Kaleidoscope: The Many Colorful Things Happening at Rainbow –
From the Executive Director
Why does our sign still say Rainbow Mountain Children’s School?
Maybe we are just too nostalgic to change it?
Actually, it is a series of unfortunate events behind a long journey which began many months ago, but our sign maker has returned from his back injury and we might actually have our new sign by December – fingers crossed.
Where Will all the Students Go?
We have 5,500 square feet of space in the lower level of the new Community Building that is unusable until we can bring it up to code and configure it into full-size classrooms.
This involves major construction, including removing structural walls and creating handicap access.
This space needs to be completed as soon as possible in order to have enough space for all of your children for the 2015-16 school year!
For example, next year, the Omega 7th and 8th grade will be an estimated 40 students as the current 6th and 7th grade students matriculate up.
Omega only has one classroom now, so they will need another room in order to have enough space for 40 kids. This is one reason we are in a crunch to finish that space. It is silly to have all the space sitting there, unusable, when we don’t have enough classrooms for all your children.
Our contractor says we need to begin construction in January in order to have the space ready for students in August. The permit for the next phase of construction is already being submitted to the City of Asheville.
By December 19, we need to have $150,000 pledged toward the construction project to know that we can begin construction in January and be able to fund the project.
Have you pledged yet?
Fortunately, we don’t literally need cash in hand when we break ground in January, but we do need enough money pledged by then.
(You can pay a pledge later or over a period of months.)
This year’s campaign is every bit as important as last year.
Thank you for investing in Rainbow’s facilities which will serve your children and so many others for years to come. It is exciting to see the pledges rolling in. It’s incredible how it really does take everyone doing what they can – no more, no less — to make the goal.
For those of you who have already made your pledge, thank you so much!
Not only have you gotten this campaign rolling, but every time someone donates early in the campaign, it means we can spend less money and effort on fundraising and more money and resources on education. The earlier people donate, the better it is for our whole community. Thank you!
Coming Down from the Summit
I found the Parent Summit to be an exciting event.
The board is filtering through pages and pages of notes and documentations from the Summit.
Thank you to the many volunteers who helped make the event happen and/or volunteered to organize notes afterward.
As a result we have a ton of suggestions and ideas.
The board’s job is now to find the common themes in those ideas to help steer the overall direction of the school, and then to turn the management-level ideas over to the various circles which would potentially implement them.
Our Faculty: Life-long Learners
During the faculty work day in October, all faculty members visited another school of their choice.
Although the main goal was for them to observe other teachers, a side benefit is that they act as ambassadors for Rainbow.
You may want to ask your child’s teacher which school they visited and what that experience was like.
The office is working on completing the 2013-14 Annual Report by Thanksgiving. Look for it!
Wanted: Community Coordinator
We are looking for someone who will write a newsletter highlighting Asheville community events/classes/activities that Rainbow families may be interested in.
Looking for an interesting way to use your volunteer hours?
Contact Kate in the office if you want to know more. This is a fun job for the right person. Most of the work can be done off campus.
EPIC Faculty Training
The teachers are receiving a rich menu of training on Systems Thinking, Engineering, and the Maker Movement this year.
The last two trainings were called Engineering is Elementary.
Before that Tom Heck presented “Making, and Making a Difference.” Tom runs the EPICS program (Engineering Projects in Communities and Schools) at Purdue University. He will be consulting with our teachers throughout the year, helping them integrate robotics, engineering, and tinkering into their units of study.
The Many Adventures of Reneé – Changing the Odds
I attended the Changing the Odds conference, October 9 and 10, in Dallas to help at the table with Ashoka Changemaker schools.
There were 10 other Changemaker schools there, and it was really wonderful forging relationships with other change leaders and teachers. I got to meet some of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell and Tony Wagner.
The Changing the Odds conference focus was largely on the importance of social/emotional learning, especially empathy and compassion.
The school that hosted the conference is called the Momentous Institute, a private school funded by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, which raises $7 million a year by hosting a PGA golf tournament.
The Momentous Institute is their sole recipient of these funds. So this private school has a dream budget that provides free tuition to many kids who would otherwise attend public school. Momentous has as many therapists as teachers on their staff!
They invest in best practices and have the money to collect and analyze a lot of data. Momentous has really great research that ties social emotional learning (SEL) to academic success.
SEL is becoming accepted as the most important aspect of education.
Forbes predicts empathy as the #1 desired quality for careers by 2020. I am posting some of my favorite quotes and thoughts from the conference on my blog, which can be accessed here.
Mind and Life Institute
Last week I traveled to Boston for the Mind and Life Institute’s International Symposium on Contemplative Education.
Three hundred and sixty doctoral and post-doctoral papers were presented at this conference on effects of contemplative practices in education and life! Just a few years ago contemplative education was extremely rare, and now the field is exploding!
I worked with 30 educators from around the world on the topic of merging transformative education (education for social action) and contemplative education.
John Powell was a riveting speaker. Dr. Powell is a powerful social activist, particularly in the area of race and racism, and he is a contemplative meditator who spent a significant amount of time in India.
He spoke about how people can use meditation to tune out or to tune in. Clearly, we use contemplative practices at Rainbow with the intention of tuning people in– helping them to be more engaged.
A side note on the use of your hard-earned tuition funds: Rainbow spends as little as possible on all the travel I do.Ashoka paid for the Changing the Odds Conference expenses, and I am fortunate to have a family member who used to work for an airline, so I have extremely discounted standby airfare. Plus, I have friends in several cities to stay with, and when I don’t, I am as thrifty as possible. In Boston I stayed in a hostel dorm room.
Time to Slow Down
This has been the busiest fall at Rainbow I have ever experienced – one exciting event after another.
It’s time to slow down.
Winter is approaching, and the time of year when our bodies go inside for warmth is also when we warm our hearts and become more focused on our inner selves.
It is no coincidence that virtually every religion has a major holiday coming up – it’s a very spiritual time of year.
I hope you can soak up every minute of the upcoming Thanksgiving and winter breaks with gratitude and plenty of family time. Blessings.