The Pony Press

April 21, 2023

From the Principal...

Families and Community,

We wrapped up CMAS testing (except make-ups) this week, and are so proud of our students! We celebrated with an all school popcorn party on Wednesday afternoon! This week was also special with the unveiling of the long-awaited UPES tipi! We are so excited to use the tipi as an educational space for years to come. Not only does it provide opportunities to take our learning to a new location, but also to take our learning to a new level as we honor the history of the Ute Tribe and various indigenous people from this area. It was such a special moment to dedicate the tipi to Mr. Greg DiFiore, who had the vision for the tipi and also worked with Ute elders to ensure it was done correctly. Thank you for your 27 years of service at Ute Pass, Mr. D!

Our Fun Run is coming up THIS WEEK! As of Friday afternoon, students have raised $6,760.00 towards our goal! Currently, Miss Riffle's 5th grade class is in the lead, and was able to pie both their teacher and me on Thursday! We are accepting donations through May 5th, so keep it going! Visit and enter school ID: 6408884472250d to register! Let us know if you need help getting registered.

Have a great weekend!


Your partner in education,

Jackie Powell, Ute Pass Principal

Important Info for next week...

Gold Week

Monday, April 24th-

  • Specials Day 1
  • Crazy Hair Day
  • Jeck and 2nd grade to Flying Pig Farm
  • 3rd grade Mobile 911 Presentation
  • Honor Choir Practice 3-3:45 pm
  • Landsharks Meet at WPMS

Tuesday, April 25th-

  • Specials Day 2
  • Wild About UPES Day- Wear animal print or camo!

Wednesday, April 26th- Late Start Today!

  • Specials Day 3
  • Team Up Together Day- Wear your favorite sports team
  • Clothing Drive tubs available after school
  • Connect14 Cookie Monsterz and Creative Movement classes at UPES
  • Landsharks Practice after school

Thursday, April 27th- Fun Run Day!!

  • Specials Day 1
  • Green & Gold Day!
  • See Fun Run Schedule below!
  • Ping Pong Connect14 Club at UPES

Friday, April 28th-

  • Specials Day 2
  • 5th and 1st grade to Flying Pig Farm
  • Pajama Day
  • Furry Friends and Feel Good Friday Dismissal

Important End of the Year Dates


24-28- Fun Run Dress Up Week

24- 1st Landsharks Meet

26- Late Start

27- Fun Run


1-5 Staff Appreciation Week

1- All School Field Trip to Red Rock Open Space

2- 1st, 3rd, and 5th Grade Spring Concert

3- 2nd and 3rd grade field trip to Catamount

4-5 4th grade to John Martin Reservoir (overnight)

5- World Language & Culture Night

5- Last Day to Collect $ for Fun Run

8- Fun Run Awards Assembly

8-10 2nd Grade CoGat testing

9- 6th grade Spring Band Concert

10-12 6th Grade to Sand Dunes (overnight 2 nights)

15- Student Council and Honor Choir Field Trip

16- 6th grade rafting trip

16- K, 2nd, 4th grade Spring Concert

19- 6th grade to GMF for fly fishing

23- UPES Fun Day (put on by student council)

24- Whole School Field Trip to Bear Creek Park for Field Day

25- Last Day for Students- Noon Dismissal

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UPES Fun Run

Thursday, April 27th, 8am

9230 Chipita Park Road

Cascade-Chipita Park, CO

The Fun Run is up and running! We had a kickoff assembly on Friday, April 7th. Students received information on collecting funds during this assembly. Students will collect funds from April 7th through May 5th, with out big event taking place on April 27th (schedule below).
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UPES Shirts Available!

We are selling Ute Pass Elementary Shirts! These are just like the staff shirts this year, only with a black screenprint instead of the white on the staff shirts. Shirts are $15 and can be purchased at the front office (cash or check only please).
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End of the Year Library Info

Library notices are going home today! Students have received a list of all materials checked out from the UPES library. It is not too early to start finding those books and getting them back to school! All library books will be due May 5th. UPES does not charge fines for lost books, but it does cost money to replace them. Please consider donating $10 for each book not returned.

Seed Slip Recipients

These students showed what it means to grow hearts, minds, bodies and the earth this week!
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Watch us Grow!

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Popcorn party to celebrate finishing CMAS testing!

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Preschoolers are growing sunflowers!

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Kindergarten and 4th grade buddies learned about pollinators and then made bee finger puppets!

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Mountain Academy 6th grade students made their own fly fishing ties with the help of volunteers from Trout Unlimited!

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5th graders pied Principal Powell and Ms. Riffle on Thursday for leading the Fun Run on funds collected!

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The UPES Tipi dedication to Mr. DiFiore on Thursday! Mr. D taught at UPES from 1995-2022!

Specials Schedule for April

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!
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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

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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

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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:

  • Fun Run 4-27-23

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


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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

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

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