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Telluride Mountain School Telluride’s Accredited Pre K-12 Independent School

MISSION Telluride Mountain School is an innovative learning community where strong academics, enriching experiences, and meaningful relationships develop confident, curious students who passionately contribute to the world.


Respect We honor self and community, and value that which is different.

Love of Learning We foster lasting curiosity, creativity and passion in a challenging and safe environment.


TMS ON SOCIAL MEDIA We regularly post photography albums from trips and on Flickr please click here to visit our site. Visit our facebook page for regularly updated school news and events. Vimeo is a great place to view videos from trips to first day of school. click here Instagram is a great place to see a collection of images from in and around our school community. click here

We understand the impact of personal actions, and uphold service as an integral part of scholarship and citizenship.

Integrity We adhere to values and ethics that enable us to approach our studies and lives with courage, pride, honesty and empathy.

Telluride Mountain School extends our gratitude for the continued support of the Just For Kids Foundation and the Telluride Foundation. Thank you for supporting the Mountain School community!

Dear Friends of TMS, We are off to the start of a great school year with strong enrollment, wonderful families supporting the school mission, new additions to our faculty and staff, and exciting programming for the fall and the entire school year. Of special note, the school is nearing the end of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program authorization process. The faculty and staff have taken professional development courses, and the school received very positive feedback from the IB Organization on our organizational plans and course outlines this past summer. Stay tuned for more information on the school’s progress towards becoming Colorado’s first independent school to offer the prestigious Diploma Program. INSIDE Join us for our Annual Fundraiser 2 Parents Alliance and Board News 3 Celebrating 2016 Graduation 4 – 5 School News 6 – 7 Welcome New Staff 8 – 9 Montessori at Mountain School 10 – 11 Fall Outdoor Education Trips 12 – 25 Annual Fund Drive 2016 26


Rock and Roll Concert Friday, December 16 10:00-12:30PM Location is TBD

In this issue of the school newsletter, please find updates on new faculty and administration, including our new advancement director, Stephanie Griebe. In news from the boardroom, new Trustee, Holly Sloan joined the board this September. We are excited with the talent and enthusiasm of our new community members and all of the new energy and potential that they bring. Also new is a recently adopted academic schedule for grades 5-12. So much of the rhythm of the day and of the experience of students and teachers is formed by how we choose to use our time. This fall, we moved from a seven period a day schedule to a modified block schedule. Among the impacts, students have fewer class meetings each week (and fewer nightly homework assignments!), and a number of longer class sections. So far, the response from all involved has been positive; our days seem calmer and more measured. Of course, it would not be fall without Outdoor Education trips, and the fall issue is loaded with information about this year’s excursions. To support our understanding of the importance of the outdoors in the well-being of young people, many of the faculty read Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. It is a classic in the field of outdoor education, and we can now all recommend it enthusiastically. Teachers also read The Minds of Boys and Girls on the Edge. We are hosting book discussions, so stay tuned for announcements. Welcome back to the school year, and enjoy the fall newsletter! Warmly,

Karen Walker Head of School

Please join us for an elegant evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, live music, raffles, auctions and more!

Saturday, December 10 6:30 – 10:00PM Historic Sheridan Opera House Featuring the Kevin McCarthy Jazz Trio Festive Attire The Telluride Holiday Gala is the school’s largest fundraising event of the year. This is a very meaningful and important event that benefits the student scholarship fund.


Volunteer Appreciation PARENTS ALLIANCE

Volunteers are the foundation of our community. We would not be able to accomplish our goals and initiatives without your generous involvement and support! Thank you to our class representatives for coordinating everything from the teachers gifts to finding hosts for our fall class diners! A big thank you to the hosts and co-hosts of our fall class dinners. We are also grateful for the many parents that have provided teachers lunches and others that have found time to help serve pizza to the students on Fridays. There are many volunteer opportunities available for the remainder of the school year, including Mom’s Mixer, Dad’s event and graduation. Please join us the second Thursday of each month in the seminar room to learn more. 2016-2017 CLASS REPRESENTATIVES Jessica Goldberg Montessori Melanie Wasserman Montessori Kendall Cieciuch 1/2 Sara Chaffin 3/4 Sydney Denman 5/6 Tamara Strang 7/8 Christine von Roemer 9/10 Julie Rolfs 11/12 Pamela Sante Pizza Lunch Sherri Harvey Teacher Lunch Jessica Galbo Development Liaison

