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110 Paseo del Canon West, Taos Academy Charter School, Taos, NM 87571
Grant Received County Amount
Outdoor Equity Fund 2021 Taos County $20,000
Outdoor Equity Fund 2023 Taos County $15,500
Trails+ 2022 Taos County $96,000
Total Grants Awarded $131,500

Taos Academy is an innovative blended learning school located in rural northern New Mexico in the alpine desert. We serve a student population that mirrors the community in which we live and work. Over half of our student body is determined to be economically disadvantaged based on federal Free and Reduced Lunch program participation, and over 60% of TA students report as Hispanic, Native American, or Black. Taos Academy ranks in the top ten districts in the state in terms of academic proficiency for ELA, Science, and Math, proving that student achievement is not based on zip code. Our focus on social-emotional learning is built into the charter of Taos Academy Charter School and has been a part of our school for its thirteen years of operation. These components are directly taught, modeled, and practiced daily at TA. We dedicate two staff meetings each month to learning new SEL skills and activities. In addition, our counselors collaborate on SEL mini-lessons, support our Dean of Students in the use of restorative practices as the primary tenet of our discipline policies and procedures, and conduct student groups on social skills, healthy relationships, and stress management strategies. Finally, we have worked for the past three years with the Center for Restorative Practices to support our teaching staff, governing council, and families in centering student relationships in the education and discipline processes. Our flexible scheduling also allows us to support a healthy balance and individual wellness. During a time when maintaining relationships and connections has proven difficult and when many schools and districts are reporting losing students and teachers, we are proud that our learning community is growing: we have increased our enrollment to 300 students and have added 10 staff members over the past year. We believe much of this growth is due to our focus on individual wellness. Outdoor education at Taos Academy is tied to our 21st century learning curriculum, which runs through all grades. At the middle school level, students rotate through classes focusing on leadership, sustainability/climate change, global studies; at the high school level, students begin to work collaboratively to propose hands-on projects that allow them to further explore areas of interest; these culminate in a senior year Capstone Project and community presentation. Outdoor recreation is an integral part of our programming as well. During our Orientation Weeks, students at Taos Academy participate in rafting, hiking, ropes course challenges, and an overnight camping trip as part of our team-building and introduction to the school. Winter Activities are conducted in January, with students participating in skating, yoga, cardio classes, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking. And our year ends with our Outdoor Leadership days to celebrate another year of learning and growing together. Our accomplishment in this area has been to develop a Green Leadership pathway that helps lead students into viable college and career pathways through the Bureau of Land Management, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, and our community college partner, UNM-Taos.