From the Principal
This long Autumn has graced our outdoor world with lingering colors on the trees and extra time to harvest our garden bounty. The animals have stored plenty of food as well for the colder months ahead, and the skies remind us of our connected world.  

The last time I experienced such a long slow Autumn, it was 2001 when I lived a couple of hours north of New York City. The tragedy of 9/11 had occurred just 2 weeks after my beloved step-father passed away. It was a very hard and sad time. I listened to a lot of Chopin in those months while bathing in the rich, slowly changing colors of the maples, birches, and oaks. There’s something similar about the Colorado Fall this year.

At Mountain Song, we pause for Día de los Muertos to remember and celebrate our loved ones who have passed away. The festival this year, while especially poignant, will be more inward as we must refrain from assemblies and gathering in large groups. Our teachers will guide classes in different ways through this season of remembrance, and our Parent Council Festivals Committee has provided guidance for us in our homes (see below). They have also created an ofrenda at the top of the school stairs, and you are welcome to send in photos or other offerings for your children to place there.

At this beautiful time of year, we join together to celebrate the cycles of life and to hold our loved ones close.
    
Dr. Teresa Woods
Phased Learning Plan Update
Yesterday, we sent an update to all families regarding how recent changes in the public health situation impact Mountain Song’s phased Return to School plan. Click here to see the full letter.

Based on the recent rapid increase in COVID-19 spread in El Paso County, we expect that our county status may be reclassified soon.

We currently plan on maintaining our Hybrid model into November. 

If, however, El Paso County is designated in the Level 3: High Risk, we will return to full Remote Learning.  

Please note also that if we have a positive case or an outbreak, we will need to have certain cohorts or possibly the school return to full Remote Learning for a specified time. Please see these CDPHE guidelines that we follow. As the public health situation remains in flux, we will continue to update families. Please also refer to our Return to School webpage.

We ask everyone to please help prevent COVID spread by observing safe practices: wear a face covering in public, wash hands frequently, monitor health symptoms, and social distance. These will help in our goal to keep school open to in-person learning.  

Parent-Teacher Conferences: 
October 29 and 30 - No School
Parent-teacher conferences will be held on October 29th and 30th. Classes will NOT be in session during the parent-teacher conferences. Child care will not be provided during this time. Teachers will send information about how to sign up for parent-teacher conferences. Parents/guardians, please check your emails for additional information, or contact your child's teacher directly with any questions about the conferences. 
Dia de los Muertos Festival
Dia de los Muertos

We are observing Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) from October 20 to November 2nd at Mountain Song Community School. Students and families are welcome (not required) to participate in this educational cultural experience.
 
Dia de los Muertos is an ancient tradition from Mexico that honors the lives of loved ones who have died and also celebrates the gift of life. Families and communities create colorful ofrendas (offerings) in honor of deceased loved ones, decorating them with mementos such as photos, flowers, candles, and their loved one’s favorite food. These ofrendas become meeting places for people to come together and share fond stories and remember those we cherish who have passed on.
 
Although sometimes conflated, Dia de los Muertos is not the same as Halloween, and it is not traditionally a scary festival, but rather a joyful and loving one. Click here to find further information about Dia de los Muertos.
 
Mountain Song has created ofrendas during the week of October 20th - November 2nd. One is set up at the top landing of the front door for the community to bring their offerings. Please put your name and class on photos and any other mementos you want returned to you.
 
Unfortunately, we will be missing the wonderful lessons our lovely Spanish teachers usually offer. As a small consolation and to provide some extra support to our distanced students, we will be hosting some online materials. If you would like pictures of loved ones who have passed on shared online as part of our celebration please email them the festivals@mountainsongschool.com. You are also welcome to share short stories this way. 
 
Please join us for some crafts and short videos made by our students.
 
Thank you from the Parent Council Festivals Committee
CSI Charter Contract Renewal
Over the past year, Mountain Song Board of Directors and Executive Leadership Team have been engaged in applying for charter contract renewal from our authorizer, the Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI). Our current contract expires next summer, and as part of the normal cycle of review and evaluation, we are applying for renewal. We have submitted extensive academic, financial, and organizational documents that represent the school’s metrics, policies, and plans. This week, a team of CSI Board and Staff members took a peek at our school in action through a virtual site visit. They logged into virtual classes, saw in-person classes through video-feed, and spoke with parent, teacher, and staff panels.  

Next Tuesday, October 27, Mountain Song will present our case for renewal before the CSI Board of Directors. They will review our materials and deliberate in committee during November and December, with the Board making a determination on our contract renewal status on December 15. We anticipate having good news to report then.

The renewal application process has been highly unusual this year as COVID has disrupted normal operations. In response, CSI modified the process and provided wonderful support in their robust accountability structure. We are grateful for these, as well as for the countless hours that Mountain Song Board and Committee members have dedicated to the process, and for the panels speaking with the site visit team.  
From Our School Nurse
Our school nurse consultant, Kimberly Nowland, RN, recently shared information with our staff about how to help children feel calm during a global crisis and viewing anxiety as energy that can be used as helpfulness vs. helplessness. We are sharing this information with our parents and community to help facilitate conversations with children and teens about Covid-19 or other global trauma.

Click here for the link.
Or click the picture below for helpful tips and an encouraging video.
School Supplies Request for Parents
This year, we have provided portfolios, bags and plastic totes in an effort to help our students keep track of their classroom materials. 
 
Important: We request your partnership to help children take care of and transport materials. If your child loses or breaks classroom materials at home, in school or during transit, we must request reimbursement for the costs of the missing items. We recognize that keeping track of these classroom materials is difficult, especially during this hybrid phase. Your partnership, support, and stewardship of the classroom materials will help us ensure that our students are successful this school year.
 
Aligned with the Waldorf approach, Mountain Song special orders high-quality materials for students to work with in class. To help defray the costs, parents pay a materials fee of $150. If you have not paid the fee, please click here to complete payment. Materials fees help provide each child with main lesson books, beeswax crayons, beeswax for modeling, natural watercolor paints, watercolor painting paper, natural fiber handwork materials, and all of the materials needed for agricultural arts. 
 
We are sympathetic to the challenges our families face during these hectic times. If your child has lost or damaged any materials, please contact Mr. Dan Kurschner to make payment arrangements. We are willing to work with you regarding payment terms.
Innovation Learning for Families
Child Care for Remote Days: We realize some families will need child care during the Remote learning days relevant to your children’s grades. We will have a program run by Innovation Learning available for your child to be supervised during Remote days if we have enough families participating.
 
Please contact Dan Kurschner for more information about fees: dkurschner@mountainsongschool.com 
Federal Impact Aid Forms 
Are Due December 11th
If your family is connected to a federal organization or property, please complete and return the survey by December 11 so you can be counted. Mountain Song can benefit from Federal Impact Aid Funds which help level the playing field. Read here for more information. 

Click HERE to fill in the Federal Impact Aid Form 2020.

Every year, we survey our families to count how many federally connected students are enrolled in our school. Why? Because the federal government reimburses schools for loss of tax revenue for families that are federally connected (the federal government is exempt from paying property taxes). Be sure to be counted so Mountain Song can benefit from these efforts to level the playing field!

Federally connected students are those connected to members of uniformed services, to federal properties such as Indian lands, national parks, VA hospitals, national labs, federally subsidized low-rent housing, and whose parents work on federal property. Depending on the number of federally connected students we have at our school, we may be eligible to receive additional federal funds.   

If you or a member of your household is federally connected, please be sure to be counted by completing this form and returning it to the school by December 11, 2020. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sarah Kreger.
 
President’s Report 
Mountain Song Community School Board of Directors
Jennifer Barnes
Our October 20, 2020 meeting was packed with good news about the progress our Executive Leadership Team, teachers/staff and the school committees have made in moving forward in this challenging time. Our Board Committees and volunteers have been hard at work as well. The Board was very impressed with the level of collegiality and coordination between so many people and entities. Our community is really coming together to move forward and stay together as we navigate through our hybrid model of learning.  

Our Executive Leadership Team members each gave individual updates, and it is evident that they are still working very long hard days largely due to COVID, but they are working well as a team on so many issues. Some issues they have worked on include the school budget, revising the school schedule for our hybrid model, safety protocols, cleaning schedules, improving ventilation, Charter Renewal, the Unified Improvement Plan, MAP testing, staffing and substitutes, October Count, Prenda, grants and so much more. Our thanks goes out to these hardworking and dedicated administrators and the teachers, staff and volunteers in our community.

Items that the Board discussed included:

The Board reviewed our list of policies and an update was provided on the status of the revision of the Grievance Policy.  

The Development Committee, Executive Leadership Team and Making Philanthropy Work will have one main coordinator.

The Board received a presentation on the safety protocols in place at the school.

Ryan Marks of CSI made a presentation on the upcoming points of the Charter Renewal process and had a Q&A session. CSI has recommended to its Board that MSCS has a three-year extension of its Charter Contract. The Board will vote on this in December. In the intervening months, CSI will be studying every aspect of the school and the Board of Directors.

The Board reviewed the evaluation process for the Executive Leadership Team.

Consultation with Ryan Marks was sought on a few points, and he pointed the Board to the correct resources.

Public comment was held at the end of the meeting with one comment/question. 

We want to thank all of the community members and teachers who joined the meeting. We would especially like to recognize the fact that all of us -- parents, students, staff, administrators, committee members and Board members -- are working together and incredibly hard to succeed in a very challenging time. While it can be stressful and tempers can run short, we can see what a strong and dedicated community we have. We encourage patience and working together in unity along with a lot of deep cleansing breaths.
Parent Council Seeks Treasurer
and Committee Volunteers
Parent Council is seeking a Treasurer and all Parent Council committees seek volunteers. Did you know that involvement on the Parent Council committee satisfies volunteer requirements for Mountain Song?

Please reach out to Cambria at pcchair@mountainsongschool.com if you are interested. 
Parent Council Meeting Dates
Several of the Parent Council committees are meeting this fall. Won’t you join? It counts toward volunteer hours!

Health and Wellness/Hospitality Committee 
Meets 2nd Tuesday each month at 4pm
Next meeting at 4 pm on this Zoom link
  • November 10

Festivals Committee 
Meets 2nd Wednesday each month at 4pm
Next meeting at 4pm on this Zoom link
  • November 11 
 
Upcoming Festivals
Día de los Muertos   Oct 20 to Nov 2
Martinmas      Nov 11

Parent Council 
Meets 3rd Thursday each month at 4pm
Next meeting at 4 pm on this Zoom link
  • November 19
Get Social with Mountain Song
Mountain Song Community - we have a new Instagram account. Please take a moment to follow, tag, and support @mountainsongschool. Encourage friends, family and community members to do the same.
October Farm Volunteers Needed!
Thanks to all the amazing volunteers who continue to help us water, weed and keep our animals fed. We have bunnies and chickens and veggies, oh my!  

We have slots for October Farm volunteers! 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.

Substitute Teachers Needed
Are you or someone you know interested in being a Substitute Teacher at Mountain Song? 

The ideal candidates will have a passion for Waldorf education, collaboration, and growth, and will demonstrate high personal expectations. A strong sense of personal accountability, a positive attitude and excellent communication skills are a must. We look to our substitute teachers to be engaged and mindful and have an authentic commitment towards carrying out the mission of the school for teachers who are absent.

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