Principal's Page

A message from our new principal, Ms. Anne Blackburn:

June 7, 2022

Dear MPA family,

The welcome I have received has been overwhelming. My heart is full! I am so grateful to the Board and staff for the joyful and warm hospitality they have shown me. As for Mr. Brian, I simply cannot adequately express my appreciation for the kindness and generosity he has extended in making my transition here a smooth one. I have been around the education world a while, and even though this is probably not new information to you, MPA is a unique place -it truly is special.

My journey has been an eclectic one. I wrote my first poem when I was barely five, so it was no surprise that I went into a career that involved writing. I earned my undergrad from the University of Kansas in journalism and worked as a news reporter and then public relations and marketing for a few non-profits. Next came my most important title: MOM. Homeschooling was part of our journey as a family, and I still look back on those eight years with a giant smile. While I had no formal Montessori training, Dr. Maria’s philosophies were my cornerstone. When my children were in high school, I returned to school myself, got my teaching license, and began Chapter 3 of my career as an English teacher. I taught in both charter and neighborhood schools and served in primarily Title I schools, was a gifted/talented coordinator, and then decided to pursue school leadership. Back to school I went - this time for a master’s degree in Education Administration. It was the start of Chapter 4 professionally, and a little daunting to start it so late, but I had unique role models. My mother raised five children, then went to college in her fifties, learned a third language, earned a master’s degree in theology, and well into her 70’s was replacing the motherboard in her computer, tending to bees, and crocheting up a storm. My father was a Norwegian immigrant who was displaced by the WWII Nazi occupation and never finished a grade after age 12, but he was one of the smartest, most intuitive people I’ve ever known; he was never without a book, a tool, or a pet in his hands. My parents instilled in me not just a love of learning and adventure - it was part of our DNA.

My two children are adults now and pursuing their own adventurous lives overseas. We are intentional about seeing each other and continuing the adventures. As for hobbies, my DNA for learning keeps me busy. I love to travel, spend countless hours in my gardens, and load up my golden retriever and kayaks for any lake deep enough to paddle in or a hike yet untrod in this glorious state. I serve on the board of my son’s non-profit, Untold International. We built a library in a rural area of Ghana, and there are always new projects to undertake and kids who need books in their hands to reach. I still write and am working on a few projects, and of course, you will be hard pressed to find me without a book in my own hands - or a pet, crochet hook, or (gardening) tool. I will pass on the motherboards, though!

I am deeply honored to be your next principal and to continue the legacy of all those who served here before me. What an amazing team of professionals who love learning, love kids, and understand the connectedness of it all. I’m excited to meet all of you and to begin this next chapter together. Together we rise!

-Anne Blackburn, MPA Principal




Hello MPA Families,

Since the pandemic started, one of the questions that has been asked over and over is “What are the pandemic effects on children?” Great question, difficult to answer! One of the benefits of attending a Montessori school is that social and emotional development has been at the heart of the learning. The teachers really focus on the traits you see below, to provide the emotional support needed to take on new learning and to grow emotionally. (Below the Lower Elementary Report Card is being used for this article, the Primary and Upper levels have similar indicators.)

Lower Elementary Report Card Social and Emotional Learning Indicators

  • Shows respect for our classroom community
  • Initiates work independently.
  • Persists and follows work through to completion. (3.03) (effort)
  • Seeks help when needed.
  • Includes peers in daily activities
  • Interacts cooperatively with others in play and at work.
  • Uses grace and courtesy with others using please, thank you, excuse me, etc.
  • Respects the needs, feelings, and personal space of others (3.23) (respect)
  • Actively listens to peers and lessons.
  • Manages frustration and conflict with flexibility and resilience.
  • Embrace new experiences with flexibility.
  • Manages transitions smoothly.
  • Follows multi-step instructions.
  • Is able to express needs verbally
  • Accepts responsibility for actions and words. (3.20) (integrity)
  • Attempts multiple ways of solving problems or correcting errors.

Montessori teachers observe each of the indicators over time and work with students to develop social emotional skills and strong habits. The pandemic disruption has caused everyone, adults included, to show more fluctuation in our emotional stability. Over the course of this school year, educators have sensed something is emotionally different and the struggle to learn and have routines more difficult. I would ask teachers questions such as, “Tell me what you are noticing?” or “What are your struggles right now in the classroom?” Many of the conversations have stemmed around lack of effort and low motivation as areas of student concerns. But how do we know what we see and feel is real?

