From the Eagle’s Nest Looking back, a year ago

Outside the SUIMA office, this is what a typical Friday looks like as student can pick up items for the Parent Advisory Family Nights, Dancing Spirit Art activities, snacks from the kitchen, and various other items to help the students and families be successful this school year.
For the March 24th PAG Family Night, bingo cards and markers were provided to the families so that they may join virtually.
The infants and toddlers also get materials to pick up, along with materials going out to students who receive reading support from the SUIMA reading specialists.
Inside the SUIMA office, shelves are full of materials for the Primary and Elementary level – the pickup day for these items is on Fridays.
Maria Rivera Ute Language Guide/Teacher
courtesy SUIMA
courtesy SUIMA
courtesy SUIMA
courtesy SUIMA
SU Drum archive

Looking back to a year ago, when our school went to remote online learning, we didn’t know what was going to happen. The teachers did the best they could as they made plans on how the online classrooms would look when the students “returned” after Spring Break.  Binders were set up, our online learning program links were placed on our website, (, Zoom links were provided, and many phone calls were made to the parents throughout the remainder of the school year.   

Since then, this school year has looked similar but with improvements.  With support from our “tech” department, Southern Ute Shared Services (SUSS), we were able to provide Chromebooks to the students who needed them and laptops to the teachers so that they could work more efficiently from home.   

Our education department worked with the Ignacio School District to support students and teachers who needed hot spots.  Along with a core group of individuals made up of staff from SUIMA, SUSS and the Ignacio School District, we now have Google Classroom and Seesaw added to the various learning platforms, so that lessons can be delivered quicker, smoother and more efficiently.  

SUIMA’s After School leader/bus driver delivers materials to families who cannot come in to get the student work, so that all students are reached and supported during this school year.   

As we settled first into the routine of online classrooms, SUIMA added virtual PE classes provided through SunUte, afterschool art classes with Dancing Spirit, Social Emotional Learning with the school counselor, lunch time social circles for all levels and the upper elementary class will be going on a virtual field trip to History Colorado in the near future. The materials that were created this year mimicked what is in our Montessori classrooms: math materials in paper form but are similar to the beautiful math materials we have; sandpaper letters written in large letters; bead bars made from pony beads and pipe cleaners, a moveable alphabet that uses a small fishing tackle box for storage.   

These are just some examples of what has been provided to the families of SUIMA so that the students can continue to learn and that the parents have the right materials to teach and support their children.   


For this edition of the Drum the SUIMA Spotlight is on staff member Maria Rivera – Na’anasichi Mamachi, (Butterfly Woman). 

Ms. Rivera joined the staff last school year as a Ute Language guide/teacher.  

While her extended family is large, Maria’s immediate family includes daughter Jaelyn, sons Keyon and Charles and dogs LuLu and Rose. 

As Maria works hard to improve her Ute Language so that she can support the students, staff and families of SUIMA, she says the best part about working at the school is working with the youth and seeing their excitement and growth with the language.   

Ms. Rivera offers this advice to students: work hard for progress, not perfection. She also states that she loves her co-workers and the great environment that the school has created. Her favorite quote is, “Listen to understand, not to reply.”   

Thank you, Maria, for being part of the SUIMA family.  


  • April 13 – Parent Advisory Group meeting 
  • April 21 – Parent Advisory Group Family Night 
  • April 26 – Professional Development Day – no school for students 

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