The Pony Press
Friday, September 1, 2023
What an incredible two weeks we've had with your amazing learners! It is so exciting to walk through the building and see the learning opportunities happening in every single classroom- from our 3 and 4 year olds in preschool, all the way up to our 6th grade Mountain Academy students!
We just received data back from our spring assessments, and this little school has A LOT to celebrate! Our staff are creating engaging, hands-on experiences that allow students to problem solve, think critically, make meaningful connections, and persevere through really hard tasks! These learning experiences look a lot different then traditional elementary schools, but definitely are impacting our next generation in extremely positive ways. It is such an exciting time to be at Ute Pass Elementary! I look forward to sharing those results at our first PAC (parent action committee) and SAC (school accountability committee) combination meeting on September 12th at 3 pm.
Thank you for your support and flexibility as we navigate around the construction changes and the front office remodel, especially during arrival and dismissal times. Thank you for allowing your child to walk into the building and go to the playground or cafeteria for breakfast. I know it's hard to let the little ones go sometimes, but they are doing a great job building independence, and please know we have staff helping everyone get where they need to be. If you need to speak directly to your child's teacher, we do ask that you set up a meeting or phone call to have that conversation ahead of time. This helps honor teachers' planning and meeting times. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities, please reach out to your child's teacher, as they each have different preferences for their classrooms.
We have our Open House/Open Outdoors event on Wednesday, September 20th. This will be a time for you to get a better look inside the building, and speak to your child's teacher. We will have snacks and student presentations on the back playground (or in the gym if weather is questionable), then a quick principal's message followed by classroom walkthroughs.
As you look through the pictures below, and as you listen to the stories from your amazing young people that we have the privilege to educate, I hope you feel the joy, hear the laughter, and appreciate this truly unique little gem that we get to call our school.
Your partner in education,
Jackie Powell, Ute Pass Principal
Important Dates in September
4- No School
11- 2nd and 5th to Flying Pig Farm
12- 6th to Catamount
12- SAC and PAC Meeting 3 pm
13- Late Start
14- Picture Day
15- Kinder and 4th to Flying Pig Farm
18- Board of Education Meeting 5:30 pm @MSHS
18-22 Homecoming Spirit Week
18-19- 4th and 5th Backpacking and Camping Trip
19- Pre-K, 1st, and 6th (Riffle) to Flying Pig Farm
20- Late Start
20- 3rd and 6th (Groth) to Flying Pig Farm
20- Open House/Open Outdoors (4-5 pm)
22- Homecoming Week
27-28 6th Backing and Camping Trip
29- No School for students, staff work day
- If you know your child will be getting home a different way then he or she typically does, please try to notify the front office before 2:15 pm so we have ample time to get the notice to the student.
- We love pets at UPES! However, in order to keep a safe environment, please keep pets in your vehicles at arrival and dismissal.
- You should have received a pink lunch form in your child's backpack. Please fill that out and turn it in as soon as possible, as this helps determine our funding.
- Morning duty begins at 7:35 am. Please do not drop students off before that time so we can make sure we have adequate supervision and they are not waiting outside.
Watch us GROW!
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!
- 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!
We are excited to welcome Savanna Anstedt as our new Preschool teacher at UPES! Savanna has been busy setting up her classroom and preparing for the start of the school year. When UPES is on a late start Wednesday, students in preschool will follow their typical schedule (not the late start schedule). Preschool students do not attend school on Fridays.
Please reach out to Ms. Savanna at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Breakfast and Lunch Information
Free Meals for Students, Plus Important Reminders for Families
We are excited to share that all students in Manitou Springs School District will receive free breakfast and lunch starting in 2023-24 through the Healthy School Meals for All program! This new statewide program, approved by Colorado voters, is helping Colorado children and teens have access to nutritious food at our schools.
Even though breakfast and lunch will be provided for free, we need families to continue sharing household income information through this form in order for our school to receive full access to federal funding.
Be sure to fill out the form as part of your back-to-school registration! If you have questions or would like additional support, please reach out to Paula Faucette-Director of Nutrition Services, 719-685-2005 or email email@example.com for more information.
Late Start Wednesdays Update- Please Read!
The school district will be providing supervision for a limited number of students during all late start Wednesdays during the 23-24 school year. To sign up, follow the Google Form link below and register your student(s).
It is important that registration is completed only for students who would otherwise not be able to attend school if not for late start childcare. If you have any questions, please reach out to Danny Tramel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Late Start Wednesdays for first semester:
- August 30
- September 13
- September 20
- October 4
- November 1
- November 8
- November 15
- November 29
- December 6
One 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 www.connect14.org to sign up today!
Champions After School Care
Ute Pass Elementary PTO/PAC
We have a very active and incredible Parent Action Committee who supports our little school in BIG ways!
The PAC meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 3:00 pm for one month and at 5:00 pm the next month (to allow working parents to attend) at UPES. Moving into the 23-24 school year, the PAC is excited to have a larger presence in the school, continuing to take care of the amazing staff at UPES, putting on events and meeting new families, and to get new members! They will have a table set up at our Open House/Open Outdoors with more information and opportunities to join in on the fun! Please contact Janelle Berndt, PAC President, at email@example.com with any questions.
Upcoming PAC Meetings/Events:
- September 12th- PAC and SAC Meeting 3 pm
- October 10th- PAC Meeting 6 pm
- October 28th- Dia de los Muertos Celebration at UPES Gym 3-5 pm
- November 14th- PAC and SAC Meeting 3 pm
- December 12th- PAC Meeting 6 pm
NEW - MSSD14 Excused Absence Policy
Dear Families and Students,
The staff in Manitou Springs School District are excited to welcome you to a new school year filled with opportunities to learn and engage!
In the spring of 2023, the Manitou Springs Board of Education passed a new policy regarding excused absences. This policy will change how the district honors parental excusals.
We know that students who attend school do better academically and emotionally, and we will continue to support you in your student’s success. We also want to support our staff in reducing the load that chronic absences add to their plates. Please see your student’s handbook for further information.
Getting into the habit of daily attendance is more important than ever. It helps to:
- Reduce stress!
- Make it easier to connect with friends and teachers.
- Support learning.
Reaching you for support in attendance is more important than ever. It helps to:
- Make sure to call every time your child is absent or tardy.
- Please be sure we have your correct: address, phone number and email.
We are working to make our school environment a place where everyone can be safe, healthy, and learning. We will do our best to listen and partner with you so that our children have a successful year. Do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns.