The Pony Press

November 11th, 2022

From the Principal...

Families and Community,

There are few things better than being surrounded by supportive and appreciative people with a similar zest for life and passion for education- whether that is family, friends, colleagues, or community. Sometimes it's all of the above. This week, although very busy, provided time and space to collaborate, recognize, brainstorm, plan, and celebrate with the Ute Pass Elementary community. And what an incredible community that is.

During our late start Wednesday, our team had a chance to participate in a Professional Learning Community led by some of our teachers around environmental learning, climate studies, and experiential opportunities for our students. It was the first of many times this week where I sat back and watched incredibly invested people contribute really amazing ideas to deepen students' learning and opportunities at Ute Pass. I know late starts are difficult on families for all sorts of reasons, but I have to tell you, that time of collaboration, celebration, and planning was cherished. Perhaps the sweetest part of it all- it was led by the teachers. This focus area is not one person saying we should be more intentional about creating environmental stewards in our students, it is a collective group that believes wholeheartedly in the good work we're doing, and still wants to put in the effort to make it even better.

On Thursday, we began our WIN (What I Need) Mountain Math time at Ute Pass. From 12:30-12:50 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, the entire building stops what it's doing and students transition to Mountain Math groups. These are 13 multi-age groups that focus on a wide range of foundational math skills, and are labeled by popular mountains outside each classroom. Every 4-6 weeks, we will re-assess and determine movement to next skills/mountain ranges. We are incredibly excited for the opportunities this will provide to fill skill deficits and extend higher learners into some project based learning. This is truly an all-hands on deck initiative (that began as another crazy little idea I had trying to fall asleep one night) to meet our students where they are and to help them GROW even more! Every single staff member, no matter what subject they typically teach is a crucial part of this working, and you can be part of the fun, too! If you'd like to volunteer during this time, please contact me at

The Chili Cook Off on Thursday evening was another time that I was blown away by a small idea becoming a REALLY big and exciting event. Mrs. Weisheipl, and her 4th grade students, planned, organized, and ran a very successful night. There were tables upon tables of delicious chili, raffle drawings, a silent auction, games, and more, but there was also time to gather and relax with our families and community as a whole. The silent auction is live for 5 more days at All of the proceeds from this event go right back into the opportunities for our students around environmental learning and outdoor education. Again, I'm grateful for our students, staff, and families who value and support this work and our little-turned big ideas!

To finish off the week, we were able to come together again as a school community to honor past, present, and future veterans for the Veterans Day Concert. When you have a group of incredibly talented musicians and you add a music teacher as amazing as Mr. Ferguson, the performances are simply fantastic. To all veterans- thank you for your bravery and sacrifice.

What an unbelievable week we had at Ute Pass. How fortunate are these students to receive such a well rounded education? How fortunate are we to have staff that values the whole-child approach? How fortunate are we as a school to have YOU as a community that sees and acknowledges the growth happening in this little school. How fortunate am I to be a tiny piece of the puzzle that fits together beautifully in creating a generation of young humans that are deep thinkers, problem-solvers, good communicators, resilient, compassionate, and also appreciate and care for the environment.


Your partner in education,

Jackie Powell, Ute Pass Principal

Important Info for next week...

Green Week

Monday, November, 14th

  • Specials Day 1
  • Food Drive begins (see flyer below)
  • Honor Choir Practice 3-3:45 pm

Tuesday, November 15th

  • Specials Day 2

Wednesday, November 16th-Late Start Today!

  • Specials Day 3
  • Creative Movement Connect14 class at UPES

Thursday, November 17th

  • Specials Day 1
  • Ping Pong Connect14 Club at UPES

Friday, November 18th

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

Important Dates in November/Beginning of December


2- Late Start Wednesday

8- PAC Meeting 3 pm in the gym

9- Late Start Wednesday

10- Chili Cook Off

11- Veteran's Day Concert 2 pm (Families welcome!)

14-18- Food Drive

16- Late Start Wednesday

21st-24th- Thanksgiving Break


3- Breakfast with Santa (amazing PAC event at UPES)

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Seed Slip Recipients

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

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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

Watch us Grow!

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6th graders had a blast solving a murder mystery for Edgar Allen Poe.

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Preschoolers enjoying our outdoor classroom space!

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5th graders hiked to Skyspace in GMF, and because their teacher is Miss Riffle, they went the loooong way and ended up with 6 miles!

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The Chili Cook Off was delicious! There were over 20 types of chili to try! Great work Mrs. Weisheipl and all of 4th grade!

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1st and 2nd graders transplanted their sunflowers this week!

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Maroon Peak Mountain Math group is working on multiplication!

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Scott McKay, recently retired Army Ranger, spoke to the students about Veterans Day and his time serving our country during the Veterans Day Concert on Friday.

Specials Schedule for November

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 17th (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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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

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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.