The week before Labor Day, Blue Mountain School began its 39th year providing an educational alternative for families in Floyd County and the New River Valley. With more than fifty students in preschool through middle school and another twenty friends in our forest programs, we are ready for lots of adventures!

We'd like to wish a special welcome to all our new families, and we invite you and our returning families to to your friends and family to keep connected with what's happening here at BMS.

Stay tuned to your email and the Blue Mountain School Family Group and the Blue Mountain School Page for more information and pictures. 

Shelly Fox
Shelly Fox
Our staff members are responsible for creating a school culture that reflect the mission, vision, and values upon which our school is founded. This year, our staff is committed to making explicit the many implicit parts our contemplative progressive model. We expect that this process will help students, families, and our staff become more grounded in our mission, vision, and values. 

We started the school year off with a group exercise in which we established our staff agreements, and we have begun to weave these agreements into our staff meetings and everyday interactions with each other. This is one way that we are making explicit the implicit agreements that we have always had. Our process of articulating our staff agreements took some time but provided an opportunity for each of our voices to be heard.  
The Blue Mountain School staff agree to:
  • Keep an Open Mind
  • Act with Integrity and Love
  • Create a Caring Culture
  • Assume Positive Intent
  • Practice Responsible Communication
Sound a little bit like a list of classroom agreements for grown-ups? It is! What an opportunity to put our mission, vision, and values into action with each other.  

Flossing French Fries
Tammie Sarver
Tammie Sarver

Announcing the Flossing French Fries!

The Upper Elementary & Middle School classroom was eager to choose their name!  They wanted to keep the tradition of being named after food (in previous years, we had the Burritos and the Special Pickle Kids). After brainstorming and discussions, friends were excited about the idea of the funny shirt potential and of the excellent potluck potential of being the Flossing French Fries! We'll celebrate our new name with friench fries as a special lunch choice.

In addition to working on our class name, we've spent a lot of time in these first days building community, setting our routines and expectations, and creating a foundation for the learning for the rest of the year. We journaled about our hopes and dreams, established our Writing Workshop, Reading Workshop, and Math Lab, made some spicebush tea, and got started with some fun STEM challenges.

We've also already had a guest speaker! Emily Gruver came from the June Bug Center to talk about programs at the June Bug and led us in some really fun theater games. It was a treat to watch the talent, intelligence, and humor shine while the French Fries played improv and community building games on our sunny playground.

Connection to nature and the outdoors is a big part of our class. Everyone enjoys being in the woods as often as we can, and we've been establishing our sit spot habits. The creek is one of our favorite places, and we are planning to channel that interest into stream studies with guidance from scientist and BMS parent, Eric Wolf.

I'm looking forward to learning and growing with the Flossing French Fries as we work together to make plans for our coming learning adventures!

Rainbow Electrifying Fire Breathing Dragonfiles
Shelly Sherman
Shelly Sherman

This summer I began to think about the sweet young souls that I would spend my days with this year. I still a lot of questions. Would they be as excited to learn as I am to facilitate their learning? Would they like the books I had ready for them in the classroom? Would they like to sing together? Would they enjoy the activities I planned for our time in the woods?

As I thought about these questions, I realized that I was feeling a bit nervous about this new year. I have a class of 10 students. Three of them were in my class last year, and the rest are new to me. Two of those are even new to our school. My multi-aged classes of the past few years have been filled with students who I taught for 2 or 3 years. (Being with kids for several years is one of my favorite things about BMS!) For the first time since I started teaching here, my class would be full of new faces, personalities, and learning styles.

I know from experience that in public schools the teachers all have a new set of faces that number many more than 10 each year. I feel so lucky and privileged to work in a school where the number of students never makes it difficult to stop and attend to the needs of a child's heart. (Another great attribute of my favorite school!)

On our first day of school, I could see that, of course, these young souls had questions of their own, nerves of their own, fears. During these starting weeks, my questions have begun to be answered, and we are in the process of answering each others' questions, too.

Here are a few pictures from our classroom as we start the year!

The Rainbow Electrifying Fire Breathing Dragonflies love the books in their classroom! They also have beautiful voices and like to sing! They have learned The Crawdad Song and the months of the year song in Spanish.
In their first math unit the Dragonflies measured their partners using the standard and metric systems.

