Springs News

Springs Studio for Academic Excellence, December Edition

A note from Executive Principal, Mr. Knoche

As we come into the homestretch of the first semester I wanted to take a moment and share the correspondence we had with Care and Share after the long traffic back up we experienced on Friday, November 30. Please read their apology letter followed by my response.

Dear Mr. Knoche,

First, let me thank you for the opportunity we have to be a neighbor to Springs Studio families and communities. We value the partnership we have with you, the many ways you and your students/staff/faculty support our mission. We want to be good neighbors. And today, we let you down. For that I am sorry, and I take complete responsibility. I hope you will share my apology with your families. Clearly, some members of your community were disappointed with us today, and they let us know that, in person and online through various messages. I’m so very sorry we let you/them down.

Let me explain what was taking place today. We planned what we call a mobile food pantry, an opportunity to give food to people who are in dire need of sustenance. We typically welcome 100-150 families for such events. We thought we could conduct our event without impacting your community. We were not expecting the nearly 400 families who arrived today in need of assistance. The turnout today showed us the overwhelming need that exists in our community around food and nourishment. People are hungry. And they lack resources to put food on the table. I’m sorry that we had a negative impact on your community and I hope you will share my apologies with your families/staff/students. Today we truly lived out our belief that no one should go hungry.

We have more of these events planned for the next few weeks/months, and clearly I see a need to communicate with your team about this. We want to limit the negative impact on your community. I will personally be in touch with you and your staff to discuss the best way to move forward. And we as a team will plan how to conduct this event better in the weeks ahead. We were completely caught off guard by the need that appeared today.

My hope this that you will communicate our apology to the Springs Studio community. Please feel comfortable forwarding my email in whole if you like. We are so sorry we inconvenienced your community. And, I wonder if this couldn’t be a teachable moment? While we are busy with our lives, the need to get to appointments, dance lessons, sporting events, crock pots we left at home while we pick up kiddos from school, and meeting partners at home when they expect us, the truth is that people in our community are hungry, and struggling to make ends meet, to put food on the table. Maybe some in the Springs Studio family find themselves in this place. If not, perhaps others can appreciate our blessings and understand the struggle many face around simply having the food they need to thrive.

So, please accept my apology for any inconvenience we caused your community. We will work to alleviate this for future events.


Stacy Poore


I responded to Care and Share with the following:


As a neighbor and K-12 learning community, we deeply value what your organization brings to Colorado Springs, Springs Studio and beyond. With that being said, we appreciate the acknowledgment of disruption those 400 families brought to our pick up process. However, we view that disruption as a cosmic reminder that we face significant challenges as a community and that our small inconveniences do not compare to the struggles many endure. We can use this as a teachable moment for our students, staff, and parents about the need for patience and grace when confronted with challenges.

Our relationship as a neighbor is stronger than ever because at the end of the day we have similar purposes- take care of people and ensure they have what they need to grow and improve their condition. A small traffic jam cannot derail a purpose that grand. Your staff were truly amazing, directing traffic and meeting occasional frustration with a big smile and genuine apology; it's hard to be angry when that happens. In whatever capacity we can support your future outreach, please let us know and we would be honored to help. Have a fantastic holiday season and thanks for being great neighbors for the past eight years.


David Knoche

Executive Principal

Please take a moment and reflect on the messages and challenges of these correspondences. We take our role as a community partner seriously and think the message that Care and Share put forward keeps the next few weeks in context. If anyone is hurting, in need of food or assistance SSAE is a simple phone call away. Beyond providing an excellent education, we should always take care of each other so that we can all continue to grow and become the best versions of ourselves. Even when things are good for many there are some who continue to have struggles beyond our comprehension, so let's take a few minutes this holiday season and recognize that patience and grace goes a long way toward making this an amazing holiday season and deepening our partnerships as a learning community.

Campus Life - Class Happenings


Intro to Engineering has just completed learning about the basics of 3D modeling, and are beginning a new design project. The students were allowed to pick from a list of projects or create their own design problem. The projects range from designing a Continuously Variable Transmission to new styles for snowboard bindings. Finally, students will use 3D printers to create a prototype of their design solution.