BOARD NEWS Holly Sloan Joins theTMS Board of Trustees Holly Sloan is the mother of Weston Smith (10th Grade). She has over 30 years of organizational development and management experience in the non-profit field. Most recently she focused her work on governance and decision-making process for a range of organizations including independent schools and local and international community service and advocacy organizations. She served as the Board Chair for a progressive school in Alexandria VA, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, and is currently chairing their 6.5 million dollar comprehensive capital campaign. She was formerly the Board Chair of the Children's Research Triangle, a Chicago-based international organization that engages in research and direct service to children with developmental problems. Holly is a founder and past President of the Giving Circle of Alexandria. During her 18 years in New York City, her professional career included the CEO of the Association of Junior Leagues International, the President of the New York Society of Association Executives and Program Director for the National Council of Jewish Women. SPECIAL THANKS! A special thank you to Anne Brown as she retires from the TMS Finance Committee. Thank you for all of your years of service to Telluride Mountain School!


On June 8, 2016, Telluride Mountain School celebrated a great year with the graduation ceremony of six talented and vibrant seniors. Our tradition-filled ceremony was a day of spectacular energy and a perfect reflection of a year spent working hard and playing hard. The speeches by the six seniors reflected their unique talents. Two students graduated with honors, and all six gained entry into a four-year college of their choice. Camilla Gardner is studying art in Europe before attending Colorado College in the fall of 2017. Benny Thorneycroft is traveling in New Zealand, and Sylvan Bald is working and saving so that he can attend Fort Lewis College next fall. Two graduates are currently attending University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. Theo Rolfs is pursuing a premed course and is pleased with his preparation as he tackles chemistry and college calculus. Makenna Craige, who received a generous scholarship, is also a freshman at UPS. Olivia NogueiraWheaton is studying art at Parsons School of Design in New York City and reports that both her academic and artistic preparation gave her a leg up at her new school.


Alumni Student and Teacher News

Two Students Awarded Internships to Further Academic Interests

Welcome Back Wynne! Wynne Thatcher, upper school English teacher, returns from maternity leave on January 2.

Amber Merrill our lead Montessori teacher will be moving on to new endeavours. After ten wonderful years at Mountain School, she and her family will be relocating to Kansas in midDecember. Thank you Amber for your dedication to our students and the TMS community. We wish you well in this next chapter in your life!

Pinhead Internships Recipients Each summer, Pinhead Institute places regional students at renowned scientific institutions for 6 to 10 weeks to work with leading researchers on critical issues facing the world today including biodiversity, indigenous cultures, influenza study, sustainability, habitat loss, and climate change. Telluride Mountain School is proud to have had two students selected as interns this past summer. Their areas of personal interest, the environment and national politics, found them placements in two great internships. Congratulations Aidan and Gorio!

Keaton earned the title of US National Champion in Steamboat — March, 2016, thus ensuring her a spot on the 2016/2017 US Moguls B squad (Her 4th season with USST). She is currently one of six US women in Ruka, Finland preparing for the World Cup opener of an exciting pre-Olympic season.

Aidan Green, Telluride Mountain School Senior, Environmental Architecture, Sea Level Rise Task Force, AIA Miami Internship with the architectural firm Borges + Associates. Aidan learned about sea level rise and how it could affect the infrastructure of the Miami area and the rest of the coastal communities around the world. Gregorio Osha, Telluride Mountain School Senior, Political Science and Data Analysis, Democratic National Committee. Gregorio worked with the Democratic National Committee in Denver, Colorado to help the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and other democrats on the ballot in 2016.

