Taos may see a new charter school next year if the state Public Education Commission approves its application later this month.
The commission is scheduled to vote on 16 applications Sept. 10 and 11. Among them is the Taos Integrated School of the Arts —- a proposed charter school with an arts-based curriculum that would eventually serve kindergartners through eighth-graders.
Organizer Linda Seto said the application has been revised since it was denied last year by the commission.“They’re pretty tough on you,” she said. According to the application, “arts-integration creates more meaningful learning through using the arts — visual art, drama, music (and) dance — as a catalyst to create broader and deeper learning experiences.”
Seto said she is a certified teacher with 25 years of experience in public and private schools, and seeking a master’s degree in “Integrated Teaching through the Arts” from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. She said the proposed charter school would bring something new to Taos by having a heavier emphasis on the arts than existing schools with an “experiential learning” focus.
“Also, we would like to see partnerships with artists in the community,” she said.
Seto said similar arts-based programs in Oklahoma and North Carolina have yielded impressive results. “They’ve seen huge leaps in test scores,” she said. “We’ve done a lot of research.”
If approved this month the school would serve 120 students, kindergarten through fifth grade and expand by one grade of 20 students each subsequent year until eighth-graders were phased in. The school is seeking a centrally located spot with between 4,500 to 6,000 square feet for its first year of operations.
“Transportation is a problem, so we’re trying to keep it in town,” Seto said. To view the schools’ applications, see www.ped.state.nm.us/Charter/CharterApps.html.