The Pony Press

Friday, October 7th, 2022

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Families and Community,

If you've had the pleasure of picking your child up from school at the end of the day, I often walk out the front doors and say, "Well, another great day!" As I reflect on our wrapping up week number 7, I just feel so lucky to say, "Well, another great week at UPES!" Our school might be small in structure and capacity compared to many others across this great state, but I guarantee we have the heart, the drive, and the passion to shine just as bright (or brighter).

Parent/Teacher conferences are right around the corner, and we couldn't be more excited to partner with you in sharing successes of these amazing students! In order to support scheduling, if you have multiple students attending UPES, you should have received a school messenger this morning with a sign-up link. Everyone else will receive the link on Monday, October 10th. Conference slots are 20 minutes with options on Thursday afternoon and evening as well as Friday morning until noon. Students will be dismissed at 12:30 on Thursday, October 20th, and will not attend school on Friday, October 21st. Our staff puts a lot of work into preparing conferences, and we sure appreciate you taking the time to attend them! (Also, plan on arriving a few minutes early to conferences in order to peruse the ever-growing Lost and Found for missing jackets, hats, water bottles, stale crackers, you name it!)

Every year, no matter what school I'm at, I set up something near the front door called an "Appreciation Station". This will be a table with various thank you cards, blank pieces of paper, and bags for each staff member. When you come for your conference, please take a moment to stop at the Appreciation Station and drop a note (or two) for your child's teacher, a specials' teacher, interventionist, secretary, special education staff, kitchen or custodial member, support staff, or anyone you feel inclined to appreciate! I will pass all the notes to staff when they leave on Friday. Let's work together to grow the hearts of our incredible UPES staff!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of all the things that fuel your soul!


Your partner in education,

Jackie Powell, Ute Pass Principal

Important Info for next week...

Monday, October 10th

  • Specials Day 3
  • Hearing and Vision Screening for K, 1, 2, 3, 5
  • Honor Choir Practice 3-3:45 pm
  • Landsharks Meet 5 pm

Tuesday, October 11th

  • Specials Day 1
  • PAC and SAC meeting 3 pm (everyone is invited to attend!)

Wednesday, October 12th- not a late start!

  • Specials Day 2
  • Creative Movement Connect14 class at UPES

Thursday, October 13th

  • Specials Day 3
  • Ping Pong Connect14 club at UPES

Friday, October 14th

  • No School for Students- Staff Work Day

Important Dates in October


5- Late Start Wednesday (School begins at 9:55, tardy bell at 10:00)

10- Hearing and Vision Screenings for K,1,2,3,5

11- PAC/SAC Meeting 3:00 in the gym

14- Teacher Work Day (No school for students)

20- Parent/Teacher Conferences - Students dismiss at 12:30

21- Parent/Teacher Conferences- No School for students

25- Picture Retakes

26- Late Start Wednesday

30- PAC and Ute Pass Chamber of Commerce Trunk or Treat (Info to come)

31- Costume Parade 2:00 at UPES (Families welcome!)

Seed Slip Recipients

These students showed growth at UPES this week! They are growing hearts, minds, bodies, and the earth!

Big picture

Live on Location!

We took our amazing morning announcements outside on Friday! We have a new sixth grader student technical director, AJ, who has learned all the ins and outs of the sound system. Pretty soon, we won't need adults at all for the announcements. Check out a clip below of some 1st and 4th graders singing our Ute Pass song! (They start singing at 5 minutes.)
Big picture
October 7th, 2022 "Ute Pass Ponies"

UPES Morning Announcements

Our morning announcements are such a wonderful way to start the day! We have student-led announcements and singers every single day!

We want to share some of this Pony Pride from our "home" to yours! If you'd like to watch morning announcements, we are live-streaming them each day! Simply subscribe to the Ute Pass YouTube channel at this link- UPES YouTube

Watch us Grow!

Slow Motion Monday in Preschool

Preschool students counting to eight by practicing star jumps! It's way better in slow-motion!

Big picture

Kindergarteners learning all about the five senses in humans compared to animals!

Big picture

Mrs. Maruszak's and Mrs. Jeck's classes visited the Flying Pig Farm on Monday!

