From the Principal
It has been a busy week, one in which I hope you are finding a rhythm to Remote Learning. To summarize the feedback I hear from parents, it seems much more challenging to oversee and juggle responsibilities for families of our younger students. That’s not surprising, as older students in general are more independent. We are very aware of the strain this school year is on everyone, and we thank you for your partnership.

The good news is that we anticipate returning to some form of in-person learning soon -- please see the announcement below. The Governor’s mask order and the public’s compliance have made a major difference in the public health metrics, which we are closely monitoring. We appreciate the commitment of everyone to help keep those numbers down.

We have revised the Responsive Rhythm: An Evolving Guide to the 2020-21 School Year document to include information shared in the last few weeks. It does not contain plans we are currently making, so we will communicate those as soon as possible.

Next week promises to be full of positive activities, as you can see from all the news below. We hope you can join in, including in the Stone Soup Fall (virtual) Festival! Thank you, Parent Council! This is truly a remarkable community.

In gratitude for all you do,

Dr. Teresa Woods
Return to School Update
The Safety Committee and the Executive Leadership Team have continued to monitor the public health situation in El Paso County, and unless there is a significant spike in community spread numbers in the near future, we anticipate welcoming students back into the school building October 5th in some form.  Final decisions will be made next week. A team of teachers is working with the ELT to plan further details.  

We are sending out a survey to families so we can anticipate how many students will be returning in-person, and how many families wish their children to remain in Remote Learning due to safety or other concerns. Please watch for that survey, and we would appreciate your timely response so we can plan accordingly.
Return to School Plan (Revised)
Click on image above or here
Internet Safety
As we become more familiar with Remote Learning, we would like to take this opportunity to remind families using personally owned devices for schoolwork to make sure the device has strong safety features and an updated operating system. The best course of action for all parents is to install a child-protection app on their personal device.  PCMagazine provides recommendations in this article. We also encourage you to review these online safety tips provided by Connect Safely.

We continue to train teachers on evolving best practices in order to provide a safe online learning environment. Protecting students has been and will continue to be our top priority.  
Mountain Song in the News
Tune in to the early morning show, 5 News Today, on Monday, September 21st from 5-7 a.m. as our Mountain Song teachers demonstrate creative ways to welcome fall with your family (barring breaking news of course). 
Dr. Teresa Woods will be back on the news again Friday, September 25th at 8:20 a.m., this time with the FOX21 Morning News team talking about how the “Waldorf Way” is particularly relevant during this moment in time. She’ll also be sharing that Mountain Song is enrolling new students until 10/1, so please share with prospective families.
Colorado State Assessments Began This Week
Parents, guardians, and caregivers of students in Grades 1-4, please be on the lookout for the testing schedule from your class teacher. The DIBELS (Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills) assessment is required by the State of Colorado within the first 30 days of school.
 
Ms. Leslie Conrad, Reading Interventionist, began administering the DIBELS (Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills) assessment this week. Assessments will continue for students in grades 1-4, in person, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays over the next 2 weeks. Please bring your student to school for his/her scheduled assessment time slot during which s/he will be assessed for reading.

Assessments will be at the school on September 22, 23, 24. If needed, September 29, 30 will be scheduled as well. It takes 15-20 minutes for each child, and it must be administered individually by the reading specialist.
 
At the scheduled appointment time, please bring your student to the front entrance and ring the bell for entry into the building, and check in at the front office for a health screening. Remember that masks are required.  
 
Following safety precautions, Ms. Conrad will wear a mask at all times and sit 6 feet away from each student being assessed. All surfaces and materials will be wiped down between students.
 
If a student is unable to come in person, please contact Ms. Conrad at lconrad@mountainsongschool.com to make other arrangements.

