The Pony Press

January 27, 2023

From the Principal...

Families and Community,

Brrrrrrr! It was a chilly, but amazing week at UPES! These mountain kids are certainly resilient when it comes to cold weather! They were so excited to finally walk into a green flag on Friday! As a reminder, we try to go outside as much as we can, even if it's just for a quick lap to get some fresh air. Please make sure your student(s) bring a coat, hat, and gloves when it's chilly like it has been! Are you missing any items? Please come in and check our Lost and Found! Are you in need of additional items or your child just grew out of a coat? Check our tubs from our Clothing Drive! Mrs. Weisheipl is collecting gently used coats, boots, hiking shoes, winter clothes, etc. Each Wednesday (and hopefully some Fridays), she and her 4th graders will put out the tubs from the Clothing Drive. Families can come take whatever they need! If you're like me, it seems like every time I buy the kids snow-boots, they fit for about five minutes before they grow out of them! This is a way we can come together to help each other out in our incredible UPES community!

Our staff had some great conversations about math during Wednesday's late start. While we are certainly still ironing out all the wrinkles of our new WIN Mountain Math intervention/extension, we saw amazing growth from our first rotation and are now starting our second rotation! If you are interested in volunteering during this time, please see the "Volunteers Needed" section below!

We are only a few weeks away from our "Love to Read Week" at UPES! On February 13th, we will have a school-wide Book Character Day where students can dress up as their favorite book characters. We will have a parade at 12:30 behind the school (weather permitting) to showcase all the creative costumes. If you would be interested in coming in to read to your child's class that week, or even recording you reading a short book using an online platform, please contact your child's teacher! That week will also be our Book Fair in the Art Room! It will be open Tuesday-Friday. We have conferences on Thursday and Friday, so stop by before or after your family conference!

Let's talk cell phones for a second! Manitou Springs Middle School rolled out a "No Cell Phones" policy this year where students put their phones in their lockers at the beginning of the day. There has been a lot of research on how distracting it can be for students to have cell phones on while they are in class. Additionally, with social media readily available at our fingertips, phones pose all sorts of concerns when not used correctly. At UPES, we are looking at ways to prepare students for middle school, and ensure the greatest amount of learning is happening while our students are in our care! We have implemented "no screens" at breakfast, lunch, and indoor recess for our entire building. That includes iPads, cell phones, smart watches, computers, etc. Our hope is that students are building positive relationships with their peers, using their imaginations, and building/creating instead of being engrossed in a screen! We can use your help as we work on limiting the personal use of cell phones throughout the day. If you, or your child, needs to communicate during the day, please utilize our front office phone at (719)685-2227. This includes if they are feeling ill, forgot something, or just need to chat for a minute. We are more than happy to provide that time and space, but want to cut down on students texting and/or making/receiving calls during class.

School Tour Week kicks off next week! Please call our front office if you, or another family you know, would like to tour UPES as you consider your options for next year! We're beyond proud of everything happening at UPES and look forward to sharing it with new and returning families next year! As a reminder, the window is currently open for choice applications for the 23-24 school year and MAAS applications! Current 5th grade students who would like to attend 6th grade at UPES need to submit the Mountain Academy of Arts and Sciences application to Christina Baker ( by February 6th to reserve a spot in that program. The program, and our school in general, is bursting at the seams, and we don't want you to hesitate and miss this incredible opportunity. Applications cannot be turned into UPES and must be submitted to Christina. It's a great time to be a UPES Pony!


Your partner in education,

Jackie Powell, Ute Pass Principal

Important Info for next week...

Green Week

Monday, January 30th

  • Specials Day 1
  • School Tour Week begins!
  • 4th/5th Field Trip to Green Mountain Falls
  • Honor Choir Practice 3-3:45

Tuesday, January 31st

  • Specials Day 2
  • 6th Grade Field Trip to High Trails

Wednesday, February 1st- Late Start Today!

  • Specials Day 3
  • Connect14 Cookie Monsterz and Creative Movement classes at UPES

Thursday, February 2nd

  • Specials Day 1
  • Connect14 Ping Pong Club at UPES

Friday, February 3rd

  • Specials Day 2
  • New Friend Friday (Students may sit anywhere during lunch)
  • Furry Friends Dismissal & Ferguson's Feel Good Friday Concert

Important Dates in January, February and Beginning of March


30- 4th and 5th to GMF

31- 6th grade field trip


1- Late Start Wednesday

10- Staff Work Day- no school for students

13- Book Character Dress-Up Day

14- PAC Meeting

14-17 UPES Book Fair (in Art Room)

16- 12:30 Dismissal/ Family Conferences

17- Family Conferences- no school for students

20- No School- President's Day


1- Variety Show, Some are even calling it a Smorgasbord Show! :) 5-7 UPES gym

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Information about Universal Preschool

Colorado Universal Preschool Program (UPK)

Last April, Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill that works towards “every child in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten is eligible for half-day (15 hours), state-funded, voluntary preschool beginning in the 2023-24 school year. Three-year-olds with qualifying factors are eligible for part-time (10 hours) preschool programming. Families of children in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten with certain qualifying factors, are eligible for an additional 15 hours stacked on top of the half-day programming, bringing those children to full-day programming.”

