Later this month, we will begin our "Strengthening Our Community" campaign. The focus of this program is to build our scholarship fund so that Blue Mountain School can continue to be as inclusive and diverse as possible and to reflect the unique characteristics of our rural community. Our school is enriched by each student who attends and each family who is able to offer their individual perspectives, ideas, and gifts in the classroom and beyond.

This school year, BMS families will receive nearly $40,000 in financial aid. We can't do this without your generous support, and we thank you all: our alumni, family, friends, and neighbors. Our Blue Mountain School Community.
Blue Mountain School is a 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations are tax deductible. BMS is also a participant in the Virginia Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) for the 2015 tax year, which allows us to offer Virginia state tax credits for qualifying donations.

Stay tuned to your email and our Facebook group for more information and pictures.

Shelly Emmett
Shelly Emmett
Relationships and Balance

We nurture loving, respectful relationships and seek emotional balance. We take responsibility for ourselves and work to develop our understanding of others. We also engage in activities that foster self-awareness, encourage our unique enthusiasms, and demonstrate healthy living.

This year, every class at BMS is focused on exploring our school values with the goal of truly understanding them--not just their words, but also the ideas and actions that the words reflect. From now until December, we are learning about the value of Relationships and Balance. This is natural because at the beginning of each school year, our staff take time helping students consider their hopes and dreams for the year and talk with students about how they will work together as a group to help each other learn, grow, and meet their individual and classroom goals for the year.

An example of the value of Relationships and Balance in action has to do with our school's focus on teaching children how to be part of a group and exploring the important role that each individual person plays as part of the larger group. All schools are founded on learning, but not all schools help students to learn how to be part of a group: how to have a voice without dominating the voices of others, how to be seen and heard without demanding attention, how to be a leader and how to allow others to lead. These life skills are vital, but in many school settings they are either ignored or given only cursory attention. This is not so at BMS because we know that group skills are vital for our students as future adults and for our students now, as kids. The sense of satisfaction and mastery that kids gain from successfully navigating social waters in and out of the classroom is clear. The effect is not only social, but academic as well; when kids don't have to spend more energy than necessary in getting their social needs met, they have more energy for learning in other areas. Time spent teaching our students about relationships and balance is time well-spent.

Knights of the Round Trailer
Andy Anderson
Andy Anderson
We are the Knights of the Round Trailer! Thanks to Justin Miller for that suggestion - the kids were all in agreement that this is the perfect name to suit us.

We have been very busy these first few weeks of class. In math,
we are finishing up assessments, and in language arts we have begun work on new vocabulary and are also reading Maniac Magee. In social studies, we are studying Native American history.

One recent activity that the Knights really enjoyed was watching an episode of Alfred Hitchock Presents called The Case of Mr. Pelham. In this story, the main character's life becomes crowded by a double. Here are some metaphors the kids came up with to describe the life of Mr. Pelham:
  • His life was an endless flight of stairs
  • His life was a torn paper all ripped and destroyed
  • Mr. Pelham's life is a melting iceberg
  • His life is a window getting broken and dirtier over time
  • Mr. Pelham's life is a riddle that can never be solved
  • His life is a rock
Finally, we are learning more about each other by sharing some of our talents with the class. Special thanks to Amelia for her crochet demonstration and to Indigo for her great riddle: "If you have me, you want to share me. If you share me, you don't have me." 

Black Falcons
Shawna Williams
Shawna Williams
We have voted, and we have agreed on this year's Middle Elementary class name!

Introducing to you... (Drum roll please!)... the Black Falcons!!!!

This year our class is made up of a young and dynamic group of students. We have taken these first weeks of school to develop a cohesive class community and rhythm that fits our needs. As the weeks proceed, we will begin to add more into the classroom rhythm and expand the depth of lessons as well.

To find out what the Black Falcons have been doing in their classroom so far, first ask your child about the meaning of SPARK. Next, inquire about our morning verses and see if your child can recite these to you. Or ask your child what we do within our daily morning circle. (Hint: the alphabet in sign language, morning puzzles, or Spanish.) You might also ask what they have been writing about in their Writing Journals and in their Writing Notebooks, or pose a question about our mindfulness meditations.  

