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Taos Waldorf School Weekly Update – November 8

Taos Waldorf School Weekly Update – November 8

 

A shining example of parent partnership has shown up on our campus.  You may have noticed it coming and going from the early childhood building:  gone are the days of sagging hinges and bare wood exposed to sun and harsh elements.  In their place is a beautiful, hand-forged artisan gate, complete with a freshly oiled wooden frame.  This is thanks to the work of artist, innovator, and parent Jim Stoner.

waldorf gate

In Jim’s words, “My personal thought behind the design: the central bars represent the child, and the outer bars are the layers of growth and knowledge through the years”.  As with all works of art, the imagery and design may evoke different meaning for each individual who experiences it; this, also, is part of the artist’s offering to the community.

Please join us in celebrating the work of Taos Waldorf School parent partner Jim Stoner, who has made our campus a more beautiful and fascinating place.

THANKS, JIM!!!

visit Jim’s website here

HAPPENINGS

Understanding the Temperaments

 A TWS Community Workshop

What is “a choleric”?  Which group loves lists?  Who is so very tempted by sweets?  Which children can’t stop moving?  What does all this have to do with my child, anyway???

Come get to know the concept of The Temperaments and how it used in the
Waldorf curriculum.  An informative, engaging evening suitable for newcomers and Waldorf “old-timers” alike!  Open to all.

Friday, November 16, 6p-8p
TWS Community Room

$15 suggested donation
no one turned away due to funds
register in the office, or via e-mail

OPENING RIGHT AFTER THANKSGIVING

OUR BRAND NEW TWS COMMUNITY STORE

STILL ACCEPTING CONSIGNMENTS

Are you an artist – of any age – who would like to sell his or her handmade and/or Waldorf-inspired
goods in a warm, friendly environment designed to support our school?  Come into the office and let’s talk!  We hope to support not only tuitions, but the creative economy in general – not to mention college funds!  

And don’t worry – our store will also carry all the essentials: beeswax, modeling clay, watercolor paper, color pencils – the works.  We look forward to seeing you all there to kick off a creative holiday season!

How to Make Flower Fairies with Beeswax
an article from Mercurius

waldorf flowers

General Tips

Modeling waxes are hard and have to be kneaded strongly with warm hands to be made malleable. This process can be made easier for smaller children by pre-warming the modelling wax in warm water. It may be helpful to tell or read children a story while they are holding and kneading the wax in their hands to make it malleable.

Pedagogical Aspects

Transforming the hard modelling wax into a soft, malleable form is a valuable sensory experience for children that trains their imaginative abilities and wakens their creativity and feeling for form. By kneading rhythmically, children also train their fine motor skills. This not only promotes skillfulness and dexterity – like all rhythmical movements do – but also positively influences their speech and thought development.

Modelling Flower Children

Sculpturing flowers with modelling wax is a special treat for young and old alike. Each individual models according to his or her own personal skills and abilities.
The younger a child is, the more natural and uninhibited one should let it be when using its imagination to create forms. In the case of older children, it could be
helpful to first take the time to observe with them the forms of blossoms and leaves. Are they heart- or spear-shaped, round or elongated? How many petals does the flower have, what kind of stamen and buds? These observations can stimulate ideas about how to create the clothing, flower, hat, arms, etc. In the following example of a “Rose Child” the step-by-step modelling procedure is described.  
 
First of all, make a main body, to which all the other parts will be attached.  It should be good to handle and have a wide standing base. For this, knead white modelling wax until soft with your warm hands and shape it into a roll about 8 cm long; then model the roll into a cone so that it gets a wide standing base.

Shape an oval form for the head.  Using a small piece of yellow modelling wax, shape a thin band and place on the head as hair; spread gently over the back of the head using your warm fingers. Then connect the head and body pieces with the help of a match.

For the skirt, shape five very thin red and five very thin pink rose petals.  They
should be shaped like rose leaves and be almost transparent.  First overlap, press and attach the red, then the pink-coloured petals to the “waist”, carefully curving each petal outwards to create a blossom..

For the arms or sleeves of the dress, shape two elongated petals, fold together like a sleeve and attach at shoulder level.  For the collar or ruff, use green modelling wax to shape seven spear-shaped leaves about 15 mm long. Place and attach around the neck by pressing.

For the hat, shape five very thin rose-shaped rose petals. Make a yellow ball about the size of your fingernail, press it flat with your thumb and attach the hat leaves to this circle of wax by overlapping and pressing firmly. For the stamen, make tiny yellow balls.  Then form this part into a blossom and carefully attach to the head with a piece of sticking wax. 

Tip

By following this procedure you can create flower children for every type of flower. The blossoms of the different flowers are particularly suitable for the hats. The
arms can be shaped like the leaves or can look like stems. You can make the dresses in the form of leaves or blossoms.

Taos Waldorf School Weekly Update – October 26

 

An Evening of Native American Celebration 

Please join us for a unique evening of traditional Navajo fare, prepared and served by a Native American grandmother and her family.   We will enjoy mutton stew, fry bread, and a full array of nourishing, sumptuous options to remind us all of the health, warmth, and sustenance that accompany a lovingly prepared feast. 

The evening will also include storytelling by the fire, drumming, and so much more!

All proceeds will benefit the Taos Waldorf School Native American Scholarship Fund.  Thanks to the support of this fund, children who would not otherwise be able to attend the school are able to do so.  During these challenging economic times, our school has chosen a stance of social renewal, creating unique and unprecedented opportunities to share our skills, loves, and interests with each other through community outreach events that support all concerned.   We are delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate Native American culture together through the richness of talent, spirit, and beauty present within our school community.

Thanks so much for your support and we hope to see you there!

Donate to Native American Scholarship Fund

 

Contact

TWS Office
Taos Waldorf School
 
575-751-7750 twscoordinator@yahoo.com

When

Saturday November 3, 2012 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Add to my calendar 

Where

Taos Waldorf School

Community Room

El Prado NM

 

 

In Community,
 
Allison Bradley
Taos Waldorf School
575.751.7750

A Quick Note From the Taos Waldorf School Board President

We are currently conducting a search for a new treasurer, so if you know of any community members with the requisite experience, please give their contact information to any board member. The board is made up of parents, teachers, and “at-large” members, who are not otherwise directly involved with the school, so your suggestions can include anyone from the Taos community who might be qualified and willing to serve.

In case you missed it in the latest weekly bulletin, our bulb sale was a great success. We actually exceeded our fundraising goal, so many thanks to all who participated. The advancement committee has put together a great calendar of events and fundraisers for the rest of the year, so please keep your eye out for opportunities to help make this year an awesome one for TWS.

Also, I would like to ask that if you are not up-to-date with your payments, please contact Allison in the office immediately. All invoices from August, September, and October should have already been paid, and the November bills, which went out in the middle of October, are due on Nov 1st. As a reminder, if your payment for November (as well as any past-due balance) isn’t paid by November 5th, you’ll get a friendly call from the finance committee, and all payments must be current by November 10th to continue enrollment.

Finally, I would like to offer another huge thanks to you, our awesome community of parents, grandparents, and teachers. Many of you have been giving up your valuable time to beautify our school, prepare it for winter, and keep it functioning in so many ways, and you are very appreciated.

Thank you all so much,

Andy Salamone
TWS BOT President

Taos Waldorf School Weekly Update – October 24

 

Recommended donation of $15.  No one turned away due to inability to pay.

All proceeds to benefit Taos Waldorf School Tuition Assistance Fund.

Sign up to attend here

 

An Evening of Native American Celebration
with David and Celestia Carson and special guests

November 3
5-7pm

Please join us for a truly unique and one-of-a-kind celebration of Native American tradition, culture, and warmth.  You will experience a traditional Navajo meal created and served by a grandmother and her family, then gather around the fire for storytelling, drumming, and much more.  Don’t miss this one!
 
Special guests include David Carson, originator of the Medicine Cards, and family.

All proceeds go to benefit Native American scholarships for our school.  If you can’t join us for the evening, please consider contributing any amount to the scholarship fund via the link below. Seating is limited and by reservation only.  Get your ticket now!  We anticipate that this event will fill up quickly.  Vegetarian entrees available upon request.

Sign up to attend here

WAY TO GO, MISS BETH’S CLASS!  

