Welcome to the 21/22 School Year!

We are excited to welcome you to Buena Vista!!

Hello Tiger Families!

Welcome to the 21-22 school year. My name is Shannon Molnar and I am thrilled to be serving as the principal for Buena Vista Montessori School. At Buena Vista it is our vision to provide an academically, socially, emotionally, and culturally rich learning environment where all students learn to their full potential and become responsible, productive, and engaged community members. While we know there will be challenges, we are hopeful to get back to our Montessori structures and routines that make Buena Vista a truly amazing school community!


I look forward to meeting you all at our Meet and Greet on Friday August 13th.


See you soon!

Ms. Shannon

Please read this entire update for important information!

Included in this Issue . . .

  • School Supply List
  • COVID Protocol Updates
  • Meet and Greet
  • From the Health Room
  • Meet the New Teachers
  • Bussing
  • From the School Kitchen
  • PowerSchool
  • From the Superintendent's Desk

COVID Protocol Updates

These updates are current as of 2:00pm on Friday, August 6th. Should the protocols change, the district and our school will notify all community members as soon as possible.


Mask Wearing:

  • For students of any age, and staff riding D11 buses for any purpose (e.g., to and from school, activities, field trips, etc.), in alignment with the Federal mandate, face coverings on all D11 buses are required.
  • For students ages 11 and under, in alignment with local and state guidance, face coverings are strongly encouraged while learning indoors, but are not required.
  • For students/staff ages 12 and over, in alignment with local and state guidance, face coverings are strongly encouraged for anyone who is 12+ years and not fully vaccinated but are not required.
  • We honor and respect the decisions of parents and staff when it comes to facial coverings, whether wearing one or not. As a district, our schools and central administration offices are expected to be welcoming and supportive of everyone and we will uphold a positive culture throughout the District. Should mask mandates be put back in place by state or local public health agencies, we will communicate that information. Please be informed about vaccinations and safety protocols so we can keep students in class as much as possible this year.


Hand Washing:

  • We will continue with our diligent handwashing and sanitzing efforts throughout the school day. Including, but not limited to; after recess, before and after lunch, before and after specials, etc.


Classroom Cleaning:

  • Our children and staff will continue to clean and sanitize the classrooms daily. Our custodial staff will clean and sanitize the building and playgrounds daily, as well.


Social Distancing:

  • The current guidelines indicate a three-foot space between each person. We will do our best to honor that guideline throughout the school day. However, due to the structure of our learning community, the social distancing is not always possible.


For additional resources and information from the State and local health agencies, please visit the following links:

Updated Return to Learn

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nhgGIbakyAJY3XJ2TW44sw7btXXqISBR/view?usp=sharing

Who Needs to Quarantine

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1S-bXk2yFdFAjBPUMfT-KvNMvz6EA2A9r/view?usp=sharing

At Home Symptom Screening Tool

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rM77eLlnivcOuoqv0zy0pXXtjnY-fREN/view

Addressing Symptoms as School

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-qAUd4g8tYDZ4KKIlbCc_yG0wkEHjiXV/view?usp=sharing

Meet and Greet

Friday, Aug. 13th, 2:30-6pm

924 West Pikes Peak Avenue

Colorado Springs, CO

Please join our staff and community for our annual Meet and Greet night!


In an effort to decrease the number of people in the building, we are spreading out arrival times based on last name of the attending students. If you are unable to attend at the time indicated below, please feel free to come when convenient between 2:30 and 6:00pm. If you are unable to attend any time on the 13th, don't worry! Your teachers are eager to welcome your students on the 16th and schedule a time to meet with you, if needed.


Friday, August 13th

  • A-E 2:30-3:00
  • F-J 3:15-3:45
  • K-O 4:00-4:30
  • P-T 4:45-5:15
  • U-Z 5:30-6:00

From the Health Room

Student Medication: If your child needs to have medication at school, which will be securely stored in the school health room, please let the office know and they will provide you with the proper form. A signed doctor’s order, including a parent’s signature, are required to have any medication at school, prescription and over-the-counter (including cough drops, cold medications, antacids, and more).