Your child may have mentioned something about eating some candy within the first few weeks of school. Though there were raisins and graham crackers involved as well, it seems all they can remember are the sweeter items! These food items plus some plastic reptiles and amphibians were used in a sorting and graphing science activity to begin our Life Science Unit of the Animal Kingdom! We have also just begun our journey back in time to explore the Colonial American times in our Social Studies unit.

Early Learning
Hari Berzins & Jenni Heartway
Hari Berzins
Jenni Heartway
A Perfect Name

Over the past few weeks, as part of our unit on Beginnings and Friendship, we have been sharing name stories. We've read many books about families and individuals choosing names during our class meetings.  We also asked students to talk with their families and listen to the story of why and how their names were chosen. 

When we first began telling the stories, it was magical. There were many students eager to share, and as the first one began talking a quiet, reverence settled over the classroom. The students understood that these stories were important. Our names were chosen with such care and love, and every story that was shared by our students gave us a tiny glimpse of that adoration.

These stories become a springboard for bigger discussions about the power of storytelling and writing, but more importantly they allow us to connect as a group and inspire our class agreements for how we want to treat each other. Saying each other's names with kindness is a way of respecting and taking care of each other. We are looking forward to watching these kind and confident learners grow over the next school year!

More from class...

Special thanks to Jessica for volunteering in our classroom.

Kid Science is off to a great start! Here Isobel gives her presentation on Fairy Stones. There were lots of quiet thumbs with questions and comments.

Inter-class reading buddies help us build school-wide friendships and practice our reading skills. Here Alonzo from the Upper Elementary class reads to Carter and Cedar.

Reuben reads to Sully and Casey.

Rosa Sharks
Stefi Schafer
Stefi Schafer

What a busy first month we had!

As a school, we have decided to incorporate our values into our lesson plans, and we are beginning with Relationships and Balance. As a class we began to build new relationships, making new friends as well as reconnecting with old friends. The new children and families are getting to know me, each other and BMS as a community. Everyone is finding the balance between home and school, the children are learning to balance their own needs with those of friends; sharing space and toys is a major lesson in the early years.

The balance between home and school is a big lesson for our young friends. As some children are away from their family for the first time, we had some moments of sadness. This was a good opportunity to talk about our feelings: there is happy and sad and a lot in between. It was nice to see how the children helped each other, reassuring our sad friend that it will be okay and that a mommy or daddy always comes to pick you up.

One of the ways we build relationships at Blue Mountain is by picking a new class name each year. This lets us work together to find something we have in common that we would like to represent our class. It didn't take long for us to find the first part of our name.
It started one day when beach and ocean items like shells and sea creatures were offered as a choice. (Many kids went to the beach  over the summer.) The children showed a lot of interest in the toy sharks in particular, so we decided to see what else we could learn.

We learned a lot! There are little, tiny sharks, and some sharks are as big as a school bus. There are great white sharks. Some sharks have dots and some have stripes. Their fins stick up, and their tails go up and down (but dolphin tails go side to side). Sharks have "a lot a lot a lot" of teeth and can bite, even people.

Here are a few observations from class:

Lucas: "A shark scraped her knee (a drawing of a woman with a shark bite). A zebra shark has stripes."

Louisa: "They have sharp teeth and they grow more teeth. They have great eyesight and can smell blood from underneath them."

Wren: "Great white sharks have pointed noses. The whale shark is my favorite."

Rhett: "Rosa Sharks. The fins are up in the water, and some can bite things."

Neave :"They can swim underwater and breathe with gills and we can't do that. A hammer head shark can smash into things and break things."

We decided that we definitely wanted "sharks" in our class name. The second part of our name came from one of our enrichment classes. This year we have Spanish class, and the kids have learned the colors. Rosa is the Spanish word for pink, a favorite color of several of the students.

Introducing the Rosa Sharks!

Yoga & Physical Education
Sarah McCarthy
Sarah McCarthy
The AWESOME Health Benefits of Yoga

We all started out the year getting into asana practice, the yoga poses and sequences, familiarizing ourselves with some old and new poses. Movement and exercise, as we all know, is so good for our mental and physical health. I thought I would share some interesting benefits of yoga. These are just a few. We will explore more as the year goes on, there are just so many! I guess that is why yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. Pretty amazing!
  • Yoga aids kids' digestion and elimination: bending and stretching poses.
  • Yoga develops stronger hearts and lungs: asanas sequences, fire breathing and deep abdominal breathing.
  • Yoga massages internal organs and glands. During stretches and twists ,our organs get pressed, massaged, and released. The thyroid gland gets squeezed during shoulder stand, keeping it toned and functioning.
  • Yoga fine tunes motor coordination and fine tunes the nervous system to better coordinate all its parts: balancing poses, eye drishti (focusing eyes on one point for concentration and balance).
  • Yoga helps maintain flexible muscles and strengthens joints
  • Yoga helps us keep a healthy, strong spine. During poses we elongate the spine, which promotes nutrients and fluids in our body to flow freely.
  • Yoga energizes the nervous system through savasana pose, relaxation and meditation.
  • Regular yoga practice promotes deep and restful sleep!
  • Deep breathing and relaxation help cultivate calm and peaceful kids!

Lore Deighan
Lore Deighan
It has been a wonderful start to the school year in the art room!The first day was filled mostly with creating classroom agreements and getting familiar with the materials and expectations of how they should be used.  I also asked the kids what kind of projects they would like to do this year, and we reminisced on projects past. It is hard to hold back from jumping right into art making on the first day, and many of the students asked, "When are we going to do art?!" but I have learned from experience that creating clear expectations of behavior and classroom etiquette, especially when the students help develop these ideas, helps to create a climate of trust and respect which in turn makes more room for art making throughout the year. 

And the second day we began....

The Rosa Sharks are embarking on an exploration of color and materials. Each class I will have many materials out for the kids to explore (paper, glue, scissors, tape, markers, crayons, found objects, etc..), but all of one color. We began with red, talking about what things in our world are red, how red makes us feel. We even found some red berries right outside our door to add to our art. As we work within the perimeter of color, the kids are learning how to properly and respectfully use and explore materials. This project allows for different skill levels and use of materials while simultaneously connecting us all with a common theme.  I must say that I am really enjoying the smaller preschool class this year as I am able to be more attentive and present with their process, even sitting and doing my own piece along with them!

In the Early Learning class, we are also beginning with color; honoring and exploring the color green, which is changing before our eyes but still dominates the natural world around us right now.  The second day of art class was an exceptionally beautiful day, so we stayed outside with our sketchbooks the entire class as we made leaf rubbings, traced leaves, drew leaves and went on adventures through the woods. I want to stay outside as long as we can, as this is a big class with lots of exciting energy, and the outdoor wonders inspire them greatly!  I am feeling drawn towards nature as being a big part of our art inspirations in this class this year, and we'll see where we go from green......

The Black Falcons have begun working within the concept of collaboration. As the kids come together for a new year, there are shifts with classmates and social dynamics, and it is a great time to create projects which explore working together and creating a peaceful classroom community. The first week of art class I gave all the kids their sketchbooks, and within them I collaborated with each child in a drawing.

The second week, we all collaborated together in a sort of game where we each started a drawing while listening to music, and when the music stopped we all passed our drawings to the right until each drawing had been worked on by each person in the class. The first round we did had no parameters or rules, and we all watched as individual parts of the drawings got covered up and scribbled on. Then we looked at these drawings and talked about how it made us feel when parts of our drawings were "destroyed," and also how each child's personality came out in the marks and imagery they made. Then for the second round, I asked that we honor our classmates by respecting their marks and trying to add something that might go with the drawings. These pieces came out much more coherent, and the kids were able to share their individual aspects more clearly. It became a great artistic metaphor in respect, looking and listening to each other.  