The MPA School Accountability Committee (SAC) asked if MPA had social emotional data which could shed some light on the stresses of the pandemic. By using data from the middle year report card could find out how we are seeing the effects of the pandemic. To make things simple we started with three areas to collect data which aligns with key MPA values of “Integrity, Respect and Effort”. After the data collection and converting observational scores to a four point scale, a few patterns emerged. One, overall we are doing well in areas of Respect, our students as a whole are a caring and respectful bunch (see the yellow highlights above). Two, our feelings (MPA staff) of lower effort than normal by students were confirmed. The data indicates the lowest value collected was a 3.03 on a 4 point scale. We knew in our hearts that wearing masks, dealing with illness, or the possibility of illness and quarantines would take a toll on well-being at some point. Interestingly, the upper elementary data also showed similar results with “effort” being the lowest score as well. Thirdly, we want more answers! The staff and SAC have requested to gather the data from the remaining social emotional indicators. Curious to see what we learn. Fourthly, what is MPA doing to help students?

Over the past few years, we have slowly been learning and teaching what is called the Zones of Regulation. Most students describe their emotions using sad, mad or happy. Humans are more complex than sad, mad or happy, and in order to create better support we need a better understanding of student feelings and how to communicate with each other in more descriptive ways. On February 18th, the MPA staff learned more about the Zones of Regulation from two MPA staff members, Ms. Tina and Ms. Neve. This was a very timely training for our staff. The chart below is a sample of some of the work teachers are using with students to have a better understanding of their emotional needs. Feel free to use this tool at home to start building a better emotional vocabulary with your own children.

Zones of Regulation
At a time we want to fix what the pandemic might have done, we need to have the wisdom to do the right work and go as slow as needed. Being in a rush to fix the past will not yield the results we want. The staff and I have discussed a good approach by adding more “Practical Life” opportunities, more “collaboration work” with students working with other students, and more “checking for understanding” in our emotions and classwork. Plus, we need to talk with parents about their perspectives and concerns at the upcoming parent/teacher conferences. The goal is that all of us can use this information to start positive conversations and actions at home and school.

Hopefully, sometime in the future we can have a parent night on this work and the data collected. Together we can help each other move forward and heal from the effects of the pandemic.

Peace and Progress,

-Mr. Brian Berg
MPA Principal




January 7, 2022

Dear MPA Families,

Welcome back! This school year we have been focused on kindness and how to show support for others through the act of kindness.  This MPA staff is an amazing, dedicated and talented group of educators and I wanted to do something special for them.  So I decided that once a month, on the first Friday morning, I go around the school and offer coffee, tea or juice to the staff, which is a very simple gesture of gratitude but something incredible happened.  A few sixth graders saw what I was doing and asked if they could help out the next month. The Kindness Crew was created!  For the last few months, our 6th graders lead the act of kindness by helping me serve the staff.  

  

Over my past 30 years I have been around many, many schools and this school by far is the kindest and most giving group of students and staff that I had the privilege to be around.  I hope this message gives you a little bit of inspiration or hope for the new year.


August 6, 2021
MPA is getting ready for students returning to school and here is more information to help you get started. Below is the link to the recorded Townhall and thank you parents for all the questions.

Recorded Townhall Message with Mr. Brian, Ms. Veronica and Ms. Becky

August meal registration deadline is Tuesday, August 10th. Click link to register https://forms.gle/B3vftY6SdhpvRFH89 

Interested in becoming a Guest Teacher this year?  Contact [email protected] or 303-972-2627 X222 for more information. 

Before and Aftercare Information

  • We are pleased to announce that we will be offering both Before & After school this year.
  • The program will be available to both primary and elementary students.
  •  While transitioning from last year's changes, before and after school will have limited space.
  •  Students will be added upon completion of all registration forms on a first come first serve basis.
  • We are seeking additional staff so every family can participate as needed, updates to availability in the program will be announced on the before & after school webpage and in the school newsletter. 
  • Registration information and forms are available on the Before & After School webpage.  
  • The webpage will be updated, and registration forms will be available for submission August 7th
  • Questions or concerns can be directed to Lori Lubthisophon, Before & After School Director.