Jade Sparkling Turtles
April Seiple
April Seiple
Back to school is always a favorite time of year for me. Summer is coming to a close and new beginnings are developing. This year in particular I am excited because it is my first year teaching at Blue Mountain School!  
I am so grateful to all the teachers, families, and children who have welcomed me with open hearts and arms to this community.  BMS rocks!!
Our Early Elementary class is off to a great start! We are enjoying being together and taking the time to get to know one another and develop some wonderful relationships. We are already taking an interest in several topics: building/architecture, mushrooms, rocks, weaving, police dogs/dog training, and book making!
I look forward to an amazing year with the Jade Sparking Turtles as we explore, grow, and learn together!

Turquoise Flowered Fox-Tailed Nature Spiders
Jenni Heartway & Naomi Crews
Jenni Heartway
Naomi Crews
Jenni says...
I tried to enjoy as much time as possible outside this summer. We scheduled lots of family camping trips and spent many afternoons at our community pond. We were even able to successfully complete a hike our family was unable to finish last year.  The first time we attempted to hike to The Great Channels of Virginia, poor planning on my part led us back to the car! This year, I packed lots of snacks, lunches, waters, and special lemonades for the top to help us make the hike. Success!

Once we finally made it, the kids were incredibly proud of themselves and didn't want to leave. It was a beautiful day with amazing canyons to explore, and I'm looking forward to sharing my love of the outdoors with all my students this year.

I am also excited about the new roles I will be playing this year at Blue Mountain. I will be working with Naomi in the Early Learning classroom on Mondays and teaching Yoga/Movement to many of our friends on Thursdays. I am also looking forward to heading back into the woods with our Forest Programs this year. 

Naomi says...
My family and I enjoyed a very busy Summer! It seemed to race by, filled to the brim with wonderful Blue Mountain School Summer Camps and many hours spent picking and eating delicious blueberries. After such a full Summer we are all happy to be settling in to our fall school routines. I am very grateful and excited to share the Early Learning Class with Jenni this year. I know we are going to have so much fun learning and growing together with the Turquoise Flowered Fox-tailed Nature Spiders! 

Early Childhood Class
Stefi Schafer & Angie Barrett
Stefi Schafer
Angie Barrett

Another school year has begun, and the Early Childhood Class is busy making friends and learning how to be at school. Nearly half of the children this year are returning students. They were happy and eager to reconnect with their old friends and welcome new ones.

For our class, the start of the school year is about learning the rhythyms of our class and getting to know each other. We learned each other's names by singing the Willaby Wallaby Woo song and began talking about what our class should be called this year. The children meet each other and us, their classroom teachers, and were introduced to the enrichment teachers, too, when they came to visit us in our space the first week.

During our Morning Meet Up and Circle Time we are learning and practicing how to be good listeners. We sit criss-cross applesauce or in the row of chairs. With 16 little bodies and 2 grown-up bodies, we all are figuring out how to sit together and listen to the teachers and each other. We are also practicing making sure everyone can see when there is a book to be read, looking at the person who is speaking, and waiting until it is our turn to talk.
Outside of circle time, there are lots of other routines to learn and remember: what should we do with our shoes, how many paper towels are too many, where do we sit for lunch, what does it mean when the light flicks on and off? Our experienced friends help lead the way by modeling what to do for our new friends.

We spend a lot of time outside, and there is a lot to learn about beyond our classroom! We know to check for a "thumbs up" sign on  playground equipment, and friends are getting braver and more confident as they explore the grounds. We even have begun our Wild Woods Wednesday adventures and ventured to Fort Village to explore and discover.
It is not only the children that have to learn the ins and outs of life in the early childhood classroom. The parents have new jobs, too! Signing their children in each morning, remembering to date the lunch, check folders, turn in paperwork. For some of our friends this is the first time saying good bye to mom or dad, and for our parents it is the first time they leave their children in the care of strangers. Our class is rapidly turning into a caring and trusting community of learners old and young.

Lore Deighan
Lore Deighan
I am excited for a new school year, and this year I will be wearing many different hats at BMS....

