The Pony Press

February 3, 2023

From the Principal...

Families and Community,

It was a busy one this week packing all the traditional five-day fun into a surprise four-day week! We ended the week with beautiful weather and the chance for several classes to venture out in our community! 6th grade made a chilly trip to High Trails on Tuesday for some learning (and sledding) fun. 4th and 5th graders headed out on an adventure today to "adopt" some green space in GMF to care for, study, and extend their learning from the classroom. I have worked at several schools where students are lucky to get 1, possibly 2 field trips a year. I'm so proud of our staff for prioritizing opportunities for students to learn outside of a typical classroom, explore, and give back through service projects! 3rd graders are on a mission to reduce plastic waste and have set up their own washing station in the classroom! They are using washable and reusable items instead of plastic. These students are making changes that positively impact our world!

We are only a couple weeks away from our "Love to Read Week" at UPES! On February 13th, we will have a school-wide Book Character Day where students can dress up as their favorite book characters. We will have a parade at 12:30 behind the school (weather permitting) to showcase all the creative costumes. If you would be interested in coming in to read to your child's class that week, or even recording you reading a short book using an online platform, please contact your child's teacher! That week will also be our Book Fair in the Art Room! It will be open Tuesday-Friday. We have conferences on Thursday and Friday, so stop by before or after your family conference!

Speaking of conferences, please access this link to sign-up for your child's conference- Conferences are 20 minutes each. Thursday will be a 12:00 pm early dismissal and there will be no students on Friday. We look forward to sharing the incredible growth we are seeing this school year!

As a reminder, the district is currently accepting choice applications for next school year. By going to the district website, under enrollment, and by selecting choice applications for the 23-24 school year, you can see an idea of enrollment availability. We already have most grade levels at capacity and are starting waitlists. If you, or a family you know, is considering UPES next year, please don't wait to submit those choice applications to Christina Baker at!

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...

Gold Week

Monday, February 6th

  • Specials Day 2
  • Counselor Appreciation Week!
  • Valentine's Grams for sale before school
  • Honor Choir Practice 3-3:45

Tuesday, February 7th

  • Specials Day 3
  • Valentine's Grams for sale before school
  • 1st and 5th grade field trip to Fountain Creek

Wednesday, February 8th- No Late Start Today!

  • Specials Day 1
  • Valentine's Grams for sale before school
  • Clothing Drive tubs available after school
  • Connect14 Cookie Monsterz and Creative Movement classes at UPES

Thursday, February 9th

  • Specials Day 2
  • Valentine's Grams for sale before school
  • Connect14 Ping Pong Club at UPES

Friday, February 10th

  • No School for Students- Staff Work Day

Important Dates in February and Beginning of March


1- Late Start Wednesday

6-9- Valentine's Grams for sale before school

10- Staff Work Day- no school for students

13- Book Character Dress-Up Day

14- PAC Meeting

14-17 UPES Book Fair (in Art Room)

16- 12:00 Dismissal/ Family Conferences

17- Family Conferences- no school for students

20- No School- President's Day


1- Variety Show, Some are even calling it a Smorgasbord Show! :) 5-7 UPES gym

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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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UPES Love to Read Book Fair!

Tuesday, Feb. 14th, 7:45am to Friday, Feb. 17th, 11:30am

Art Room

Mark your calendars for our upcoming book fair! We will kick off our Love to Read week with Book Character dress up day on Monday, February 13th, and the Book Fair will begin on Tuesday, February 14th. It will be open during Family Conferences on Thursday and Friday, also!

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!

UPES Book Fair

Dates: February 13-17

Contact Person: Mrs. Kettler-

Times: 9:30-11:30, 11:30-1:30, 1:30-3:15

What will I do: Mrs. Kettler will have you help with students finding items, the cash register, and anything else!

Love to Read Week

Dates: February 13-17

Contact Person: Your child's teacher!

Times: Flexible!

What will I do: Sign up to come in and read to your child's class, or ask your child's teacher about online platforms where you can record yourself reading a short story for the class to enjoy during our Love to Read Week at UPES!

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

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Watch us Grow!

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Preschoolers learning all about the letter Bb!

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Principal Powell joined the musical ensemble of Tibetan singing bowls during Friday's morning announcements! We all loved starting our day with a little "sound bath!"

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Kindergarteners in art class making all sorts of masterpieces with the amazing Mrs. Kettler!

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Taking the math lesson outside in third grade!

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UPES Building Leadership Team led the staff through professional development on collaboration and asking higher level questions during Wednesday's late start!

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4th graders created Colorado topography maps using salt dough!

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3rd grader, Dayton, tried the drums for the very first time in music class on Wednesday. Come Thursday, he was already playing on the announcements! UPES provides a safe space for students to take risks and try new things, and we love watching undiscovered talents arise!

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6th grade MAAS students learning about animal tracks at High Trails on Tuesday!

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4th and 5th graders teamed up for a hike and service project on Friday!

Revised Specials Schedule for February

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

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 2-14-23, 3 pm in the gym

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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MSSD14 is hiring fulltime positions and subs!

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Scan the QR code or contact Sarah McAfee 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

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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

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.

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