Immunization Exemptions: Per the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, if you choose not to have your student vaccinated according to the current recommended schedule because of personal belief or religious reasons, or if you are missing any required vaccinations for any other reason, you must now submit a Certificate of Nonmedical Exemption to your child’s school. Nonmedical exemptions must be submitted annually at every new school year (after July 1 but before the first day of school). There are two ways to complete a nonmedical exemption:

  • Obtain the Certificate of Nonmedical Exemption, WITH a signature, from an immunizing provider, OR
  • Print the Certificate of Nonmedical Exemption received upon the completion of the CDPHE online education module.


Downloadable certificates and the online education module are available at cdphe.colorado.gov/vaccine-exemptions. If you haven’t already done so, please complete this before Wednesday, August 11, and return it to Alison at alison.yorke@d11.org. If we do not have this before the first day of school your child’s start date may be delayed.

Meet the New Teachers!

Ms. Casi Shaffer ~ Upper El, Room 12

Hello Buena Vista Tigers!!


I am very excited to become part of the team here. This will be the beginning of my 21st year of teaching. I started teaching in Nebraska in the country schools. My first year was k-3 and the years after were K-8. Last year I taught a 5/6 combo classroom. So, I feel like I am coming home since that is how my first 4 years of teaching were. I am new to the Montessori was, so please feel free to give me guidance when you see that it is needed. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a minor in Early Childhood, from Northern State University, in South Dakota. I then pursued my Master’s once I moved to Colorado Springs. I received it in Curriculum and Instruction, which I got through the University of Phoenix.


I am originally from South Dakota. That is where almost all my family still lives, so I travel back as often as I can. I am one of three girls that my parents raised on the family farm. The farm is now an integral part of their hunting operation. My parents are owners/operators of a full-service pheasant hunting operation. I have 4 nieces ranging from almost 26 to almost 14. So, Nikki is busy. I am also busy being the auntie from out of state that gets to watch the youngest play sports through live streaming and the other part of my free time is watching the 3rd oldest play college volleyball and do high jump. They use up a good portion of my free time. For the rest of my free time, I enjoy traveling to the mountains for the weekend, hanging out with friends, and sometimes just lying on the couch. I just had my kitchen remodeled this summer, so my time is now spent finishing up the last touches and unpacking.


Again, I’m very excited for the school year and for the new adventure.

Ms. Casi

Mr. Chad Sparling ~ Upper El, Room 11

Greetings and Salutations!


It is with great humility and respect that I have a chance to introduce myself to you! My name is Chad Sparling, and I am a new teacher to Buena Vista. I was born and raised in San Jose, CA, but moved to Colorado Springs in 1993. I have a wonderful, caring wife Stacy, as well as 4 children. At ages 15,10,6, and 4; Trista, Rhyse, Riley, and Madison keep us moving and fulfilled. As a family we enjoy spending time at our community park and pool. We also enjoy going on adventures throughout our great state of Colorado. From fishing, to hiking, and to playing basketball together we are able to keep busy. We also have two dogs, one cat, and a fish. I love to cook, and in the summer I’m usually not far from the smoker.


I have worked most of my life at Safeway. At Safeway I was able to mature and learn a lot of life skills. About 10 years ago I decided to pursue a new career in education, and here I am! I attended UCCS, and then finished my schooling at the University of Phoenix. I am super excited to jump in and start my new career! Along with meeting everyone from the wonderful staff at Buena Vista Elementary School, I look forward to meeting the parents and everyone associated with the school.


Respectfully,

Mr. Chad Sparling

NEW!! Bussing TO and FROM Buena Vista!

District 11 is now offering bus service for Buena Vista Kindergarten through 5th Grade students who live within D11 boundaries and in the center/west side of the city.


If you live. . .

  • within the D11 boundary, and
  • west of Union Blvd and north of Fillmore, or
  • west of Circle Dr and south of Fillmore

you are in the bus service area!


Please follow this link to sign up for service and receive more details about the pick up and drop off locations and times that are specific for your child(ren)!


Contact the BV office with any questions!

From the School Kitchen


District 11 is providing meals to all students for this school year regardless of Free or Reduced Price meal status for the 2021-2022 school year. However, you should still complete an application to obtain FRL status.


Benefits to filling out the FRL application may include:

  • Reduced fees for athletics and other non-school programs
  • Increased funding for your schools
  • Possible Pandemic EBT food benefits


You will need to qualify for Free or Reduced Price meals to qualify for any possible P-EBT benefits for this school year.



