Please join us as we begin the 2014-15 school year! We are grateful to everyone in our community, near and far, for sharing your time, talents, and resources with us for over 30 years. Thank you!


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

Shelly Emmett
Shelly Emmett


Regardless of the school, the beginning of the academic year is a tender time for kids. Becoming familiar with a new rhythm, learning to find your place in a group, staying attuned to each other for a sustained period of time--these tasks all require effort, energy, and attention. And this list doesn't even include the academic work that we expect children to engage in while at school!

At Blue Mountain School, we focus on Social-Emotional Learning, mindfulness, and group-building at the beginning of the year, so that we can help students at least understand and begin to make sense of the normal feelings--from excitement to uncertainty and everything in between--that accompany the start of the school year. We believe that this foundation is not only important, but necessary. By offering our students the opportunity to notice how they feel and what they think, we are gifting them with tools that empower them to shape the rest of the year into one that is productive and meaningful.

The Fellowship
Brien Egan
Brien Egan


Here is a quick peek into the upper elementary and middle school classroom and what we will be doing this year:


Each day we will begin with Qi Gong and mindfulness practices.  This will help prepare us for the day's work, which will include academics as well as social-emotional learning and connecting with nature.


In English, we will be analyzing literature, developing our writing and grammatical skills as well as creating this year's edition of Colored Pencils. Mathematics will entail completing mini-projects about each topic we cover as well as creating our interactive notebooks where we will explore each topic and demonstrate understanding through hands on activities. This year for Science we will cover all major subjects systematically going from the macro to the micro: space and cosmology, meteorology, geology, oceanography, biology, chemistry, and finishing with physical science. Social Studies this year will be primarily focused on United States History.


We will also be continuing our community environmental activism by further developing our plastic bag campaign, including designing and building a web page and working with local legislators to see if we can help affect change in our community.



Mad Scientists
Shawna Williams
Shawna WIlliams


Thank you all for the wonderful welcome to Blue Mountain School and Floyd! The middle elementary students, who have named themselves the Mad Scientists, are starting the year by creating and settling into the rhythm of our days and building and strengthening relationships with each other.

I look forward to a fantastic year with the Mad Scientists and can't wait to see where our learning takes us!

Kindergarten & Lower Elementary
Hari Berzins and Jenni Heartway
Hari Berzins
Jenni Heartway


Hari says...


What an exciting class we have this year! I'm so happy to be at Blue Mountain School, where freedom to throw the lesson plan out the window gives me great flexibility to work with these kids to build relationships that will lead to growth and deep learning about self and community. l look forward to seeing what we make together this year!


Jenni says...


It is always so wonderful to return to school!  Both the Kindergarten & Lower Elementary Class and the Middle Elementary Class are beginning to settle into the routine of being at this amazing place. I feel very fortunate to spend my time working with both classes this year.  For those of you who don't know me, below is some quick information about my background and educational philosophy.


My passion is educating young learners using emergent curriculum and project based learning.  I began my training as a Foxfire Certified teacher and have continued my love of learning that spirals from student interests, since that time. I truly enjoy helping students develop literacy skills in an authentic, meaningful manner, and scaffolding children's play to create learning experiences. I have taught in a variety of settings; public schools, private schools, internationally and most recently in a Forest Kindergarten. This will be my fourteenth year in the classroom.   


I am a licensed Birth through Sixth grade teacher and have an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. My Masters Degree is in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Support. I have completed my North Carolina Environmental Educator's Certification, and look forward to sharing my love of the outdoors with my students.    


When I'm not in the classrom you can find me in the woods with my family and our dog, Ani.  Two of my children, Cedar and Wren, attend Blue Mountain, and my husband, Perrin works as a holistic veterinarian. We are expecting twins this fall, and I will be taking a family leave before returning in the spring.   


Stefi Schafer & Ashley Morales
Stefi Schafer
Ashley Morales

We are back, and we are ready to play!

At Blue Mountain School, we strongly believe that children are capable collaborators in their own learning process: children are people, too! They deserve respectful and caring adults to guide them on their journey as they learn about themselves and others and the world around them.

In our classroom, we practice an emergent curriculum model, which opens us to endless possibilities for teaching our students in ways that really put the child's interests and ideas at the forefront.

Together we will put our combined 35 years of experience in early childhood education to work to provide a loving, engaging, respectful, and fun learning environment for your child!

Yoga & Physical Education
Sarah McCarthy
Sarah McCarthy


A new year is a new beginning, which is always a great place to be! I finally feel ready after a week of prepping and teacher development with our great staff! I am also inspired after a beautiful weekend at YogaJam: taking different classes, listening to heart opening music and also being part of that music with Jagadisha.


