Our mission is to inspire our students to academic and personal excellence. Our innovative learning community creates classroom, farm and wilderness adventure -- engaging the head, hands, and heart -- enabling students to achieve more than they think possible and to take an active role in our ever-changing world.
Hello RWCS families, I hope everyone is well and finding new connections and ways to flourish. Please call if you need anything. You can contact Mark at 575.779.1947. You also have contact info for all the teachers.
Parent Stephanie Owens has offered to lead the entire school (K - 8) through a virtual dissection of a sheep brain. This activity fits in well with the school wide expeditionary theme of anatomy. Contact Mark with any questions. Please have your child join on Thursday, April 30 at 10 am. Zoom link:
Send in photos of you and your children exploring ideas, creating beauty, and getting muddy. Also, remember to record your activities that engage the head, hands and heart. PED is allowing us to use these learning experiences for school credit.
Rose and Evan sent grades 3 - 8 an assignment for students to document their "stay at home experience" on paper and/or video. Students should consider the positive, the challenges, and the mysterious, in addition to what they may want to change in their lives in a "post-quarantine world." These reflections will be needed for the fall expedition.
We held a virtual community stakeholder budget meeting on Thursdays afternoon. If you missed it and have input, please share your ideas with us ASAP.
I am hearing the novelty of the situation is wearing off and adults are beginning to feel quite stressed. Create the support that you need. IF you are struggling, please connect with someone / us. Here are some more ideas:
Community. -- Mark Richert Director Roots and Wings Community School 35 Old Lama Road Questa, New Mexico 87556 575.586.2076Hello RWCS families, I hope everyone is well and finding new connections and ways to flourish. Please call if you need anything. You can contact Mark at 575.779.1947. You also have contact info for all the teachers.
This will serve as your base guide for our continuous school learning this spring. Please emphasize with your child that school is not finished for the year; the learning experience has transformed in innovative and creative ways thanks to the effort of our educational team.
At the end of the scheduled school year, your child will receive a “pass” or “fail” grade to determine promotion to the next grade based on a combination of the following:
1.Completion of work assigned by teachers 2.Completion of the semester product as outlined by teachers 3.Participation in class Zoom (or other) meetings 4.Documentation of home learning projects not assigned by the school The school will:
1.Check in with you via phone, text, or email at least once per week. This may be from teachers and/or the administration. Please share ANY needs you may have. We want to help. 2.Provide learning activities for your children via teachers. 3.Share directions and scoring criteria for the semester product via teachers. 4.Provide a Chromebook and assist with internet access based on information provided by parents. 5.Offer Zoom (or other) teacher/student check-in and learning times. 6.Make a safe and reasonable effort to meet requirements of IEPs. 7.Make a safe and reasonable effort to meet hours for OT and ST. All school staff have agreed to be available to you at reasonable hours. Your team:
School issued computers are for school work only. The school has lent devices to assist your child with the learning process under the current conditions. Please monitor your child’s use of school equipment. There should be NO app downloads, gaming, or movie watching on these devices. Please contact a staff member immediately if your child is experiencing a problem with the school computer. We have technicians available to assist. Equipment shall be returned at the end of the scheduled school year.
Please be aware of recent reports of “Zoom bombing,” in which hackers enter and disrupt a Zoom meeting in disturbing ways. Teachers will use available safety features when establishing a Zoom meeting. Please to not publicize or share Zoom links. Teachers have been instructed to immediately close a meeting if something “unusual” happens. If you are uncomfortable with your child using the Zoom platform, please let us know. We will work with you on alternatives. If this problem persists around the country without a resolution from Zoom, we will offer a different platform.
RWCS Learning Program and On-line Class Meeting Schedule
Kindergarten – Details available from Ms. Annalise / Learning packets available in the Greenhouse at RWCS or Peg’s foyer in Taos. At Peg’s, wear a mask, gloves or use hand sanitizer! You need to text Peg when you intend to come and only one person should enter the foyer at a time. You may park at the gate at RWCS and walk to the Greenhouse. Pick up by Tuesday, April 7th.
