July 10, 2020
Dear Mountain Song Families,
I’m writing to keep you abreast of our fall return to school plans. The Parent Survey that closed July 6th has been very informative – thank you so much to everyone who completed it.
First, we anticipate that our current school calendar will remain the same, which includes the following start dates:
- Grades 1-8 – Wednesday, September 2, 2020
- Kindergarten – Thursday, September 3, 2020
- Homeschool – Tuesday, September 8, 2020
What will school look like when we start? We polled you to help us answer this question.
Based on the Parent Survey that 202 of you completed (a very high response rate), about 59% preferred in-person learning, about 40% preferred a blended model of in-person and remote learning, and about 18% preferred remote learning only. (The percentages add up to more than 100% because you were allowed to choose more than one preference). These percentages also varied by grade level, which will be considered in our planning.
Based on these results, we are preparing options. A 15-member Return to School Committee composed of faculty and staff are meeting regularly and often to work through the details of what these options will look like at Mountain Song. Although these plans are not set, we are looking at being able to provide the following options:
- In-person learning with safety protocols in place.
- Remote learning option(s).
- Possible blended option of in-person and remote learning.
- Expanded homeschool options.
Each option has layers of logistics to work through, and we appreciate your patience as we do so. We also are concerned about the health and safety of Mountain Song teachers and staff. We are currently surveying them as we need their input as well.
The Return to School Committee (see membership below) is composed of smaller teams focused on:
- Health, Safety, and Facilities
- Support and Well-being
- Surveys and Communication
What’s next? We are keeping the Mountain Song Board informed through reports at Board meetings, which are open to the public. The Board will approve the final plans, so as they take shape, reports will be more detailed.
You can expect a communication with an outline of planned options by the end of July, and likely sooner. Our goal is to have these plans approved by the Mountain Song Board of Directors at the August 4th meeting. Once approved, we will communicate these to families.
We have received wonderful guidance from our authorizer, the Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI), and we are working closely with them as our plans develop. We are also working closely with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), and our state and county health departments. Our reopening plans are, of course, dependent upon local health department orders. We can expect the public health situation to change quickly one way or another over the course of the year, so we are planning contingencies to be as nimble as needed.
Being a state charter school, we have a certain amount of autonomy for our educational model, and we are committed to staying as true to our Waldorf principles as possible. Such autonomy also means that we are not working with the resources that a school district has with district administrators managing much of this planning.
Please know we are working very hard to synthesize the many layers of guidance, science, best practices, regulations, laws, accountability requirements, etc., and these are changing as the pandemic landscape changes. We appreciate your patience and support.
We have also greatly appreciated the letters from those of you who are experts, weighing in with more detail on these issues. We have a great community!
Our priority is to keep the Mountain Song Community strong and stable through this crisis. These are the days that we and our children will talk about for the rest of our lives. Let’s use the opportunity to shine our Mountain Song clarity, warmth, and understanding toward each other. This is a beautiful community, and we are all united in looking forward to the day when this health crisis is over.
With so much appreciation,
Dr. Teresa Woods, Principal
Members of the Return to School Committee: Nancy Carson, Dan Córdova, Sara Feldman, Cori Karasiuk, Sarah Kreger, Dan Kurschner, Eva Manz-Jackson, Claudia Martin, Lauren Martinez, Kyle McCabe, Denise Neal, Gina Nicoletta-Budler, Eli Peake, Amy Siebert, Teresa Woods