We surpassed our fundraising goal for the bulb sale!  Our goal was $800, and we just squeaked over the line with a fantastic $805.  Many, many thanks to the 13 families who made this happen, and an extra special thank you to Amanda Zamani, who masterminded and spearheaded the whole project. There will be lots of other opportunities to support the school this year for those who weren’t able to be part of the bulb sale.

 Miss Beth’s class sold the most bulbs, so as promised, they get a pizza party tomorrow!  TWS will make sure each child gets pizza tomorrow, Thursday, as part of the weekly grade 8 pizza sale. If your child will need extra/other food, please send it along.

THANKS, EVERYONE!

Intro to Non-Violent Communication for Parents

***

Where:

Taos Waldorf School

Community Room

9 Don Ben Romero Road 87529

When:

Friday October 26, 2012

 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

***

 
Non-violent communication is an approach developed by Marshall Rosenberg that is used internationally by people who seek to cultivate communication that connects.   
 
Inherent within this approach is the understanding that all human beings have certain basic universal needs.  For example, all people have needs for safety and needs for love.  We all also have feelings, and choose strategies to meet our needs.     
 
In this introductory evening, you will be introduced to the consciousness and behavior that supports effective use of non-violent communication by two experienced facilitators, Joanna Magee and Rebecca Porter.  A $15 donation is suggested, with all proceeds going directly to support the TWS tuition assistance program.  No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.
 
For more information about Non-Violent Communication, please visit www.cnvc.org.
 
 
Get more information
Register Now!

Thanks so much, and we hope to see you there!

Taos Waldorf School Weekly Update – October 13

 
Calling all Artists and Creators
 
Our newly expanded school store will be opening soon in its new location.  Do you make something that might be good to sell?  We hope to feature all manner of goods created by our school community, for our school community.
 
Of special interest will be handmade items or and/or items made from natural materials.  Please contact the office with any ideas, information, or if you just want to bring some things by!

 

UPCOMING EVENTS
 
Non-Violent Communication for Parents
with Joanna Magee and Rebecca Porter
 
October 26
6-8pm

Looking for ways to bring more presence and compassion to your parenting?  Join us for an evening of Nonviolent Communication at the Taos Waldorf School.  Connect with your greatest parenting value, discover the needs that motivate your child’s behavior, increase your vocabulary of feelings and needs and learn to practice presence as a tool for heartfelt connection.
Recommended donation of $15.  No one turned away due to inability to pay.  All proceeds to benefit Taos Waldorf School Tuition Assistance Fund.

An Evening of Native American Celebration
with David and Celestia Carson and special guests
 
November 3
5-7pm
 
Please join us for a truly unique and one-of-a-kind celebration of Native American tradition, culture, and warmth.  You will experience a traditional Navajo meal created and served by a grandmother and her family, then gather around the fire for storytelling, drumming, and much more.  Don’t miss this one!
Special guests include David Carson, originator of the Medicine Cards, and family.
All proceeds go to benefit Native American scholarships for our school.  If you can’t join us for the evening, please consider contributing any amount to the scholarship fund via the link below. Seating is limited and by reservation only.  Get your ticket now!  We anticipate that this event will fill up quickly.  Vegetarian entrees available upon request.

ONE MORE WEEK FOR BULBS!

Back by Popular Demand!!!  We will be running the bulb sale for one more week. Please pass in your order sheet and all money to the office anytime before next Wednesday, October 17th.  The order will be placed that Friday, the 19th, and no orders will be taken after that.
The bulbs will be delivered about two weeks later, giving everyone plenty of time to get them in the ground before it is too hard to plant. This also gives more of a chance for us to suggest to folks that they can purchase bulb packages to donate to the school to plant this fall for spring flowers! What a great way to add color and life to our
school (please make sure to note if orders are for school beautification).

 
WHO’S GOT A RENTAL?

A friend of TWS is preparing to move to Taos for the winter and is looking for a seasonal rental.   The rental will be for a couple who will be working at Taos Ski Valley for the winter, so reasonable proximity to TSV will be necessary.  If you have a space to rent, or know of any, please contact the office at twscoordinator@yahoo.com or 575.751.7750.