Principles of Engineering is taking over the world with VEX robots! They have just started a challenging computer engineering project where they have a list of design solutions to choose from as well. They will build and program their design solution using ROBOTC and VEX kits. These projects include programming traffic lights (traffic engineering), designing Jeopardy game sets, or building an elevator that moves to the floor when it is called. When this project is completed, it will be presented to a panel of engineers and professionals.

Art -

  • November Elementary ART- Foil Rubbings with Watercolor Background, Fingerprint Autumn Tree, Goofy Turkeys, Burlap Stitching

  • November Middle School ART- Black Glue with Watercolor Fall Leaves, Stencil Skylines, Adobe Photoshop Animal Hybrids

  • November High School ART- Realistic Graphite Portraits, Watercolor Wet on Wet with Salt, Adobe Illustrator Landscapes, Adobe Illustrator Creatures

Elementary School

Fall Break Reading Challenge

Over Fall break Elementary set a challenge for students to read 400 minutes in the two week span. We had 24 participants who came back from break ready for a special prize and a well read mind.

Here are our 24 diligent readers:

Kayla M.

Haley C.

Aubrey C.

McKenzie K.

Jaxon K.

Delaney S.

Adi R.

Tiffany B.

Addison S.

Lexi B.

Mikaeli T.

Aaronia R.

Zahara R.

Jessaleigh W.

Grace C.

Lexi F.

Etsuko S.

Danica W.

Jayden A.

Porter C.

And a few others...

These special students were rewarded with a 5 ft sandwich and chips!

Reading with the Deputies

In November, Elementary got a special visit from some Sheriff Deputies. The two gentlemen came to read with each grade in Elementary and sixth grade as well. The kids favorite part? The two deputies came to recess with them to race, do some gymnastics and show off their handcuffs for some magical escapes. A huge THANK YOU to them both for the love of literature and fun they brought!

Science - High School

Biology- During our discussion about ploidy (the number of chromosomes in an organism), students extracted the DNA from both a strawberry and a banana. From this, the students determined that the strawberry must have more chromosomes than a banana, which is true! The strawberry has eight sets of chromosomes, which the banana only has 2.

Chemistry/Physical Science- Students have been experimenting with the famous iodine clock reaction, which causes iodine to turn black after an amount of time. Students changed the amount of iodine used each time, which caused the time required to change, and graphed their data. From there, the students were given the challenge to use their graphs to determine how much iodine is required to cause the reaction to complete in 5 minutes.

Science - Middle School

What do waves, energy, and music have in common? 8th grade science students are about to find out! The students have been tasked to design and build musical instruments using the knowledge they have about each of these topics. Each handcrafted master piece must play at least eight different notes.

In addition to making music in the science lab, the 7th graders are exploring creative ways to reverse the effects of infected cells in the human body. Meanwhile, the 6th graders are determined to discover new methods that will prevent the depletion of the Earth’s natural resources.

Math - High School

This is it - the end of the semester is right around the corner! We (Ms. Olson and Ms. McClain) would like to take a moment to remind you of some important information regarding the end of the semester. Just a quick reminder that students are required to reach 60% mastery and have a grade above 70% in Schoology to pass this semester of math. Math is a mastery based course and 60% in ALEKS is a demonstration of their mastery. If you are unsure of how to see mastery in ALEKS, please contact your student's teacher, and they will gladly help you!

The second "In-Building" ALEKS Knowledge Check of the year is scheduled for Tuesday, December 11th. ALL students taking an ALEKS Math course are required to take this assessment in building to pass their math class. If students are unable to test on that date, they are required to reach out to their teacher and schedule another time to take the test in building before the end of the semester. Students that reach 60% on that assessment are finished with math for the semester, those that do not reach the benchmark will have until 8:00 am on 12/21 to reach the required level of mastery. Students not at 60% by 12/14 are required to attend classes on December 18th and 20th - only students with 70% in all classes and 60% in ALEKS are free to stay home on those days! (An early holiday gift!)