TMS Students Active in the Community

Creative thinking fostered with two new programs

Painting with visiting artist Ying Li

5th-8th graders took part in the World Peace Game from November 29-December 2.

Our eleventh and twelfth grade advanced art class was graciously invited by the Ah Haa School for the Arts to join an artist in residence master class with Ying Li this Fall. Ying Li is the Fine Art Department Chair at Haverford College. Her prolific style is an accumulation of traditional and abstract techniques that has earned her great recognition in the art world, including numerous awards and ongoing museum exhibitions. The students learned a great deal visiting her Ah Haa studio space, viewing her current works-in-progress, listening to her speak about her background, philosophies, and unique processes, as well as figure drawing and painting under her enthusiastic direction.

The fifth through eighth graders took part in the World Peace Game November 29th through December 2nd. This incredible opportunity gave the students a hands-on political simulation with the opportunity to explore the connectedness of the global community through the lens of the economic, social, and environmental crises and the imminent threat of war.

“Genius Hour� introduced in grades 3-6

Stewards of the Keystone Gorge Trail In mid September the eleventh and twelfth grade class united with San Miguel Parks and Recreation to clean up the Keystone Gorge Trail. The students spent the afternoon, rebuilding sections of the trail, sharing stories, laughing and collaborating as a team.

Genius hour was introduced to the lower school curriculum this year as a way to encourage students to explore their own passions and creativity in the classroom. The projects ranged from fashion design to a 3rd grade student working on an unsolved mathematical problem inspired by upper school math teacher Paul Hearding.


Telluride Mountain School is pleased to welcome five new faculty and staff this year.

Jordan Burlison, the first and

second grade teacher originally from North Texas, came to Colorado in 2009 to attend Colorado State University. There she received a B.S. in human development and family studies with a minor in Spanish. Jordan is currently completing her master’s in education and human development with a concentration in early literacy from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Ben Gardner, the third and fourth grade co-teacher, is overjoyed to be part of the Telluride Mountain School community. In the five years since graduating from the Colorado College geology department, Ben has discovered a love for education and a passion for the outdoors. In 2016, Ben participated in the Stanley Teacher Prep Program in Denver and is currently working on his master’s in educational psychology from the University of Colorado.

Favorite Quote: “Tell me, what is it your plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

Favorite quote “Winners are not the people who never fail, they are the people that never quit.”

Most influential person in your life All the women in my life, I come from a family of all female cousins except for one boy (poor guy)!

Most influential person in your life I am not influenced by a specific person; I am inspired by the people around me.

Favorite TMS memory so far My first solo day in the classroom! Everyone treated me with such patience and kindness and the kiddos started to open up!

Favorite TMS memory so far The fall High Camp trip. I ran ahead of the group and instead of telling the students that we had arrived, I stopped them just short of seeing the hut and told the class that we still had another 20 minutes to go. I will never forget the excitement that followed when the first student spotted the cabin a few steps later. You could feel it! It was an energy wave that spread through each student like wildfire. They all took off running through the field toward the cabin laughing, yelling, and smiling. It was truly a wonderful moment.

I am grateful for my boyfriend Danny! He put his dreams on hold to let me follow mine. We get to call Telluride home and he has been such an amazing support system. Countries where you have traveled Texas? Does that count as a foreign country? Just kidding! Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Mallorca, England 

Countries where you have traveled Canada, Mexico, Italy, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Kenya, New Zealand

Paul Hearding, the new upper

school math teacher, is an avid mathematician and outdoorsman— an unlikely combo that makes the Telluride Mountain School a perfect fit for him! He received his master’s degree in pure mathematics from the University of Delaware in 2014 and is currently working on his doctoral dissertation in the field of algebra. Favorite quote “The Man in the Arena” speech by Theodore Roosevelt. Most influential person in your life My high school calculus teacher, James Hopkins, really ignited my passion for mathematics. I’m not sure that I’d be the mathematician and teacher that I am today without him. Favorite TMS memory so far The OE trip to White Rim was a blast and a great experience for the students. The OE and EE programs are part of what makes TMS so unique, and my first OE trip is certainly a memory that will stick with me!

Stephanie Griebe joined TMS as the Advancement Director on August 28th. Originally from the Colorado Front Range, Stephanie moved to the San Juans to pursue a mountain lifestyle. Stephanie was formerly the director of the Ouray Ice Park, where she coordinated and managed the annual Ouray Ice Festival for the past two years. Stephanie has a B.S. in Business Administration from Colorado State University. When she is not working, you will find her hiking or skiing with her furry, four-legged companion, Jane. Favorite Quote “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”Marianne Williamson Favorite TMS memory so far Every moment of the 7/8 Grand Gulch backpacking trip! I was initially terrified to be backpacking in the desert with nine kids that I didn’t know, but it turns out that they were an amazing group of thoughtful, determined, strong and funny kids. It was life changing!

I am grateful for the opportunity to work at TMS and share my love of mathematics with the students. I’m also extremely grateful for the wonderful faculty and staff. They are truly a wonderful (and fun) group!

Most influential person in your life My grandfather; he meant business and he ran a tight ship! He taught me to do everything with all of my heart

I hope that I’ll have enough time during this crazy school year to finish up my research and complete my PhD by the beginning of next school year!

I am grateful for the opportunity to work for TMS and be surrounded by such an amazing learning community.

Countries where you have traveled Lived in Japan and traveled to South Korea, Canada, Mexico

Countries where you have traveled to Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico

Jenny Shoup, will be rejoining the TMS Montessori team in January as a lead teacher. Previously Jenny taught for six years in the Montessori at Mountain School program, and was one of the school’s earliest teachers. Jenny has a master’s in education from Loyola University and her Montessori certificate from AMI. Jenny and her husband Rich have two children, Audrey and Carson, now ages 13 and 9. Favorite quote: “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future.” Maria Montessori Most influential person in your life: My father, Fred Genck, who through his tireless efforts to improve education for all inspired me to be a teacher. What are you looking forward to most about your return to TMS? To reconnect with old friends and colleagues, to get to know new friends and colleagues and to be in an incredible Montessori environment! I am grateful for: My family, my friends, my home and my opportunity to work at TMS. Countries that you have traveled to: I am a dual citizen of England and the United States. I have lived in Cuernavaca, Mexico studying Spanish and Latin American Studies. I lived and worked at a school in Dublin and also traveled throughout Scotland. Now I mostly travel between sets of grandparents in AZ and IL.


at Telluride Mountain School

“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.” – Dr. Maria Montessori Children are closely connected to nature and have an innate desire to explore their surroundings. Dr. Maria Montessori recognized this when creating the natural materials in the environment and developed the curriculum to incorporate children’s senses, curiosity and love of exploration. The Montessori method supports the child’s connection to nature both inside and outside of the classroom.

We also welcomed two lop-eared bunnies to the Montessori community. The children named them Diamond and Dash and love to watch them run around our playground and pet their soft fur. We also had an exciting visit with Magpie, one of Ms. Meredith’s horses from her farm. The children learned the names of the parts of the horse, fed him carrots and had an opportunity to go for a ride.

This fall, the Montessori students enjoyed many opportunities to discover the majestic environment that surrounds us. The children adventured out on hikes where we discussed the local watershed and observed the flow of the river. We gathered, sorted and identified leaves. The children experimented with leaf rubbings and used natural materials for various art projects. We compared and contrasted coniferous and deciduous trees, patiently observing the beautiful transformation of the seasons. Inside the classroom, children worked with the botany cabinet, learning the names of many different leaves, as well as the vocabulary for the parts of a leaf.

The Montessori method is designed to reinforce children’s love of nature within the classroom with real materials. When we bring this sense of nature into our indoor environment, we are supporting children’s imagination and inquisitiveness. We continue to support this connection both inside and outside of the classroom and are continually inspired by the children’s love of learning in and about the out of doors.