Taos Waldorf School Weekly Update – October 3

 

8th grade apple cider fundraiser

 

The 8th grade continues a solid tradition of fundraising for its spring class trip by creating and selling APPLE CIDERin cooperation with Mikayla’s dad, Farmer Ron. 

Here are the details:

8th grade parents:  come with your child to help harvest apples for the next two Sundays, October 7 and 14,from 10am to 4p at the Ojo Sarco farm.  Dress for the weather and bring a lunch!

The last two Sundays in the month, October 21 and 28, 8th grade students will work together to press the harvested apples into cider. Again, 10a to 4p, Ojo Sarco.

The cider will then be available to sell to the whole community!  What could be better?  Hand-pressed cider made with love.

 
PRE-ORDER YOUR CIDER TODAY ON THE SIGN-UP SHEET OUTSIDE THE 8TH GRADE

 

Price:  8 dollars/half gallon

Please contact Ron Boyd at (505) 927.0150 or greenmanmocs@yahoo.com for more information, or for directions to the farm.  

 

Everybody Loves a Clean Floor
A new vacuum cleaner has moved to the top of our wish list!  Our stalwart volunteer cleaners have put out the call:  please donate to the vacuuming cause!  Ways you can help:  
1) Donate a quality, working vacuum that you no longer need
2) Contribute to the vacuum cleaner fund (no donation is too small – all are appreciated) 
 
3) Approach a merchant that sells vacuums and ask if they might consider donating one to our school, because, of course…..everybody loves a clean floor! 
 

 

Kudos
That means “thanks”, “great work”, “we appreciate what your efforts”, “you are officially recognized”….or all of the above!

Kudos to….

The Grounds and Garden teamfor putting together a great plan for creating a strawbale wellhouse to take care of our new well for the winter. 

Alicia Graves for taking care of a last-minute cookie run for today’s bake sale

TWS Community members new and old for throwing a fantastic wedding reception for Marcy and Scott this past weekend
The Farmer’s Market crew for ongoing dedication to getting the food grown in our garden creatively presented and out there in the world – it takes a lot to set up and take down those booths!

Estevan Montoya and Mindy Gumlaw for taking on the management of cleaning at our school – and for helping enthusiastically with so many details

Jenny Kelly for putting out one heckuva Gnomes newsletter

Shining Mountain Waldorf School for donating their van, proceeds to go our school.
 

OFFICE HOURS

Normal office hours are 8:30am to 3:30pm.  Other times available by appointment.

Please note that this week Wednesday, Oct. 3 and Thursday, Oct. 4,  the office will have limited staff due to training and backup staff illness. If you need to make a tuition payment, please do so online at

Thanks!

 

TWS YELLOW PAGES

WHAT DO YOU DO???
Thanks to the enthusiastic leadership of Andy Salamone, Mila’s dad and also Board President, we are putting together a list of TWS community service providers – sort of a “yellow pages”.  The idea is that the more we know about each others’ livelihoods, the more we can support our community.  SO, please go to your class parent rep, and let that person know what you do for a living!  The rep will compile a list, and next thing you know, we will have a handy TWS yellow (green? purple?……turqoise!) pages.

 

 
Bulb sale continues through October 10!

Please help with this easy and fun fundraiser.  Our goal is for each family to sell 10 packages of bulbs.  They make great gifts!

Turn completed order forms in to your teacher or to the office.

 

 

 
School Renewal Learning Circle
starting this fall.  Interested in learning more about what is behind and within Waldorf education?  A learning circle is forming.  Please contact the office at 575.751.7750 or e-mail at twscoordinator@yahoo.com.

Taos Waldorf School Weekly Update – September 27

 

Harvestfest is a great time to welcome the natural turning inward that comes for all of us as the days get brisker and shorter.  Celebrating together makes this one of the most special times of the year.

Newsflash!  Newsflash!!!  As of end of school today, we have an apple press for the Harvestfest.
 
Bring apples!  Bring apples!  Bring apples!!!

Bulb SaleBULB SALE!
Yes, it’s our fall fundraiser, and what a beautiful one it is. Flower bulbs!

With everything from King Alfred Daffodils to Grecian Wildflowers, we have it all.  Packages are $7 apiece, of which the school gets 52%.  Our goal is for each family to sell 10 packages.   