Manitou Springs Elementary School and Ute Pass Elementary School will continue to offer our exceptional preschool programs for both three-year-olds and students that are in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten. Information for families

Families are now able to submit an application through the state-wide Universal Preschool System for the 2023-24 school year. Here is the link to the application:

Families will still need to complete our preschool enrollment process as well as the UPK application. Here is the information for MSSD: Student Enrollment

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UPES Love to Read Book Fair!

Tuesday, Feb. 14th, 7:45am to Friday, Feb. 17th, 11:30am

Art Room

Mark your calendars for our upcoming book fair! We will kick off our Love to Read week with Book Character dress up day on Monday, February 13th, and the Book Fair will begin on Tuesday, February 14th. It will be open during Family Conferences on Thursday and Friday, also!

Volunteers Needed!

Join our Amazing UPES Crew!

Are you looking to be more involved with the incredible things happening at UPES? Here are some ways we can use YOU!

UPES Book Fair

Dates: February 13-17

Contact Person: Mrs. Kettler-

Times: 9:30-11:30, 11:30-1:30, 1:30-3:15

What will I do: Mrs. Kettler will have you help with students finding items, the cash register, and anything else!

Love to Read Week

Dates: February 13-17

Contact Person: Your child's teacher!

Times: Flexible!

What will I do: Sign up to come in and read to your child's class, or ask your child's teacher about online platforms where you can record yourself reading a short story for the class to enjoy during our Love to Read Week at UPES!

Mountain Math

Dates: Every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (volunteer for one day or more)

Contact Person: Ms. Powell-

Times: 12:30-12:50

What will I do: Assist with math games, flash cards, and help grow our students' math skills!

UPES Library

Dates: Flexible- one to three times per week for 20-30 minutes

Contact Person: Mrs. Kettler-

Times: Also flexible!

What will I do: Help Mrs. Kettler check-in books, replace books on the shelves, etc


Dates: PAC meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 3 pm in the gym

Contact Person: Amanda McCloskey-

Times: 3 pm

What will I do: The PAC puts on several amazing events each year, and also helps support our staff through monthly appreciation surprises! Contact Amanda to see how you can help!

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!

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6th Grade enjoyed a field trip to Cave of the Winds on Friday!

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"Live on Location" in the 3rd Grade classroom for Thursday's announcements!

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6th Graders in Mr. Groth's room busy learning about the elements of mythology!

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3rd Graders mapping out their classroom and using collaboration roles to work together!

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Mrs. Jeck working with her 6th graders on some challenging math problems about percentages!

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Students enjoying recess time on Friday!

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What's that way up there? It's just 4th grade taking advantage of the outdoor classroom space during a summary scavenger hunt on a beautiful day!

Revised Specials Schedule for January

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. Here's a calendar to help you navigate this at home. Please reach out with any questions!
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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

Counselor's Corner

Small Group Counseling, Classroom Counseling, and Individual Counseling is underway!

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:

  • PAC Meeting 2-14-23, 3 pm in the gym

Landsharks is Back!


We offer a non-competitive youth program to introduce running to young athletes in a safe and fun environment. The focus is on self-improvement, being an encouraging teammate, and making new friends. The Spring Track Series is a fun running program led by Sara Striegel and is open to students in kindergarten through 6th grade. Please remember to purchase a RED team race shirt if this is your first season running.

Practices are scheduled for Wednesdays/Fridays beginning April 12th with a celebration practice on May 10th. Practices consist of running games and track workouts with a strong focus on fun.

Races are held on Monday evenings at Woodland Park Middle School’s track at 5pm on April 24th, May 1st and May 8th. Runners run TWO of the following distances:

Meet #1
All runners will run the 50m sprint,
followed by the 400m OR 800m race

Meet #2
All runners will run the 100m sprint,
followed by choice of a 400m OR 800m race

Meet #3
All runners will run the 200m sprint,
followed by the 400m OR 1600m race

Registration opens February 1st and closes April 12th at 5pm OR until we reach CAPACITY

Runners must be registered prior to their first practice. Please register online at $65 registration fee through April 5th then an additional $10/runner fee applies until registration closes.

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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MSSD14 is hiring fulltime positions and subs!

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Scan the QR code or contact Sarah McAfee 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

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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 second semester:

  • January 25
  • February 1
  • March 1, 8, 15, 22
  • April 5, 26
  • May 3, 10, 17

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 is open now!

Some 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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