Please let us know if you have questions or concerns regarding math - we know this is often a time of frustration and we are happy to help you and your student successfully complete the semester! We hope you enjoy a well deserved holiday vacation!

Math - Middle School

Students worked hard to complete their game design projects in time for their HarvestMania reveal. Many families came through the exhibit and enjoyed playing the games while students explained their designs and what they learned about math in the world. The photos show a "balancing" game and spooky mini-golf hole. There was even a working windmill on our mini-golf course! (not shown)
This month math students are learning to create an argument for how they arrived at their answers in math class and applied evidence and reasoning to those answers. As seen in the photos, students are discussing different ways to determine how they can know the correct order of numbers on the number line and debating their different approaches.

English - High School

November in the high school English classes we have been focusing on career exploration and aptitudes in addition to our normal curriculum. We plan on having students reflect on their aptitudes and develop work ready resumes and cover letters based on those results.

Students took assessments through YouScience to find out aptitudes and careers that fit them. Counselors will use these results to better advise students in the spring.

9th graders are learning about realistic fiction through Francesco D’Adamo’s Iqbal.

Sophomores are developing speaking, listening, and narration skills through Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

American Lit students are reading Robert Frost’s Mending Wall while learning about a blank verse and iambic pentameter.

English - Middle School

In middle school English, we are working on our book report projects. The students have been reading and gaining an understanding of the different concepts in their books. They have also been having discussions around the concepts and getting familiar with what they are reading. With the actual project, they are starting with the character journal. Looking into what a character sees and how they interact with other characters. Students are writing from the perspective of a character they get to choose. Then, construct well written paragraphs around a conflict the character has and the student's favorite scene.

Social Studies - High School

In November, the American Government students put together a mock election for the students of SSAE. It included five ballot measures/candidates that the American Government students chose because they thought the SSAE students would be able to relate to their lives/community. They worked together to completely organize the mock election from beginning to end. Then after the election, they not only debriefed and critiqued their mock election, they shared polling results in pie graphs for me to share with all my classes for the results. To complete the semester, American Government students are working on a Civil Liberties project.

US History completed their magazines on the Spanish American War causes, opposition, and battles complete with coordinating pictures. Next, they are focusing on completing a World War I project and how it involved the US.

World History finished off their imperialism projects while completing maps to coordinate with World War I beginnings. Finishing off the semester, the students are working on World War I projects focusing on the impact of various strategies, battles, weapons, and approaches have had on the outcome of the war and will be presented to their classes.

Social Studies - Middle School

This week in Social Studies, we've begun working on our end of the year projects. The students selected a topic (person, event, innovation, etc.) in American History and started researching. We are learning how to correctly document our sources, based on the type of source, and how to take notes actively. Following the research stage, the students will participate in a 'Round Robin' activity where they have to have three peers verify that their research is fitting the requirements. Next, we will work on organizing our notes into the Harvard outline, specifically attaching footnotes from the resources. Finally, the students will write a 3-page minimum paper concluding their research. I am super excited to see the final product.

Counselors Corner


Herff Jones will be at Springs Studio on Thursday, Dec. 6th from 2:30-3:30 p.m. to deliver graduation items that have been ordered and to collect new orders. Pricing for Herff Jones will go up after Christmas

Juniors and Sophomores:

D49 has an awesome opportunity next year for you to participate in the Career Start program through PPCC! You can earn high school and college credits while taking hands-on classes at PPCC in the following pathways:

Auto Collision Technology, Auto Service Technology, Construction, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Cyber Security, Diesel Power Technology, Early Childhood Education, Fire Science Technology, Health Career, and Science, Interior Design, Multimedia Graphic Design, Radio and Television, Welding, Zookeeping.

**There will be informational visit days at PPCC in February. If you are interested in attending, please contact Mrs. Pethtel for more information (apethtel@d49.org).

All High School Students:

-The 12th Annual Educating Children of Color Summit will be held at Colorado College on Saturday, January 19th from 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. There will be free food, educational gifts, door prizes, and scholarship opportunities! The event is free to all students and families. The deadline to register online is December 23, 2018.

