From the Principal
This week brought news that was on the one hand a relief to know and on the other hand terribly sad -- the Governor has ordered school to be closed until the end of the school year. I’ve included below the letter we sent out earlier in the week. We know this is the right thing to do for our community, but we sure do miss you.

So we now settle into this routine of our Continuous Learning plan until the end of the year. We are also finding ways to rejoice and celebrate each other from afar. If we ever doubted it, these stay-at-home experiences have revealed the deep value of our relationships and interactions with each other. We are currently assembling some celebratory projects, and we love how you all lift each other and us up, too. Our incredible support staff, Erin Kivo, social worker, and Cori Karasiuk, dean of students, have created a webpage dedicated to Support and Community Resources for you -- check it out .

I want to say how proud I am of our teachers and staff in taking up the charge and learning how to create their own webpages and master some of the technology we now rely on -- yes, I hear your applause, too! Teachers have worked tirelessly to organize and implement learning and engagement with your children at a distance, which is so foreign to most teaching approaches, but especially Waldorf teaching. Their abilities to work as a team, help each other with their various talents, and comfort each other through the challenges move me deeply. I can’t think of a more wonderful group to be going through this with than them. Mountain Song teachers, thank you for being such heroes! And parents, as you now lead, coach, and tutor your children at home, we recognize you also as teaching heroes!

Please don’t forget to complete the annual School Perceptions survey (see note below). We have had a good response so far, but we would like 100% participation so you can let us know how we are doing. This third-party organization ensures your responses are anonymous, and they are able to compare our results to similar schools.

We are now planning for next year, including budgeting, contingency planning, and moving forward with our charter renewal. Our CSI leaders have been outstanding to work with through the changing state orders and guidelines, and we will know more in the coming weeks. We remain optimistic about our ability to adjust in the ways we bring Waldorf education to the children of Colorado Springs until we can meet in person again. Please help us continue to recruit families to join this amazing community! 

Warmest wishes,
Dr. Teresa Woods
Latest News
April 21, 2020

Dear Mountain Song Families,

Yesterday, Governor Jared Polis offered  some good news  in terms of the impact of Colorado’s Stay-at-Home order, which expires at the end of this week. He discussed implementing a sustainable phased period for public safety in response to the COVID-19 virus. As such, on April 27th, the state will move into the Safer-at-Home phase during which Coloradans are still strongly encouraged to stay home and continue with other social-distancing measures. During this phase, the Governor announced that  K-12 schools will continue to suspend in-person instruction until the end of the school year.   

We believe this decision is the right one, although we are terribly saddened by this reality.   We will, however, maintain our  Continuous Learning  through the rest of the school year and nurture the strong bonds of our Mountain Song Community.   

This decision will clearly impact end-of-year ceremonies, including our 8th grade graduation and the Kindergarten rainbow bridge ceremonies. We have formed committees to plan how we will recognize, honor, and celebrate all our students in meeting their milestones. More news about these will be forthcoming. We would also love parent involvement, and we encourage you to work with your class teacher with any suggestions.  

We continue to  enroll students  for next year, and we hope more than ever that your children return to Mountain Song in the fall.  
The Executive Leadership Team is working closely with our state leaders to navigate these coming weeks. Please continue to watch for these and other updates.  

Thank you, Mountain Song, for your grace, understanding, and efforts in helping us support your children’s learning and growth during this challenging time. We hope everyone stays safe and well.  

With warmest wishes, 

The Executive Leadership Team
Teresa Woods, Ph.D., Principal
Dan Kurschner, Director of Operations
Sarah Kreger, Director of School Performance
Mountain Song Students Engaged in Continuous Learning
We are delighted to see all the learning and creativity going on at home through pictures, stories, and assignments! Your photos warm our hearts -- please keep them coming! New ones have been added this week!

Acts of Kindness
Finding ways to reach out to others is a strange task in these days of social distancing. The Random Acts of Kindness website offers some simple things we can do to reach out with kindness to others while maintaining physical distance. This is also the organization that offers the Kindness Curriculum we have been piloting this year. We know from scientists that acts of kindness and gratitude nurture our own inner health. I think that’s because it helps connect us to our better angels.  
Continuous Learning Update 
Phase 3
While Mountain Song Community School is closed for in-person instruction, teachers and staff are very much open for Continuous Learning while we are unable to meet face-to-face. We miss the children very much, and are excited to continue to connect with them and make sure they know there is a vibrant community of people that care for them very much.  

