From the Principal
At this time of year, I often find myself naturally bowing my head and closing my eyes to reflect. This year, if you looked into my office, you might find me in the same position, but just trying to catch a moment of rest within this deep sorrow. It is a sad time and a hard time in our world and in our community.

And never have I been more grateful for the human connections, the grace and warmth, the understanding and help, the sharing and generosity that permeate our community. 

I wish for you a Thanksgiving time of rest and connection. Be sure to reach out to those whom you appreciate, even if you can’t see them in person. Write that note, pick up the phone, send a card. Our bonds mean more these days than ever before.

I’ve been learning about the neurobiology of connecting with others, how trusting relationships can buffer the impacts of stress. Simply put, we all have the power to brighten someone’s day. Every little smile warms another. (And yes, we have learned to see the smile through the mask and in the eyes.) Every steady presence anchors another. Every shared laugh relieves another. Every graceful acceptance unburdens another. Every gesture of care touches a heart.  

Thank you for touching mine. Truly. I am so very grateful for you and this beautiful community.  

Blessings,  
Dr. Teresa Woods
Mountain Song in the News … Again!
Watch for another Mountain Song news feature on KOAA News5 in The Rebound series that is scheduled to air Tuesday, December 1st! The Rebound series focuses on how businesses, organizations, and individuals in Southern Colorado are rising to meet this moment of challenge. The feature story was filmed Wednesday, focusing on our very own Red Oak 3rd grade class. It will also appear on The Rebound KOAA News5 website that you can find here.

Handwork - Why Waldorf Knits
This semester, students have been fully engaged in Handwork, creating a myriad of projects from soft, natural fibres. The brain and well-being benefits of Handwork are well known among Waldorf communities. Knitting, crocheting, sewing, etc. all deepen connections in Mathematics, Eye, Hand and Brain Coordination, Resiliency Through Habit, Well-being and Self Esteem.
 
Click here to read a well-written article on these connections along with other link extensions you may be interested in learning about. 
The Value of Reading Aloud to Children
Studies confirm that reading aloud to children is so very important, even long before they are able to read themselves. Reading aloud is just as important with teens! We strongly encourage you to make a daily ritual of reading to and with your children. The Thanksgiving Break is a perfect time to read a family book together, which benefits children from prenatal to adolescence, as well as adults!

Reading aloud to children before they can read independently especially helps build those pre-literacy skills of hearing and speaking, rhythm and rhyme, tone of voice, expanding vocabulary, and following a story. Then when children can read, it reinforces their interest and warm feelings associated with reading when they share a book with a parent or other family member. Reading to children, even through adolescence, has powerful positive impacts with books sparking new interests, genres, and vocabulary.  

We strongly encourage you to make a daily ritual of reading aloud to and with your children. Children learn to associate books with opening doors to new characters, to new places, to new language, to new learning. After children learn to read, they then read to learn. Teachers and parents rejoice when this shift occurs, and we see a spark lighting when a child picks up a book out of sheer curiosity. Reading also helps all of us develop empathy as we immerse ourselves in the worlds of characters very different from ourselves.  

And empathy is something we all need. Open a book with your children and discover a new world.
Thanksgiving Break November 23 - 27
There will be no school from November 23rd through November 27th for Thanksgiving Break.  We will pause the Songbird distribution during Thanksgiving as well.  Remote Learning will resume Monday, November 30th.

If you are feeling stressed over how to celebrate holidays in this pandemic year, the Child Mind Institute offers a variety of articles on topics from safety to gratefulness and grief. 

Click here for the article, “Holidays During the Pandemic,” with tips for reducing stress, helping kids cope, and making new traditions.

Click here to access “10 Tips for Raising Grateful Kids.”

Mountain Song has a support and community resources page on our website for families. We hope you find time to celebrate each other with gratitude during the Thanksgiving Break.
November Farm Volunteers Needed!
Thanks to all the amazing volunteers who continue to help us water, weed and keep our animals fed. We have 2 bunnies, 4 chickens, many fish and fall veggies that require our warmth and attention as the temperatures dip with the sun.

We have slots for November Farm volunteers on the weekends! In addition to weekends, we will also need volunteers the week of Thanksgiving Break, Nov. 23 - 27. 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.

Learning Plan Update
Mountain Song Community School will continue in full Remote Learning through the first semester, which ends on December 18th. We will also continue to offer limited in-person services for students in academic interventions and special education as necessary.  

This decision has been made in light of the ongoing spike in COVID-19 spread and related metrics in El Paso County this month, as well as input from staff members and the school’s Safety Committee.  

The El Paso County metrics currently show that the 14-day incidence rate is hovering around 1,000 per 100,000 people, which is extremely high. Other metrics related to the virus spread are also very elevated. The current status of El Paso County is at Level Orange—High Risk on the state’s dial framework. Although the incidence and hospitalization rates far exceed that level, we do not expect the county to be moved into a more restrictive level soon, based on our understanding from political leaders. Therefore, districts and schools, including Mountain Song, are in a position to be making decisions based on our tracking of data and the implications in schools.  

While we managed the disruptions due to COVID-19 well in October and early November, it was clear that we could not sustain managing increased disruptions due to required quarantines and isolations. As the incidence of COVID-19 rises in our community, it also rises at Mountain Song. Therefore, we implore our community to stay vigilant and keep practicing and modeling the hygiene, distancing, and masking practices that yield lower virus transmission. These will help us achieve our goal to bring back students to in-person learning as soon as possible.  

We want you to know that we are very aware of the incredible stress being in remote learning places on families. Our partner, Innovation Learning, will continue to offer day-care services at the school. Please contact Dan Kurschner for more information. In addition, our Parent Council has offered to help families buddy up to assist and support one another during this time. If you would like more information about this, please contact Cambria DeVoy at pcchair@mountainsongschool.com.  

Thank you for your partnership during this incredibly challenging time.
Packet Pick-Up
Packet and supply distributions will resume after Thanksgiving Break, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12pm-4pm.

Ag Arts Needs Spice Jars!
The harvest of summer and fall will season us this winter! 

We need clean, glass spice jars! We have plucked and picked, snipped and dried herbs and spices such as dill, fennel, rosemary, sage, bay, lavender, and lemon verbena. We will be preparing them for packaging soon. Agricultural Arts plans to sell our harvest by the jar this winter. There will be single harvest jars and some wonderful blends. So, let’s reuse some of those expired jars in the pantry! Please send in your clean glass spice jars today! 

Label your donation “Ag Arts” and drop them off at the gym during supplies pick up Tuesdays or Thursdays 12pm to 4pm. We will get them from the gym and start filling them from our garden harvest!

The more jars we receive, the more we can fill. 
The more we fill, the more we can sell! 
Thank you for supporting Ag Arts!
Board President’s Report
The Board meeting on November 17, 2020 was very pleasant and productive. All of the Board members have been busy running their committees, updating committee descriptions and committee goals along with Board policy revisions. The Board members have been working hard on their committees and at the Board level to help the school achieve the mission and vision of the school. 

Our amazing ELT has been working on many, many projects. Sarah Kreger listed the Charter Renewal, the Unified Improvement Plan, current enrollment, next year’s enrollment processes, attendance and participation issues with online schooling, the capital campaign, safety procedures and processes and developing next year’s calendar. Dan Kurschner discussed the financial reports he has been working on, HR submissions, personnel issues, and working with Innovation Learning. Dr. Teresa Woods has been working with Making Philanthropy Work on our capital campaign, the Alliance for Public Waldorf education to develop better ways to keep the integrity of our Waldorf model while in an online format. She has been working along with several others at the school on CSI’s School Culture Collaborative Committee which has commended Mountain Song Community School for being a leader in pushing into Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work as well as Trauma Informed teaching practices.  

Above all, the Board would like to commend our ELT on their incredible work with COVID issues. They never thought they would have to shoulder the work of also being a public health official and although it has been extremely difficult, they have done their best to keep everyone safe.

We had a collaborative discussion with Cambria Devoy, the Interim President of Parent Council on the Parent Council description and goals then discussed the position of a Parent Council Representative to the Board. The Parent Council will review the information and make recommendations to the Board at their next meeting.

The Board President, Jennifer Barnes, suggested that for the time being, all Board meetings simply be called Board meetings rather than a Working Meeting and a Governance Meeting. No Board member objected and it was agreed that we would suspend the differentiated meeting titles because we have repeatedly had to hold votes during what would have normally been a Working Meeting during this tumultuous time.

Finally, we have two Board members on an indefinite leave of absence and will be sorry to see Laurel Sullivan leaving the Board in December to focus on her education. We wish all of these Board members well. In December, the Governing Board of Mountain Song Community School will be at its minimum membership. Please consider joining the Board to help us achieve the mission and vision of the school during these hard times. We need your help.

Jennifer Barnes
President, Board of Directors
Mountain Song Community School
2020 Annual Appeal: November 15 – December 31
The Mountain Song Community School Annual Appeal is an important time for Mountain Song Community School where we ask families, friends, and other members of our community to support the school with a philanthropic gift. This year we are continuing to ask families, faculty and friends to join others in considering giving the gift that keeps on giving by signing up for a small monthly recurring gift.
 
Signing up is simple on Mountain Song Community School's secure online giving page. Just select an amount to give per month and click on “recurring donation." Those who sign up for a monthly gift will be honored with a special Waldorf star in the school, and will receive a SY20-21 Mountain Song Community School Monthly Donor decal.
 
Together, small recurring automatic gifts can really add up, and - combined with others - a monthly gift of just $10, $20 or $50 can provide significant and transformational resources for our school to support. End-of-year one-time contributions are also simple to make and have an immediate impact.
 
Please consider joining the Song by signing up for a monthly recurring gift. Together we can truly make a difference!

Sincerely,
The Mountain Song Community School Development Committee
 
Parent Council Meeting Dates
Please support Mountain Song by joining one of these Parent Council committees. 
It counts toward volunteer hours!

Health and Wellness/Hospitality Committee 
Meets 2nd Tuesday each month at 4pm
Meetings at 4 pm on this Zoom link

Festivals Committee 
Meets 2nd Wednesday each month at 4pm
Meetings at 4pm on this Zoom link
 
Parent Council 
Meets 3rd Thursday each month at 4pm
Meetings at 4 pm on this Zoom link
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. 
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.
 
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.
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