murphy wanted to become a teacher because of her father. She has been teaching for 3 years. Ms. Murphy’s hobbies are playing billiards, doing hot yoga, getting her nails done, and hanging out with her two favorite teachers Ms. White and Ms. Vite. When Ms. Murphy played college basketball she got to go to Hawaii for two weeks. Her favorite thing about Risley is having math 360 classrooms. Ms. Murphy plans to teach outside of the U.S. and travel the world one day.    


Ms. Annie Filpi

Ms. Filpi was born in Palm Springs, California. She moved to Pueblo to be closer to her brother who is a teacher at South and to have her daughter in daycare with family. She went to middle school and high school in tiny towns in New Mexico and her graduating class only had  10 students. Ms. Filpi traveled around and attended several universities in Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico. She completed her undergraduate degree and masters degree at Eastern New Mexico University. Her undergraduate degree is in education with a minor in math and her masters degree is in sports administration.


She wanted to become a teacher because she comes from a family of educators. Her mom and dad are administrators and they followed in her grandparents’ footsteps, who were also teachers. She said, “I think it is a way of life for my family, as my brothers are both teachers as well.”  Ms. Filpi has been teaching for eleven years. She taught first grade for her first 3 years before moving to middle school. Her family consists of growing up with her mom and dad and her two awesome brothers who are her best friends. Her older brother is a language arts teacher at South and her youngest brother teaches 2nd grade in New Mexico. Her mom and dad still live in New Mexico. She has a beautiful 2 year old girl, Taylor, who is the center of her world. Some of her hobbies include playing with her daughter, riding her four wheeler, and watching baseball. She also enjoys road trips, spending time with friends and family, and learning anything new.

Ms. Filpi has traveled to almost all of the states in the U. S. and Boston is by far her favorite city. Other fun travel experiences include her yearly trip to Phoenix for spring training, and a trip up Highway 1 in California. Her favorite thing about Risley is the staff. She adores the people she gets to work with on a daily basis. Some of her hopes and goals for the future  include obtaining a PhD in curriculum, having one for two more beautiful babies, and having lots and lots of fun.

Her motivational message is to remember that life is all about choices. We all make bad ones from time to time. The key is to realize a bad one and change it as soon as possible.


Mrs. Linda Garcia


Mrs. Garcia was born in Pueblo, Colorado. She was born in what was at one time, “the oldest house in Pueblo.” It was an adobe house located on Joplin Ave. between Catalpa Ave. and Beech Ave. The house was razed when Joplin was widened into four lanes. Prior to being a house, it was a jail, a post office, and a grocery store. She attended Risley Jr. High (grades 7-9) and East High School. She graduated from U.S.C. (University of Southern Colorado), which is now CSU-Pueblo. She had a double major in Spanish and English, with a minor in education. She earned her masters degree from Adams State College majoring in  education with emphasis on literacy.

She wanted to become a teacher because she's always respected her teachers and because they taught her so much new information. She said, “I wanted to become a teacher so I could hopefully reach out and teach students new ideas that can help them in life.” Ms. Garcia has been teaching for twenty years—all at Risley! She feels so connected to the students and community.

She is very proud of her family and it consists of her husband Jerry who she has been married to for 38 years. “We have two wonderful sons and two great daughters- in law”.  Jason, her oldest son, and his wife Leah  live in Westminster, Colorado with their two children, Elijah and Savannah. Julian her youngest son and his wife Julia live in Lincoln, California with their three children Justice, Novah, and Jayce. “We are proud of our family and support them in any way we can.” She believes in faith, family and friends. Her hobby is spending time with family and friends. She loves to cook and plan get-togethers. She likes to scrapbook so she can create her family history. Some of the places she has traveled to consist of Europe, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy. Her two favorite places were the Vatican in Italy and Berlin, Germany. Some of the favorite things about Risley are working with her co-workers, the students, and the READ 180 program. Ms. Garcia’s motivational message is, “It doesn't matter where you came from, but it does matter where you're going.