This week marks the start of Phase 3 as we have now launched our platforms and we can maintain the routines of distance learning. Please see the Continuous Learning web page that serves as a portal to all the Kindergarten and Class Teacher webpages. The teacher webpages are password-protected, and passwords have been sent to you by your teachers. 

On the Kindergarten Teacher webpages , you will find activities and files for your support.  

On the Class Teacher webpages , you will find the class Learning Board, which provides a visual outline of the week’s activities, as well as supporting files and activities. Links to the Subject Teacher, Interventionist, and others’ webpages are also found on each Class Teacher page.

For family support , please see the Community Resources and Mental Health Support webpage hosted by our Dean of Students, Cori Karasiuk, and our School Social Worker, Erin Kivo. These resources, activities, and perspectives are incredibly helpful as we all navigate these stressful times. They will also be keeping office hours, and the times are listed on that page.

Phased Approach:   We are pleased to be now be in Phase 3.  

  • Phase 1 - March 30-April 3 - Transitioning to our new formats
  • Phase 2 - April 6 - April 17 - Begin implementing our Continuous Learning Plan
  • Phase 3 - Beyond April 17 - Maintain our Continuous Learning Plan

Communication:   
  • Teachers will continue to stay in touch via email.
  • Many classes will use Zoom as a video-conferencing tool, with all the safety features and practices intact for educational settings. The schedule for class video conferences is listed on the Continuous Learning page.  
  • Some teachers are preparing short videos and audio files.  
  • Teachers will let you know about their “office hours” and other ways of communicating.  
  • Some teachers are preparing packets for pick-up as another way of communicating.

Continuous Learning Logs:  The state is asking us to track “attendance” in some way, and the learning logs help us to do so. They also help us at Mountain Song gauge how well we’re balancing what is reasonable. Teachers may also ask you to send photos of students engaged in activities or of their projects/assignments.

Hard Copy Options:  As long as we are in compliance with safe practices, we plan to provide times during which families can pick up hard copy packets of learning materials. Please see the Songbird article outlining times and protocols.

We continue to receive weekly updates from our leaders at the Charter School Institute (CSI), the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), and the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education. We will keep you informed of any updates. 

Thank you for your patience, understanding, and resilience in adjusting to these learning modes during the school closure order. Nothing replaces face-to-face engagement with students, but we are committed to maintaining our community of learning and growth. We appreciate the strong relationships you continue to foster between your family and the teachers and staff at Mountain Song. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any question or concern.


Dr. Teresa Woods
Packet Pick-Up
Some teachers will prepare packets for families to pick-up at school. Your teacher will communicate directly with you if they are preparing such packets. If you need to pick up packets, please carefully observe the following protocols. It is imperative that we follow strict safety procedures.

Times:
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 8-10am and 3-5pm
  • Friday: 8-10am and 3-6pm  
  • Saturday, Sunday, and Monday - closed for 72 hours safety 

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 e-mail you directly if packets are prepared and are ready for pick-up.
School Perceptions Survey
Dear Parents/Guardians,
 
These are certainly challenging times and nothing we could have predicted. Throughout this challenge I have been continually impressed with the outstanding efforts of our students and the commitment of our staff.

In addition to responding to the current crisis, the School is reaching out to all parents/guardians to help us understand what we are doing well and where we need to improve.
 
We have hired School Perceptions, an independent educational research firm, to conduct the survey and ensure all responses are kept confidential. We are asking that all parents respond to a survey that will be sent out on April 10.
 
The survey will be open from April 10 through April 24 at 5:00 PM. If you do not receive an email invitation to complete the survey please check your “spam/junk” folder and then contact me for assistance. 
 
We value your comments and suggestions, and strongly encourage you to participate in this important survey. Together, we will continue to shape the future of our schools.

Thank you,
Mrs. Sarah Kreger
Director of School Performance
Community Resources - Dial 2-1-1
Pikes Peak United Way can help you access resources that may help you through this challenging time. By dialing 2-1-1 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, you will be connected to a trained information specialist who can help you find the health and human service providers that you need. Dial 2-1-1.

Simplicity Parenting  
Troubling Times: Anxiety Rising, Schools Closing, and Way More Time at Home With The Kids
Kim John Payne, longtime friend, advisor, and Waldorf-based trainer of Mountain Song families and staff, has created a special audio series to address our troubling times. “In this challenging time, we feel it’s more important than ever for each of us to do what we can to support each other, so we wanted to put this together and make it available right away.”

