6th Grade Mountain Academy of Arts & Sciences

Welcome to 6th Grade Mountain Academy of Arts & Sciences (MAAS)

"Email [email protected] or [email protected] to be added to our mailing list or check back in late-November 2023 for information about applying to the Mountain Academy for the 2024-2025 school year. Mountain Academy applications typically open in January with a February deadline."



"In 2022, the Mountain Academy of Arts & Sciences became the only school and one of only nine programs to earn Leave No Trace Youth Program Accreditation!"

The Mountain Academy for Arts and Sciences is a full-day, sixth grade experience at Ute Pass Elementary School located in Chipita Park, Colorado. Our unique size and setting allows our class to learn and experience a variety of topics throughout the school year. 2021-2022 will be the 8th year that Manitou Springs School District 14 has offered this program!

Throughout the year we focus on developing skills and techniques in leadership, science, STEAM, integrated units, and music skills in an intimate and elementary school setting. The Mountain Academy of Arts and Sciences attracts children from Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, and Teller County. The year provides unique preparation for students who yearn for a smaller, more intense, science and hands-on experience prior to entering our outstanding 7th and 8th grade experiences at the Manitou Springs Middle School. Please note that students in the Mountain Academy can participate fully in a variety of Manitou Springs Middle School activities including sports, robotics team, dances, after-school activities and more.

Some highlights from the recent years:
-Year-round water science and ecology studies. This includes trips to a fish hatchery, work with Trout Unlimited to learn about the Greenback Cutthroat trout, tie flies, learn how to fly-fish, raise trout from eggs to fingerlings before releasing them in the spring, monitor the health of the Fountain Creek Watershed, visit Colorado Springs Utilities water treatment facilities and much more.

-Multiple Camping Experiences where students learn backcountry basics, Leave No Trace principles, menu planning, budgeting, shopping, and cooking skills in the Colorado Wilderness.

-Citizen Science projects where students investigate, create, and contribute to science while birdwatching, bird banding, and more.

-Photography studies where we learn the basics of photography and build, shoot, and develop photographs using our self-built pinhole cameras.

-All students participate in band and receive weekly small group lessons as well as combined rehearsals. Instruments are provided for the year by the school at no cost!

-A study into design and engineering concepts including studies of flight principles, architecture, 3D design and printing which including an interactive visit to the WWII Aviation Museum and where students design a scaled model of their own tiny home.

-Many other experiences including caving, mountain biking, wetlands studies, and much much more!

Email the Mountain Academy of Arts & Science instructors with any questions.
Melanie Riffle [email protected]
Miles Groth at [email protected]

Adopt a 6th Grade!
Click here to donate.


Slideshow from the Parent Presentation

Frequently asked Questions

Gazette Article
Ute Pass Elementary students release dozens of trout into the wild as part of national conservation program

Mountain Academy of Arts & Sciences Leave No Trace Statement:

For the past decade, sixth-grade students at Mountain Academy of Arts & Sciences have been participating in outdoor learning activities that connect them with Colorado's diverse outdoor spaces. These activities also teach the importance of being environmental stewards. To help minimize their impact on the environment, the academy has adopted the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace.

Mountain Academy has two main objectives. Firstly, to provide every student with access to outdoor spaces so they can gain hands-on experience, participate in scientific exploration, and engage in outdoor adventures. Secondly, to encourage students to become responsible citizens who appreciate and respect the environment around them. The academy's curriculum integrates the 7 Leave No Trace Principles into science, math, and English/Language Arts subjects and in all of its outdoor trips. This approach fosters environmental stewardship and helps students understand the natural world more deeply.

Through their experiences in the outdoors, students have gained knowledge and skills that make them excellent role models for younger students in the school. They have learned the importance of respecting and caring for the natural world and have become leaders and teachers, inspiring others in their community and beyond to follow in their footsteps.

Leave No Trace offers simple guidelines, hands-on training, and pioneering science to help everyone explore the outdoors sustainably. To find out more, visit www.lnt.org.

Leave No Trace Site Specific 7 Principles for the Mountain Academy of Arts & Science