Please complete a new Application for Free and Reduced Priced Meals each school year as soon as possible to receive a determination.


Take advantage of our easy online application for free or reduced-price meals simply by clicking on the MySchoolApps.com icon below.


https://www.MySchoolApps.com

PowerSchool has Arrived in District 11!

Hello D11 Families,

We’re pleased to announce the launch of PowerSchool in Colorado Springs School District 11. This system will be replacing the former Q Student Information System and ParentConnect.

PowerSchool provides a full K-12 solution that brings together instructional, school, and district operations into a single platform. Teachers, administrators, and families will have comprehensive access to student-related data and information as we collaborate with and engage students.

As someone who supports the wellbeing of your student, you’ll be able to access the PowerSchool Parent Portal to:
• Stay current on your child’s progress;
• Monitor attendance and assignment completion;
• View report cards and academic history;
• Follow and contribute to key student supports;
• Enroll and update family information online;
• Communicate with your child’s teachers; and,
• Know where your child is at any given point in their D11 learning.

Please check your email and/or the D11 app for follow-up communications with more information and guidance on setting up your new PowerSchool Parent Portal account and the D11 Loop mass notification system. Please visit the District website for more information and regular updates. We appreciate your support and hope this will get us even closer to empowering your child to achieve, grow, and to profoundly impact our world.

From the Superintendent's Desk

Dear D11 Students, Families and Staff:


As the summer starts to conclude, and we gear up for the 2021-22 school year, we in D11 are doing so with great excitement. Given the challenges we experienced as a result of COVID-19 last school year, I remain very optimistic we will be able to have a much more normal school year without the same levels of restrictions in our schools. It was great to see many of our students during our Summer Bridge program safely come together and, for the first time in months, actually see the smiling faces of students and staff.


The pandemic is not over. However, we know from our experience over the past 17 months that by taking the right combination of health precautions, we can keep our students, staff and community safe. I am mindful that variants of COVID-19 are still prevalent, and we will work collaboratively with local and State health officials to ensure our schools are clean, safe and welcoming. We know so much more about COVID-19 than we initially did, and this knowledge will guide us as professionals to make decisions that will support the learning of our students, while also keeping everyone as safe as possible. Please keep in mind guidance continually changes, and we are currently awaiting more updates from our county and state health departments. As we learn more about updates to public health protocols, we will make any changes deemed necessary and communicate with our community as soon as possible.


Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

While our students and families are and will continue to be resilient, we also recognize the pandemic has created environments inside and outside our schools that can cause stress, anxiety, depression, or a sense of uncertainty. As we transition back to more normal classroom environments, D11 focuses on delivering SEL curriculum, adding additional counseling services, monitoring student well-being, and building back school communities. Through partnerships with Children’s Hospital, Diversus Health, Peak Vista, and ThriveWorks, D11 has added supplemental mental health services for those families that wish to access support during and after the school day. Now more than ever, we are committed to developing students' social emotional learning competencies in order for all to thrive in our schools.


COVID Protocols for 2021-2022

Recently published guidance from both The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages students over the age of two to wear face coverings at school. As a leadership team, we thoroughly reviewed orders and guidance from local, state and federal health officials to determine how to safely return to our schools. Given our successful preventative measures last school year, coupled with our population vaccination rates (55.4% in El Paso County), we remain confident in our ability to open our schools safely and facilitate the highest quality instruction each day with the following D11 safety protocols:


Face Coverings

  • Federal law mandates anyone riding public transportation, including school buses, be required to wear a mask. For students of any age, and staff riding D11 buses for any purpose (e.g., to and from school, activities, field trips, etc.), in alignment with the Federal mandate, face coverings on all D11 buses are required.
  • For students ages 11 and under, in alignment with local and state guidance, face coverings are strongly encouraged while learning indoors, but are not required.
  • For students/staff ages 12 and over, in alignment with local and state guidance, face coverings are strongly encouraged for anyone who is 12+ years and not fully vaccinated but are not required.
  • We honor and respect the decisions of parents and staff when it comes to facial coverings, whether wearing one or not. As a district, our schools and central administration offices are expected to be welcoming and supportive of everyone and we will uphold a positive culture throughout the District. Should mask mandates be put back in place by state or local public health agencies, we will communicate that information. Please be informed about vaccinations and safety protocols so we can keep students in class as much as possible this year.