On-line meetings Mondays and Fridays, 10 – 10:45 am
First and Second Grades – Details available from Ms. Annalise / Learning packets available at RWCS or Peg’s foyer in Taos per guidelines in Kindergarten.
On-line meetings Mondays and Fridays, 11 – 11:45 am
Ms. Annalise / office hours / Wednesdays, 10 – 11:45. Available for consultation Mondays – Fridays during school hours or by appointment
Third, Fourth, Fifth Grades – Details available from Ms. Rose / Mr. E. Review emails from Ms. Rose on March 16th and March 30th for learning program details.
On-line meetings on Thursdays, 1 – 2 pm
Sixth, Seventh, Eighth Grades - Details available from Ms. Rose / Mr. E. Review emails from Ms. Rose on March 16th and March 30th for learning program details.
On-line meetings on Tuesdays, 1 – 2 pm
*Ms. Rose and Mr. E are available for consultation with students and parents Monday – Friday during school hours or by appointment
Ms. Peg will attend Zoom sessions with class teachers to monitor students with IEPs. She has reached out to all families whose students may need extra support and established a learning plan with them, including check-ins by phone, text, and email along with extra Zoom sessions as established with the family.
Ms. Sara has already established a routine via Zoom with the students that she assists. Hours and services are being met.
Occupational / Speech / Language Services
Ms. Martie and Ms. Areana have established communication methods with all families that they serve. In addition to offering Google Meet sessions, they are sharing suggestions, material, and video activities via email and text.
Reading / Language Interventions
Ms. Annalise continues her reading / language intervention support through Zoom with students previously in need of extra support.
Ms. Sarah has sent the following art project recommendations. Details and directions are in a separate attached document. Air dry clay; kite making; puppet making; and finger print art.
And, this just in! Roots and Wings placed in the top 10% of all schools in New Mexico in Reading and Science proficiency for 2018 - 2019 earning a “Designation of Excellence” from the New Mexico Public Education Department.
Please let us know how you are doing. The families I checked in with this week appear to be adjusting to the work / family / school situation. Please let us know if you have ANY needs, even if they are unrelated to school. We will try to find the appropriate assistance.
It has been great to see your children on the teachers' virtual sessions. The big smiles reinforce the need to find ways to stay connected.
Here are a few more resources that may be of interest to you:
-- Mark Richert Director Roots and Wings Community School 35 Old Lama Road Questa, New Mexico 87556 575.586.2076
Hello RWCS Families,
I hope you and your family are adjusting to our new family and learning circumstances. Remember that this is new for all of us and no "answers" are definitive. Together, we will figure it out. Attached, you will find many ideas on how you may approach this situation at home with your children. Please take an active interest in developing this new lifestyle; it may be with us for a while.
For this week, please continue with directions and learning suggestions that teachers have already offered for your children. The Public Education Department has shown great flexibility in how schools choose to work with students. Roots and Wings will be using an "asynchronous remote" learning model. That means teachers will continue to offer learning activities and be available for guidance for students and families via email, text, and Zoom "check in" times. Schedules and times are forthcoming. Teachers will also be making general "check in" calls to students and families.
At this time, we would like to issue all students in grades 3 - 8 their school assigned computer (some of you have them already). This will help to eliminate some of the username / password issues that Evan and Rose have encountered. No school computers have been touched or used since March 6th and they will be wiped down by a staff member wearing gloves. Computer "Grab'n Go" will begin this Wednesday. Please let Veronica know your preference (firstname.lastname@example.org / 575.779.2120). Remember that this is for grades 3 - 8. If anyone is experiencing problems with technology access or devices, please let us know immediately.
