Dates to Remember
February 14 - Valentine’s Day

February 17-19 -- President’s Day and Teacher Conference Days -- NO SCHOOL

February 18 - Board of Directors Meeting

March 5-6 - Parent-Teacher Conferences -- NO STUDENTS

March 20 - Half Day for Kindergarten

March 23-27 - Spring Break -- NO SCHOOL
From the Principal
Happy Valentine’s Day! Today many classes are celebrating their connections to one another by exchanging kindnesses and gifts. The emphasis on friendship and warmth for one another makes this one of my favorite celebrations of the year!

I visited classrooms this week to take a peek into students’ learning and engagement, and was delighted with what’s happening in them. Please check out the photo gallery below, as well as the feature on the Agricultural Arts program.  

Many thanks to those who have sent in information about potential sites for the school. We have been checking them out and are very appreciative! Please keep them coming - Dan Kurschner is coordinating the list! The Futures Committee of the Board, which is busy with our mission to find a new site, meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 3:30 p.m. at the school.

The Board is also thrilled to welcome three new members - please see the article below for details.

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude, respect, and admiration for my incredible colleagues in the school -- my co-leaders, the staff, and the teachers. We have experienced illnesses and injuries recently, and when one of us is down, the temporary loss of their presence is especially appreciated. And in that light, I am so deeply grateful for our incredible cadré of substitutes that step in so joyously. I don’t know what we would do without them! Thank you!

From the heart,
Dr. Teresa M. Woods
Artist: Ronan Hopkins, Blue Spruce 2nd Grade
No School February 17-19
Please remember that there is no school on Monday, February 17th due to the Presidents’ Day holiday.  

There also is no school on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 18th and 19th, as teachers are engaged in pedagogical training.  

School resumes Thursday, February 20th.
A Window into the Classrooms
See the photo gallery linked below for a peek into the classrooms during Valentine’s Day week!

Grateful
On Sunday, February 9th, our Director of Operations, Mr. Dan Kurschner, survived a major car accident along with his son, Cody. Both walked away from the situation with minor injuries with Mr. Kurschner needing just a few stitches to sew him back together. He has been out for a couple days this week recuperating and resting. We thank you for your patience as some responses may be a bit delayed. I know he and his family would appreciate your healing wishes. We are most grateful for all miracles, great and small.    
Agricultural Arts February Update
Agricultural Arts students are in the midst of a school-wide unit on animals. 6th and 7th grade are learning about bees, while 3rd grade is learning about chickens (and hopefully hatching eggs so that we can have new chickens in the spring). Earlier this week, Ag Arts assistant Ms. Griffin shared her rabbit expertise with 2nd grade and brought Winter, the rabbit, as a guest star to both classrooms. Families are encouraged to ask their students what they are learning about in this exciting unit!

Mr. Adam Wright

Board Voice 
Volume 1, No. 5
By Bill Burkett, Board Secretar y
The Mountain Song Board of Directors recently expanded from five members to eight! And we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome our new members. For the awareness of the whole Mountain Song Community, we would like to introduce them to you.

Alexandra Kogan is a Mountain Song parent who moved to Colorado Springs in 2015 to enjoy our “great outdoors.” She has been a member of the Parent Council and wanted to continue and extend that service to the school by joining the Board. She brings with her past experience working with and on nonprofit Boards.

Colorado College has a program called the CC Nonprofit Initiative that seeks to place students on boards of local non-profits for direct experience with how Boards operate and what they do. The Mountain Song Board was lucky enough to elicit the interest and commitment of two CC students to join the Board.  Laurel Sullivan hails from the Boston area and comes from a family of educators. She’s currently a junior studying Sociology and Education and has had board or directors experience as the student representative on the Board of her high school.  Jamyoung Dorji grew up in Colorado and attended a “non-traditional” public charter school that had many of the same values as Mountain Song. He is currently working on his Masters in the Art of Teaching (MAT) at CC and is interning as a classroom teacher at the School In The Woods. He is also interested in becoming a Waldorf-methods teacher.

While Eight Is Great, Nine Would Be Fine: the Board’s target membership level is 9 members, and we’re almost there. If you are interested in Board service, please contact Bill Burkett ( wburkett@mountainsongschool.com ) for more information.
Landsharks Running Club
Registration for Landsharks opens February 23rd, 2020! Please contact Mr. Dan Kurschner (coach) at dkurschner@mountainsongschool.com

The Landsharks Running Club is a non-competitive after-school running club for students in grades Kindergarten through 6th. Practice times will be 3-4pm Monday and Friday starting April 10th. Practices consist of running games and workouts with a strong focus on fun. Meets are held on Sunday afternoons at the Harrison High School Track. Meets will be April 19th, 26th, and May 3. Cost is $60 - Financial Aid is available through Landsharks for those who qualify before March 4th. I look forward to seeing our Mountain Song students. 

Mr. Dan Kurschner

Growing Up Today
Teresa M. Woods, Ph.D.
I am often dumbstruck by how very different growing up today is compared to how past generations grew up. Many of our children today experience more stress and anxiety than before and navigate more sensory input than before. Yet from another perspective, we might say that children have so many more advantages and opportunities at their disposal than ever before! These phenomena may not be unrelated.

Right after the Wall fell in Europe in 1989, friends from former Soviet Union countries told me how overwhelmed they were when first entering western grocery stores. They faced dozens of types of milk to choose from, when their whole lives they only ever had one option provided by the government. They often fled the stores in anxiety attacks. We often forget that the pressure of having to make choices can be intense.