Get Social with Mountain Song
Mountain Song Community - we have a new Instagram account. Please take a moment to follow, tag, and support @mountainsongschool and use the hashtag #ShareYourSong. Encourage friends, family and community members to do the same.
Ag Arts Update
Our early September snowstorm meant that we had to harvest crops in the garden sooner than expected. We picked an entire table's worth of winter squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, fennel, corn, and more! We'll be drying, freezing, and preserving these veggies for students to enjoy when we return to school. One of our 7th graders, Azul, volunteered in the garden with her father and helped tarp our crops to protect from the snow. Luckily, almost 90% of our crops survived, and the garden should keep thriving through October!
Stone Soup Fall Festival
Please join the Parent Council Festivals Committee in welcoming Fall by inviting our community to our online Stone Soup Festival! Stone Soup will be hosted on the school's website with highlights on Facebook. Starting Friday evening, September 25th, you can log in and do all of the activities as time permits. Please also feel free to invite anyone who may be interested to join in our Waldorf festival modified for these unprecedented times. 

The Stone Soup Festival will include......
>Free kits with supplies, information, and a gift for each student.
>Stories and activities hosted by our wonderful staff.
>Fall themed printables.
>Stone soup cook-along video and recipe. 
>Links to additional activities.

Kits can be picked up from the school starting Wednesday, September 23rd during normal packet pick up times. Please pick up one per child.

The Festivals Committee will have several bags of soup ingredients available for families in need. Please reach out to the school administration if you would like to receive one.

Thank you!
Festivals Committee and Parent Council
Parent Council Meeting Dates
Several of the Parent Council committees are meeting this fall. Won’t you join? 
It counts toward volunteer hours!

Hospitality Committee 
will meet at 4 pm on this Zoom link
  • October 6th
  • November 10th

Festivals Committee 
will meet at 4pm on this Zoom link
  • October 7th
  • November 11th 

Parent Council 
will meet at 4 pm on this Zoom link
  • October 15th
  • November 19th
MSCS Board
The Mountain Song Community School Board of Directors needs additional volunteers!

Did you know that any community member can become part of the Board’s various committees? The Board has several committees. Each committee is composed of one or two board members and additional community volunteers. Below is a short description of each Mountain Song Board committee which community members can join.

  • Finance Committee – responsible for creating and monitoring MSCS budget, financial oversight and financial planning for the future along with the Director of School Operations.

  • School Accountability Committee (SAC) – responsible for working with the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) to define academic excellence. (A SAC is required by Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S.) 22-11-401 and 402.)

  • Charter Renewal –responsible for the Charter Contract Renewal process during renewal times.  

  • Statutory Oversight – responsible for monitoring upcoming legislation which might affect public charter schools and notifying the Board of changes and if there is a need for advocacy.

  • Governance Committee – responsible for Board recruitment and training, and the review and maintenance of school policies and documents, to include the Board Handbook, the Board Agreement, monitors and provides training of Board members and plans the Board Retreat. 

  • Development Committee – responsible to conduct and oversee a capital campaign and donation programs to support Mountain Song's mission.  

  • Futures Committee – responsible for future-oriented, large-scale organizational projects and tracking progress on the Strategic Plan. Rewrites the Strategic Plan yearly or as needed.

  • Grant Writing Committee – responsible for finding and writing grant applications which the ELT approves and coordinating funding streams via grants.

  • Parent Council – [The description for the Parent Council Committee is currently being developed.]

At this time, Grant Writing, School Accountability, Governance, and Development committees urgently need help. 

The Futures Committee is seeking any new leads for Mountain Song’s relocation site for next school year.

Contact the Board at board@mountainsongschool.com to get involved with any committee.

For an official description of each committee, please click here
The President’s Summary Report
Board Governance Session, September 15, 2020
September’s Governance Meeting was full of information on a wide variety of topics. There is a lot going on at every level of the school and the Board. School is now in session and just as with any school in the era of COVID, there have been issues to work through. The staff and administration is working incredibly hard re-inventing the school and its protocols at every level—even to the level of how to take attendance. The Board is incredibly proud of the Executive Leadership Team and the staff they lead. Topics the ELT members reported on included:

  • Enrollment
  • Safety Committee
  • UIP writing and progress
  • The need for NWEA testing to be done to determine if there has been learning loss or delay
  • The ELT is trying to determine the best course of action for balancing the much needed testing data with safety considerations.
  • DIBELS testing is being conducted 1:1 to reduce exposure.
  • Hybrid learning is still being planned.
  • The school still has some Chromebooks it can loan out to families.
  • Teachers are working incredibly hard and need to be recognized.
 