Please pay Registration Fees and Preschool Tuition via Jeffco Connect https://jeffcoconnect.jeffco.k12.co.us/ by Monday, August 16th.  If you have any questions, please contact  [email protected]

Dates to Remember:

  • Tuesday, August 10th, MPA Staff returns to work for trainings and planning
  • Monday, August 16th, Classroom Greet and Meets (more information coming from classroom teachers)
  • Tuesday, August 17th, K-6th and Homeschool first day of school
  • Wednesday, August 18th, Preschool first day of school
  • Saturday, August 28th, Back to School BBQ from 3-7 pm

Peace and Progress, 

Mr. Brian




April 26, 2021

Hello MPA Parents,

What a great evening of information and sharing about fostering independence in children.  The link to the Zoom recording is only for the presentation by Jasmine and Maria from the National Center of Montessori in the Public Sector.  Sorry but we can't record the breakout sessions for many reasons.  
Topic: MPA Parent Education Night
Date: Apr 26, 2021 06:14 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)
Meeting Recording:



February 18, 2021
Our Alumnus, Collin Peterson, did 18 Positive Message Boards
around the school for his Eagle Scout project. We love to see
our Alumni doing great things!

Alumni Alum Brian


September 10, 2020
Hello MPA Families and Students,

We did it! School is open, students are learning in-person and remotely! Thank you for doing your part and getting students ready each day. We have a ways to go as we learn how to teach in-person and remotely.  This is a first for MPA and most schools in Colorado. Do we need to improve some things? Yes! Do we need to fine tune some things? Yes! Are we doing incredible work right now as teachers and students? Yes! The students and teachers are champions; always learning and getting better. 

The morning carline has gotten smoother each day on the Primary side and the Elementary loop.  We were done by 8:15 am today.  Wow! 

Last year, it took us two weeks to get the carline process down to about 18 minutes to load all the students into cars. Yesterday, with all the changes and two waves, it took us about 22 minutes. Pretty Good!  It will get easier and faster.  Thanks for being patient and safe drivers around children.

The MPA Restart Plan is being updated and Version 2 will be out next week.  

Peace and Progress,

-Mr. Brian


August 17, 2020
Hello MPA Families and Students,
Over the summer, MPA has been creating the best Restart Plan possible during the current COVID-19 pandemic. During these challenging times I reflect on the stories of the past told to me by my grandfathers. Both of these great men lived during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, Great Depression, WWII and other pandemics such as polio and measles. Their advice was simple, “Do your part!”, which to their generation was to face the challenges head on, accept the situation, and do your best. Simple advice, yet wildly complex. The baseball picture from 1918 shows the players doing their part.
We all have a role to play during these times. and Maria Montessori said it best, “We shall walk together on this path of life...” We, together, will walk through this pandemic, through the challenges and do it with grace and courtesy.
To view the MPA Restart Plan, please click HERE.
Peace and Progress,
-Mr. Brian

April 2, 2020
Dear MPA Students and Families,

Second week of Remote Learning and you’re rocking it!!  Thank you for being champions of remote learning. The staff has been sharing with me all the cool ways you are learning during the school closure.

Jeffco announced yesterday we will be continuing Remote Learning until April 30, 2020.  We will keep you informed of the district's decisions concerning extending remote learning until the end of the school year.

Please remember to read your teachers’ messages and assignments carefully.  Many questions and links are in those messages. 

In the event that a teacher becomes ill during this time, other teachers and assistants will be taking over the management of assignments. This may take some time to shift accounts, but be assured we will keep you connected. 

Moving forward in remote learning we are focused on student engagement with the work rather than attendance.  We know some parents need a flexible schedule to support their children with learning at home. Teachers and assistants are putting more focus on student connections and community building than overloading students with work.  Please reach out to your teacher with what is working and what is not so they can adjust and support your family needs. 

I love the creative ways we are all staying connected and supporting each other. Do not hesitate to reach out to teachers or support persons with your concerns and questions.

Story Time with Mr. Brian #2

Stay safe and take care of each other!

Peace and Progress,

-Mr. Brian

March 12, 2020

Dear MPA Families,


Today, I want to give you an update on how MPA is handling the Coronavirus situation.  As I stated last week, as a school we are washing hands constantly, cleaning the school each day vigorously, parents are keeping children home if not feeling well, and staff is monitoring their health.  These are things in our control, and we are all doing our part. Thank you!! 