Roots and Wings: Wednesday and Thursday, 10 - 12 In Questa / Cerro (location, day, time TBD by Rose/Evan) Hondo / Midtown - Mark: Wednesday at 9 am / Thursday at 3 pm Taos - Peg's foyer: Wednesday - Friday
The PED has also emphasized that the social and emotional well-being of students needs to be a focus for all of us. Please remain calm with your children. In the attached information, you will find thoughts from two area professionals in social emotional learning. Please take this seriously.
Although this may seem simplistic, please send in photos / videos of your children working on school projects or just having fun. We are attempting to keep everyone connected via these visuals on Facebook and in the school photo gallery. Visit the photo gallery with your children. It would be nice to post a few new photos everyday. Thank you.
Stay strong amigos y amigas, but don't be afraid to lean (from a distance) on each other when needed.
Let us know how we can help.
Be well, Mark
March 30, 2020
Dear families, staff, and friends,
Uncertain times require an even greater sense of decency, understanding, and respect than we typically afford others. Let’s please be extra careful of everyone’s needs and potential fragility during the coming weeks and months. In the next few pages, you may find useful information for current or future reference. Consult them freely and share as you see fit.
Once we have navigated through the current situation, I hope some of the information touched on here seeps into our daily rhythms; not when we “get back to normal,” but that a new normal emerges. A normal from which we can look back on the crisis of 2020 with odd gratitude as the impetus that directed us to a calmer, more thoughtful, and more peaceful existence with our families, colleagues, and strangers alike. The time is now, and we are the right people.
The requirement of humanity means that we have to tolerate an enormous amount of error. Malcolm Gladwell
Sources for updates and information on coronavirus and COVID-19:
If you have a fever, dry cough, or difficulty breathing, call: 1 - 855.600.3453
Cook Together – Jim Harrison, one of my favorite writers, loved cooking and eating in France because toward the end of each meal the conversation became increasingly animated over planning the next meal. Here are some reasons to pull the family into the kitchen:
I play no instruments and my voice makes our dog scratch at the door for escape. As I move around at home, I’m always making up and singing little verses about whatever I’m doing: making a burger, splitting wood, washing dishes. It’s fun; try it. Include your kids.
Runny Babbit by Shel Silverstein. Spend five minutes of impromptu word play It’s contagious. Ce bareful, there are dome sangerous thombinations out cere. If that didn’t make sense, listen to this: Runny Babbit
Many of us know Jessica. Join her for Zumba:
Be Silly / Joke of the Day – Why is this important? Short-term and long-term benefits with tips on improving your sense of humor: Mayo Clinic on Laughing
Don’t read them all in one sitting. Make it an event. Perhaps start and end the day with a joke.
Q: What did one math book say to the other? A: I’ve got so many problems.
* Allow kids to come up with their own answers. My nine-year-old just answered, “We’re equal,” to the above math book question.
Social Emotional Well-Being
Bravo! To the New Mexico Public Education Department for emphasizing to state superintendents and charter directors that the social emotional well-being of our children will be critical during the closure. I strongly encourage you to read up on the topic. Here are some thoughts on the topic from two locals, Katryn Cross and Dr. Amy Franklin. Some ideas here may conflict; that’s normal. The important part is that we have professionals willingly and openly sharing with us. Read. Question. Research. Read some more. Draw your own conclusions. Stick to them while remaining flexible.
Katryn Cross – Trauma Professional You might be inclined to create a minute by minute schedule for your kids. You have high hopes of hours of learning, including online activities, science experiments, and book reports. You’ll limit technology until everything is done! But here’s the thing... Our kids are just as scared as we are right now. Our kids not only can hear everything that is going on around them, but they feel our constant tension and anxiety. They have never experienced anything like this before. Although the idea of being off of school for 4 weeks sounds awesome, they are probably picturing a fun time like summer break, not the reality of being trapped at home and not seeing their friends. Over the coming weeks, you will see an increase in behavior issues with your kids. Whether it’s anxiety, or anger, or protest that they can’t do things normally - it will happen. You’ll see more meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behavior in the coming weeks. This is normal and expected under these circumstances.
