As a Good Year Ends, We’re Looking Forward!

As a Good Year Ends, We’re Looking Forward!
Posted on 05/21/2018
School BuildingAs we wrap up the 2017-2018 school year -- looking back on all the UP! learning projects and field trips, the concerts and field days, spelling tests and long division problems, service projects and celebrations — we are already beginning to plan for an even greater year in 2018-2019! Among the highlights:

Many of you have already met our excellent new secretaries, Shanda Glasener and Caitlin Morissette. Both are MSES moms – and we’re very excited to have them represent our school at the front window and phones, serving kids and fellow parents. As the fabulous Julie Meier puts the finishing touches on their orientation before she retires, we look forward to the new school year with Shanda and Caitlin up front.

Many of you may not know that our wonderful, helpful custodian these many years, Stan Sheloski, is also retiring after serving our majestic old building so well. He, too, is training in a new replacement in Colton Sherraden. Colton is a high-quality young District 14 grad who has transferred to MSES from working at Ute Pass Elementary School.

Another big change for us will be the transfer of our innovative and supportive building tech, Marsha Weimer, to central office as a human resources specialist. Her role will be filled by the transfer of super capable MSMS building tech Elizabeth Eubank to MSES. Liz has been doing a great job supporting tech and library at the middle school, but has a desire to work with younger children like ours starting next year!

On the academic side, with the retirement of Lisa Dillinder after 30 years(!) at MSES, we are excited to bring on board Ms. Natascha Leonardo in Third Grade. Natascha is an experienced, dedicated, and highly recommended elementary school teacher—and also an MSES mom!

In First Grade, as another long-term master teacher, Melissa Loftin, retires, we’re bringing aboard Ms. Paige Carley in her place. Paige, who has had longstanding connections to Manitou through her parents’ businesses, has volunteered and student taught at MSES over several past years.

In our Special Education department, the excellent Emily Groth is leaving MSES to stay at home with her son and new baby (due in June). She will be turning over the support of our students with severe needs to Ms. Jenna Conlin. Another MSES mom, Jenna joins us from Ute Pass Elementary School as we consolidate the district’s Severe Needs Program at our school. Also from our SPED department, we note with a touch of both sadness and celebration the departure of one of our fabulous paraeducators, Natalie Thorndyke, to a new career in business.

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that MSES will be adding a fulltime Spanish teacher to our exploratories rotation next year! I’ve been pursing the creation of such a program at MSES for years and, thanks to strong support of whole-child education from Supt. Ed Longfield, our dream is coming true. Ms. Alejandra Lillemon, a Panamanian native and most recently a Spanish teacher in District 49, will establish her program for students in grades K-5 next year in the former computer lab down in the Collaboratory.

In our process of making the computer lab into a Spanish room, we will be transferring the computers into the main media center room—and, to make space, transferring our library books and shelves to the area near the building tech’s room in the Collaboratory, where Liz Eubank will support kids with checkout.

I also need to announce another significant change in our building/grounds area: Alas, our beautiful decades-old wooden structure on the playground, already several year’s past its predicted lifespan thanks to the maintenance hard work of our custodians, is at the point where it needs to be retired. This summer, we will disassemble the South section (where many of the play features were already worn out and removed from the frames) and put in place several exciting new pieces. Over the course of next year, we will hold a major fundraising campaign to replace the North section with something equally fabulous. (Right now, I have my eye on a giant pirate ship with slides, cargo nets, and many other cool features.) We will also be constructing a new feature – Austin’s Garden – a raised garden plot accessible to students in wheelchairs for gardening.

Look for more details on all of these developments in my annual Fall letter in August. For now, please accept our school’s ongoing gratitude and admiration for the support this school community gives MSES! Have a wonderful summer -- and we’ll see you next August 24 for the first day of school!
-- Russ Vogel, Principal
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