From the Principal
On Wednesday, Governor Jared Polis issued the executive order that Colorado schools would remain closed for in-person instruction at least through April 30 ( see latest update here ). That said, Mountain Song teachers and staff are very much open for Continuous Learning during this time. We miss the children so much, and are excited to continue connecting with them to make sure they know there is a vibrant community of people that cares for them very much.

Among school models, the Waldorf approach of Mountain Song stands out in its minimal use of electronic technology for instruction. So it is particularly odd and trying that we find the main ways we can connect with our treasured families are through online tools and telephones.  

Yet another hallmark of Waldorf education is its dedication to cultivating creativity, heart, and freedom in meeting the challenges of our times. Waldorf education was founded in Europe in 1919 after one of the continent’s most devastating chapters, and it was meant as a source of social and cultural renewal. We strive to serve in a similar way -- to meet this challenge of our times and bring light, love, and goodness to our community.  

We are confident that we will find ways to build on our foundational relationships to help support your children. We are also here for you. Please reach out if you need resources or other support. We will be putting more up on our website. For now, please see the resources and updates on our Mountain Song webpage related to this crisis, and don’t hesitate to contact us for support.  

This week, teachers dedicated themselves to learning online formats and developing standard ways of communicating with families so we can make things as easy on you as possible. Mostly, teachers just really want to connect with your children and engage with them again.

I continue to stress that we are not in an academic crisis right now; rather, we are in a public health and mental/emotional health crisis as a world community right now.  We are committed to help provide whatever normalcy, connection, and support we can without burdening families with unrealistic expectations. Please stay in touch with us so we can get that balance right for you.  

We are sending our golden threads of care and love out to you and your children.

Dr. Teresa Woods

Mountain Song Continuous Learning Plan
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.  

Phased Approach:   Implementing our new structures for Continuous Learning is being accomplished in stages, and we are on track with our phased approach.

  • 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:  This week (Phase 1), your teachers have been in communication with you through e-mail to introduce you to new modes of communication.  
  • Many classes will use Zoom as a video-conferencing tool, with all the safety features and practices intact for educational settings.  
  • 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.

Learning Boards:  Next week, April 6-10 (Phase 2), Class Teachers (grades 1-8) will be sending you Mountain Song Learning Boards to organize learning opportunities for your children. Teachers will adapt the learning boards to their own purposes, yet these simple grids should provide a standard way of communicating and organizing learning activities through the week.   

Continuous Learning Logs:  Also next week, teachers will be sending you a log or other means for you to be documenting your children’s engagement. The state is asking us to track “attendance” in some way. For our purposes, these learning logs are also ways that we can gauge how well we’re balancing what is reasonable. Other ways to log or document learning are to send photos of students engaged in activities or of their projects/assignments.

Kindergarten Teachers:  Kinder teachers will continue to be in touch with and support families to find the best ways to engage during our extended shut-down.  

Webpages:  During the week of April 13-17 (still Phase 2), teachers hope to share with you their class webpages housed on Mountain Song’s website. This will be a place that you can check in to find the week’s Learning Boards posted along with other resources.

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.

Exploring Other Platforms:   As we are able, we are exploring other online platforms and may be setting up additional options. We will share any new developments.

We continue to receive continuous updates from our leaders at the Charter School Institute (CSI), the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), and the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education. By doing so, and by relying on the dedication of our teachers and staff, we look forward to engaging your children in Mountain Song’s Continuous Learning during the extended school closure.  

We are grateful for your patience, understanding, and feedback as we chart these new waters. We are conscientiously trying to balance continual learning with not overwhelming families. Please stay in touch with us to help us find that balance. 


Packet Pick-Up
S ome 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 - Thursday 8-10am and 3-5pm
  • 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.
Welcome Back and a Huge Thank You!
We are delighted to welcome Mrs. Leslie Conrad back to her role as Interventionist at Mountain Song in the younger grades. You may recall that Mrs. Conrad spent some extended time in California when her son and daughter-in-law delivered twins in February. She was able to stay and help for five weeks before driving back to Colorado recently. Missing all of the students and families, she is ready to return to work at Mountain Song.
Mrs. Conrad was able to take this extended time off to be with her family thanks to the expertise and caring provided by her long-term substitute, Ms. Melissa Rossi. We send out a huge thank you to Ms. Rossi for helping keep our students on track in learning to read fluently. She has fit right in with the Mountain Song community with her huge heart, sharp mind, and ability to strongly connect with children to help them learn. Additionally, Ms. Rossi has helped us think through details of switching to our Continuous Learning plan. Thank you so much, Ms. Rossi! 
Oh, Had I A Golden Thread
T his song, written by Pete Seeger, has been playing in my mind lately. My favorite rendition of it is by the late singer, Eva Cassidy. If you don’t mind the technology, you can listen to it here at this link.   

Oh, had I a golden thread
And a needle so fine
I would weave a magic spell
Of a rainbow design
Of a rainbow design
In it I would weave the courage
Of women giving birth
And in it I would weave the innocence
Of the children of all the earth
Children of all the earth
I want to show my brothers and sisters
My rainbow design
Cause I would bind up this sorry world
With hand and heart and mind
Oh, hand and heart and mind
Oh, had I a golden thread
And a needle so fine
I would weave a magic spell
Of a rainbow design
Of a rainbow design
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.”

Managing Our Own Anxiety and
Supporting Kids During the Coronavirus Crisis
I’m offering additional resources here that can 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