Outdoor Education Program The Experiential Education program at Telluride Mountain School provides students with a unique balance between classroom work and field-based “Sense of Place� curricula. Experiential education is a synthesis of three major components: outdoor adventure, cultural and natural immersion and service learning. Fall programs emphasize teamwork, mountain activities and a connection with the unique local region. Watch the presentation of learning again on vimeo.


The first and second grade class embarked on a delightful and delicious trip to Tomten Farm this fall, followed by a sleepover at TMS and a snowy visit to the Telluride farmer’s market. Students visited Tomten Farm where they toured the grow dome and greenhouse and learned about planting and harvesting food at 9,100 feet. On their tour, the students learned about organic farming practices, helped harvest potatoes, planted garlic and indulged in a bounty of farm fresh produce. The fun continued throughout the evening, where they took their experience planting garlic at Tomten Farm back to school and planted tulip bulbs for their classroom and used vegetables to dye yarn for an art project. In the morning, the students made pancakes and used freshly picked currants from Tomten Farms as a topping.

For the full story click here

“At Tomten Farm, we ate apples, mint, carrots, basil, peas, nasturtiums, tomatoes, grapes, acorns and currants. My favorite thing to eat was currants because they were sweet. We put the apple mint in our water and swished it around to have a flavored water. Did you know that you can crack open an acorn and eat the nut inside?” – Piper Allen, 2nd grade

“We saw mountains and gold aspen leaves along the way. At the farm we saw dogs, chickens and acorns. We picked potatoes and carrots and planted garlic. Inside the greenhouse, we tried grapes.” – Alden Arndt, 1st grade


In the last week of September, the third and fourth grade class ventured up to the High Camp Hut above Lizard Head Pass for a three-day excursion of hands-on learning. A twoand-a-half mile approach provided opportunities for observing the environment, a skill that the class had been practicing in earlier field trips. Over the three days the students learned basic map and compass skills, studied the plants and animals of the region, created temporary art installations, prepared meals, shared stories and s’mores around a campfire, wrote in their journals, played board games, performed skits, and built lasting relationships with their teachers and classmates. This year, for the first time, the group attempted the hike to Round Lake, just above tree line at around 11,800 feet. The weather was inclement on the day of the hike, and the trip leaders kept the group happy and distracted with frequent snacks, silly songs and games. Despite a few grumbles from chilly students who seemed to have forgotten their rain pants, the team arrived in the high alpine basin with rain and snow scraping the flanks of Sheep Mountain above them.

For the full story click here


On September 23rd, the fifth and sixth grade class departed for a truly unique, week-long trip to southern Colorado. Accompanied with homemade sliding devices for sand dune frictiontesting, students learned to calculate the speed and acceleration of moving vehicles. The students lined up and raced each other down the sand dunes on a multitude of vehicles such as snowboards, laundry baskets and homemade cardboard cut outs. Over the course of five days, the students drew the depths of the Black Canyon, learned about the various forms of Sand Dunes and how they were formed, licked Aspen trees, jumped into freezing cold mountain waters, hiked into the Sand Dunes at night without headlamps, set up and took down camps and played just for the sake of playing. Then there was the Gator Farm, a truly unique experience in which the students got to handle a variety of rescued animals including baby alligators, tarantulas and snakes. This whole scene was a strange oasis of non-native animals, rescued and brought to a high desert where a thermal spring warmed their pools. For the full story click here


This fall, the seventh and eighth grade students backpacked through the picturesque canyons of Grand Gulch in Southeast Utah. The group learned how to pack a pack, cook with a camping stove, read topographical maps, and keep a tidy campsite by following “leave no trace” guidelines. In addition, they also strengthened some less tangible skills, such as teamwork, perseverance, and leadership. Students visited ruins once inhabited by the Basketmakers and the Ancestral Puebloans to learn more about the lifestyles of these people. Students physically investigated pieces of history left behind, including pottery, living structures, and food scraps to make inferences about how and why the peoples lived as they did. After learning the migration theory behind the mass exodus of the Cedar Mesa population, students discussed how limited resources may create conflict within a society and made comparisons to modern difficulties with population and resource distribution. Over the five-day trip, the students developed greater independence, decision-making, and communication skills and were given the opportunity to put these skills into practice as they guided themselves through the final portion of the trail without instructors. While the trip contained many physical challenges, students developed confidence in tackling their fears of the unknown and managed to extend their physical thresholds. For the full story click here

