This is the Schneider-Farris Family's Blog. Keep up with what we are doing by logging into this site regularly! (The reason this site is called "Tragedy and Triumph" is that when I first founded this site, my husband, Dan, had been in a horrible accident, and he recovered. His recovery was a miracle! Go back to the 2005 archives to read our story.)

Monday, February 29, 2016

Annabelle's Passes Viennese Waltz - Sunday, 2-28-16

Annabelle passed the Viennese Waltz gold dance today. I'm so proud of my sweet daughter! Yay Annabelle!

 Only 2 more pattern dances to pass towards Annabelle's goal of earning 6 US Figure Skating Gold Medals (she's already passed her senior moves, senior solo free dance, senior free skate, and senior pair). She is working now towards passing the Gold Dance test and then the Senior Free Dance test!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Correspondence With Harrison School District 2's Superintendent's Office

School District 2 has responded through "Let's Talk" and says that the partnership with the Colorado Springs Conservatory will continue.  

It seems that the welfare of the children in the district are not a concern or priority.  

Correspondence below.

  • Unhappy with D-2My Letter to Editor of Colorado Springs Independent, Published 3-9-16

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Christine Lyle
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2016 10:55 AM
Subject: Re: Concern for District Superintendent - Andre D. Spencer, Ed.D.

Please type your reply ABOVE THIS LINE
Ms. Farris,
Thank you for using Let's Talk to share your concern.  The District does not plan to alter our partnership with the Colorado Springs Conservatory at this time.


The Let's Talk Team
Powered by K12 Insight

Reply by Jo Ann Schneider Farris
Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 11:30 AM
In response to your request, I sent a hard copy of the letter below directly to Andre Spencer's office.

I received a call back from the Superintendent's assistant, Debbie, on Friday 2-20-16 and then spoke with her again on Wednesday 2-24-16 since I wanted to make sure I clearly understood what she told me on Friday 2-20, since I was away in California and driving on Los Angeles freeways when she called me last on that Friday.

Debbie told me that Mr. Spencer asked her to call me to tell me that he shared my confidential concerns below with the Colorado Springs Conservatory.

When I asked her if any other action would be taken since I had was concerned about the welfare of District 2's children, her answer was she did not know and that Mr. Spencer is a "very busy man," so I should send my letter to "Let's Talk."  She said that way, my concerns may be addressed.

My original letter is below.  I do hope this situation is investigated since a school district should not continue to support a program that could put students' emotional well-being in danger.

Note:  I have CCed this email to other parents of children who I believe may have been hurt by the Colorado Springs Conservatory and to The Colorado Springs Independent reporter who had begun an investigation.

JO ANN Schneider Farris

February 10,2016


Andre D.Spencer


HarrisonSchool District 2

1060 Harrison Road

Colorado Springs, CO  80905


Jo Ann Schneider Farris

Subject:  District 2’s Partnership With the Colorado Springs Conservatory


In response to an email I received from your office on February 9, 2015, my specific concerns regarding Harrison School District 2’s partnership with the Colorado Springs Conservatory are summarized below.

I believe that Harrison School District 2 should consider ending its partnership with the Colorado Springs Conservatory to protect future and current students from emotional harm.

A continuing school partnership may jeopardize the well-being of future and current School District 2 children and families that come in contact with the Colorado Springs Conservatory.

I am asking that you please seriously look into and investigate this situation.   A public school program should not put children in contact with what might be considered abusive.

Here is a summary:

·       My family and other families were introduced to the Colorado Springs Conservatory because of the existing Harrison School District 2 partnership.

·       In late 2015, an online support group was formed for the parents, students, staff, and faculty who have been hurt by the Colorado Springs Conservatory.  Forming a group became necessary when several former parents, students, and staff came forward and shared stories of unfair treatment.

·       Those who have been hurt by the Colorado Springs Conservatory shared similar stories of abuse.  More than 12 individuals and/or families have come forward and shared negative experiences about the Colorado Springs Conservatory. I’ve been told that there are many more people who have been hurt who“out of fear” have stayed silent.

·       Children’s self-esteem is the main concern.

·       There have been stories of children directly being told that they are “worthless” and/or being belittled in front of peers and teachers.