Big picture

Ms. Harriman's and Ms. Riffle's classes visited the Flying Pig Farm on Thursday!

Big picture

Practicing numbers with wikki stix in preschool!

Big picture

6th grade MAAS students debate on their stance against DDT after reading several articles and studying author's claims!

Big picture

1st and 2nd graders having big fun and growing their bodies in PE class with Mr. Wester!

Big picture

MAAS students enjoyed a 6 mile hike and a trip to Skyspace in GMF on Wednesday!

Big picture

Preschool had a nature scavenger hunt on Wednesday! They learned all about how ponderosa pine trees smell like butterscotch!

Big picture

Mr. Batson has students learning Spanish in amazing, interactive ways!

Big picture

5th graders participate in an escape room to practice their multiplication skills!

Big picture

Future artists in preschool!

Big picture

Meet Ms. Riffle

Position: 5th grade teacher

Teaching background: Taught for two years in the Phillippines teaching English and tutoring in math, has spent the last five years teaching 5th grade (the best grade)

Hobbies: Hiking, camping, paddle boarding, playing with animals, and getting my friends to try new things (like skydiving or wilderness camping)

Pets: Ha! 3 fish that bite, a red eared slider turtle that likes to escape his tank, a crazy bearded dragon, a lazy box turtle, a chunky leopard gecko, and a glowing alien (aka Bubble the axolotl)

Favorite Food: All of it, but you can never go wrong with fresh fruit and grilled steak

Why UPES: It's a school that has the same passion that I do- growing the whole child and teaching them to love, respect, and take care of nature

Looking forward to: In school- when my students learn to believe in themselves. Other life- finishing my masters!

Hearing and Vision Screenings

On Monday, October 10th, nurse Sarah will be conducting hearing and vision screenings for grades K, 1, 2, 3, and 5. If you'd like to opt out, you can email nurse Sarah at

Specials Schedule for October

Our 3-day rotation schedule for specials classes allows students to have more access to PE, Music, and Art! We know it might be a bit more confusing for families instead of every Monday being one special, but we want our kids to be exposed to more of these amazing classes while avoiding students always missing a certain special if there is no school on Friday or Monday. Should there be a snow day, we will just move that day to the following day. For example, if a snow day fell on Thursday, October 27th (Day 1 for specials), the following day would become a Day 1. Here's a calendar to help you navigate this at home (sorry the top got a little cut off, but it goes from Preschool through 6th grade- Jeck). Please reach out with any questions!
Big picture

Counselor's Corner

Small Group Counseling!

Hello UPE families! I am excited to announce that our counseling department is beginning fall groups! While many families have already reserved a space for their student, we have room for a few more. Permission slips should have gone home with students by the end of last week- but no worries if you did not get one. Simply email me with which group your student would be interested in joining. The groups are as follows:

Changing Families- For students whose families are going through change. This may be due to separation, divorce, remarriage, or adjusting to step-siblings or a “blended” family.

Friendship- Gives students the tools on how to get along with others.

Kalm and Kewl- For students who want to learn to control their anger and practice and improve conflict resolution skills.

Healing Hearts- For students who have experienced a recent death in the family and need help coping with grief and loss.

Worry Warriors- Students learn strategies to overcome anxiety.

My email is You may also call me at 719-685-2209 if you have any questions.

We look forward to seeing your student(s) in a UPE Fall Counseling Group!

Family Involvement Opportunities

It is so great to see families volunteering in classrooms! You are a huge piece in helping our students grow, and our teachers are incredibly appreciative of your time. If you are able to volunteer, please contact your child/grandchild's teacher for best times to support.

If you are unable to volunteer, we still appreciate you! Feel free to come by and have lunch with your child, or join our amazing PAC for opportunities to help! Kindergarten-3rd graders eat at 11:10 and 4th-6th graders eat at 11:40. You are welcome to have lunch in the cafeteria and you can also join recess after lunch and play a little soccer, brave the red spinner, or join a fun game of tag!

