Mustang Tales

March 19, 2021 Vol 1. Issue 20

Message from Principal Masone

Hi Mustangs!

We have had a wonderful week! Second grade followed first grade and ventured into outer space at the Space Foundation. Fifth grade visited Manitou Springs Middle School to get a glimpse of what the future may hold for them at our middle school. Students had great questions for our middle school staff.

Second grade built leprechaun traps that may very well house some leprechauns when they come home, so be on the look out! Fifth grade has begun to talk about Science Fair experiments, controls and variables.

Look for report cards in the mail over the next few weeks

Our longtime School Resource Officer, Mark Gillis, has retired. We have a new SRO who is helping us out at dismissal time. Please give a warm welcome to Deputy Mark Meyer if you see him at our schools! His introduction is below.

As we close out this week and prepare for Spring Break, I'd like to thank families for partnering with us by keeping our students healthy and safe. You all have been so wonderful about sending your child in a mask and following our COVID procedures. Our families truly are the best around!

If you should have any concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at 719-685-2145 or

Upcoming Events

  • Mar 22 - 26 - Spring Break - No School
  • Mar 30 - Class Picture Day (outside with masks on)
  • April 7 - Asynchronous At-Home Learning/Staff Professional Work Day
  • April 23 - No School - Staff Professional Work Day
  • April 26 - 30 - MSES Book Fair

For Our Fuel Ed Families:

We will have Lifetouch taking class photos (outside, masked) on Tuesday, March 30th. If you would like your child enrolled in FuelEd to have their individual school picture taken, you can bring them to the library lawn between 3:15 and 4:00 on March 30th.

A virtual event took place on Monday, March 15th at 11am. It has been recorded for those of you who could not attend. Christina Baker met online with 5th Grade families to give an overview of courses for 6th Graders transferring to Manitou Springs Middle School for the upcoming academic year. She also explained how to log into the PowerSchool Student Portal to select a Music course (ALL 6th Graders will select one choice for next year). Click the link below to watch the video session.

Middle School Electives Session for FuelED 5th ...

Contact: If you have further questions, please contact the MSES Counselor, Lisa Ward at

Other Reminders:

The MSSD14 administration offices will be closed for Spring Break from March 22-26.

K12 Materials DO NOT need to be returned to the company at the end of the school year. You may continue to use them or donate them to a family who could benefit from some extra resources.

Google Meets with MSES Teachers: Classroom teachers are continuing their Google Meet connections every other week. Please look for communication from your child's MSES grade level teacher about this in-person learner to FuelED student connection time.

Counseling Google Meets: Contact the MSES counselor, Ashley Root, about any student or family needs. (

3rd, 4th & 5th Grade lunch bunch discussion group, 3/31 from 11am-12pm.

Important Message on State Assessments:

As many of you know this is typically the time we are communicating about upcoming state assessments (Colorado Measures of Academic Success--CMAS).

This year the State of Colorado is requiring that we administer CMAS to different grade levels for both English Language Arts and Math. The table below outlines which assessments are required and which are available upon parent request. In order to have your students take the assessments that are not required but available, you will need to opt them in by completing the form that is linked at the bottom of this section. This form needs to be completed by Sunday, March 28, 2021.

The current testing window is April 12-April 30. You child will not be testing that entire window - it will be about one hour of testing, for a total of three tests per grade level, across multiple days. We are finalizing the school specific schedule and more information will be shared from Ms. Masone or your child's teacher after the break.

This year we will be giving the following assessments per the new guidelines from the Colorado Department of Education.

COVID procedures will be maintained during the administration of all assessments.

Parent Excusal Process - Manitou Springs School District encourages full participation of every student in assessments. Assessments are used at all levels to monitor student progress, address academic gaps/concerns/strengths, and improve instruction. Parents are allowed to excuse their students from any state mandated assessment. The parent excusal form, linked below, must be filled out prior to the date the assessment is scheduled to begin. If a student is excused from testing, they are still able and encouraged to attend school on those testing days (per Colorado Revised Statutes 22-7-1013(8)(a-c)).

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Kolleen Johnson-District Assessment Coordinator (

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Neurodiversity Week

What is Neurodiversity Week?

Neurodiversity Week was started in the U.K. in 2019 by a woman named Siena Castellon. Castellon is a woman with autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and ADHD. Castellon’s learning differences negatively impacted her experience in education and her overall outlook on school. She created this week in order to allow students and teachers to become more aware of learning differences and to foster a more inclusive learning environment within schools for all students. Her goal for this week is to change negative misconceptions and stereotypes about individuals who think differently and perceive the world differently. Staff and students explored learning differences through several resources all week - educational videos, posters of famous peoples with learning differences that were placed through the hallways, and quotes/ideas added to our morning announcements. You can reach out to Anna Fox if you are interested in learning more at

Welcome Deputy Meyers

MSSD14 has a new School Resource Officer, Deputy Mark Meyers from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. Mark has been in law enforcement for 22 years (5 years at the Colorado Department of Corrections and 17 years with El Paso County Sheriff’s Office). His assignments have included Patrol, Mounted Unit, Gang Unit, Criminal Intelligence Unit, Rural Enforcement Outreach Unit and he served as a School Resource Officer for 7 years. His assigned schools were Ellicott, Calhan, Miami-Yoder, and Edison. Mark is a Marine Corps Veteran and served our country for 8 years. He loves riding horses, ranching, fishing and camping. He has been married to his wife, Valorie, for almost 25 years.
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Reminder of Resources for All Families

Our District Clothing Closet and Food Pantry are open and available to any family with children attending one of our schools. See the flyer below for more information from PHC (Partners for Healthy Choices):
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2021-2022 Registration Information

We are currently accepting out-of-district applications for the 2021-2022 school year until March 31st, 2021. If you have a friend or family member who wants to join our school community, please have them complete the Choice Application packet. Click here for more information.

2021-2022 Returning Student Registration Process

Currently enrolled students who will be returning, both resident and non-resident, will be rolled over to the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. You will receive an email notification to complete the registration renewal process in early June.

Here is the first step for you to complete:

Please help us with this process by completing the 2021-2022 Intent to Return Survey using the link below. We ask that all parents and guardians complete this survey regardless of whether they will be attending MSSD14 in the fall for the 2021-2022 school year.

Intent to Return Survey -

Kindergarten Enrollment 2021-2022

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Ask Your Expert!

Read about what's happening in our grade-level and exploratory classes at MSES!

Preschool: In the afternoon class students learned that Sally Ride was the first American woman to travel into space on the space shuttle. Ask your expert if they would like to be an astronaut! In Dinosaur School we talked about problem solving when we have a problem. Ask your expert what they can do when their friend has a toy that they would like to play with? (Ask your friend for a turn.)

Kindergarten: Colonial Towns and Townspeople unit of study will continue students’ journey as they learn more about the early history of our country. Students already know that the Pilgrims came to America from England seeking religious freedom, which they learned in our Columbus and the Pilgrims domain. The setting for Colonial Towns and Townspeople is more than 150 years later, after the colonies had been firmly established. Who are some tradespeople we have learned about? (Cobbler, dressmaker, baker, miller, blacksmith.) In the country, are houses close together or far apart? (They are far apart.) Why would farmers make trips into town? (To barter with shop owners to get items they need for their farms.) Where did farmers get most of their food? (They grew their food and butchered their own meat. Cows gave them milk, chickens gave them eggs.)

1st Grade: First graders are wrapping up their Animals and Habitats domain! This week, we studied animals of freshwater and saltwater habitats. We also discussed habitat destruction and endangered species. Ask your expert: What are some examples of freshwater habitats? (Rivers, streams, lakes, ponds.) Is most of the earth’s water fresh water or salt water? (Salt water.) What are some of the ways that animals have adapted to the salt water habitat? (Large mouths and sharp teeth to catch prey, feelers to find food in the dark, chemicals to make light, etc.) What is an endangered species? (A species that could die out because there are so few still living.) How do people affect habitats? (They can hurt them by building cities and roads, cutting down trees, etc. They can protect them by making careful laws about where to build, and by avoiding chemicals that harm animals like the bald eagle.)

2nd Grade: Second graders had the opportunity to go to the Space Foundation for a field trip this week! There are many projects in our hallway demonstrating their learning of the many cycles of nature we studied. Ask your expert what are the reasons for the seasons? (Sun and tilt of the earth.) What is a cycle? (A cycle is a sequence of events that repeats itself again and again.) What is the plant/tree cycle? (Seed to seed.) What about the chicken, butterfly, and frog cycle? (Egg to egg.) What is the water cycle? (A process of the sun, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and run-off/collection.) Do we get new water all the time? (No, the water we use today is the same water the dinosaurs drank and bathed in, too!) Are they in a cycle? (Yes, growth stage.)