What is out of  our hands is how schools will be closed as described by Governor Polis.  Here is the most recent link: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Planning for Schools and Child Care Closure In short, we are operating school with high precautions and running schools as normal as possible.  We will remain open until Jeffco School District makes a closure decision. Here is Jeffco’s Website for updated information: Coronavirus (COVID-19)


To help slow “community transition” of illness or the virus, we will be canceling or postponing some school events.  These decisions are not easy, and I have collected advice from the MPA Board, Staff and Jeffco School District to do what is best to maintain community health and be a part of the solution in slowing or stopping the spread of the virus in our small part of the world.  


  • Cancelled-Upper El Science Fair:  I am heartbroken to announce this event is cancelled which was scheduled for tomorrow night, March 13th.  Since this event will potentially draw hundreds of people, this is considered to be a very large group gathering. It is recommended that this type of gathering  be avoided at this point in time and maybe for the rest of the school year. The students and teachers have created magnificent articles of genuine learning which they will or have already shared with their classrooms.  So sorry to cancel this special night!

  • Postponed-MPA Spring  Live Auction currently scheduled for Saturday, March 14th.  More details to come later.

  • Business as usual: Before and After Care, Enrichment Classes, Skate City event. 

 

Please note you will be receiving Jeffco communications on a regular basis, and I will follow up with additional information about what it means for MPA.  This is a quickly-evolving situation, and information can change at any moment. Tomorrow, I plan to share how we are planning for remote learning if the school gets closed for an extended amount of time.  We at MPA are hoping for the best in this situation as well as planning for “just in case.” I want to thank the Staff for their quick thinking in our planning process and for the extra work and hours to come. 


Peace and Progress,


-Mr. Brian




January 30, 2020

Dear MPA Families,

 

2020 will be a year full of new surprises and new adventures for MPA.  At the moment, we are in the middle of being re-chartered as a Jeffco Public School of Choice which gives us another 5 years of service and Montessori education to families. More information to come; stay tuned!

 

Plus, on Monday we had the surprise of the new Gaga Ball pit.  The project was developed, planned and implemented by Alex Berland and his Eagle Scout Troop with the help of Mr. Daniel, our MPA Facility Manager.  Alex is a high school student and MPA alumni who wanted to give back to his former school. Wow! Did he give back in a fun way! Mr. Daniel and I worked with Alex for about six months to make this project a reality.  On Saturday, the Gaga Ball pit was installed with a fleet of parent support and Cub Scouts chipping in. The spirit of Grace and Courtesy is alive and well at MPA. Thank you, Alex, for all your determination, professional manner and kindness. (The young man in the red shirt is Alex) Your gift to MPA will be well used and maintained for many years to come. If you want to learn more about Gaga Ball and how this game is played, click on the link:  Coach Cliff's GaGa Ball 

 

Another monumental process at MPA is the future expansion of the campus with the use of the Jeffco Schools 5B funds approved by voters in 2018.  This is an opportunity to enhance the Montessori learning experience inside the building and outside the building. A project of this scale and scope will energize the MPA community for the current, as well as, the next generation of students that will call MPA their home school.  Attached to this newsletter is an update from the MPA Board of Directors about the construction project and the details moving forward. Personally, I want to thank the MPA Board and staff for all their input and guidance as we move forward in this adventure. Click here to view the construction project and details.

 

Peace and Progress,

 

-Mr. Brian

 





January 9, 2020

Dear MPA Families,


 

 

Happy New Year!  2020 will be full of surprises, celebration and challenges.  One surprise we wanted to share with you was the completion of the new primary playground structure which took place over the Winter Break.  Of course the primary students noticed immediately the new playground structure and the joy of exploring this new space was precious to watch. Along with a new playground space the MPA staff have completed additional training this Winter to improve our playground supervision and safety.  With 25 years of playground duty experience, I still learned many valuable strategies to provide a safer playground for students. After the training each person gets a certificate of completion, but more importantly we now have better ways as a staff to provide a safer school.  

 

I want to thank Mr. Daniel and Ms. Grace, MPA’s maintenance team, and Ms. Amy, MPA’s Business Manager, who worked many, many extra hours to make this magic happen.  Also, I want to thank the MPA Board of Directors for their support during this process. The unveiling of the new playground structure was a perfect way to start the new year! 


Peace and Progress in 2020,


Mr. Brian



 

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2022 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.