From the Principal
My first year at Mountain Song is drawing to a close, and I … well, I can’t believe how cold it is in May here! I know it will warm up for a glorious summer! I also can’t wait to start the next academic year! This year has revealed to me the richness and heart of the Mountain Song community, the incredible talent of the teachers and staff, and the truly amazing children that fill the classrooms and halls of the school. I appreciate your support and patience this year, and I am excited about the growth the school is showing, not just in numbers of students, but especially in deepening our understanding of what our children need through the Waldorf model.
The Waldorf public school movement is tremendously inspiring, and I believe it has the capacity to help influence broader public education in this country for the better. Our Mountain Song Community School offers a proving ground in which we must innovate through the wisdom of Waldorf to meet the developmental needs of our public school students. Most Waldorf schools in this country are private schools. The responsibilities connected with public schools certainly challenge us to solve interesting problems. For instance, we are already looking at how we can alleviate the spring testing burden that we must carry to receive public funds. We are also expanding in ways we can provide the necessary supports to our children with exceptional needs. Our authorizer, the Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI), has responded to our calls for help in this area by forging the pathway for us to be members of Pikes Peak BOCES, which will provide us now with additional options for supports and placements to meet exceptional student needs more fully.
Training our teachers in Waldorf approaches also presents challenges. Last year, Mountain Song administrators set the expectation and allocated support for all kinder and class teachers to become Waldorf trained. Some teachers started the wonderful 3-year Gradalis program last summer, which also brought valued mentors to the school to visit these teachers throughout the year. Sparked by the need to cut our budget deficit, as well as my love for and experience with training teachers, I offered to also pull together an in-house 3-year public Waldorf training program starting this summer for those who would choose it as an option. I am delighted with the wonderful instructors we have lined up to launch this initiative this summer. We are also pleased that some teachers are still choosing to train with Gradalis in Denver — the cross-pollination is healthy.
Finally, we know that the school is experiencing growing pains as we push our capacity in this building to its limit. We have had to make some programming adjustments, including the temporary loss of the formal Cooking Arts program as we have needed the classroom space for a grades class. We appreciate the many letters of support for the program and for Ms. Jennie Furman, with which we concur. We explored many other options and confronted legal requirements related to continued enrollment of our students, and so came to the difficult decision to put the program on hold until we have the space again to revive it.
We hope, however, that the impetus to reinstate the Cooking Arts program will provide enthusiasm to help find a new school site for Mountain Song. We are truly bursting at the seams, and so please help us form the future of Mountain Song. The Development Committee and the Futures Committee of the MSCS Board of Directors could use support and new members! Please let the Board of Directors know if you are interested in joining.
I would like to publicly thank the other members of the Executive Leadership Team, Sarah White and Dan Kurschner, who work tirelessly to provide leadership and skills to keep Mountain Song running smoothly (we’ve all gotten good at early morning texts on snowy mornings!). I have had the tremendous joy of observing in classrooms to see the exceptional teaching happening in this school, and I heartily applaud the teachers, special education teachers, and service providers for their constant and consistent attention to the development and education of the children in their classrooms. Our administrative staff keeps tabs on us all, including the front office staff led by Kate Pettey and Rachel Johnson; Chimene Phillips, Student Support Coordinator; Donald Samson, Pedagogical Coordinator; and Mike Harris, Development Coordinator — thank you all! Our dedicated assistants and para-professionals give special care to our children who need individual attention — we have the best and are blessed! And to our custodial staff who truly make the school shine — our gratitude!
It is our community that makes this school particularly special. Our Board of Directors, under the leadership of Pedro Almeida, President, and Nicole Nicoletta, Vice-President, have volunteered uncounted hours to provide strong leadership and accountability for the school. Our Parent Council, with Veronica Slack and Holly Sucharski at the helm, has been a never-ending fount of positive support for our children, teachers, and staff. And to all the families — we value and rely on our strong partnerships to surround your children with the environment they need to grow and flourish. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
For those who are setting out on new paths, we wish you all the best and hope you will visit and stay in touch. For those who are returning — we’ll see you on our door steps in the fall. I can’t wait for that first “Good Morning” of the new school year! Have a wonderful summer!
Dr. Teresa Woods, Principal