The Pony Press

December 2nd, 2022

From the Principal...

Families and Community,

I've shared the following story with the staff before, but this weather made me think of it again. Years ago, a group of scientists created an experiment in the desert called "The Biodome". Under a massive glass dome, they created the most "ideal" conditions for human, plant, and animal life to grow. In the biodome, there was a controlled environment with purified air and water, healthy soil, and filtered light. People lived in the biodome for months at a time, and everything went smoothly- except for one thing. As the trees grew in height, they began to topple. In fact, every single one of them would bend and fall over once they reached taller heights. After being quite baffled for some time, the scientists concluded that they had misjudged what would constitute perfect growing conditions. It turns out, in order to grow strong, trees need wind. Trees need wind because it causes their root systems to grow deeper to support their height.

I share this because I think people need "wind" too. Not in the sense of 100 mph gusts, but in the sense that sometimes we need to experience challenges to grow deeper and stronger. It's how I've tried to frame these past few years in education. The wind has been strong, maybe even causing some bending to occur, but it's created strong roots- a foundation that can't be cracked when we keep what's important in front of us.

Kids also need "wind" as they grow- they need to wrestle with difficult concepts, experience what it's like to not know an answer, and to work together to problem-solve. I've said it before, and I'll say it over and over, I am so proud of the depth of learning I see in these classrooms. I'm so proud of a staff that doesn't jump in and give all the answers, but asks scaffolded questions to help guide rather than provide. The wind makes us stronger.

It was certainly a strange week for weather, and we appreciate your flexibility as decisions are made to keep our students safe in questionable conditions! Please continue to send your child to school with jackets, gloves/mittens, and hats, as we like to go outside as much as possible! If you need help with these items, please contact Stephanie Wilson at, or see the flyer below for information on our Winter Clothing Drive.

I hope you had a chance to tune in to our students performing on Fox 21's live segment on Thursday! It was such an incredible experience, and we want to recognize Mr. Ferguson for the work he is doing to grow our music program! All of our K-6th grade students will have concerts next week, and we look forward to showcasing their musical talents. All concerts will take place at 5 pm, with a rehearsal at 2 pm on the day of their concert. Families are welcome to attend both, or either one!

  • Tuesday, December 6th- Kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 4th grade
  • Wednesday, December 7th- 1st grade, 3rd grade, and 5th grade
  • Thursday, December 8th- 6th grade

We have a lot of big fun heading our way as we near winter break. I tend to go pretty big for the last week before break, and with the help of our amazing PAC, I'm looking forward to spoiling our staff as much as possible! If you'd like to contribute and need an idea, I will be collecting small gift cards for prizes for the staff for an activity on one of the days. If you have the means, and would like to contribute, you can bring in a $5 or $10 gift card to add to my prize stash. Some ideas include: Safeway, Natural Grocers, Walmart, Starbucks, The Pantry, The Wines of Colorado, Amazon, Target, Fern's, etc. You can bring gift cards in all next week and give them to Mrs. Dudley or me, and I will add them to the mix. I appreciate your help recognizing this team of teachers and staff who work so incredibly hard each and every day!

I hope you have a wonderful and slightly wind-free weekend! :)


Your partner in education,

Jackie Powell, Ute Pass Principal

Important Info for this weekend/next week...

Green Week

Saturday, December 3rd

  • PAC Breakfast with Santa 9-12 @ UPES

Sunday, December 4th

  • Honor Choir performs at Sallie Bush Building from 4-5 for GMF Tree Lighting (Art show happening all day)

Monday, December 5th

  • Specials Day 1
  • Honor Choir Practice 3-3:45 pm

Tuesday, December 6th

  • Specials Day 2
  • K,2,4 Concert- 5 pm

Wednesday, December 7th-Late Start Today!

  • Specials Day 3
  • Creative Movement Connect14 class at UPES
  • 1,3,5 Concert- 5 pm

Thursday, December 8th

  • Specials Day 1
  • Ping Pong Connect14 Club at UPES
  • 6th grade Concert- 5 pm

Friday, December 9th

  • Specials Day 2
  • Furry Friends Dismissal & Ferguson's Feel Good Friday Concert

Important Dates in December


2- Clothing & Boot Drive Begins

3- Breakfast with Santa

4- GMF Tree Lighting/ Honor Choir Performance 4-5 pm

6- K,2,4 Concert 5 pm

7-14 Candy Grams for Sale

7- 1,3,5 Concert 5 pm

8- 6th grade Concert 5 pm

12-16 Dress Up Days

12- Honor Choir performs at Board Meeting

13- PAC and SAC Meeting 3 pm in the gym

15- Craft Day

UPES students perform live at Fox 21!

Click on each link below to view the videos!

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Seed Slip Recipients

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

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Watch us Grow!

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Honor Choir students performing live on Thursday's Loving Living Local segment with Fox 21 News!

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Preschool and Kindergarten enjoyed a trip to Flying Pig Farm to pet the baby goats!

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Fun at Recess!

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1st graders practicing for their concert during music class!

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Mrs. Kettler and 2nd graders perform a "5-minute warning" routine during lunch duty!

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Preschoolers enjoying a story during snack!

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5th grader, Zephyr, was part of team "Wispy Windmills" which placed 3rd overall in their Lego Robotics competition out of over 30 teams!

6th grade did a Stem Snowman challenge where they had to build the tallest snowman out of given materials!

Specials Schedule for December

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, November 8th (Day 1 for specials), the following day would become a Day 1. Here's a calendar to help you navigate this at home. Please reach out with any questions!
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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

Counselor's Corner

Small Group Counseling!

Fall counseling groups are up and running! Please reach out to Stephanie Wilson if you have any changing needs where we can better support your student!

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

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 Events:

  • Breakfast with Santa, December 3rd
  • PAC Meeting, December 13th 3 pm in the gym
  • Craft Day- December 15th
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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!

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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!

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

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Please see the attached document below for more information on help during the holidays!


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at the foot of Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains.