The Pony Press

Friday, September 9th, 2022

Reflecting on this Week

This week, I had the pleasure of spending a lot of time in classrooms, just talking with students and observing the magic. I watched preschoolers practice singing the days of the week. I heard kindergarten students talking about place value during calendar time. I watched first graders open and shut their fists to simulate a heart pumping blood throughout their bodies. I heard second graders learning about adjectives and then using them in their writing about ice cream. I observed third graders summarizing a story and talking about how reading makes them powerful. I sat with fourth graders in the outdoor classroom as they described and illustrated the structure and function of various plants native to the area. I watched as fifth graders tackled expanded form in math class and persevered through some really challenging problems by collaborating with each other. I heard the overall buzz of excitement as our sixth graders were fitted to their backpacks and discussing upcoming trips.

I heard laughter and problem solving coming from the gym during PE (with some occasional moans and groans during fitness tests). I saw the most beautifully painted aspen trees in the art room. I saw students find a safe space to breathe and regulate in the counselor's office. I witnessed bravery and originality as students belted new songs and tried new instruments in the music room. I heard students speaking Spanish in complete sentences and checking out books for the very first time in the library. I observed our special education, interventionist, and support staff provide individualized instruction to all learners in the hallway, classrooms, the stage, and all throughout the building. I watched our kitchen manager supply healthy meals to students in the cafeteria. I saw kids and families waving to our front office secretary. I smiled as the security guard took students on stretch breaks to help him "secure" the building. I watched the nurse bandage countless boo-boos and the custodian clean up many messes from kids being allowed to explore and create.

I watched growing occur right in front of my eyes- growing of hearts, minds, bodies and the earth. I watched kids feeling safe to be themselves. I watched as each student was greeted every single day by adults who believe wholeheartedly in their potential.

It is a truly wonderful season of change, not just in the weather, but in getting back to the beauty of our small school and the work we can do when we come together with a common purpose. It's just the beginning of the journey for this school year, and although there will be (literal and figurative) construction along the way, we're sure happy to share this season with you.


Your partner in education,

Jackie Powell, Ute Pass Principal

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!

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! Check out our first graders singing

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! Beginning Monday, you can watch them on our very own YouTube channel. Daily announcements will be available for your viewing pleasure as soon as we complete them for that day (usually around 8:10 am). Simply subscribe to the Ute Pass YouTube channel at this link- UPES YouTube

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Important Dates in August/September


2- Landsharks Running Club begins

5- No School

6- Connect14 classes start

13- PAC Meeting 3:00

14- Late start (supervision begins at 9:35, first bell rings at 9:55, tardy bell rings at 10:00)

15-16- 6th grade camp

20- School picture day

21- Late start (supervision begins at 9:35, first bell rings at 9:55, tardy bell rings at 10:00)

22-23- 5th grade camp

21- Open Outdoors (Open House) 4:30-6:00

28- Late start (supervision begins at 9:35, first bell rings at 9:55, tardy bell rings at 10:00)

30- Homecoming parade

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Meet Leah Vankirk

Position: Preschool Teacher

Work History: Behavioral Specialist, Early interventionist in District 11 for preschool, and neuromuscular massage therapist

Favorite Food: panaang curry

Hobbies: mountain biking and trials dirt biking, singing, drinking chocolate pb fit shakes

Why Ute Pass: This is my community! My boys attend here!

Most Excited About: Experiencing the learning process with the youngest learners! Watching them learn to love learning and grow in confidence!

Arrival/Dismissal Procedures

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Arrival/Dismissal Info

Duty/supervision/breakfast begins at 7:35.

The first bell for students to enter classrooms is at 7:55, and the tardy bell will ring at 8:00. Dismissal is at 2:50.

Here are the ins and outs of our pick up/drop off lane:

  • The family drop-off/pick-up lane will allow children to be picked up all the way to the end of the central sidewalk (to the gas meters against the street).
  • Teachers will supervise students in the locations noted on the map above.
  • No car will move into or exit the lane until every car has been loaded. (If you do not have the time to wait, please consider parking and walking in the areas marked above.)
  • When all cars are loaded, the line of cars will exit together.
  • The crossing guard will then allow walking parents to cross the parking lot at crosswalks to gain access to their vehicles.
  • When these vehicles are loaded and moving, the next line waiting on Chipita Park Road will be allowed in to begin the process again.
  • Furry Friday dismissal- on Fridays, bring your dogs through our pick-up lane for a treat!
  • Feel Good Friday afternoon concerts- Mr. Ferguson will be playing every Friday afternoon at dismissal (weather permitting)!

Please note the available areas for parking and walking above. If your child is sitting on the wall with their teacher, please ask a staff member to get your child for you to avoid excess traffic near the pick-up lane. As always, your patience is deeply appreciated!

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 first PAC meeting of the year on Tuesday, September 13 at 3pm. Kids are most assuredly welcome.

We will be looking to fill the following positions: Staff Appreciation Head, someone to manage the UPE PAC Facebook page, and a PAC representative to staff. We will be discussing homecoming week, the parade, Halloween ideas, Staff mini-grants, etc...

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 PAC Meetings- 3:00 pm in the Gym

  • September 13, 2022
  • October 11, 2022
  • November 8, 2022

Construction in Area

Road construction will begin in front of the school Monday, August 29th.

From: Aug. 29 - ?

Times: 6:30 am - 6:00 pm

Lanes Open: One at a time with flaggers directing traffic

Company: Kewitt Construction

MSSD14 is Hiring!

Scan the QR code 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. Menus will be available beginning next week on the district website--> departments-->nutrition services.

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 will be 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!

Champions After School Care

Manitou Springs Elementary School will host an after-school program through Champions After School Care. This opportunity will be offered to Ute Pass Families also, and transportation would be provided from UPES to MSES after school.
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22/23 School Year Calendar - Including Late Start Dates.

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Landsharks Running Club

Ute Pass Landsharks Running Club Fall Cross Country Series

Practices are scheduled for Wednesdays/Fridays beginning September 2nd with a celebration run to follow after the last meet. Practices consist of running games and track workouts with a strong focus on fun.

Races are held on Monday evenings at Shining Mountain Golf Course. Races will begin at 5pm on September 19th, 26th and Oct 3rd. Runners run ONE (1) of the following distances: Kindergarten & 1st grade 0.5 miles only, 2nd-6th grade 1 mile OR 1.5 miles.

Registration opened August 1st and closes September 9th at 5pm OR until we reach CAPACITY

Runners must be registered prior to their first practice. Please register online at

$65 registration fee through September 3rd then an additional $10/runner fee applies.

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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