3rd Grade: In third grade we have begun our study of Native American regions and cultures. Ask your expert: What does it mean that the prehistoric people were nomadic? (They moved from place to place in search of food.) How did farming change the lives of these early people? (Once they began to farm, it allowed them to choose to stay in one place.) How did people begin to use plants? (To make things such as clothes, homes, and medicines.) Why did many groups choose to settle near a river? (To have access to drinking water, growing crops, irrigating crops, and traveling.) Why did mound-builders build mounds? (For burial sites of their ancestors, for ceremonial and religious reasons, and possibly as defense structures.)

4th Grade: In fourth grade, we are continuing our exciting invention-based unit, "Eureka! Student Inventor". Students have been working hard to develop the skills and systems needed to become an effective inventor themselves! Ask your expert: What does “invention breeds invention” mean? (Previous inventions inspire new invention ideas; old inventions can be used when creating new inventions; inventions help us see “problems” to solve that haven’t been solved yet.) Tell a family member about how the lightbulb is an example of an invention breeding an invention (Possible answer: Because of lightbulbs, headlights on cars were invented and made driving so much safer.) Some classes have begun the process of documenting their invention ideas. What do you need to do when drawing an effective diagram? (3D drawing, descriptive materials label, explanation of how things work.)

5th Grade: Fifth grade will be wrapping up our CKLA Unit on the Renaissance. Students are demonstrating their skills in reading and understanding informational text, as well as writing a biography in the form of a diary entry. Ask your expert: What is a humanist? (Someone who admires ancient Greek and Roman art, literature, and government.) Did Leonardo da Vinci prefer to be called a sculptor or a painter? (Sculptor.) What is a patron? (Someone who provided an artist with food, clothing and a house while they worked.) How did Machiavelli think a prince should rule his people? (He should rule them with fear and should not keep his word if it isn’t to his advantage.) Where did Shakepeare hold his plays? (The Globe Theater.)

Art: Third grade artists have finished creating their amazing space t-shirts and are now busy creating a giant origami star covered in beautiful tissue paper designs. Third graders should have a clear understanding of three-dimensional forms both real and implied.

Please wash your child’s space t-shirt in cold water and limit the washings for longer lasting color.

Spanish: Among other topics, the first graders learned the prepositions, to the left, to the right, forward, behind - in the middle - back. They learned to say simple sentences in Spanish: It's yellow (amarilla) - Mona Maria is smart (lista) - Pedro is a blue fish (pez azul) - Pedro is small (pequeño) - Maria is big (grande).

Music: This week, fourth and fifth graders finished up their composition projects and learned about African American music from the early 20th century (rock & roll), funk, hip hop, and the artists Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. Ask your expert “What kind of African American music did you enjoy learning about this week?”

PE: Our kindergarteners are finishing up the ball skills unit. Throwing, catching, passing, setting and spiking with oversized volleyballs. They have done a fantastic job, as we have taken their skills and played mini volleyball games on small nets and small courts.

I hope you all have an enjoyable and safe spring break.

TEAMS: This week in TEAMS second graders created an iMovie after going on a field trip to the Space Foundation. Upon returning they created an iMovie about their experience. They recalled all of the new space facts they learned, made a script, and imported pictures. The students then recorded their voice to match the pictures. We talked about how they can create iMovies about other things they learn as well, however we ALWAYS ask permission if we are importing a picture of someone other than themselves.

Reading/Math Intervention: In reading intervention, we continue to work on basic literacy skills: decoding CVC words and "silent e" words, recognizing familiar sight words, and reading appropriately leveled books to enhance fluency and comprehension.

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Second Grade Field Trip

To Space Foundation Discovery Center

Fifth Grade Trip to MSMS

This week all fifth grade students went to Manitou Springs Middle School to meet the staff and tour the school! The students enjoyed a glimpse into middle school life, led by 8th grade National Honor Society students. Pictured below are students from Ms. Embery’s class. Could there be a better location for a school? What a view!
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Important Updates

  • Report cards will be mailed on March 19th.
  • Grab and Go lunches will be available from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm on Monday, March 22nd. You will receive 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches per child.
  • Class Picture Day on March 30th - photos will be taken outside on the library lawn with masks on

As always, please feel free to reach out to the front office with any questions or concerns! You can call the main number 719-685-2195, Stacy at or Caitlin at

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COVID-19 Response

We ask that everyone continue to use the MSSD14 COVID Intake Form only when your student or someone in your household has COVID-like symptoms. This form is used only for students and staff who are absent due to unexplained or unexpected illness. This new process allows us to have consistent communication with staff and parents, which ultimately contributes to a stronger contact tracing process and the continuation of in-person learning.

Nutrition Services

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Parent Action Committee

Please support the PAC by participating in the grocery rewards program (details below).
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