·       Students and teachers have been dismissed from the school with no explanation or notice.

·       In addition, the parents and students who participate in the partnership school program were told that the program paid for by District 2 is identical to the Colorado Springs Conservatory’s after school program which requires tuition, but that is not the case.

·       After District 2’s students told their parents that they were not learning “anything new” each semester, it was explained to the families that wanted their children to learn more and excel in the arts, that the partnership school program is “introductory,” which means the District 2 students that return each semester to the Colorado Springs Conservatory end up learning the same things over and over again.   This means Harrison School District’s funds are not being used wisely.

·       If students wish to “move on,” or audition for roles in Conservatory productions, paying tuition to Colorado Springs Conservatory’s regular tuition programs is required.

·       Parents and students who have been in the Harrision School District 2 school Colorado Springs Conservatory partnership program discover that the school program is“not as good” as the tuition based Colorado Springs Conservatory programs.

·       The school partnership program seems to be only an “advertisement” to promote the Colorado Springs Conservatory and serves an avenue for the Colorado Springs Conservatory to gain new students and funds for the Colorado Springs Conservatory programs which require tuition.

·       In addition, some of the recent musical productions done by the Colorado Springs Conservatory have not been suitable for minors.  Performers have been required to use inappropriate language.  Costumes are sometimes also inappropriate and the situations and plots in some of these productions have included adult content. Parents and the families of these students see their children for the first time in these roles during live performances open to the public, which can be very awkward.

My daughter was introduced to the Colorado Springs Conservatory through Harrison School’s partnership, has been hurt directly by the organization.  She had been given a great opportunity to excel as an artist, but on November 4, 2015, my entire family was devastated when we suddenly received a letter from Linda Weise and the Colorado Springs Conservatory that stated we were not welcome to participate in any Colorado Springs Conservatory activities including attending productions.  No explanation was given.  My daughter’s entire “world” was ripped fromher on that day.  My daughter has begun to recover, but I believe the “bruises” she has experienced through this unpleasant interaction will stay with her throughout her life.

My youngest child is enrolled in Mountain Vista Homeschool Academy, which means the optional Colorado Springs Conservatory partnership school opportunity is now closed to her for no reason at all. How can a public school program be closed to an eligible child for no apparent reason without an explanation?

My daughter was directly hurt by her interaction with The Colorado Springs Conservatory.  Other parents have also told me horrifying stories about their children’s interaction with the Colorado Springs Conservatory.

The director and parent board of Mountain Vista Homeschool Academy have been made aware of this situation.

Thank you for your time and I do look forward to your response.


Jo AnnSchneider Farris

From: Christine Lyle
Sent: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 2:28 PM
Subject: Re: Concern for District Superintendent - Andre D. Spencer, Ed.D.

Feedback Form sent by Christine Lyle
Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 1:28 PM

Reply by Christine Lyle
Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 2:27 PM
Jo Ann,
Thank you for sharing your concern with Dr. Andre Spencer via Let's Talk.  Can you provide copy of the specific concern you have rather than a link to your blog?

Thank you -
The Let's Talk Team

Original Message
Sent by Jo Ann Schneider Farris on Sun, Jan 31, 2016 at 3:23 PM
Please read my personal blog entry. It's regarding the district's partnership with the CSC.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Frozen in San Jose - Wednesday 2-17-16

It was AWESOME seeing my son Joel in Disney On Ice: Frozen in San Jose, California tonight 2-17-16 with friends that I've known for many, many years!

I have now seen the show 15 times and my dad has seen it 9 times!

This may be out last time seeing it since soon Joel and the cast will be touring in far away places.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentines Day 2016

Dan and I have celebrated 38 Valentines Days together...yikes that makes me feel ancient!

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Ski Cooper and Monarch - Saturday 2-6 and Superbowl Sunday 2-7-16

The family tradition of skiing on Superbowl Sunday continues for 2016...We did two days of half days of skating.  We first went to Ski Cooper in Leadville on Saturday, February 6 and then to Monarch, Colorado for another 1/2 day of skiing on February 7, 2016....Superbown Sunday....

It's hard to explain to people that don't ski, but when I'm on top of a mountain and go down, I feel like I'm on a short trip to paradise...

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About Me

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Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author.