This is why we encourage parents to make choices (“this is what we’re doing now”), limit choices (2-3 options) for young children, and guide choice-making as children grow. We also encourage limiting access to excess sensory stimulation such as from loud music, bright or flashing lights, and large crowds. Such things can overwhelm children’s abilities to process their environments.

Mountain Song’s media policy restricts children’s exposure to screen time. While valuable family time can be spent watching a movie together, extended screen time can truly impact a child’s brain, development, and focus (and ours, too!). We encourage families to think seriously about giving tablets and phones to children. At what age should they get their own phone? What can they access online? Pong was the only computer game I knew growing up. Today, children regularly report playing first-shooter games like Fortnite that literally train their brains to shoot their friends. And I weep when I encounter children who report finding porn online -- yes, pornography -- and not just older children, but younger children, too. 

I never thought I’d need to warn parents about such things, but please do be aware of what your children are exposed to. Remember that children thrive on routines: regular bedtimes, story time with families, reading books, helping with dinner, healthy meals without phones , chores, consistent expectations, and time in nature. One thing that hasn’t changed over time is that outside play and time in nature are healing and build resilience .  

Let’s give our children time to be children, time to grow the foundations needed for life. While a little stress is important to learn new things, a lot of constant stress can be overwhelming and traumatizing. Thank you to everyone who tries to see through the eyes of our precious children, and helps to create the healthy environments they deserve.
Kindness Program
Many of our teachers this spring are helping to pilot a Kindness Program to determine if this curriculum is one we wish to incorporate more fully into Mountain Song next year. We are using the Random Acts of Kindness Curriculum that is based on the framework set out by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).  

The CASEL conceptual framework (see image) is the gold standard of Social and Emotional Learning and is embraced by the Colorado Department of Education. In 1994, the CASEL group was first convened in meetings at the Fetzer Institute , an organization that included as a founder a professor and leader in Waldorf philosophical foundations. We recognize the commonalities between Waldorf education and this model.  

As we explore the Kindness Curriculum to see how it impacts our children, we are interested in your feedback. You might ask your children what they might be learning about creating a kind world at school, and help reinforce these activities at home. The Random Acts of Kindness organization also has Kindness guides for the workplace that are worth checking out. 
Volunteers for Middle School Choir
Dear Parents,

We, along with Mike Harris, would like to thank Cambria Milner, who has agreed to be the Parent Representative for the Middle School Music Program. She has offered to coordinate parent volunteers who would like to help and/or observe in choir rehearsals on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and we encourage you to participate. 


Parents can help in several ways, including set-up and take-down of chairs, distributing music notebooks and new music, and simply providing an “audience” to help prepare the students for their Spring Concert. Please note that the role of parent volunteers is not to discipline students. Disciplinary matters must be handled by Mountain Song staff. At least one additional staff member is present to assist in this way during each choir session. 

Choir rehearsals are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:10 - 2:50 p.m. in the gym. Set-up of chairs usually starts at 1:55, so feel free to come early if you would like to help with that. As with all volunteers and visitors, please sign in at the front desk before going to the gym.  

We are delighted with the prospect of parent volunteers and class observation. Thank you so much for your support of Mountain Song’s music program.

Warmly,
The Executive Leadership Team
From Our School Nurse
Dear Parents and Guardians:

You have likely heard of the outbreak of pneumonia that is currently being investigated primarily in China. The outbreak has been associated with a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that have been associated with respiratory illness such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. Illness is spread through coughing or sneezing, much like the flu.
 
We understand that new viruses like this can be worrisome, especially to students, parents, and staff.

Although there are no reported cases in Colorado, it is important to remind parents and students who are worried about 2019-nCoV or any respiratory virus, that they can protect themselves by practicing good health hygiene: 

· wash your hands 
· cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing 
· stay away from others who are ill 
· stay home when you’re sick 
 
You can also help control the spread of respiratory pathogens by regularly cleaning and sanitizing high touch surfaces (door knobs, hand rails, faucet handles, light switches etc.). 
We will share additional information and guidance as it becomes available. If you have specific questions about 2019-nCoV, please call your local public health agency or CDPHE at 303.692.2700. 

In Health,
Kimberly Nowland, RN
School Nurse Consultant

Information Provided by: Nisha Alden, MPH Respiratory Disease Program Manager Communicable Disease Branch Division of Disease Control and Public Health Response  
All School Dance
March 14th
Save the date! Parent Council is sponsoring an All School Dance on Saturday, March 14th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. More details to come!

Thank you!
Deanna Stonick, Parent Council Fundraising Chairperson, (719) 373-3925.
Save the Date: Grandparents Day
Thursday, March 19th
We are very excited to announce our second annual Grandparents Day Celebration on Thursday, March 19th. At MSCS, we love and appreciate our grandparents, and believe they are to be honored, treasured and celebrated. In order to send our grandparents a special invitation from the school, we need your help. Please provide us with the mailing and email addresses of the grandparents. We need this information in order to get invitations and information out. To reply with the requested information you can simply click the button below, fill out the needed information and hit submit.
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.
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.
Volunteers Needed for the Farm
The Farm is in Need of Volunteers! This is a very integral part of our school, so please consider using some of your volunteer hours to keep The Farm up and running. Children are more than welcome to help and are encouraged to participate. Links are now live for signing up for Fall/Winter and Winter/Spring volunteer hours. See below:  


Thank you! Parent Council
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