The Knights of the Round Trailer began the year by looking at art created by others, which is something I aspire to do with the students much more this year. We looked at art books, and each child chose a piece to sketch in their sketchbooks while we talked about what inspired us. This has led to our first project: "What inspires us to do art?"  Each student was asked to ponder this question and design their own two-dimensional project about an image, topic or theme that inspired them. They came up with nature, airplanes, people, cats, flowers, landscape, trees and ancient warfare. I am now in the process of gathering references for each of them to begin their work!

I am very excited about this school year and am feeling calm, confident and connected! As always, thank you for sharing your children with us!!!!

Contemplative Studies
Parents Tao Te Ching by William Martin

Good Behavior:
There are many ways to get children
to behave as you wish
You can force, plead, and bribe.
You can manipulate, trick, and persuade.
You can use shame, guilt, and reason.
They will all rebound upon you.
You will be in constant conflict.

Attend instead to your own actions.
Develop contentment within yourself.
Find peace and love in all you do.
This will keep you busy enough.
There is no need to control others.

If you are able to release even some small part
of your persistent need to control,
you will discover an amazing paradox.
The things you attempted to force
now begin to occur naturally.
People around you begin to change.
Your children find appropriate behavior
emerging from within themselves
and are delighted.
Laughter returns to all.

Jami Eaton
Jami Eaton
We are having lots of fun in Spanish class learning greetings and colors.  We are beginning each class with a song to the tune of "Frere Jacques" that reinforces greeting vocabulary.  Last week we learned about butterflies (mariposas) and played a game outside to practice colors.

This week we expanded on answers to the question "Como estas?" by talking about different emotions, acting them out, and practicing the vocabulary by playing Memory. 

In the two youngest classes, we identified colors and talked about Peru while reading Maria tenia una llamita, and in the older classes, we learned a fun song called "Colorin' Colorado."

We hope you enjoyed reading the Indigo Messenger.

Be sure to  it to anyone you think may be interested.

Thank you,

The folks at

In This Issue
Oct 20: No School - Teacher Workday
Oct 21:
No School - Parent  Conferences
Oct 30:
Friday Class -  Halloween Celebration and Open House (1:00-3:00)

As the weather begins to turn, please be sure to send your child to school with appropriate outdoor gear (e.g., boots, rain coat).

Generally BMS will follow Floyd County Schools for closings and delays due to weather. However, there are occasionally exceptions, so please be sure to check your email before heading to school. You can also call the school voicemail 540-745-4234.

If you aren't receiving email about calendar reminders or weather closings and delays, please email Carol.  
Board of Trustees

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is Wednesday, October 14, at 5:30 in the enrichment room. The public is welcome to attend.  


In Gratitude We Thank
Naomi Crews for digging trenches during the pouring rain to keep the water out of the main building during the recent flood.

The Grimsley Family for bringing their cider press and making cider for us at the Harvest Celebration.

Kari Kovick for leading us in song at the Harvest Celebration.

Jenni Heartway and Hope Sharp for making popcorn for the Harvest Celebration.

Tree Gigante for donating a parachute for PE class.

Wesley Wenger and Rick Parrish for bringing treats for the staff.

Warren Lapine and Angela Kessler, Bob Sisk, and Richard Walker for donating to the scholarship fund through the Neighborhood Assistance Program.

Cindy Tueller, Bob Sisk, Stefi Schafer, and Ashley Morales for running our info table at the Citizens Community Yard Sale.

Linda Johnson and Jessica  for helping in the classroom.



Shopping on Amazon?

We encourage everyone to support local businesses whenever you can. However, if you find yourself shopping on Amazon, please use the link below, and a portion of your purchase will go into our scholarship fund.
Going Krogering?

With all the wonderful and farm fresh food in Floyd, it's hard to imagine spending much time in Kroger, but if you find yourself there, please help the school earn a little extra for the scholarship fund.

Link your Kroger Card to BMS with the Community Rewards Program. Our Organization Number is 84005.

Blue Mountain School 

470 Christiansburg Pike, Floyd, Virginia 24091