Pizza will appear in the classroom that sells the most!

Order forms available in your class or the office.

 

COPIER CONTEST CONTINUES……
We’re still looking for a winning idea.  Come on folks, let’s put those sustainability-minded brain cells to work.  

The problem:  a big, expensive coping machine with a lease that lasts until 2015

The goal:  a creative solution that a) saves money, b) maintains relationships, and c) cares for the Earth.

Get those creative juices flowing and send us your idea.

WINNING IDEA RESULTS IN $100 OFF ONE MONTH’S TUITION….AND A SPECIAL SURPRISE!

send your idea to twscoordinator@yahoo.com

 

ADVANCEMENT
Our Advancement Team is off to a great start, with a calendar of fantastic workshops, fundraisers, and community development offerings that few will be able to resist.  Keep any eye out in next week’s full newsletter for details.  Meanwhile, don’t forget:

www.taosstore.com

All purchases are at regular purchase price, and a portion of all proceeds go to the school

advancement

BULB SALE and BAKE SALE Details

Bulb Info:

We are having a bulb sale as a fun and easy fall fundraiser.  The bulbs are from the Dutch Mill Bulb Company.  
How does it work?
1.    The order forms will be distributed on Wednesday, September 26th
2.    The completed order forms and checks (payable to Taos Waldorf School) or cash will be returned to the school office by October 10th.
3.    Two weeks later (the week of October 29th) the bulbs will be delivered and distributed to the kids to be delivered to the costumers.

What are some of the details?
1.    We suggest each family try to sell 10 packages – or more!
2.    If we sell 1000 packages the school will receive 250 tulip bulbs!
3.    There is Pizza for the class that sells the most bulbs!
4.    Each package costs $7.00.   The school will get 52% of all sales
Please remember to talk about safety with your children — i.e. selling to people they know, people their parents work with, having a parent go for a fundraising walk with them around their neighborhoods.
There will be a Bake Sale at Cid’s on Wednesday, October 3rd where we will sell bulbs as well baked items—Please bring a yummy item for the bake sale and stay and sell some bulbs!
This is a great way to beautify our community plus it is fun!  Thanks for helping make this great fundraiser a success!

Letter from the Taos Waldorf School Board President

There have been a great deal of changes in the governing structure of the Taos Waldorf School over the last six months, and one of the major goals of the newly reorganized and re-energized Board of Trustees is that the entire governance of the school take place as transparently as possible. Since we, the parent body, essentially are the school, there is no reason that everything that takes place shouldn’t be knowable by all. And we really are the school. There’s no entity “over there” with which we are interacting as parents, like there is in a public school with its governance by the school board and the state. Instead, we, the TWS parents and teachers, volunteer to constitute the board, the parent council, and the school committees.

The well-being of Taos Waldorf school is attended to by three distinct but overlapping groups: The Board of Trustees, the College of Teachers, and the Parent Council.

The Board of Trustees primarily looks after the financial aspects of the school’s functioning. The College of Teachers is really the heart and soul of the school, and they make decisions regarding the pedagogy, school policy, and all of the factors that relate to the success of our children’s education. The Parent Council works to support the other two entities, and to serve as a sort of central nervous system, fostering communication between the parent body and all of the various parts of the school’s being.

You probably all already know the parent reps for your children’s classes, and it is these wonderful and dedicated folks whom you can turn to with any questions that you might have about any aspect of the school’s functioning. The parent reps are really the engine that keeps the school running. Without the parent reps, we wouldn’t have anyone to organize our events, to support the daily needs of our teachers, and to spread the word about the various requirements, happenings, and developments that arise throughout the school year.

This year, we are very fortunate to have co-chairs for the parent Council, Emily Cohen and Paymaneh Gfarri. Emily graciously served as the chair of the parent Council last year, and of course she was one of the authors, founders, and primary motivators behind the push to provide public Waldorf education to our community through the Taos Mountain Charter School initiative (more on that later!). Paymaneh has been involved in the school for many years and has served Taos Waldorf school in various capacities, including as a long time parent rep, and she’s also a former board member.