Isolation

We will continue to follow the quarantine protocols set forth by the Colorado Public Health and Environment and El Paso County Public Health. Should these protocols change, we will update you as soon as we are made aware. Students or staff members who test positive for COVID will be required to isolate accordingly. We will strive to minimize disruption, especially in our classroom settings, to maintain high quality, in-person learning environments, while maintaining the safety of all.


Disinfection/Ventilation

Our Facilities, Operations and Transportation staffs will continue to ensure that our schools and buses provide the safest possible environments.

  • School ventilation systems have been reprogrammed to the maximum extent possible to increase the fresh air by over 150 percent.
  • Custodial staffs will continue to use a variety of proven techniques and supplies to ensure our schools are as clean and sanitized as possible. District 11 custodial cleaning procedures mandate extra cleaning on heavily trafficked areas while students are present. Chemical disinfectants will only be used when students are not present.
  • School bus ventilation will also be increased by opening windows.
  • School bus drivers will continue to clean buses between each run. Additionally, school buses will also be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at the end of each shift.


COVID Vaccination

District 11 is not requiring students or staff to be vaccinated, but we are seeing medical research demonstrating those communities with higher COVID vaccination rates have lower infection rates and are not as impacted by emerging variants. As a district, we will help those throughout our community who are interested in getting a COVID vaccination by providing informational resources to them. This may come as partnerships with local public health to host vaccination clinics at school sites. Please understand that anyone under the age of 18 (whether you are a D11 student or not), must have adult permission to receive a COVID vaccination. District 11 has no authority to authorize any vaccinations. Again, please be informed on vaccines and safety protocols so we may all do our part to keep students in class as much as possible this school year.


Like any illness, we encourage families and staff to make the best health decisions for themselves and please refrain from sending your student or reporting to work if you are showing any symptoms of illness.


For additional resources and information from the State and local health agencies, please visit the following links:

Updated Return to Learn

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nhgGIbakyAJY3XJ2TW44sw7btXXqISBR/view?usp=sharing

Who Needs to Quarantine

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1S-bXk2yFdFAjBPUMfT-KvNMvz6EA2A9r/view?usp=sharing

At Home Symptom Screening Tool

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rM77eLlnivcOuoqv0zy0pXXtjnY-fREN/view

Addressing Symptoms as School

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-qAUd4g8tYDZ4KKIlbCc_yG0wkEHjiXV/view?usp=sharing


In closing, I am also excited for the academic changes you may experience this year as well. We are opening a new K-8 online school called Spark Online Academy. Many families who are still seeking full remote instruction will enjoy this traditional, comprehensive approach to education taught by our own D11 staff using our own district curriculum. We are also opening our first dual language immersion program at Rogers Elementary School for students in kindergarten and first grade, with an emphasis on Spanish language and culture. Students will also have greater access to our gifted magnet programs (GMP) and Montessori school through free, expanded transportation. These are just some of the exciting new learning opportunities your children will have in D11 with many more to come.


As the City of Colorado Springs celebrates its 150th birthday, we too in D11 are proud to be the namesake district and celebrate being the oldest district in the city. Much has changed since the opening of our first schools, and we invite our community to join us in Rebuilding, Reimagining and Rediscovering the wonderful opportunities throughout our district as we prepare our students for college, career and life readiness. We are developing new academic and facility plans in partnership with our community to ensure we remain rigorous and relevant, along with beautifying many of our school campuses. Information about these efforts may be found at www.d11.org/rebuilding. Much of this work depends on our community supporting a tax-neutral bond for our district this November, and I am proud to share our early polling found 73 percent of our community in favor of the bond. The support for the bond will allow us to conduct deep improvements in our schools to be here for another 150 years. Whether or not you have students in D11, strong school systems ensure strong, thriving communities.


As the Superintendent of one of the most diverse school systems in the region, I am proud of our amazing staff and our unwavering commitment to this beautiful community. No matter who you are or what composes your background, all are welcome in our schools, and I thank you in advance for choosing D11. Join me, as we welcome one another to an exciting year together!


Yours In Partnership,

Dr. Michael J. Thomas