Register at: https://educatingchildrenofcolor.org/2019-summit-registration

-D49 Workplace Learning Opportunities! If you are interested in job shadowing or internships, please check out this awesome website with opportunities in a variety of careers: https://www.d49.org/Page/7189


Mrs. Swann, the middle school counselor, will be doing a career exploration lessons in December & January to begin exposing our middle school students to a variety of careers, educational requirements and overall general knowledge about the work force. As a part of this, 8th grade students will be taking the YouScience Snapshot in December. This is a career assessment to help students understand how their natural abilities tie into school and career success. This is an abbreviated version of YouScience (a more entailed version our high school students are taking) and takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete. The students will work on this in class one afternoon but will need to complete it at home before January 11th. The results are generated in a very detailed report so please look at this with your student for some very insightful information.

In last month’s newsletter, we said that the 8th graders would be taking the PSAT 8 testing in December. Due to delays in receiving our testing credentials from College Board, we will not be doing the PSAT 8 testing in December after all. If we receive our credentials in time, we will try again in January. Otherwise, we will wait until next year to begin implementing this assessment. Stay tuned!


In November, all high school students received an invitation from YouScience to take a career assessment. Students enrolled in any English class will have graded assignments attached to the results received from YouScience, so it is imperative that your student complete this assessment. For those students who do not have an English class, we would still like those students to take the assessment. YouScience is an amazing tool that provides the students with a comprehensive report that shows the students how their natural abilities impact them in their daily lives, socially, academically and at work. They learn a lot about themselves and are matched to potential careers that complement their natural abilities and gain extensive insight about those careers, future outlooks for those careers, and educational requirements. The counseling staff will also be using the student’s results during our scheduling meetings when meeting with students in the spring.

The Colorado Springs Fire Explorer Program provides an exposure to the fire service and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) for interested youths ages 14-21. This is a hands-on learning program and a great opportunity for any student interested in Fire/EMS services. They are now taking applications for a January 2019 start date. There is a $275.00 fee, monthly training, and one-year commitment. Participating students must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA at all times. If interested you can contact Marjorie Essigmann by calling 719-574-2215 or by email at Essigmann@aol.com for more information.

Family Engagement Council

Our Family Engagement Council is responsible for making recommendations to their principal concerning priorities for; spending school funds, making recommendations concerning the preparation of the school’s performance, improvement, priority improvement or turnaround plan (whichever is applicable), and meeting at least quarterly to discuss implementation of the school’s plan and other progress pertinent to the school’s accreditation contract with the local school board. The Educator Evaluation and Support Bill of 2010 (S.B. 10-191) also authorized School Accountability Committees to provide input and recommendations to District Accountability Committees and district administration concerning principal development plans and principal evaluations. To become a member, please fill out the FEC Nomination Form.

Family Engagement Council Meetings are held at SSAE from 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm on:

February 12

April 30

June 4th

Springs Studio Clubs

Community Service Club - Mrs. Olson (jolson@d49.org)

First and Third Tuesday each month

3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

Our first community service event is Santa’s Toy Express and six students will be helping our district bus drivers with their annual fundraiser in December!

Recycling Club - Mrs. McClain (smcclain@d49.org) and Mrs. Aubain (jaubain@d49.org)

Meetings 1st and 3rd Thursday's


ACE Maker's (Architecture, Coding, Engineering) Club - Mr. Wixom (jwixom@d49.org)


3:15 to 4:30

HS Student Council - Mr. Wixom (jwixom@d49.org)

Meeting Thursday's


Apply Here

MS Student Council - Mrs. Mooney (cmooney@d49.org)

Meeting every Wednesday

11:20 am - 12:10 pm

National Honors Society - Mr. Mogensen (kmogensen@d49.org)

Meeting Monthly at Lunch

11:45 am - 12:30 pm

President - Haley Edwards

Vice-President - Hunter Edwards

Secretary - Cameron Fajardo

National Juniors Honor Society - Mr. Guest (mguest@d49.org)

Meeting dates/times - TBD

President - Jazz myn McKenzie

Vice-President - Daniel Leon

Treasurer - Toban Mallo

National Art Honor Society - Mrs. Wichman (kwichman@d49.org)

Meet Quarterly

Time: 11:45 am

Members were picked at the end of last school year for this year. In April, there will be emails and announcements about joining for next year.