Satya and I took a partner yoga class and had lots of fun sharing it together. We learned some new poses to share with the classes, and I know kids will be excited to continue the journey with partner yoga! After taking the class, I have a deeper understanding of its benefits, for those working together in the poses and the natural adjustments that come with this type of yoga. And most importantly it's just super fun!


I was particularly inspired by the people who attended YogaJam; the teachers and new and old friends. Being part of this dynamic group of folks wanting to connect, to knowing themselves a bit more and dive into all aspects of yoga, was energizing. I came away with creativity, new ideas, new poses, new ways of doing old poses, and a deeper LOVE of yoga in general! I am full of gratitude.


Yoga and P.E. this year will be full of movement, body awareness, group building, and asana. So... make sure your kids have clothes they can move comfortably in, shoes that they can move/run outside in, and clothes for all weather! Its gonna be FUN!

Lore Deighan
Lore Deighan


I am very excited about staring the school year with everyone!! I was in a very different place this time last year with a brand new baby, and while that time was very special, I am looking forward to a full school year in the art room!

Monday is art day, so parents, please help your children select clothing they can get a little messy. Let's get creating! 

Contemplative Studies


As we begin the new school year, I would like to share with you this ancient Zen poem. 


The Human Route

Coming empty-handed, going empty-handed -- that is human.
When you are born, where do you come from?
When you die, where do you go?
Life is like a floating cloud which appears.
Death is like a floating cloud which disappears.
The floating cloud itself originally does not exist.
Life and death, coming and going, are also like this.
But there is one thing which always remains clear.
It is pure and clear, not depending on life and death.

What, then, is the one pure and clear thing?

Creative Expression
Katie Wells & Corey Avellar
Katie Wells
Corey Avellar


Katie says...


Baby is here !!! Samuel Hope Wells was born on August 12th. So far he is an incredibly robust baby who is gaining weight fast and who is, of course... expressive! We are calling him Hope.

Sending love to the kiddos at BMS. Have a blast doing theater with Corey, and I will see you in the winter with DANCE!



Corey says...


Welcome back to school! During the next few months, I'll be working with students to hone their dramatic skills using lots of great activities like games, journaling, and mini-performances. I can't wait to see what will happen next!

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
Elementary Direction
The Fellowship
Mad Scientists
Kindergarten & Lower Elementary
Yoga & PE
Contemplative Studies
Creative Expression
Parent Reminder
Sept 23: Harvest Celebration (2-3pm)
Sept 24: BMS Panel at Radford University
Sept 26: First make-up day; Family Camping Trip  


If your child will be missing school, please call or email the office to let us know. If the absence is due to a contagious illness, it is helpful for the office to be made aware, so we can take any precautions necessary, such as extra cleaning or notifying families of symptoms to watch for.  
Board of Trustees

Dear BMS Community:


Welcome back to a new school year with Blue Mountain School!  I so look forward to continuing to work with all of you as we break through conventional paradigms about education.  You are all to be applauded for your courage in stepping out of hurtful educational norms and embracing instead values of collaboration and relationships, authentic assessments, and nurturing of the mind, body, spirit!


The school is embarking on some exciting projects this year including accreditation through the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, developing a strategic plan for the next 5 years, shoring up our infrastructure, developing our scholarship fund, and much more.  We have a committed board who is eager to work with all of you on various board committees (Curriculum & Accreditation, Governance, Personnel, Facilities, Finance, Development, and Community). 

Would you consider joining us in our work to make Blue Mountain an exemplar of alternative education in our region, state, and perhaps even nation?  The school's website has descriptions of each committee's charge - find an area of interest and jump in!  Also, feel free to attend any board meeting;  we meet the second Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm in the enrichment room at the school. 

A school such as Blue Mountain needs everyone's involvement, and we appreciate any amount of time you can offer!  Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about board or committee involvement: or (540) 980-4902.

In Gratitude We Thank

Anahata Education Center
for hosting the camping trip and the Board retreat.

Mike Jones for donating to the scholarship fund.

Katie Cesario and Chris Newitt for donating meditation cushions and contributing to the scholarship fund.

John Peluso and Chris Newitt for fixing the driveway.

Wesley Wenger and Howard Wenger for working on the Fellowships' outdoor classroom.

Jessi Howell and the Parent Association for hosting the Welcome Back Tea.

Kristan Morrison, Rick Parrish, Katie Cesario, and Luke Staengl for donating membership to the National Center for Non-Profit Excellence.

Wesley Wenger for building new steps to the parking area.

Linda Johnson and Rebekah Hicks
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