This year, the Board of Trustees also has a new makeup:

Andy Salamone – president
Sarah Beasley – vice president.
Jesus Hernandez – treasurer
Sandy Nelson – secretary (and former president)
Craig Simmons – facility and grounds chair
Elizabeth Hendricks – at-large member and Waldorf grandmother
Silke Markowski – leadership chair and advancement chair

The Board of Trustees has several committees that help attend to some of the basic functioning of the school: The finance committee, the facilities committee, the tuition assistance committee, the leadership council, and the advancement committee, which tends to outreach, marketing, and fundraising. The members of these committees are volunteers from among the parent body and faculty, and our school simply could not function without the hard work that these folks put in week in and week out.

As the board and the finance committee (along with the coordinator and the bookkeeper) continue to comb over the documents that were left to us by the previous administration, we continue to modify the budget and balance sheets, and the overall picture changes daily, sometimes by a large degree. If you as a community member ever want details about the current state of the school’s finances, or if you have useful information or suggestions, please contact me, Jesus Hernandez (our treasurer), or any other board member at any time.

Tying together the College of Teachers, the Parent Council, and the Board of Trustees is Allison Bradley, our Coordinator. The position of a Coordinator represents a shift in the structure of the school’s administration from last year and from previous years. The Coordinator is hired and overseen by the Board of Trustees, and her purpose is to essentially do everything necessary to keep the school running on a day-to-day basis, and this is exactly what Allison does.

Allison not only works in the office, but she also is a non-voting board member, a member of various committees, plus she attends both the Parent Council meetings and meetings of the College of Teachers. She also is the co-founder of the Taos Mountain Charter School initiative. Without going into it in great detail, I would suggest that every time you see Allison you give her a great big thanks for everything that she’s doing for the school, because what she is doing is so far and above the call of duty, so beyond the boundaries of her job description, and so ultimately essential to the school’s well-being that we all owe her a humongous debt of gratitude.

Just like all private schools and most, if not all, charter schools, the Taos Waldorf School relies on fundraising as a significant part of its annual budget. Last year, the school raised over $88,000 through the efforts of the parent community, as well as through a few small grants and various donations. This year, we have slightly smaller fundraising needs, but since we have fewer students, meeting this all-important goal is still going to require the enthusiasm of the entire parent body. When your parent reps ask if you can volunteer to staff an event or work on a fundraising drive, I would beg you to remember that the money that we raise through fundraising goes directly into the pockets of your teachers.

Each year the teachers sign contracts with the school, understanding that the only way that the school can fulfill the contracts is through the fundraising efforts of the parents. This shows the tremendous amount of faith that the teachers have in the commitment of the parent body, and I trust that we will not let them down, as we do our very best to think creatively and work diligently towards raising the necessary funds to meet our obligations toward our beloved teachers.

Unlike at other private schools where there are foundations that supply money to make up for tuition reductions, here at the Taos Waldorf School, when we grant tuition assistance, the money that is granted as “assistance” is simply not collected, and we must make up for this deficit through fundraising.

As I’m sure you know, parent participation is not an optional or auxiliary part of life at a Waldorf school, instead, the involvement of the parents in the day-to-day running of the school is part and parcel of Waldorf education. Not only is parent participation absolutely necessary for the survival of the school, but by visibly supporting and working hard to improve the quality of our school, we demonstrate to our children several very important things. On the one hand, we demonstrate the importance of Waldorf education to our children by working so hard to provide it to them. On the other hand, as we persevere, think creatively, and work together to overcome the challenges that inevitably arise, we model this approach to life for our children. We show them that when things are difficult or challenging we don’t simply turn away and find something easier, particularly when that for which we are fighting is something that is dear to our heart, and most certainly the Taos Waldorf school is dear to our hearts. One of the greatest gifts that we can give to our children is the opportunity to watch us succeed by applying diligence, perseverance, and loving attention.

I trust that by now you’re beginning to get the point of this letter: We need you to participate. If you have any type of skill, special talent, or hobby that you think might benefit the Taos Waldorf school in some way, please tell your parent rep! You never know how something that you do out of enjoyment or some random skill might end up benefitting the school, our children, and the community at large.