National Honors Society Clothing Drive

National Honors Society is starting up their clothing drive! We will be accepting donations through December 18th. We are accepting new and gently used clothing for adults and children. No undergarments, socks, or swimsuits, please! The drive itself will be in January for family's to shop for FREE!

High School Student Council

Game On! This is a video game tournament hosted by Student Council that will take place from 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM on Saturday, December 8! We will have tournaments for games like Super Smash Bros, and Rocket League, as well as open play for board games, corn hole, and other video games. Admission is $10 and includes a voucher for one tournament, and Marco's Pizza/soft drinks. Additional tournaments can be entered for $5 and award prizes for 1st and 2nd place. If the weather permits (and fire danger is low enough), we will have a campfire outside from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM as well.

National Honors Society

NHS teamed up with the Community Service Club and Care and Share for the annual Take A Turkey To Work (School) Day! Between the two clubs, Springs Studio donated over 20 frozen turkeys to families in need for Thanksgiving!

Middle School Student Council

Wow, what a busy October!

Middle school Student Council members worked tirelessly to collect food and monies in support of the Care and Share food bank Harvest of Love campaign.

The student's collected food at King Soopers, sold turkey grams and hosted our second annual Harvmania Festival in conjunction with the High School Student Council. Thanks to everyone who made a donation or supported the Harvestman Festival. We truly appreciate your help!

Take a moment to read the article about our Harvestmania Festival that is currently on the District 49 website!


Upcoming events

After school movie activity December 10 from 3:10- 5:00 PM. More information to follow!

"Pull for the House"

Middle School Student Council will be collecting pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado annual fundraising campaign, Mountain of Love. This will run

from now until April 15th.

Why pop tabs? The tab is made of pure, high-grade aluminum. Don't forget about the tabs from soup cans, broth cans, pet food cans, and even tennis/racquetball balls!

Recycling these pop tabs helps families of critically ill children. Proceeds raised will support programs that last year served over 3,000 area children and their families.

Box Tops

As you are shopping/cooking/eating, be sure to look for Box Tops! Each box top equals 10 cents for our school - collect as many as you can. Recruit friends and family to collect for you as well! Keep clipping and sending in your Box Tops. We did a great job; Springs Studio will be receiving a check for $67.20 in December from the first submission! The next deadline is March 1st.

Springs Studio Inclement Weather Information

If D49 issues a 2-hour delay or closure, SSAE students will work virtually from home. Teachers will be available online for student support.

If you are unsure of a closure or delay:

  • D49 website - The D49 website will include weather information on the home page in the District Updates section. Also, you can look for a banner at the top of the home page that will provide a brief statement such as "delayed," "Delayed Monitoring, or "Closed."
  • Local TV stations - When winter weather hits, tune into any local TV station's newscast to view their weather delays/closure information.
  • Social Media - Stay connected regarding delays and closures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow District 49 on each of these platforms to see current information.
  • Email/Text Messages - Be sure you have current contact information in our Student Information System to receive emails or text messages. Check with your child's school to ensure they have up-to-date information. If you do not receive an email or text when the weather is questionable, be sure to check other resources.

Upcoming Events

Don't forget to check our website calendar for detailed information.

December 3rd - Parent Academy: Social & Emotional Wellness Evening Conference at Sand Creek High School

December 4th - Skate City

December 8th - High School Game Day and Campfire

December 10th - After School Movie Activity - More information to follow!

December 10th - ALEKS Testing - Middle School

December 11th - ALEKS Testing - High School

December 11th - World Language Final Exam

December 24th - 4th - Winter break

January 7th - Professional Development Day, no students in building