The Pony Press

February 24, 2023

From the Principal...

Families and Community,

This quote has been at the forefront of my mind this week- "A tree that is unbending is easily broken" - Lao Tzu. One of my previous newsletters talked about how trees need to be challenged by the elements to grow a strong root system, and how when they created a perfect atmosphere in a biodome, trees were unable to grow without being exposed to the wind. We've talked a lot about flexibility with this short, but every-changing week! Thank you for being "bendable" with the things out of our control- weather, staff absences, medical situations, etc.

One of our amazing 4th graders, Claire McMartin, had an exciting week! The fourth grade class mailed hand-written persuasive letters back in October. Claire wrote hers to a company in California, Stasher, about the idea of reusable garbage bags. While they could not meet her request due to cost of materials, they were so impressed with her initiative and drive to reduce waste. Because of this, Claire has become an ambassador for the company, and they sent 200 bags for every student in our school. Claire was able to go around on Tuesday and Wednesday ti pass the bags out and explain her idea. Please check out the links below for her story. It was featured on KRDO, KOAA, and Fox 21 this week!

Keep scrolling to see some of the exciting learning opportunities from this week!


Your partner in education,

Jackie Powell, Ute Pass Principal

Important Info for next week...

Green Week

Monday, February 27th-

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

Tuesday, February 28th

  • Specials Day 1
  • 3rd and 4th grade to Pueblo
  • Variety Show rehearsal 3-4:30 pm in the gym

Wednesday, March 1st- Late Start Today!

  • Specials Day 2
  • Clothing Drive tubs available after school
  • Connect14 Cookie Monsterz and Creative Movement classes at UPES
  • Variety Show 5-7 (Ute Pass T-Shirts for sale)

Thursday, March 2nd

  • Specials Day 3
  • Ping Pong Connect14 Club at UPES

Friday, March 3rd

  • Specials Day 1
  • Furry Friends and Feel Good Friday Dismissal

Important Dates in February and Beginning of March


28- 3rd and 4th grade to Pueblo

28- 1st and 2nd grade to Bear Creek

28- Variety Show Rehearsal 3-4:30 pm


1- Late Start

1- Variety Show 5-7 UPES gym

6- Superintendent Search Input Session @ UPES 3:15-4:15

8- Late Start

9- 6th grade to Manitou Springs Middle School

14- PAC Meeting 3 pm in the gym

15- Late Start

22- Late Start

22- Performing Arts Night (Honor Choir and 5th grade play)

24- MSMS Dance (6th grade) 4-6 pm

27-31 Spring Break

MSSD14 Superintendent Search

Superintendent Search Input Opportunities:

There are three scheduled in-person opportunities for students, staff, families, and community members to provide feedback in the superintendent search process which are outlined below.

3/6 - 3:15-4:15 UPES

3/7 - 3:45-4:45 MSMS/MSHS at the HS Media Center

3/9 - 3:15-4:15 MSES

There is also a survey which will provide folks with an opportunity to give feedback in the superintendent search process. The survey mirrors the opportunity people have if they choose to come to one of the in-person sessions as it asks the same questions that will be asked by the facilitator.

Link to Manitou Springs School District 14 Stakeholder Survey

If you have any questions please refer to our district website which contains information as well.

Check out 4th grader Claire, in the news!

Stasher Persuasive Letter
Big picture

Volunteers Needed!

Join our Amazing UPES Crew!

Are you looking to be more involved with the incredible things happening at UPES? Here are some ways we can use YOU!

Mountain Math

Dates: Every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (volunteer for one day or more)

Contact Person: Ms. Powell-

Times: 12:30-12:50

What will I do: Assist with math games, flash cards, and help grow our students' math skills!

UPES Library

Dates: Flexible- one to three times per week for 20-30 minutes

Contact Person: Mrs. Kettler-

Times: Also flexible!

What will I do: Help Mrs. Kettler check-in books, replace books on the shelves, etc


Dates: PAC meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 3 pm in the gym

Contact Person: Amanda McCloskey-

Times: 3 pm

What will I do: The PAC puts on several amazing events each year, and also helps support our staff through monthly appreciation surprises! Contact Amanda to see how you can help!

Seed Slip Recipients

These students showed what it means to grow hearts, minds, bodies and the earth this week!
Big picture

Watch us Grow!

Big picture

Claire passing out reusable Stasher bags to preschool students!

Big picture

A hedgehog visitor in Mrs. Schwartz's class!

Big picture

Kindergarten students participate in Dinosaur School!

Big picture

6th graders collaborate in Spanish class!

Specials Schedule for March

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. Here's a calendar to help you navigate this at home. Please reach out with any questions!
Big picture

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

Big picture

Information about Universal Preschool

Colorado Universal Preschool Program (UPK)

Last April, Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill that works towards “every child in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten is eligible for half-day (15 hours), state-funded, voluntary preschool beginning in the 2023-24 school year. Three-year-olds with qualifying factors are eligible for part-time (10 hours) preschool programming. Families of children in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten with certain qualifying factors, are eligible for an additional 15 hours stacked on top of the half-day programming, bringing those children to full-day programming.”

Manitou Springs Elementary School and Ute Pass Elementary School will continue to offer our exceptional preschool programs for both three-year-olds and students that are in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten. Information for families

Families are now able to submit an application through the state-wide Universal Preschool System for the 2023-24 school year. Here is the link to the application:

Families will still need to complete our preschool enrollment process as well as the UPK application. Here is the information for MSSD: Student Enrollment

Counselor's Corner

Small Group Counseling, Classroom Counseling, and Individual Counseling is underway!

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:

  • PAC Meeting 3-14-23, 3 pm in the gym
Big picture

Landsharks is Back!


We offer a non-competitive youth program to introduce running to young athletes in a safe and fun environment. The focus is on self-improvement, being an encouraging teammate, and making new friends. The Spring Track Series is a fun running program led by Sara Striegel and is open to students in kindergarten through 6th grade. Please remember to purchase a RED team race shirt if this is your first season running.

Practices are scheduled for Wednesdays/Fridays beginning April 12th with a celebration practice on May 10th. Practices consist of running games and track workouts with a strong focus on fun.

Races are held on Monday evenings at Woodland Park Middle School’s track at 5pm on April 24th, May 1st and May 8th. Runners run TWO of the following distances:

Meet #1
All runners will run the 50m sprint,
followed by the 400m OR 800m race

Meet #2
All runners will run the 100m sprint,
followed by choice of a 400m OR 800m race

Meet #3
All runners will run the 200m sprint,
followed by the 400m OR 1600m race

Registration opens February 1st and closes April 12th at 5pm OR until we reach CAPACITY

Runners must be registered prior to their first practice. Please register online at $65 registration fee through April 5th then an additional $10/runner fee applies until registration closes.

I look forward to working with your athletes! Please consider volunteering to help coach or work at our race site. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer.

Coach: Sara Striegel


Big picture

MSSD14 is hiring fulltime positions and subs!

Scan the QR code or contact Sarah McAfee at to find out how to join the Manitou team!

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

Big picture

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 second semester:

  • January 25
  • February 1
  • March 1, 8, 15, 22
  • April 5, 26
  • May 3, 10, 17

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 is open now!

Some 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.

Big picture
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.