Many of the Chairs of the committees of the Board submitted reports and made comments to include:

  • Parent Council is voting in new officers and members of the community are always welcome
  • Development Committee (fundraising) is working on a Capital Campaign and needs volunteers
  • Grants Committee needs volunteers urgently as there are many grants out there and no one available to write them. These are short term projects. Timelines are tight for these short term projects and CSI can help.
  • Finance Committee will report at the next meeting.
  • Contract Renewal Committee will plan for the virtual site visit and the presentation to the Board of CSI.

Further, discussion of protocols for how (and if) the Board members should comment or respond to comments and questions on the Mountain Song Community Forum. It was determined that no Board member can participate in the Forum as a Board Member. Responses to questions related to the Board should only come from the Board President or designee per the Communications Policy.

Jennifer Barnes, MSCS Board President
School Entry Requirements
Any person entering the school building for the first time each day will be required to wear a mask and check-in at the main office for a temperature check, along with a quick verbal questionnaire of the standard health screen questions. All information will be privately recorded for contact tracing purposes only.
 
Please be aware that Mountain Song will be following Colorado's Department of Public Health & Environment sustained transmission algorithms which can be provided at the main office, if needed.
Packet Pick-Up
Packet, Chromebook, and supply distributions will continue next week. Please note the new times for pick-up between 12pm-4pm, daily.

If you have not had an opportunity to pick up your child’s classroom packet, Chromebook, and/or supplies, please do so next week. Otherwise, teachers will communicate directly with you about any additional supplies available for pick-up occurring next week. 

If you need to pick up packets, Chromebooks, or supplies, please carefully observe the following protocols. It is imperative that we follow strict safety procedures.

Drive-Through Instructions
  1. From Kiowa Street, drive through the parking lot next to the gym.
  2. Stop your car by the picnic table next to the gym door.
  3. You must stay in your vehicle.
  4. If no attendant is visible - give one short beep on the horn to let the attendant know you are there.
  5. Roll down the passenger side window - to keep social distance and communicate the name(s) of student and the teacher’s name.
  6. Attendant will hand the packet(s) through the passenger side window.
  7. Drive straight through the backside of the school and exit onto Bijou Street.

Teachers will email you directly if additional packets or supplies are prepared and are ready for pick-up next week between 12pm-4pm.
Volunteers Needed on the Farm for September!
Thanks to all the amazing volunteers who have helped us this summer! We still need a few volunteers to water, weed, and keep our animals fed toward the end of September. If interested, please volunteer via our Sign-Up Genius

This is a wonderful way for you and your family to safely engage with our school garden. If you haven't volunteered in the garden before, please contact Mr. Adam at awright@mountainsongschool.com so he can arrange a time for you to be trained.

Landsharks Running Club
Landsharks will be available as a 'running club' option and not available directly through Mountain Song for this fall season. Please see this letter of explanation if you are interested in your student participating.
Kindergarten Assistant Needed
Kinder-Assistant (full-time 30+ hours per week) 7:45 am to 3:00pm

The Kindergarten assistants help teachers in a variety of ways as a stable presence who is modeling purposeful work. Kindergarten assistants are the quiet doers in the classroom. They prepare snacks and set the stage for the teachers. They participate and help guide, working from the background rather than in the forefront.

They must be able to project the sense of a wholesome human being that is strong while able to work from the background. Assistants must be able to maintain confidentiality and hold sensitive information about a child or a family situation with discretion and tact. 
 
2-3 years of experience working with kindergarten or preschool age children.
$14-$15 per hour

Please see the application and job descriptions at the link below, and/or contact Dan Kurschner at (719) 203-6364 or dkurschner@mountainsongschool.com

Link to the Employment page on our website: https://mountainsongschool.com/about/employment/ 
Songbird Contributions
Article or announcement contributions must be submitted to Ms. Sŏnia Cruz by Tuesday at 5 p.m. for inclusion in each week’s Songbird newsletter, typically distributed on Fridays. (scruz@mountainsongschool.com
Mountain Song School Calendar
Mark your calendar with these important Mountain Song Community School dates.


Mountain Song Community School | 2904 West Kiowa St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904