7/8 Grand Gulch


The posse of ninth and tenth grade students and teachers left Lone Mesa that morning, with 17 bikes, 108 gallons of water, three coolers full of food and two vehicles. Over the next four days, the Mountain School students averaged about 25 miles a day on White Rim road which at times washed out, turned to deep desert sand, was covered by loose rock, and climbed seemingly impossible routes across the canyon walls.

In the desert, the students had the opportunity to lead, to be the best, and to give their peers the same help and support that they receive in the classroom. As students rode the rim, they stopped to reflect, give research presentations about different elements of the canyonlands and recite Edward Abbey, who reminded us that if we truly experience the out of doors, (this doesn’t mean just looking at, but we get out in it) then perhaps we can learn from it. For the full story click here


The eleventh and twelfth grade students embarked on a challenging yet rewarding fifty mile packrafting trip in Utah, a new addition to the outdoor experiential education program this year. With packrafts and oars strapped to their 45 lb. backpacks, the students set out for a trip that they will not soon forget. Over the course of the week the students were faced with a broad spectrum of mental and physical challenges. They bushwhacked for miles on an unmarked trail through thick, unyielding vegetation, and then sought respite paddling down calm stretches of the Green River. After a fast paced afternoon of hiking, the night before the group was confronted with the thick brush of the canyon floor. They divided into two groups, Team River and Team Land. While Team River splashed and played as they rafted, Team Land struggled against the brush. Eventually the group reunited and worked as a team to make it to camp that night, a sandbar in the middle of the river with a six-foot waterfall, their prize for a hard day’s hike. Over five days and four nights, the students deepened their basic backcountry/river leadership, and decisionmaking skills, learned to promote peer-leadership and worked together as a team to overcome obstacles and encourage one another to persevere. For the full story click here The use of the packrafts over the course of this trip were generously donated by Alpacka Raft located in Mancos, CO.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES Michael Bradley, President Mary Johnson, Vice President Miles Welch, Treasurer Grace Engbring, Secretary Seth Cagin Andy Krueger Holly Sloan Ted Rolfs Trond Skramstad Karen Walker, Head of School ADVISORY TRUSTEES Anne Brown Virginia Egger Tim Erdman George Gage Dale Halton Carl Hobert Richard Kearney Casey McManemin Grant McCargo

2016-2017 ANNUAL FUND DRIVE Our Annual Fund Goal is $407,000.00 and 100% participation. Because tuition covers only three-quarters of the school’s operating cost, unrestricted donations to the Annual Fund is the crucial funding that makes our mission possible. Without the generous support of our parents, staff, board of trustees, alumni, grandparents, foundations and corporations, we would not be able to provide such a rich and unique learning environment where strong academics, enriching experiences and meaningful relationships develop confident, curious students who passionately contribute to the world. The Annual Fund impacts every student and is critical in sustaining our community. Our goal of 100% participation not only demonstrates that our community has school pride but also that we are all sharing the financial responsibility to support our school and give our children the very best education. Please support the annual fund at a level that you feel is meaningful.

200 San Miguel River Drive Telluride, Colorado 81435-8924 970 728 1969

The annual fund runs in conjunction with our fiscal year­—it opens on July 1st and it closes on June 30th. Gifts received by December 31st provide the maximum benefit to our students and overall academic program. For some families, a gift in the 2016 calendar year may also provide additional tax benefits. To make a gift or a pledge to the annual fund please contact Stephanie Griebe at (970) 728-1969 ext. 15 or donate online.

Telluride Mountain School 2016 Fall Newsletter  
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