What kids need right now is to feel comforted and loved. To feel like it’s all going to be ok. And that might mean that you tear up your perfect schedule and love on your kids a bit more. Play outside and go on walks. Bake cookies and paint pictures. Play board games and watch movies. Do a science experiment together or find virtual field trips of the zoo. Start a book and read together as a family. Snuggle under warm blankets and do nothing. Don’t worry about them regressing in school. Every single kid is in this boat and they all will be ok. When we are back in the classroom, we will all course correct and meet them where they are. Teachers are experts at this! Don’t pick fights with your kids because they don’t want to do math. Don’t scream at your kids for not following the schedule. Don’t mandate 2 hours of learning time if they are resisting it. If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: at the end of all of this, your kids’ mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those 4 weeks is long gone. So keep that in mind, every single day.
Parenting Ideas from Dr. Amy Franklin
Taking care of your Emotional and Mental Wellbeing
These are very uncertain times. It is normal to feel anxious and scared when so many things are new, changing and changing quickly. We feel anxious when we want to have control but cannot.
Take control of the things you can control. Establish a routine and maintain it. If you usually get up at 6:30, keep waking up at 6:30. This will make the day more predictable and reliable for your child and for you. Co-create a schedule with everyone in your household. Include time to be outside (maintain a distance from neighbors and friends), time to connect (phone calls, social media) with friends and family, time for physical activity, time to help someone else, time for chores, time to learn, time to read, time to make something.
Read aloud the schedule in the morning to remind everyone what was planned. Set your alarm to help keep everyone on schedule. Review your schedule in the evening and make adjustments as needed. Be forgiving. Persevere. These are new times with unique challenges. You might be in the house many more hours than usual with family members and children. It is normal to get on one another’s nerves. A routine will help.
Navigate your feelings. It is normal to have many different feelings throughout the day. Notice how you feel and try to name the feelings. Simply naming a feeling gives you a little pause in which you can decide how you want to respond to the feeling. It gives you a little space between you and the feeling and reminds you that you are not your feeling and in fact, feelings are temporary and change.
Feelings have causes. They do not come out of the blue. See if you can find out what causes what feelings. Continue doing things that cause cheerful, hopeful feelings. Going outside, helping someone else, remembering happy times, petting a pet, these things can help you feel hopeful and present.
Notice in your body if you can see where you feel the feeling. Maybe your ears get hot or your stomach has ‘butterflies’ or your throat feels tight or your heart is beating fast. These bodily sensations can tell us something about our feelings.
Help your children notice and name their feelings, notice where in their bodies they feel the feelings, identify the causes of the feelings, and choose activities that create more hopeful, cheerful, happy feelings. If you only water the weeds, your garden will only grow weeds.
In the coming days we will learn and practice tools to help uschange our feelings. In the meanwhile, notice your feelings and try to name them. Then choose activities that help you feel hopeful and cheerful. While it is necessary to stay informed, listening to the news for many hours can cause additional fear and worry.
Limit the time you listen to the news. 15 or 20 minutes a day is enough to be informed.
Your children will look to you for assurance in these uncertain times. Your children’s wellbeing will depend largely on how the adults in their lives handle these challenges.
Notice the tone of voice and words you use to talk to your children and family members. You have a choice about what words, tone and body language you use.
Think about what kind of person you want to be for your children, your family and your community during these times of uncertainty. Be the kind of person you will be proud of being.
These are challenging times. Be patient. Forgive. Start again. Ask for help. Take care of yourself. Make good choices.
Roots and Wings Community School is a state-chartered expeditionary learning school that serves a diverse group of K-8 students from the greater Taos community in northern New Mexico.
Set in a farm and mountain environment, Roots and Wings uses the natural surroundings, active academic approach, and personalized atmosphere to make learning an adventure.
The results are students that are engaged, self-reflective, and active citizens, pursuing academic excellence, an attitude of service, and the compassionate behaviors that cultivate connection to the unique agricultural, cultural, and linguistic heritage of Northern New Mexico.