Ute Pass Elementary PTO/PAC

PAC is the team that works hand in hand with the staff and community, to enrich how education is experienced within our mountain school. We have found ourselves uniquely positioned to move forward; steeped in tradition but with all the promise of new ideas. UPE has the highest enrollment to date and with that comes fresh perspective. If you are a parent or caregiver from the littlest of littles in preschool up to the "Where did my baby go?" 6th graders, please consider coming to our meetings on the second Tuesday of each month. Kids are welcome!

If you are unable to make it to meetings and would like to be a part of PAC please reach out.

Thanks so much,
Amanda McCloskey
PAC President

Upcoming PAC Meetings- 3:00 pm in the Gym

  • October 11, 2022
  • November 8, 2022

Arrival/Dismissal Procedures


Please do not drop your student off in the east parking lot as we have no supervision or crosswalks. Please utilize the family drop-off/pick-up lane so we can make sure everyone gets in the building safely and that our buses have enough space.
Big picture

Arrival/Dismissal Info

Duty/supervision/breakfast begins at 7:35.

The first bell for students to enter classrooms is at 7:55, and the tardy bell will ring at 8:00. Dismissal is at 2:50.

Here are the ins and outs of our pick up/drop off lane:

  • The family drop-off/pick-up lane will allow children to be picked up all the way to the end of the central sidewalk (to the gas meters against the street).
  • Teachers will supervise students in the locations noted on the map above.
  • No car will move into or exit the lane until every car has been loaded. (If you do not have the time to wait, please consider parking and walking in the areas marked above.)
  • When all cars are loaded, the line of cars will exit together.
  • The crossing guard will then allow walking parents to cross the parking lot at crosswalks to gain access to their vehicles.
  • When these vehicles are loaded and moving, the next line waiting on Chipita Park Road will be allowed in to begin the process again.
  • Furry Friday dismissal- on Fridays, bring your dogs through our pick-up lane for a treat!
  • Feel Good Friday afternoon concerts- Mr. Ferguson will be playing every Friday afternoon at dismissal (weather permitting)!

Please note the available areas for parking and walking above. If your child is sitting on the wall with their teacher, please ask a staff member to get your child for you to avoid excess traffic near the pick-up lane. As always, your patience is deeply appreciated!

Big picture

MSSD14 is hiring fulltime positions and subs!

Scan the QR code or contact Marsha Weimer at to find out how to join the Manitou team!

Big picture
Big picture

Breakfast and Lunch Information

A healthy breakfast and lunch is a key factor in growing a healthy mind and body! Ute Pass Elementary will offer breakfast to students for $1.45 and lunch for $2.95. See below for information on accessing menus.

You can find the new free and reduced application on the district website-

If you don’t qualify for free and reduced price meals, please make sure that there is money in your student’s account. You can add money online at this link-

Any questions or concerns, please call Paula Faucette, Director of Nutrition Services, at 719-685-2005 or email

Late Start Wednesdays

Thank you to families who submitted the form to sign up for Late Start Wednesdays. It helps tremendously with staffing and preparation. If you missed the opportunity to sign up, and are in need, please contact Danny Tramel at for approval, as we are at our capacity.

Breakfast will be served until 8:00am, however, due to changes in the federal funding, we can no longer offer free breakfast.

Late Start Wednesdays for first semester:

  • August 31
  • September 14
  • September 21
  • September 28
  • October 5
  • October 26
  • November 2
  • November 9
  • November 16
  • December 7

Connect 14

Connect 14 is an incredible opportunity for students that attend Manitou Springs School District 14. They offer several amazing K-12 classes that highlight the importance of arts integration from Climate Kids Club to Creative Movement to Ping Pong! Registration opened on Monday, August 8th and the season will run from September 6th-December 15th.

Two of these classes are held at UPES, but transportation is provided for students who wish to attend a session at Manitou Springs Elementary School. Please visit to sign up today!

Champions After School Care

Manitou Springs Elementary School will host an after-school program through Champions After School Care. This opportunity will be offered to Ute Pass Families also, and transportation would be provided from UPES to MSES after school.
Big picture

22/23 School Year Calendar - Including Late Start Dates.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

This is where you find the latest information about our school community.

Here's how you find us....

at the foot of Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains.