From the Principal
This week in our lantern walks, we recognized the inner light that we all bear, shining our lights together in the darkness.  We also honored on Veteran’s Day the sacrifices our military service men and women have made for this great country.  And this week, we returned to full Remote Learning as we continue navigating the hardships of this pandemic.  

We are preparing for that most American of holidays, Thanksgiving.  This year will undoubtedly look different than other years.  I hope during this inward time that you create your own hearth of warmth and peace.  I hope you treasure your inner light, the wonder of each person’s unique perspective on the world, and the joy of sharing moments with each other.  We may need to write someone, call someone, facetime someone, but let’s remember to reach out to each other in kindness, in appreciation, in gratitude.  Who do you appreciate?  Let’s shine our lights of thankfulness to each other.

Blessings,  
Dr. Teresa Woods



Lantern Walks Update
This week and next, teachers and families at Mountain Song are celebrating the traditional evening lantern walks that mark the end of the autumn harvest and the advent of wintry weather. Typically, children light lanterns, sing beautiful songs, and share autumn treats. The Parent Council has been supporting the Lantern Walks, and you can find special activities and resources for you and your family on the Festivals webpage.
Lighting the lantern at this time of year invokes a sense of hope, beauty, and wonder. The lantern shining in the darkness kindles in our hearts the warm light of our spirit, quickening our generosity and empathy amidst life’s outward, sometimes challenging and always changing circumstances. May our lanterns shine brightly with compassion, kindness and empathy as we enter the shorter days and longer nights of the coming season.
  
Thank you, teachers and Parent Council, for bringing this magic into our lives. Families, please share your lantern photos and videos with us: lferrara@mountainsongschool.com
 
We hope you enjoy this beautiful video, from our staff to you, created by Ms. Amy Siebert.  
To view video click on the picture above or here.
November 20 Half-Day for Kindergarten
Please note on our school calendar that Friday, November 20 is a half-day for Kindergarten students.

Support for Reading and Math Skills - Grades 3-8
Like educators across the country, we at Mountain Song Community are concerned about the loss of students' reading and math skills due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic.  

What are we doing to help students in this situation? In October, students in grades 3-8 were given the MAP Test for math and reading, and some were given a secondary screener, so that the school could determine which students could benefit from math and/or reading intervention classes. This is part of the school’s multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS).

Last week, the MTSS Teams, which consist of the classroom teacher, Ms. Nicole Svenson, Interventionist for grades 3-8, and Dr. Teresa Woods, Principal, met and reviewed student assessment data. Parents of students who could benefit from math and/or reading interventions were notified this week, with options for in-person or online small group class times outlined.   

Classes started Wednesday, November 11th. Please check your email to see if you received a note about intervention services. To help your child be ready for classes, please have them accept the Google invitation to the Intervention Classrooms. If you have questions or would like more information about Mountain Song's MTSS program, please do not hesitate to email Ms. Nicole Svenson at nsvenson@mountainsongschool.com

Welcome Mr. Matthew Thomas!
Ag Arts Co-Teacher
We are pleased to announce that our long-term guest teacher, Mr. Matthew Thomas, is shifting his Mountain Song presence to take on the role of co-teacher for the Agricultural Arts program. With his background in environmental science and education, Mr. Thomas will work with Mr. Adam Wright to expand the scope of Ag Arts this winter. They will collaborate to incorporate ecology and environmental science into the program while students are in Remote Learning and the garden is “sleeping” through the winter months. Welcome to the Agricultural Arts program, Mr. Thomas!
Activities in Agricultural Arts
Last Friday, we said farewell to our Ag Arts co-teacher, Ms. Griffin, as our students prepared to return to full Remote Learning. In celebration, it was a day filled with delicious food! Our Mountain Maple 5th grade had a small Indian feast; the Ginkgo 8th grade made potato pancakes and eggs with ingredients exclusively from the school garden; and the Juniper 6th graders and the Aspen and Ponderosa 7th graders had a pizza party using our outdoor oven!
Ag Arts Update
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
Dear Mountain Song Community Members,

We are happy to announce that at their November Board meeting this week, District 11 approved a one-year extension of our current building lease until May 31, 2022.  The extension is possible due to a delay in their plans caused by the effects of COVID19.  Our school calendar will be adjusted accordingly for the 2021-2022 school year.  This is great news for our community as it gives us another year to raise funds and find a site best suited for our needs.

We’d like to thank our broker, Gary Feffer, for his persistence and hard work both in our search for a new site and for staying in close contact with District 11 throughout the summer and fall as COVID19 changed the District’s plans for the Whittier Building.  We were all relieved when Gary received word that District 11 was willing to reconsider the non-renewal of the lease they had announced in the spring.  Thank you, Gary Feffer!

We would also like to thank School District 11 Superintendent, Dr. Michael Thomas; Deputy Superintendent, CFO, Glenn Gufstafson; and District Contracting Officer, Kristine Odom for being open to continuing our lease once District 11 solidified their plans for their district projects.

Although the MSCS Board of Directors is involved in the decision-making and research for finding a site that fits our needs of approximately 450 students in a double-tracked school with enough room to bring back our signature programs, a meals program, outdoor space for Agricultural Arts and appropriate playgrounds, there are many other people involved in the process.  Our Executive Leadership Team, the members of the Futures Committee, and our broker all play important roles in the process.  Please consider joining the Futures Committee, which is trying to find a new school location, or our Development Committee, which is raising funds for our upcoming move.  We need your help, and you will gain more knowledge about the move and our finances. 

As always, I encourage all community members to bring their questions and concerns to the Board and ELT.  You can write to us at Board@mountainsongschool.com.

Warmly,
Jennifer Barnes 
President, Board of Directors
Mountain Song Community School
COVID19 Updates
Mountain Song Community School returned to full Remote Learning this week due to the high number of COVID19 infections in the county, and the resulting risk and instability it created in the school.  We will make a decision about December by next Friday, November 20.  If the county numbers remain high, we anticipate remaining in full Remote Learning until the Winter Break.

The ongoing surge of COVID19 spread in our community has resulted in El Paso County being moved to Level Orange: Safer at Home High Risk status today, November 13. We urge everyone to take the small steps to prevent disease spread so that together we can lower the transmission within our community and help schools open up to in-person learning again: limit social gatherings, maintain social distance, wash hands frequently, and wear face coverings in public.  You can monitor the county public health situation with the data tools at the EPCPH site.  Information about the dial system is now available in Spanish here.

In addition, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and Mountain Song encourage community members to use the statewide COVID19 exposure notification system.  This is an anonymous, smartphone application that assists in contact tracing.  Click here to learn more about this simple system, and click here to watch a video of Governor Polis explaining the system.

For additional resources on COVID-19, visit covid19.colorado.gov 
Thanksgiving Break
There will be no school from November 23rd through November 27th for Thanksgiving Break. 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 Groups for Working Parents
Parent Council is reaching out to Classroom Representatives to determine how to help support working families by developing in-home learning groups within classes. 

As families have returned to full Remote Learning, we can’t help but be concerned about working parents and their children. By fostering communication among families, in-home learning groups within classes may help working families meet the educational needs of students. 

If you are interested in developing an in-home learning group or taking on an extra student during remote learning, or becoming a Classroom Representative to help foster communication among families, please contact Parent Council at pcchair@mountainsongschool.com.
Innovation Learning for Families
Child Care for Remote Learning: We realize some families will need child care during the full Remote Learning days. 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. If you are interested in joining Innovation Learning, please click here for information about how to register.

Please contact Dan Kurschner for more information about fees: dkurschner@mountainsongschool.com
Tech Team: 
Help Students Submit Work and More
Our Tech Team will host open office hours as we resume Remote Learning. The Team is ready to assist parents and students with tips on how to use Google Classroom to turn in assignments, find missing work, and more. 

Please visit the mountainsongschool.com/tech-help to view times and instructions for joining a live virtual session as well as how-to videos and helpful resources.

If you have any questions about your child's school work or upcoming report cards, please contact your child's teacher or Sarah Kreger at skreger@mountainsongschool.com
Packet Pick-Up
Packet and supply distributions will begin again next week.  
Pick-up will occur Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12pm-4pm.

Teachers will communicate directly with you about any supplies available for pick-up weekly. 

If you need to pick up packets or supplies, please carefully observe the following protocols. It is imperative that we follow strict safety procedures.

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 email you directly if packets or supplies are prepared and are ready for pick-up next week, Tuesday and Thursday, between 12pm-4pm.
2020 Annual Appeal: November 15 – December 31
The 2020 Annual Appeal will take place between November 15 & December 31st. 
 
This will be a time when we will be reaching out to members of the Mountain Song community and asking them to consider making a philanthropic gift to support our school, our programs and most importantly our students. Be on the lookout for more information about this important opportunity.
Parent Council Giving Tree
It's time to spread some Mountain Song Community Spirit and love to some of our families who need a little extra help this season. For the fall baskets, Parent Council is seeking donations of new winter hats, gloves and warm socks. Please make sure that your chosen gift abides by the school's media policy.
 
In lieu of removing a tag from our traditional tree in the entryway, please select the slot(s) that your family would like to commit to supporting. Please wrap your gifts, attach a tag with the age/gender of the child, and drop it off in the donation bin outside the Parent Council Shed during packet pick-up. The shed is on the left-hand side, just before the chicken coops, as you drive through to Bijou. An alternate drop off location is the front porch of 3011 W. Fontanero St. Please drop off your items no later than November 16.
 
Please email any questions to pchospitality@mountainsongschool.com.
Thank you for having a giving heart and helping us support our community.
 
 
Thank you for a giving heart,
Megan Holmes, PC Hospitality Chair
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
Next meeting at 4 pm on this Zoom link
  • November 19
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.
 
UCCS Great Desk Giveaway
Does your family or someone you know need a FREE student desk for remote learning?
UCCS is giving away FREE students desks TOMORROW - while supplies last.

EVENT: UCCS Great Desk Giveaway
DATE: Saturday, November 14th, 10am-2pm
LOCATION: UCCS Cyber Building, 3650 N Nevada Avenue

Click here for the flier.
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!

Families, please tag @mountainsongschool from your lantern walk this past week or use the hashtag #MSCSLanternWalk.

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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