Mental Health Care, Managing Anxiety, and
Supporting Kids During the Coronavirus Crisis
Taking care of our own mental health as well as supporting our children can feel like an insurmountable task at times. Our Dean of Students, Cori Karasiuk, and our School Social Worker, Erin Kivo, have started a webpage to help. You can find it at this link .  Here are some additional resources that might help us calm our own minds, manage our anxiety, and support our kids. Most of them encourage us to: 
  • Keep routines in place
  • Be creative about new activities -- and exercise
  • Manage our own anxiety
  • Limit our consumption of news
  • Stay in touch virtually
  • Make plans
  • Keep it positive
  • Keep kids in the loop, but keep it simple
  • Accepting and asking for help



Census 2020
It’s important. It’s easy. It’s safe.
This spring you will be asked to perform an important task: Fill out the United States Census. The Census is conducted once every 10 years, and its purpose is to count the number of individuals living in the U.S. Data collection began this month and will continue through July 2020. Households should have received a postcard with instructions for completing the census.

The Census is safe. Federal law protects your information, and prohibits the Census Bureau from releasing any identifiable information about individuals, households, or businesses even to law enforcement agencies.
  
Your participation matters. Counting all children, even those in preschool, is essential for Colorado’s schools to receive their fair amount of funding.
  
The Census is important for many reasons. Population counts are used to determine the allocation of federal dollars to states, cities, and counties, and to help citizens and policy makers understand demographic, economic, and geographic trends needed to inform critical business decisions. For Mountain Song, this influences the level of federal funding allocated to support students with special needs, who come from poverty, who are learning English, and disadvantaged students to help ensure that all children have a well-rounded education. 

Population totals from the Census also determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives, and the totals are also used to redraw federal and state legislative districts. Based on projections, Colorado could receive an additional seat in the House of Representatives thereby increasing Colorado’s voice as Congress debates issues important to all of us.

What do you need to do? Households should have received a postcard with instructions for completing the Census. You can complete the short and easy form online. 
 
Your kids count, so make sure to count them when you fill out the Census form in Spring 2020! 

Announcing Mountain Song Agricultural Arts 
Summer Garden Camp!
We are excited to announce our new Mountain Song Agricultural Arts Summer Garden Camp, which will be held every other week beginning June 29! Camp will run Monday-Friday from 8am to 12pm. The cost for each week of camp will be $125 if registering before April 1 and $150 afterwards. (A $25 per day option is available for rising 1st graders only.) Scholarship opportunities are available to middle school students who would like to be junior counselors. More information regarding financial scholarships for families in need will be available mid-March. Payment can be made by check, cash, or on our website via Paypal . Contact Mr. Adam at awright@mountainsongschool.com with any questions. 

Dates are as follows:

Rising 1st: June 29 - July 3
Rising 2nd - 3rd: July 13 - July 17
Rising 4th - 6th: July 27 - 31
Rising 7th - 9th: August 10 -14

Mr. Adam Wright
Waldorf Education - 100 Years
Learn to Change the World
This year is the 100th anniversary of the start of the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, Germany. In 1919, Rudolf Steiner lit a spark in education that would inspire thousands of schools from early childhood to high school across the world. To learn more, view the video below.
Support for Mountain Song
As a public charter school, Mountain Song Community School is proud to provide quality Waldorf education at no cost.  Yet the funds we receive as a charter school are less than what a typical Colorado public school receives.

At the same time, we are responsible for additional expenses, such as our facilities and maintenance costs.  The expenses associated with the building lease, instructional and learning materials, staffing, special programs, and field trips continue to increase each year. In order to provide the valuable programming that makes Waldorf education exceptional, we rely on community donations to reach our annual fundraising goals. Please consider signing up for a small monthly recurring contribution today.
Free Food Distribution
Pikes Peak United Way / Care & Share
See the information below for upcoming free food distributions sponsored by the Pikes Peak United Way and Care & Share, whose vision is a hunger-free Southern Colorado.
Songbird Contributions
Article or announcement contributions must be submitted to Dr. Woods by Tuesday at 5 p.m. for inclusion in each week’s Songbird newsletter, typically distributed on Fridays. ( twoods@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