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Upper School Division Director

Dr. Tila Hidalgo

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January 28, 2022

As January comes to a close, I’m inspired by the resilience, dedication, and originality exhibited by our community thus far in 2022. Since returning from winter break, our Upper School – like many other schools nationwide – has seen challenges brought on by the Omicron variant and COVID-19. I could not be more proud of our resilient community of faculty and staff, who have banded together to ensure teachers find classroom coverage and have worked extra hard to differentiate their delivery methods for students in need. As we continue to weather this storm, we are also busy preparing for our annual Experience-Centered Seminars in the Upper School division. The excitement of our students and faculty is palpable, and I look forward to living the ECS experience out for the very first time this March.

Last week, I attended the 2022 Independent Schools Experiential Education Network (ISEEN) Conference themed Belonging to Place: Stewardship, Well-being, and Heritage, which offered opportunities to explore what ExEd looks like both in- and outside of the classroom as well as through the lens of many roles in a school setting. Reflecting on the theme of this conference – the demonstrated value that experiential learning can hold for students – and knowing how CSS plans and offers its own unsurpassable ExEd programs to families, I am struck by just how well our faculty, combined with these real-world experiences, help students find meaning in their lives and the lives of others

While our faculty members do an outstanding job identifying and building meaningful experiences in their day-to-day classroom lessons, the immersive process of an ECS at The Colorado Springs School enables students to take ownership of their learning, to pursue their passions like never before, and to build something special with a cohort of their peers. Ultimately, the ECS program establishes a sense of purpose in our students and fosters belonging through unique experiences that challenge independent thinking and discovery beyond the traditional classroom environment. I hope that, as our students prepare for and experience ECSs this year, they'll continue to find their place in this dynamic world. I encourage them to use the unique opportunities before them to explore the needs, ideas and cultural differences found among us and to identify ways in which they can become better stewards now and in the future.

Overall, the ECS curriculum provides endless opportunities for students to carve a niche for themselves; to take ownership of their talents and ideas. I cannot wait to hear the reflections from students as they process and present their work upon their return. May they find successes and passions that contribute to their own well-being and consider this experience an integral part of their heritage as a CSS student.

These are unforgettable moments, and I'm honored to share them with the students and faculty in our wonderful community.


Dr. Hidalgo

Upper School Spotlight

Chloe L. '22, Haegan M. '23, Sofia O. '23 & Zach T. '23

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This academic year, four students attended the National Association of Independent Schools’ (NAIS) Online Student Diversity and Leadership Conference. The timing of this conference could not have been more perfect, as our School prepares to launch its NAIS Assessment of Inclusivity & Multiculturalism (AIM) on Feb. 4. Together, Chloe L. '22, Haegan M. '23, Sofia O. '23, and Zach T. '23 joined affinity groups to discuss issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion in our School and in the world at large. In addition, they reflected on CSS’s achievements and opportunities to ensure all students feel a sense of belonging on- and off-campus.

Last week, these students presented their reflections to the School’s new Community, Diversity & Inclusion (CDI) Task Force. Three (seen above), along with Isabelle Z. '24, also spoke to their peers at the Upper School’s MLK assembly. I am so proud of their leadership and look forward to working with them and others to create a culture where all feel seen, known, and heard.

Ms. Hanson

Garden Coordinator

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Did you know that our Upper School Science Teacher, Ms. Hanson, serves as the School-wide garden coordinator, and has created an amazing space for ExEd in action?

Ms. Hanson facilitates opportunities for students to work in the garden, either by maintaining and improving the beds, planting seeds, or harvesting fruits and vegetables. This past fall, some of the garden's produce was even put to use in school lunches by our very own Chef Lori.

The School garden not only provides a unique space for relevant academic projects but also serves as a wonderful outdoor classroom regardless of the subject matter. Ms. Hanson has big dreams for transforming the garden into an even greater space utilized more regularly for developing leadership skills within our students.

Kudos to her for all of her work!

Upper School Happenings

Parent-Teacher Conferences

There was a miscommunication on the school-wide calendar about Upper School Parent-Teacher Conferences. At the conclusion of quarter three, you can expect to receive information regarding upcoming conference dates and availability. Conferences for students of academic concern will be prioritized, however any parent who wishes to hold a conference will also be able to make an appointment at that time. As always, if – at any time throughout the year – you have a concern about your child’s performance and would like to meet with one or more of their teachers, do not hesitate to reach out.

2022-2023 Course Registration

The Upper School curriculum guide for the academic year 2022-2023 is in the process of being finalized and will be completed soon, at which time an updated version will be posted (most course offerings will remain the same). Once available, course registration will begin. Both Mr. Playe and I have begun meeting with each grade level to review the course selection process prior to its launch. To begin similar discussions with your student, you may use the 2021-2022 curriculum guide found here as a reference.

Campus Safety Reminder

If you are a student who drives a car to campus at any point throughout the year, kindly provide the required details found in this mandatory survey.

The Colorado Springs School

21 Broadmoor Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80906

Work: (719) 434-3570

thidalgo@css.org | www.css.org