One thing that you can definitely do to help the school, and particularly its teachers, is to pay your tuition on time. We do not have a great stack of cash stashed away somewhere that we can draw upon when tuition doesn’t come in. We really need you to pay as soon as you get your bill, if it all possible. As you may know, this year one of the policies that the board instituted was to make sure that all families who enrolled in the 2012 – 2013 school year were completely up-to-date on any past due payments. This way, we were able to ensure that the members of our current parent body were a committed group, and we were able to start off the year with a clean slate.

That being said, as we continued to fine tune the tuition structure and organize some of the flotsam left over from previous years, we were a little bit late in getting the first few months’ billing out to you, and for this we apologize. By this point, you should have already received your bills for August, September, and October. The August bill was payable upon receipt, the September bill was due on 10th of September, and the October bill, as well as all of the rest of the bills for the remainder of the school year, will be due on the first of the month, and by this we mean that we wish the payments to be received prior to the due date. From now on, we will do our best to make sure that the bills get out by the 15th of the preceding month, but you always know that tuition is due on the first of each month, with the last payment for this school year being due on May 1st, 2013.

We understand that the rapid succession of billing for the first three months might be challenging, and so the school can grant some leeway in the timing of these payments. We also understand that these are challenging times, and we are able to be flexible, so if you anticipate that your tuition will be late for any of the first three months, just get in touch with our new and wonderful bookkeeper, Judith Cahill, at stemsandbranches@gmail.com

This year, we decided that we did not want to charge any families late fees if they were unable to pay their bill on time. Instead, we decided upon this policy: If a payment does not come in by the 5th of the month, the parents will get a friendly reminder call from a helpful board member, coordinator, or bookkeeper. Beginning with the bill due November 1st, if the 10th of the month comes and the bill has not been paid and you have not contacted the school to make special arrangements, we ask that you refrain from bringing your children to school until such time as the outstanding charges can be made current. The point here is that we will work with you when unforeseen circumstances arise, but we just need you to take the initiative to communicate and let the office know what’s going on.

As you probably know, the Taos Mountain Charter School initiative was begun last year with the intention of exploring the possibility of creating a new charter school on the site of the Taos Waldorf school. This school would be a public charter school, but the curriculum and policies would be deeply rooted in the traditions of Waldorf education.

This year, Emily Cohen and Allison Bradley have been working amazingly hard to move the Taos Mountain Charter School initiative forward. Alison’s husband, Scott, our esteemed orchestra teacher, donated his entire year’s salary so that we could hire an experienced consultant to help us with the process of moving towards the charter. On August 20, the first day of school, there was a public hearing here in Taos in front of an elected commission that would make a formal recommendation to the state as to whether or not this charter should be granted. For three days after that hearing, the commission received further information, updated budgets, and many letters of support from the community urging them grant this new charter. Since that point, no further public input was allowed, and our next step was a final decision which was scheduled to take place tomorrow, September 21st in Santa Fe.

Within the last few days, Emily and Allison received word from the commission that they were not going to recommend the approval of our charter at this point in time. There is a lengthy report connected with this recommendation, but the essence of it reflects that the state had questions about the Waldorf curriculum and how it might be properly measured against the state standards for education.

After the receipt of this news, an attorney who specializes in charter school issues in the state of New Mexico was consulted, and her strong recommendation was that we withdraw our application at this point, so that it does not get rejected, and that we apply anew in January. She noted that in her experience the second time is often the charm. Susan Olsen, the consultant who was hired to assist us with the application process, commented that the application that Emily and Allison prepared was the very best one that she had ever seen in her career. This excellent application is already being modified based on what we have learned, and everyone involved is optimistic about the way the second application will be received by the Department of Education.

In the meantime, we will continue to attend to the needs of our beloved Taos Waldorf School. We really are looking set up to have a fantastic year, and our sense of joy in the community seems to be constantly increasing. It’s important to remember that the charter school alternative is just one option that we have as a community. We are proving this year that we can continue and thrive as a private school. Many of you have stepped up to help out in so many ways, and if we all continue to contribute, we can create a truly wonderful experience for our children this year and in the future, no matter what form our school might take in that future.

Thank you all for giving so much to our sweet Waldorf community, and thank you for persevering through this very long letter. If you have any questions for me, you are welcome to email me at ajs3@me.com, or call me on my cell phone any time, at 831-295-1093.

Andy Salamone
President, Board of Trustees