I am thrilled to be returning as the Blue Mountain School Art Teacher!  I taught art for seven years prior to moving into the classroom last year, and while I learned a lot as the Upper Elementary teacher and grew immensely as an educator within that role, I am happy to be working again with all of our friends at school and teaching from my passion, which is making art!
I am also honored to now be a part-time contributor to the administrative team in the office. You will find me in the office on Tuesdays, Wednesday afternoons, and Thursdays.  
My next new "hat" has me out of the classroom and the office. I have been a substitute teacher for the Friday Forest Kindergarten program since its inception, and have always loved those days I get to spend time in the woods with our sweet little friends. Now, as the program grows, I will be assisting Jenni every Wednesday morning with the Forest Kindergartners, exploring our beautiful woods through the eyes of the children. 

Lastly, at the end of every school week, I will pop back into the enrichment room to lead a movement class with the Upper Elementary & Middle School class. Many of the students that I had in the classroom last year are in this class, and I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to spend more time with these wonderful kiddos.  This will be a role that I learn and grow into, as I explore yoga, games and different elements of movement with the oldest students  at Blue Mountain School.  

I look forward to getting to know all our new families and children this year as I navigate my many positions here at Blue Mountain School!

Contemplative Studies
I am glad to meet all my new friends and welcome back my old friends. As we start the year, it is a good time to remind ourselves about a simple mindfulness practice that we can all do no matter where we are.

At random times during your day, or when you feel like a moment is needed, ring a bell (or tap a glass or water bottle) to pause and take 3 deep breaths together.

This simple practice can help us reset at difficult times, such as getting out the door in the morning, or when you feel a need to shift the energy in your space.

I have included this practice in each student's Home ~ School Connection folder as an activity for you to try this month. Please write me a little note on the Enrichment Connection paper to let me know how it works for you.

Rooted Living
Julia Bollinger
Julia Bollinger
It has been so fun teaching Rooted Living every Tuesday! We have begun learning about the plants of our playground, playing outdoor skill games, learning how to sew, and even braid a rug.

Throughout the year we will be deepening our awareness of the environment and the interconnectedness of life, practicing treating ourselves and our world with kindness and respect, and making crafts focused on reducing waste and reusing and repurposing old items. We will be working on the BMS garden, learning about plants we can grow, and finding fun and simple ways to cook them up! I'm so happy to have the opportunity to share my love of nature and community with the students.

Our Class Agreements

The medicine rug that sits in front of me during class. It holds things to share, pass around, smell and touch. 

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

Sept 2: Labor Day - No School
Sept 19: Talk Like a Pirate Day
Oct 11: Fall Conferences
Oct 17: Original Works Orders Due
Oct 18: Rain Date for Fall Equinox & Harvest Celebration
Oct 31: Boo! Mountain School 
If your child will be absent or late arriving for school, please be sure to contact the office by 9:00 am. You can call 540-745-4234 or send an email to contact@
Also, remember to check in with the office when you arrive after 9:00 and to check out if you leave early.
Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees meets regularly in the enrichment room. The public is welcome to attend. If you would like to learn more about the Board, please contact the office.   


In Gratitude We Thank

Linda Fox and Kate Gonzalez for bringing yummy treats for staff meetings.

JoEllen Burnett for donating magazines for art class.

Isabelle & Christian James for donating to the scholarship fund.

Shelly & Greg Sherman for donating a new refridgerator for the school kitchen.

Anonymous for donating copies of our new BMS Reads! book for all our families.

Upon the Earth Services for keeping our grounds mowed and trimmed.

Citizens Telephone Cooperative for donating internet services
and for taking the ˈfəNGkē Wolf Gang to the zoo  .  

Clark Gas & Oil for keeping us and our water toasty warm. 



Shopping on Amazon?

We encourage everyone to support local businesses whenever you can. However, if you find yourself shopping on Amazon, be sure to link your Amazon Smile setting to Blue Mountain School.

Also, if you use the link below each time you open Amazon, even more of your purchase will come back to BMS for 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 QK830.

Blue Mountain School 

470 Christiansburg Pike, Floyd, Virginia 24091